USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Display Buyer's Guide for New MacBook Pro

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,123
10,464


Apple's new MacBook Pro models feature between two and four Thunderbolt 3 ports that carry power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA over a single cable, creating one standard for connecting most accessories and peripherals. Thunderbolt 3 uses the same connector type as USB-C, also called Type-C, meaning the new MacBook Pros are compatible with a growing lineup of USB-C external displays.


USB-C displays can display up to 4K video, transfer data, and charge the new MacBook Pro at up to 60W over a single cable connected between the display and notebook. LG's new UltraFine 5K display, meanwhile, uses Thunderbolt 3 to display 5K video and fully charge the new MacBook Pro at up to 85W. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar can drive dual 5K displays, while the 13-inch model can drive one 5K display.

LG launched its UltraFine 4K and 5K displays in partnership with Apple, which exited the standalone display business after discontinuing its Thunderbolt Display earlier this year. The first USB-C displays from other manufacturers were released just this year, so the current selection remains limited. MacRumors has rounded up most of the options available from LG, ASUS, Acer, and Lenovo below.

LG 27UD88


Display size: 27-inch
Display resolution: Ultra HD (3,840×2,160 pixels)
PPI: 163
Display technology: IPS LED
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: sRGB (over 99%)
Brightness: 350 cd/m2
Ports: 1 input USB-C, 2 USB 3.0, 2 HDMI 2.0, 1 DisplayPort 1.2
Cables included: USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to USB, HDMI, DisplayPort
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to 60W
Price: $699 at B&H Photo Video or $740 on Amazon

LG 38UC99


Display size: 37.5-inch curved
Display resolution: Wide QHD+ (3,840×1,600 pixels)
PPI: 110
Display technology: IPS LED
Aspect ratio: 21:9 (ultrawide)
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: sRGB (over 99%)
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Ports: 1 input USB-C, 2 USB 3.0, 2 HDMI 2.0, 1 DisplayPort 1.2
Cables included: USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to USB, HDMI, DisplayPort
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to 60W
Price: $1,499 at B&H Photo Video or $1,699 on Amazon

Click here to read rest of article...

Article Link: USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Display Buyer's Guide for New MacBook Pro
 
Last edited:

jscooper22

macrumors regular
Feb 8, 2013
245
606
Syracuse, NY
I understand the dropping of old connection types. Things change (scsi, serial, that phone kb wire the original mac had). But I'll never get ethernet though. Maybe they do it just for the thinness of the machine. Others can be swapped relatively easily once vendors start making compatible devices. But ethernet in many businesses is in the walls. Not so easy or cheap to swap out. Granted, it used to be coax, but asaik that was one big switchover in the course of, what?, 30 years? I really don't see it vanishing soon, at least not until 10 or 100GB (really 10/100, not just "on paper") is a reality.
 

BvizioN

macrumors 603
Mar 16, 2012
5,168
3,187
Manchester, UK
I am in a fence of buying either 13" entry level or 13" with touch bar! Now the touch bar and touch ID is fine but not a deal breaker for me. I will get the LG 27UD88-W 27" display to go with it. Now this is a bit unrelated question to the subject but do you think is worth going with 13" with the touch bar rather then 13" standard if my priority was speed and performance? I will only use Final Cut Pro X, Photoshop, light room and small projects on Adobe aftereffects. I am not particularly bothered with touch bar or touch ID.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68000
Sep 21, 2009
1,871
2,441
Tennessee
What would be the best option for a Late 2013 MBP that would be usable later? I'm guessing only a 30Hz 4K would work?

Or, better, how to use the new LG monitor with it? I've not seen many cables going DisplayPort 1.2 to USB-C
 
Last edited:

okboy

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2010
243
452
The stalemate I get to when choosing between displays is still the same: connectivity vs. aesthetic. The LG UltraFine displays look nice and simple, but can I really have something taking up desk space that won't work with my PS4?

The other displays have good connectivity, but can I really have something on my desk, that I'll see everyday, that looks so tacky?

I suspect Apple guided LG along with the UltraFine display design. I hope they're within their rights to release an identical design with an HDMI input. They are not Cinema Display quality, but they're simple and nice.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gweedo

RichTeer

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2014
93
188
Kelowna, BC, Canada
I understand the dropping of old connection types. Things change (scsi, serial, that phone kb wire the original mac had). But I'll never get ethernet though. Maybe they do it just for the thinness of the machine. Others can be swapped relatively easily once vendors start making compatible devices. But ethernet in many businesses is in the walls. Not so easy or cheap to swap out. Granted, it used to be coax, but asaik that was one big switchover in the course of, what?, 30 years? I really don't see it vanishing soon, at least not until 10 or 100GB (really 10/100, not just "on paper") is a reality.
I'm with you on the Ethernet interface thing, and I think you nailed it when you said Apple eliminated it for thinness reasons. Given TB3's increased bandwidth (heck, even TB2 would do!), I Apple or someone else comes out with a 10GBE adapter.
 

diddl14

macrumors 6502a
Aug 10, 2009
852
909
Just as info, an Apple rep informed me that reusing TB2 hdmi/dvi/vga connectors via an USB-C to TB2 adapter won't work.. You'll need native USB-C video adapters to hook up a legacy monitor to the new Macbook's
 
Last edited:

LimerickRunner

macrumors member
Oct 26, 2016
58
62
I am in a fence of buying either 13" entry level or 13" with touch bar! Now the touch bar and touch ID is fine but not a deal breaker for me. I will get the LG 27UD88-W 27" display to go with it. Now this is a bit unrelated question to the subject but do you think is worth going with 13" with the touch bar rather then 13" standard if my priority was speed and performance? I will only use Final Cut Pro X, Photoshop, light room and small projects on Adobe aftereffects. I am not particularly bothered with touch bar or touch ID.
I am in the same both, thinking how much id really use the touchbar, could be like 3d touch, i never use that, I think the entry level one is excellent value for money and you can upgrade to 16gb of ram, not bad for entry level!
 
  • Like
Reactions: BvizioN

shareef777

Suspended
Jul 26, 2005
2,445
3,272
Chicago, IL
Waiting for a buyers guide on the multitude of dongles/adapters/docks/hubs. Grabbed a cheap one off Amazon that caused kernel panics when running an external USB-A drive for an extended amount of time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: idunn

BvizioN

macrumors 603
Mar 16, 2012
5,168
3,187
Manchester, UK
I am in the same both, thinking how much id really use the touchbar, could be like 3d touch, i never use that, I think the entry level one is excellent value for money and you can upgrade to 16gb of ram, not bad for entry level!
I think I will save £300 and use it towards monitor display by going for the entry level. 2 USB C ports will do for me.
 

Mori_

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2016
7
17
Puerto Rico
I have a desktop PC and waiting for my new macbook pro. I was thinking of buying the new 21 inch LG UltraFine 4k but I don't know if s a smart buy.

Can you guy's help me decide? budget is $600
 

PatriotInvasion

macrumors 68000
Jul 18, 2010
1,534
597
Boston, MA
The LG 27UD88 seems like the best bang for the buck if you can live with a HiDPI resolution that only provides 1920x1080px of real estate on a 27" display.

The Acer 277HU is the best looking of the bunch and even comes in gold but I think most people are looking to move beyond 2560x1440 so doesn't make much sense to invest in that at this point.

The LG UltraFine 5K is the best overall, and is essentially "Apple-approved", but I just find it mind boggling that Apple would want to formally associate with such a bland, uninspiring design. Most of us wish Apple made this display themselves, but short of that, it would have been nice if Apple could have donated a little left over aluminum to give this product a more premium look.

It should also be noted that the lack of input types on this display eliminates it's flexibility just as the older Thunderbolt Display did. That means no cable boxes, no Blu-Ray players, and no game consoles can connect to it because there is no way to convert HDMI out to a DisplayPort input which is the tech inside Thunderbolt 3/USB-C. That is a negative.

It appears if you have to have a 5K display with an Apple logo, it'll need to be the 5K iMac with a MacBook for portability. It's an expensive route, and you sacrifice multiple display support, but it's the route I'm choosing at this point.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brandhouse

Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
3,112
5,950
I don't understand the attraction of curved TVs, curved computer displays even less so. It reminds me of the geometry settings you used to have to use to eliminate as undesirable on CRT displays.

Still amazing to think how many pixels these things are packing regardless, my first computer was usually at 320x256 on a 14 inch TV...

I am in no way ready to buy any of these right now, but I quite fancy the idea of a nice big 4K display wall-mounted and simulataneously hooked up to a mac and a 4K UHD BD player one day... (even better if it could be the same machine, but probably not).
 

Swazaloo

Cancelled
Jan 3, 2014
183
418
Can the LG UltraFine's accept input from multiple computers? Looking to connect a Mac as my daily driver and a Windows machine for gaming.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.