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Use 4K monitor with 2010 MacBook Pro 15 inch (NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 256 MB)

2fx1989

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2016
6
5
Hi. I’ve been searching for this on various forums for a while now and not quite sure yet before I make a purchase.

I have the following:

2010 MacBook Pro 15 inch
2.4 GHz Intel Core i5
4GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 256 MB

Intel HD Graphics 288 MB

I love my old Mac and the fact that I'm still using it for paid work so I'd like to be as sure as possible before I make a decision.
I need to get an external monitor as I have to work at home these days. The 15 inch screen is way too small for software engineering work so I’ll need to buy a large external monitor to get some screen real estate.

I’m seeing that I can connect to a DVI monitor as I have Mini Displayport connector. As per Apple’s site:

Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors

So that means I’m covered for monitors up to 2560 x 1600 with DVI input.

But I’ve seen that others have managed to get 4k monitors working with 2010 MacBook Pro but only at 30 Htz, 30 Htz is fine by me as it’s just code and email and websites etc.

Does anyone else have experience getting 4K monitors working with the same or similar to my Mac.
I’m aware that I only have the 256 MB graphics card and the higher spec of my Mac has the 512 card so will keep that in mind.

Many thanks
 

Amethyst1

macrumors 68020
Oct 28, 2015
2,430
3,076
Does anyone else have experience getting 4K monitors working with the same or similar to my Mac.
Yes; you can get 3840×2160 at 30 Hz and the pixel-perfect 1920×1080 HiDPI mode. Be warned though: 30 Hz is annoying no matter what you do on the machine. Even the mouse cursor is laggy. I also thought 30 Hz would be okay for these use cases but discovered it isn't.
 
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2fx1989

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2016
6
5
Yes; you can get 3840×2160 at 30 Hz and the pixel-perfect 1920×1080 HiDPI mode. Be warned though: 30 Hz is annoying no matter what you do on the machine. Even the mouse cursor is laggy. I also thought 30 Hz would be okay for these use cases but discovered it isn't.
That's very interesting to hear. I wasn't actually sure what 30Htz was like as I haven't tried it. Maybe I'd be best to stick with getting a 2560 x 1600 monitor after all.

Thanks a million Amethyst1, that's much appreciated info
 
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2fx1989

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2016
6
5
Yes; you can get 3840×2160 at 30 Hz and the pixel-perfect 1920×1080 HiDPI mode. Be warned though: 30 Hz is annoying no matter what you do on the machine. Even the mouse cursor is laggy. I also thought 30 Hz would be okay for these use cases but discovered it isn't.
@Amethyst1 May I ask what monitor you got in the end and would you recommend it?
 
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Amethyst1

macrumors 68020
Oct 28, 2015
2,430
3,076
@Amethyst1 May I ask what monitor you got in the end and would you recommend it?
A Dell P2415Q (24" 4K). It's awesome. But I have since also acquired a system that can run it at 60 Hz.

For your 2010 MBP, I'd recommend a 2560×1440 one. 2560×1600 (30") ones are, unfortunately, rare and expensive.
 
Last edited:
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2fx1989

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2016
6
5
OK cool, I'll look at Dell's 27" 2560x1440 monitors. I have seen from some research that 2560x1600 is a no go now really.

Thanks again for the help!
 
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Amethyst1

macrumors 68020
Oct 28, 2015
2,430
3,076
OK cool, I'll look at Dell's 27" 2560x1440 monitors.
What resolution is your MBP's screen? If it's the default 1440×900 a 27" 2560×1440 will have roughly the same pixel density, meaning UI elements and text will be roughly the same size. If that matters to you.
 
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2fx1989

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2016
6
5
Yes it’s default resolution is 1440x900.
This Dell monitor looks very nice and has DisplayPort 1.2 (in) for my Mac and also has USB C for future proofing and it’s a good price:
 
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ght56

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2020
493
341
I agree 30 Hz will drive you absolutely nuts, and you are going to be putting a hell of a strain on your computer as you will probably be scaling. I also agree QHD (1440p) is really a great resolution and there are several things about it I like more than 4K (cost, how great it looks/functions in native resolution, tendency to be easier on laptops, no challenges with achieving good refresh rates, good availability of displays with refresh rates beyond 60 Hz, etc.) I am currently using Dell's 25-inch UltraSharps (U2520D) and these bright panels have just spectacular color reproduction although they are a bit on the expensive side for Quad HD. If you use relatively close viewing distances, in native 1440p text and images look fantastic on a 25 inch screen as you have a pixel density of nearly 120 PPI...which is almost the same pixel density as a 36 inch 4K monitor.

 
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