Which makes more sense: Running (2) LG 5K Displays, or (1) 34+" Curved 4K Display?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Track40, Sep 3, 2018.

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  1. Track40 macrumors member

    Track40

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    #1
    I'm a professional photographer and I've got a 2018 MacBook Pro (i9 / 32gb / 2tb / RadPro560) that travels with me back and forth to the studio. When I'm at home, I want it to be more of a workstation, so I ask you all this: Am I better off using 2 LG 5K monitors on this machine, or a single, 34+" Curved display -- the biggest one with the highest resolution under $2,000 that can be bought today?

    PS. I stopped by the apple store today and hooked my MBPro up to 2 of their LG 5K displays and ran Photoshop on one side and Lightroom on the other and the MacBook Pro didn't even bat an eye. Used up 2 of the thunderbolt 3 ports, obviously.
     
  2. afir93 macrumors 6502a

    afir93

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    #2
    While it certainly depends on your use cases, for me the 2 5K displays would be an obvious answer, given that money is no issue either way. I mean, even a single one of them already has a significantly higher resolution than the 4K Curved display you are thinking about, which for many tasks and uses would put it already ahead (though there are other display qualities of course that also matter), but if you can get two of them for the available money, then yeah, that's what you should probably go with. Your 2018 MacBook Pro (as you said yourself in your PS) will easily be able to handle these.

    Are there any reasons besides the pure display size why you would prefer the 4K Curved display? Because the display size as an argument seems like it is easily outdone by using the two 5K ones. More screen space in terms of pure area, and significantly more pixels which I'd imagine for a photographer should be one of the top priorities in a display choice like this.
     
  3. Track40 thread starter macrumors member

    Track40

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    #3
    The only reason I’d consider getting a single screen over a dual would be to preserve system resources / performance and not over tax the MBPro. Maybe running both 5K screens at the same time won’t hurt anything?



     
  4. Thysanoptera macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    That's a valid concern, I'm genuinely curious how is this implemented, the UHD 630 looks like supports 3 DP 1.2 lanes, and you kind of need 4 to run 2x5k@60Hz, but apparently it works somehow, maybe thanks to direct TB3 connection and some implementation of DP 1.4. I wonder if this forces the dGPU to be active the whole time since it can connect directly to PCIe lanes and not rely on Intel even for pass through. Anyway I'm pretty sure it will heat up the laptop considerably and reduce the headroom available for actual CPU. If you can, go back to Apple store but armed with iStatMenus and check the power consumption and temperatures of both integrated and discrete GPUs, and let us know.
     
  5. Trik macrumors 6502

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    #5
    In the previous models of the MBP (2016 & 2017) you could only run dual 5K displays if one cable was hooked to the left side of the MBP, and one cable on the right.

    Did you notice if that was still the case with the 2018 model?
     
  6. craig1410 macrumors 65816

    craig1410

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    #6
  7. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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  8. sebulban macrumors member

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    #8
  9. deeddawg macrumors 604

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    Lightroom has the ability to use second monitor for various purposes that can be very convenient. You wouldn't have that ability with a single wide monitor (unless it did some trickery to appear like two monitors).

    See https://lightroomkillertips.com/using-two-monitors-lightroom/

    It gets even better if you use one monitor in portrait orientation and the other in landscape.

    For me that'd make the decision pretty simple.
     
  10. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

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    #10
    Generally, unless you are gaming. Display resolution doesn't really have any effect on performance. Perhaps a tiny effect but it should be negligible.

    Now having extra screen real estate can affect user habits. You may tend to have more windows open at a time. Given the extra screen space. Which will affect performance. In this case the cause is user not resolution.
     
  11. sebulban macrumors member

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    #11
    What about color accuracy? I think most of the ultra wides are not meant for serious colour accurate work (more for gaming). They only support colors up to sRGB. If i would be professional i would like to have support for 10 bit colors in adobe RGB and/or DCI-P3. Most ultrawides and even standard 16:9 monitors are 8bit
     
  12. Track40 thread starter macrumors member

    Track40

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    #12
    I read your previous post. It is obvious to me that you are an advanced user (like myself) and have a lot of experience in this area. Can you tell me from your experience, do you notice the computer ever struggling to run both 5Ks? Any kind of a performance drop at all, compared to just running 1 of the monitors? I have no idea, nor can I find any data anywhere that tells me whether the MacBook Pro performance is impacted at all whether you have 1 display or 2 displays hooked up at the same time.

    My new 2018 MBPro is an absolute beast. I would assume it can run this setup without breaking a sweat, but have no idea. I don't want to spend $2400 to test it. I'll buy it all if I know it works.

    I went into the apple store and hooked both LG 5Ks up to my machine and ran it for about 15min, but the apple store people were wanting me to finish my trials quickly, and I really didn't get to test too much.

    Also are you using a Spyder to calibrate your LGs or is there something better?



     
  13. craig1410 macrumors 65816

    craig1410

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    Yes, I would have to say that my 2016 MBP with Radeon 460 does struggle somewhat to run two 5K displays plus the onboard LCD. To be honest I'm amazed it runs at all because that is a huge number of pixels (almost 35MP) for a laptop to drive. I don't run in clamshell mode so I don't know how it would be with just the two 5K's and the lid closed. I'm sure it would be better but it would still be pushing 29MP+ so I doubt it would be a massive difference. As far as I can tell, the integrated GPU shuts down when the discrete 460 GPU takes over so it's not as if the iGPU could drive the onboard LCD leaving the dGPU to drive the externals. I could be wrong but I think as soon as you connect an external display, the iGPU shuts off and dGPU takes over.

    With a single 5K plus the onboard LCD it is much 'calmer'. What I mean by 'calmer' is that, when running all 3 displays, the MBP fans are spun up quite a bit even when not really doing much, and I can see from iStat Menus that it's mainly the 460 dGPU which is consuming power with the CPU largely idle. This isn't really a surprise I guess. When I disconnect the 2nd 5K display and just run one 5K plus onboard LCD, the fans spin down to a much more acceptable level.

    Now, if you were to run the same scenarios with a 2018 model with the best dGPU option then it's bound to be better but how much better I can only guess. According to Geekbench OpenCL benchmarks, the Radeon Pro 560X in the 2018 model has a compute score of 58133 and my Radeon Pro 460 has a score of 52328 so it's an incremental improvement and unlikely in my opinion to radically change things. That said, the thermal architecture in the 2018 model might be more efficient at dispersing the heat which might make more of a difference than the pure compute performance.

    In any event, what I have recently bought is the Blackmagic eGPU with the Radeon Pro 580 GPU the same as in the current iMac 5K (not the iMac Pro). Essentially this offloads the task of running one display to the 580 eGPU leaving the 460 dGPU to run the second 5K and onboard LCD. That gives me the screen real estate I wanted without the high fan speeds and corresponding noise or the glitchy performance. I have recently switched to the Mojave Beta and so far that's running just fine. The only slight annoyance I find with the eGPU is that many/most apps can't handle disconnection of the eGPU and you have to shut down most apps before you can undock from the eGPU and take the laptop away with you. Hopefully the most popular apps will get wise to this and fix it as eGPUs become more mainstream but that will take time I expect.

    No I don't use colour calibration, as my line of work (software development) doesn't really need it. To my eye, the stock calibration of the LG 5K displays matches my MBP really well. If I view the same photo on the various displays it looks very very close to identical. They all support DCI-P3 and since Apple had a hand in developing the LG 5K and it has the same LCD panel as the iMac 5K, this isn't surprising I don't think.

    I hope this info helps but ultimately only you can decide. Hopefully you are in a position where you can make use of Apple's 14 day return period to evaluate the setup in your own environment. Good luck! :)
     
  14. Track40 thread starter macrumors member

    Track40

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    #14



    Your findings are all very interesting. I wish I had taken a screen cap of my iStat Menus when I had the 2 displays hooked up and running, but I do remember looking at them, and with Both photoshop and Lightroom running, the Radeon's processor wasn't being taxed and the memory was only about 50% in use.

    Once I get the funds to purchase these displays, I'll write you again and let you know my experience, if you're interested?

    Thanks for posting.
     
  15. Track40 thread starter macrumors member

    Track40

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    #15
    Hey Craig,

    I've got both LG 5K displays now, and I've got a question for you. I'm running Mojave 10.14.2, and when I try to adjust brightness of the monitors via the System Prefs/Monitor, I find that the sliders that windows containing the brightness sliders on each monitor only change the brightness of my first (left) monitor. If I try and slider the brightness slider on the second monitor, it changes the brightness on the first monitor. Not sure whether this is the way its supposed to be or whether my second monitor is defective. As of now, I cannot adjust the brightness of the second monitor at all.
     
  16. craig1410 macrumors 65816

    craig1410

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    #16
    Hmm, I'm also on 10.14.2 and I can adjust either external display or the internal LCD without any issues using either the Touch Bar or the preferences pane as you described. When I open the prefs pane, it opens up separate windows, one on each display and the sliders in each window affect only that display. However, it is possible to move the windows between displays and then you get the situation where the slider on the left display can affect the right display etc. But if you close the prefs and reopen, it always seems to revert to normal again.

    I'd suggest testing the brightness control with each display connected individually to see if the problem happens only if both are attached or not. Also try swapping cables and maybe adjust the arrangement to see if the problem follows the physical display or the logical position within the arrangement.

    Hope this helps,
    Craig.
     

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15 September 3, 2018