WQHD or 4K (MP 5,1)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by seveej, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. seveej macrumors 6502a

    seveej

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    #1
    My current setup is a MP5,1 (10.10) showing its product through a radeon 5770 HD on a venerable 23" Cinema display. While I think that the 23"ACD (especially for its age) is a brilliant display, I've started to long for something bigger....

    Having had a 27" once upon a time, I started thinking of getting a WQHD (2560x1440) display. I've been to shops, and quite frankly, I'd like the display to rather be a 27" than a 24".

    To my surprise, I noticed that the current crop of 4K displays are coming quite close to WQHD displays (price-wise). Theoretically this is quite tempting, as I've learned to love the retina displays, especially as I work with text a lot.

    Now, my current rig won't run 4K, and my plan does not include a necessary GPU update in the near future. I can see four alternatives in the medium term, two of which are also relevant in the short term, and I'd appreciate any qualified comments:

    Alternatives:
    A) Buy a 27" 2560X1440 display (and possibly regret the investment as (while the pixels are quite small) the display is not HiDPI)
    B) Buy a 4K and run it scaled down until I get a GPU which fully supports it (question: how well does that work?)
    Those were the short-term relevant alternatives...
    C) Get A 4K display and a GPU which supports it. This would either mean a flashed GPU or using a PC GPU alongside the Radeon 5770 HD (and a monitor which supports dual input).
    D) Postpone the whole venture until prices come down further.

    RGDS,
    Pekka
     
  2. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #2
    I'm still not sure I'm quite ready to jump on the 4k bandwagon yet so I vote D
     
  3. phairphan macrumors 6502a

    phairphan

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    #3
    I just went through a similar decision-making process when my 30" 2560x1600 display started to act out. I had no plans to move to 4k and was initially looking at a 2560x1600 replacement. I even consider replacing my almost 7-year-old(!) MP 4,1 with a new 27" iMac. Ultimately I decided on a 32" BenQ "4K" display. I just couldn't justify spending money on older display tech.

    The display is large enough that I can comfortably run it at native resolution—no scaling! I didn't think my video card, a 4870, would drive a 4K display at native resolution, or with "retina" scaling, but it does, albeit at 30 Hz. I suspect your 5770 will do the same. The 30 Hz refresh does not bother me nearly as much as I thought it would, although this will be very dependent on the user. So, while I'm waiting for Nvidia and AMD to release their new models so I can update my ancient card (something already in my plans prior to my 30" display getting sick), I'm enjoying my new monitor and additional screen real estate.
     
  4. bokkow macrumors regular

    bokkow

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    #4
    Similar situation, got a 60Hz supporting GPU and a P2715Q half a year ago, no regret still. If you can splash out +/- $600 (monitor) + $100-$150 (GPU) go for it and you're set!
     
  5. seveej thread starter macrumors 6502a

    seveej

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    #5
    Just out of curiosity, which gpu did you go for?
    RGDS,
     
  6. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #6
    Greetings!

    Personally, I run a 4K (UHD) display and have it scaled in OS X down to 2560x1440. The text and images look sharper because of OS X's HiDPI scaling, and I got a heck of a deal on the display. $300 last winter (almost a year ago now) for my Acer B286HK UHD display. I was in the same boat as phairphan, couldn't justify dumping out money for a non-4k display. I certainly don't NEED the 4K, but everything looks beautiful and it's very nice to have if I ever want to do something in 4K (for me, mostly run old games or edit video, I can have a full preview in 1080p without a separate window.)
     
  7. bokkow macrumors regular

    bokkow

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    #7
    At first I came across a GTX 660 2GB at a bargain of €65,- and later on got my hands on a flashable GTX 680 4GB at €150. The GTX 660 was already enough to drive 4K at 60Hz though
     
  8. seveej thread starter macrumors 6502a

    seveej

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    #8
    Thank you for this. Just to be precise: If you attach a 4K display to a GPU which only does 2560X1440, will the display automatically go for 2560X1440?

    RGDS,
     
  9. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #9
    I believe it will, provided you use the correct cable. I haven't tested, though. My display runs off one of my GTX 660s (hey! coincidence!?) via DisplayPort. I would expect you would get the maximum resolution via DisplayPort if you went that route.
     
  10. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #10
    Around April 2015, I replaced an old Dell 30' 3007wfp monitor with a Dell P2715Q and later upgraded to an Nvidia GTX 980. I run my P2715Q at 3200x1800@60Hz and I find it clearer and sharper than my old Dell ever was. I love this setup and would never go back to a non-4K display.
     
  11. bokkow macrumors regular

    bokkow

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    #11
    ^^^
    Exactly this, I use my P2715Q at 3200x1800@60Hz as well.

    Out of experience I can say that a GPU that supports 2560x1440 as a maximum makes the screen go full screen 2560x1440 and at 60Hz but the image is, of course, grainy.
     
  12. Macsonic macrumors 65816

    Macsonic

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    #12
    Hi Bokkow. For clarifications, with the Dell P2715Q can you go with 3840 X 2160 @60Hz too? With 3200x1800, is the text on the screen still easy to read and doesn't cause any eye strain for long hours of usage? Thanks
     
  13. bokkow macrumors regular

    bokkow

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    #13
    It depends on the user I guess, to me it's comfortable at about 50-60CM and the image is really retina-like at that distance. 3840x2160@60Hz is possible but that really is a bit too small.

    Do remember that the scaled 3200x1800 option is scaled up too 6400x3600 and that information is spread over the actual 3840x2160 pixels to get the crispiest image possible, so not grainy or anything at all.
     
  14. MacVidCards Suspended

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    Nov 17, 2008
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    Hollywood, CA
    #14
    You guys should try 5K using 2560x1440 scaled. I find that the best one yet. Haven't tried on newer HP display but should work.
     
  15. seveej thread starter macrumors 6502a

    seveej

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    #15
    Thank you all for your input.

    As it happens, chance offered me a used 30" Dell for a price I could not say no to, so (for the moment) I went with A).
    Luckily, my investment was so minuscule, that I (in essence) was able to simultaneously implement option D).

    RGDS,
     
  16. NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #16
    Congrats on your purchase. Hope it works well for you!

    -N
     
  17. seveej thread starter macrumors 6502a

    seveej

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    #17
    Thanks.

    Just one more (embarrassingly noob) question: if I were to add a PC (not flashed) GPU beside the current one and attach it to the same display (as the display allows me to select input source), what should I consider?

    Rgds,
     
  18. bokkow macrumors regular

    bokkow

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    #18
    Not a noob question at all. But why would you want two videocards on one monitor?

    Things to consider:

    -That a non-flashed card will not provide a bootscreen
    -Limited PCI lanes bandwidth (however, not a thing you will most likely notice in performance)
    -Since Windows 10 (BootCamp) combination of different types of cards might cause issues.
    -Since El Capitan multiples users have been noticing problems with different types of cards as well, long thread here
    -When it does work, the second connection will just be seen by OSX as another monitor unless you physically remove one of the two cables. Which automatically extends your desktop or, if you switch on mirroring, mirrors your desktop and renders the image on both cards.

    Anyway, if possible try to stick to one brand (Nvidia or AMD) as this seems to have some influence. And try to get a relative cheap secondary card so that the cost of a non working combination is not too high.

    If I am honest I think that the better option would be either buying a HD7950 (stay away from XFX and read about which have been reported flashable) or GTX 660 (not-flashable) / GTX 680 (flashable, multiple threads available here). Then you only have 1 "good" card with at least 3 outputs if you need that.
     
  19. seveej thread starter macrumors 6502a

    seveej

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    #19
    Well...
    My reasoning here is that I currently have a Bootable (Radeon 5770 Mac) GPU, so Iif I would want to go for 4K in the near future, I'd need a GPU able to handle the pixels.

    While one alternative is to go for a flashable GPU (or a "Mac edition") , another (which I am here trying to get info on) would be to take a non-bootable PC-GPU and run it along side my current one: One GPU for boot screen and one for running the 4K display in native resolution.

    If such an approach would be workable, the next step would be to figure out a combination, which would then work without an external PSU.

    RGDS,
     
  20. bokkow macrumors regular

    bokkow

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    #20
    Pfoeeee... Please save yourself the hassle and get a flashable card (GTX680/HD7950) or even go for a current generation flashed card from MVC if you want/need more GPU power.

    It really is not worth having two power hungry (and heat generating) cards in your system continuously when you are actually only using one at a time just to have a bootscreen. You can make better use of the gobbled up PCI-e slots as well; PCI-e SSD, USB3.0?
     
  21. steveOooo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    I have a 34" ultra wide lg monitor coming - was going to go for 4k but I'd prefer a wider monitor instead plus I've heard you have o scale 4k to 2k anyway as its too small natively

    I also plan to sell my ati 5770 and buy a gtx 120 for boot screen - can unplug the PC Card I have then install the gtx 120 for any rare boot screen related tasks (I don't need bootcamp)
     
  22. seveej thread starter macrumors 6502a

    seveej

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    #22
    Thanks for the comment.

    I just noticed I had omitted another reason for my line of thought.
    My use is divided 95/5 between Yosemite (will wait a few more moths before going to El Cid, sorry Capitan) and Snow leopard. Snow leopard is my old favourite, but more importantly I am still keeper of the keys to a legacy-system, for which I need 10.6. Thus any solution which does not allow me to access the boot screen or work in 10.6. (such as any one-GPU solution for which Drivers for 10.6. are not available) are non-starters.

    RGDS,
     
  23. bokkow macrumors regular

    bokkow

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    #23
    Next to 10.6 being your favorite, wouldnt it still be easier to have a virtual machine running Snow Leopard for those legacy keys? You wouldn't need the bootscreen so much if you don't actually have to switch OS.

    Besides, you can select the bootdisk for the next restart in System Preferences in Yosemite and Snow Leopard, so even then a boot screen wouldnt be necessary (although that doesnt take away the driver-support issue)
     
  24. <!DOCTYPE> macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    #24
    I had a similar situation. I went with 2 of the NEC 27" PA272W-BK displays. My main reason was Color accuracy.
     

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