Using a 4K display with a 2012 15" Retina MacBook Pro

jarrrp

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Jan 5, 2012
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Hey Tom's Hardware!

I've decided to hold onto my 15" Retina MacBook Pro for a while because it cost me a lot of money and it's got an amazing display. But I'm now looking to turn it into a desktop of sorts, by adding one of the new affordable 4K displays that have come out.

I'm trying to work out the best way to do this and the ports that I should use and I'm pretty much here for reassurance before I pull the trigger on anything and fork out £400 for a monitor. So, I've been told that my MacBook will likely not drive a 4K monitor at 60Hz but instead a little less - I can live with this. I was told not to use HDMI because it would cap at 30Hz and instead to use a Thunderbolt/MiniDisplayPort jack instead.

The monitor I've chosen is the new Asus 4K monitor which has 2 HDMI ports and 1 DisplayPort. To run the monitor I should get hold of a MiniDisplayPort to DisplayPort cable - is this correct?

I've also been told that OS X won't allow me to run it at the full 4K resolution but instead will automatically scale the monitor down to 1920 x 1080 and use the rest of the pixels to produce a 'Retina' pixel density which should look awesome - is this right?

Is there anything I've gotten wrong/should be aware of? I've posted the full specs of my machine down below. Again, I just wanted to check in with experts before I pull the trigger on anything.

15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display mid-2012
2.3Ghz Quad Core i7
8GB 1600Hz RAM
Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M

The monitor I'm looking at is the ASUS PB287Q 28 inch Widescreen Ultra HD 4K LED Monitor (£459 from Amazon UK right now).

I think that should be enough detail. ;-)
 

macgeek

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Jan 25, 2013
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Yeah, you should get a displayport cable and a mini Displayport to Displayport adapter. You could use the built-in HDMI port, but the display would get a slower framerate. The current version of HDMI is limited to 30 hertz for 4K while Displayport can handle 60 hertz at 4K, which is a lot better, especially for games.
 
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