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rMBP external displays. Thunderbolt or HDMI?

Discussion in 'Apple Hardware' started by Phate, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. Phate

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 1, 2003

    Posts: 35,420

    Location: Lisbon, Portugal

    Hi all,

    In conjunction with the other thread about setting up a home office/desk I'll be buying an external screen.

    Normally I'd just buy any external monitor, connect via HDMI and be done with it. But what I've noticed when travelling and connecting the laptop to various TV's to watch movies is micro stutter. Moving windows around on the screens or playing videos often if not always results in some degree of micro stutter, which drives me insane.

    My question is...is there a benefit to getting a thunderbolt display? Does the MacBook handle this better?

    Thanks in advance :)

    Jake
     
  2. lamboman

    Mobster

    Joined: Apr 7, 2008

    Posts: 2,656

    Are you connecting to a 4K monitor? If so, bandwidth of DisplayPort 1.2 is sufficient for 30fps at 1080p, not 60fps. Otherwise, this is likely to be a performance issue (which I have seen before occasionally), as opposed to an interface issue.
     
  3. shiver

    Hitman

    Joined: Jun 13, 2007

    Posts: 832

    Location: London

    The only real benefit from Thunderbolt is the additional linked peripheral connections like Gigabit Ethernet, FW800 and USB Hub (only USB 2.0 unfortunately), and I guess an integrated MagSafe connection.

    Otherwise it's a standard 1440p display with glossy glass in front. I'd personally go for a cheaper but better 3rd party display.

    Which rMBP do you have? The latest 15" can support 4k at 60Hz. Quote from apple.com:

     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  4. Phate

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 1, 2003

    Posts: 35,420

    Location: Lisbon, Portugal

    Haven't decided on a monitor or spec yet (probably 27") was just wondering about the performance differences between HDMI or Thunderbolt/DP.

    Its a 2015 rMBP 13"
     
  5. shiver

    Hitman

    Joined: Jun 13, 2007

    Posts: 832

    Location: London

    Yeah, you're definitely better with MiniDP-to-DP
     
  6. Orcvader

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 11, 2009

    Posts: 14,249

    Location: Havering

    I doubt there's any performance difference between HDMI and DP, rather it will depend on the resolution and refresh rate the TV itself is running at. A higher refresh rate should remove the micro stutter. You might need to tweak the settings on the TV itself so it doesn't tweak the display settings too much as well.
     
  7. Phate

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 1, 2003

    Posts: 35,420

    Location: Lisbon, Portugal

    Would it be better to get a monitor which runs at the same resolution as the MacBook screen? As in 2560 X 1600?

    Would that reduce scaling and therefore reduce performance draw and less stutter?

    This is just a random idea. I've not read this anywhere online! :)

    Thanks for your help all.
     
  8. bscott

    Gangster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2016

    Posts: 164

    Location: Cambridge

    HDMI may limit you to 1920x1080.

    You will be better off using displayport.
     
  9. dlite

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 5, 2015

    Posts: 252

    Location: Reading, UK

    Apple discontinued the Thunderbolt display and I wouldn't buy it anymore. I don't see much good things in it compared to the 3rd-party alternatives from LG.

    For example this or the curved versions are quite lovely:
    https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lg-3...escreen-super-wide-led-monitor-mo-146-lg.html

    Unfortunately none of the current thunderbolt displays on market are high-dpi, so they'll look pixelated compared to the fabulous retina screen of your mac.

    Personally I'm very tempted to get something like this, because I desire the retina-quality resolution:
    https://www.overclockers.co.uk/sams...g-widescreen-led-monitor-black-mo-215-sa.html

    Running that in high-dpi mode would look super sharp. Unfortunately it doesn't come with the dock features of TB display, so there is the tradeoff.
     
  10. dlite

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 5, 2015

    Posts: 252

    Location: Reading, UK

    After salivating on monitors yesterday, I ended up ordering the Samsung I linked in previous message.

    I hope to write some experiences in few days, though unfortunately I don't have any calibration tools at hand, so I won't be able to make even semi-professional measurements.
     
  11. Phate

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 1, 2003

    Posts: 35,420

    Location: Lisbon, Portugal

    Let me know please! Just initial impressions and what you think of it compared to the retina displays :)

    Cheers!
     
  12. dlite

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 5, 2015

    Posts: 252

    Location: Reading, UK

    Delivery is expected tomorrow...

    I'll hope have everything running nicely over the weekend and write what I learn.
     
  13. Phate

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 1, 2003

    Posts: 35,420

    Location: Lisbon, Portugal

    Awesome.

    I was perving over 27" equivalents of what you posted the other day :o
     
  14. uniQ

    Mobster

    Joined: May 8, 2011

    Posts: 4,910

    Location: HQ

    I run my rMBP on an Ultrawide Dell U3415W using mini-DP to DP cable and have none of the stutter you've seen.
     
  15. dlite

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 5, 2015

    Posts: 252

    Location: Reading, UK

    Samsung is on my desk now. It turned out that a work buddy of mine has a calibrator, so I might be able to the calibrated results some time next week. For what I read about this monitor is that the factory calibration for the colours is not 100% accurate.

    Initial impression: 4K with 100% scaling is sweeeeet for desktop, display looks amazingly sharp compared to standard screen. I've been missing it for a long time after going from rMBP to a Desktop Mac with normal FullHD display.

    Secondary impression: Stand is quite deep compared to what I had before. 24UE850 is almost 10cm closer to my face than my previous 27" LG would have been. However, stand is quite stable even if I push it about 5-8cm out of the desk, so I think I will pull my desk few more cm's from the wall and push the display stand partially over the edge.

    For some reason my hackintosh refuses to output to both displays at the same time, so I'm having difficulties getting comparison shots right now. Not that I'd want to see the old display next this anymore pixels are huge...
     
  16. Phate

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 1, 2003

    Posts: 35,420

    Location: Lisbon, Portugal

    After a few days more use, what do you think now dude? :)
     
  17. dlite

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 5, 2015

    Posts: 252

    Location: Reading, UK

    Ok, I just finished the calibration of the display, though the difference is very small and I have no way of verifying if this is more accurate or not. I got a old Spyder 3 from my buddy at work and the software only lists compatibility up to Leopard or something like that, but it actually created the colour profile into the display / colour screen in System Preferences.

    All in all I'm very satisfied with the Samsung.

    Colours seem to match any good IPS screens that I've used over the years. If they lose to rMBP screen, it is such a small difference that it is very difficult to tell without comparing them very accurately. Sharpness is best I've ever seen in desktop monitor, albeit it doesn't quite reach the level of rMBP integrated screens (no wonder, it is "only" 190ppi when rMBP screens are about 220ppi). This difference is not really visible if you use the "Looks like 1920x1080" default scale mode.

    With 15" rMBP I was happy to use the scaled modes, but with U24E850 I feel like using one of the other modes makes the display just a little bit fuzzy compared to what the rMBP is (1504x846, 2304x1296, 2560x1440 and 3008x1692 modes are available). I was planning to use this at 1920x1080 mode, so I don't mind. Just a little warning if you are thinking of using the scaled modes.

    It has some flaws: IPS glow is visible and backlight bleeds a bit in the corners. Colours only cover sRGB space. In my use case these flaws are not bad, as I always have some light on in my room, so it is not really very visible. You might want to think this if you watch a lot of movies or play Doom 3 all the time...

    I love the 4x USB 3.0 ports in it. I measured over 250MB/s file copy speeds from a USB stick using the USB-hub, so it seems to be fast enough for me. I tried measuring charging currents with an Android smartphone and Ampere app, but I never saw more than 400mAh charging rate, so it doesn't seem to reach comparable charging rates to a good USB-charger like the ones that come with iPad. So not quite perfect...

    Still, considering the options in the market place, I don't think there is better display for me out there.

    8.5/10 with some points lost for the slightly uneven backlight and ips-glow.
     
  18. Phate

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 1, 2003

    Posts: 35,420

    Location: Lisbon, Portugal

    Really does sound excellent. Thanks for your review :)