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Apple to enable pixel-doubled 'Retina' mode for 4K monitors in OS X 10.9.3

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
It appears that Apple will be enabling additional support for 4K displays with the latest OS X 10.9.3 maintenance update, with people familiar with the beta reporting support for so-called pixel-doubling, 60Hz refresh rates with late-2013 MacBook Pros and more.

MST
New 4K display settings in OS X 10.9.3. | Source: KhaosT via Twitter


According to reports, compatible Macs running OS X 10.9.3 now have more scaling options to work with, including a pixel-doubling mode that can display a desktop at native "Retina" levels over HDMI and likely Thunderbolt. The new options, spotted by Khaos Tian, reside in the Displays menu of OS X System Preferences and were not announced with in Apple's latest OS X 10.9.3 beta release notes.

The OS X 10.9.3 beta, released earlier today, allows for pixel-doubling, which makes content appear as it does on the late-2013 MacBook Pro with Retina display screen while maintaining sharpness. For most users, this new feature will make 4K displays easier to work with on a day-to-day basis.

With Apple's current external monitor support in OS X 10.9.2, Retina MacBook Pro and Mac Pro users are limited to a max scaled output resolution of 4,096 pixels-by-2,160 pixels at 24Hz, meaning system-level graphical assets are spread out. For example, the menu bar on the laptop would show up incredibly small on a connected 4K display.

Another output option for the laptop is 3,840 pixels-by-2,160 pixels at 30Hz, though the resulting image is similar and nowhere near native. In both cases, 4K signals are piped through HDMI.

In addition to the new scaling options, the beta now allows the Retina MacBook Pro to output to a 4K display at 60Hz. Currently, the refresh rate is capped at 30Hz, making animations like mouse cursor scrolling choppy.

It appears that the upcoming maintenance update will bring the late-2013 Retina MacBook Pro's 4K feature set more in line with that of the Mac Pro, which is already capable of pumping out 60Hz via multi-stream transport (MST) over Thunderbolt to displays that support the refresh rate. The changes Apple made to enable 60Hz for the Retina MacBook Pro is unknown at this time, though Khaos has found the refresh rate is available over HDMI.
post #2 of 54
1) It's about time, but it'll still probably be 6-10 weeks before this update is out of Beta.

2) I hope Apple releases their own 4K display this year and I hope it's $2,999 or less.

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post #3 of 54

This change alone is enough to make me upgrade my 2012 MBP Retina to a 2013. Imagine: a 2013 MBP in clamshell mode powering a Dell UP2414Q at 1920x1080 Retina, with an external Apple keyboard. Like a nMP for people on a budget.

post #4 of 54
Maybe a future Retina iMac and Retina Cinema Display is in the cards. And if not, it's still a great way to make use of high density 2160p displays on Mac Pros.

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post #5 of 54

YAY!

 

I´m picking up my Mac Pro + Pegasus 2 R6 next week. My plan is to use a Sharp 70" UHD LED display, and get 10.9.3 with 4k 60Hz running retina mode. 70" UHD cost less than $4k on amazon now. 

Now if only Apple could come out with a 4K display of their own, I´d add that as a secondary in a heartbeat. 

post #6 of 54

Works as advertised. :)

post #7 of 54
And about time too!
post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

2) I hope Apple releases their own 4K display this year and I hope it's $2,999 or less.

 

Of course they will, and it likely won't be much more than the current $999. People forget what a good deal the LED Cinema Display was when it came out - no other displays with that LG panel used LED backlighting, much less had a glass front, camera, speakers, microphone, ambient light sensor, USB hub and mini-DisplayPort. Dell is already selling barebones 4K displays at sub $1K prices, so Apple will be fine at $999 or a little more.

post #9 of 54
Gah! Only for late 2013 MBP's, and I've got an early 2013!

Might be what finally makes me pull the trigger and buy a new Mac Pro.
post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Gah! Only for late 2013 MBP's, and I've got an early 2013!

Might be what finally makes me pull the trigger and buy a new Mac Pro.

That was expected since your MBP doesn't have TB2, which only arrived the second-half of 2013. Without TB2 you're only able to push 10Gbps in one direction. Perhaps 30Hz would work but from what I've seen it's not a good experience. If that still appeals to you, have you looked into one of the hacks?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluevoid View Post

Of course they will, and it likely won't be much more than the current $999. People forget what a good deal the LED Cinema Display was when it came out - no other displays with that LG panel used LED backlighting, much less had a glass front, camera, speakers, microphone, ambient light sensor, USB hub and mini-DisplayPort. Dell is already selling barebones 4K displays at sub $1K prices, so Apple will be fine at $999 or a little more.

Dell does sell a 4K display under $1000, as do others, but it's not a quality panel. Dell sells other 4K display that are much more expensive. I don't see Apple selling a 4K display and using a cheap panel. Even when they used TN panels they still used high quality, factory calibrated TN panels. Then you have to consider it'll have a TB2 hub with USB3.0, GigE, a microphone, speakers, MagSafe, and probably resemble the iMac with its aluminum friction-stir welds. I don't see it coming in under $999 this year… or the next several years.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #12 of 54

Considering how crappy HDMI works with my Sony home theater setup, I can only expect that Apple's new displays accept only TB. It's unbelievable to see HDMI's feed gaps whenever changing video sources...not to mention the absence of support for closed captioning, of course.

iMac Intel 27" Core i7 3.4, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD + 1TB HD + 4TB RAID 1+0, Nuforce Icon HDP, OS X 10.9.1; iPad Air 64GB; iPhone 5 32GB; iPod Classic; iPod Nano 4G; Apple TV 2.
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post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


That was expected since your MBP doesn't have TB2, which only arrived the second-half of 2013. Without TB2 you're only able to push 10Gbps in one direction. Perhaps 30Hz would work but from what I've seen it's not a good experience. If that still appeals to you, have you looked into one of the hacks?

 

No, I've not look at any hacks to make this work.


To be perfectly honest, I'll not do anything about 4k until Apple come out with a 4k display.  Looking at the 4k displays some people have at work now, coupled with a Windows machine, I'm not impressed enough to want to ditch my two Thunderbolt displays for a non-Apple 4k monitor.

 

I was kind of aware of the fact that when 4k comes along from Apple I would probably have to switch of the Mac as well, since as well as the Thunderbolt bandwidth limit, I'd wonder whether or not the graphics card in my current machine has the horsepower to push two 4k displays and it's own inbuilt monitor.

 

While I could live without using the laptop display and just have two Thunderbolts (or whatever they will call their inevitable 4k display), I absolutely couldn't put up with only one display.

 

I've been thinking about getting a Mac Pro for at work, and getting a MacBook Air for when I need to be on the road.  This maybe the thing that tips my hand.

post #14 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

No, I've not look at any hacks to make this work.


To be perfectly honest, I'll not do anything about 4k until Apple come out with a 4k display.  Looking at the 4k displays some people have at work now, coupled with a Windows machine, I'm not impressed enough to want to ditch my two Thunderbolt displays for a non-Apple 4k monitor.

I was kind of aware of the fact that when 4k comes along from Apple I would probably have to switch of the Mac as well, since as well as the Thunderbolt bandwidth limit, I'd wonder whether or not the graphics card in my current machine has the horsepower to push two 4k displays and it's own inbuilt monitor.

While I could live without using the laptop display and just have two Thunderbolts (or whatever they will call their inevitable 4k display), I absolutely couldn't put up with only one display.

I've been thinking about getting a Mac Pro for at work, and getting a MacBook Air for when I need to be on the road.  This maybe the thing that tips my hand.

4K is 1.5x as many pixels (50% more pixels) than a single 30" display, right?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #15 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post




4K is 1.5x as many pixels (50% more pixels) than a single 30" display, right?

 

I don't think so?

 

4k is 3840 x 2160, so ~8.3m pixels

My Thunderbolt is 2560 x 1440, so ~3.7m pixels.


4k is over twice as many pixels, isn't it?

post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I don't think so?

4k is 3840 x 2160, so ~8.3m pixels
My Thunderbolt is 2560 x 1440, so ~3.7m pixels.


4k is over twice as many pixels, isn't it?

Thanks. I was thinking of resolution. 3840 ÷ 2560 or 2160 ÷ 1440 = 1.5.

Anyway, what I was thinking is that because your laptop can power 2xTB displays at ≈3.7Mpx and your MBP at once that if the hack does work for your machine that your GPU should be able to handle it, especially if you use the Retina look and not do a 1x1 pixel to make items smaller.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #17 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Thanks. I was thinking of resolution. 3840 ÷ 2560 or 2160 ÷ 1440 = 1.5.

Anyway, what I was thinking is that because your laptop can power 2xTB displays at ≈3.7Mpx and your MBP at once that if the hack does work for your machine that your GPU should be able to handle it, especially if you use the Retina look and not do a 1x1 pixel to make items smaller.

 

Got it, yeah, I see what you mean.

 

I'll dig in and see what I can figure out.

 

On the one hand, I'd kind of be happy to switch to a Mac Pro at work, then a Macbook Air for on the road, but I'm loathe to give up the 15" Retina MBP I've got at the moment.  Of all the computers I've had, from the Sinclair ZX81 up, it's the only computer I've ever had where I genuinely can't think of anything I don't like about it.

post #18 of 54
I've been running my late 2013 macbook pro retina on a 39" seiko 4K display for 3 months now. I had to use a special dongle (Accell (B086B-008B-2) UltraAV Mini DisplayPort 1.1 to HDMI 1.4 Active Adapter - AMD Eyefinity Certified) to go from the MBP to my monitor. It's 30hz and the color on the seiko panel isn't fantastic but it's workable for most of what I do. My ColorMunky display won't calibrate it, I think, because it's at 30hz and not 60hz.

That being said it creates a ton of screen real estate to work with, which is nice. I was surprised the first time I hooked it up and mirrored the display that it forced the MCP screen into 4K but it's too small to read with any kind of usability.

It will be exciting if I can do this natively with out the dongle.
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



4K is 1.5x as many pixels (50% more pixels) than a single 30" display, right?
It seems to be double the pixels of 2 thunderbolt, so older macbookpros should have the gpu.
post #20 of 54
I have Mavericks on 3 computers. On one of them mail works with my most important hosted gmail account. The other 2 have had major issues. The latest update complete destroyed the ability to use apple mail for that account on my main work computer. It's been a nightmare. The strange thing is I have 2 other hosted gmail accounts that work fine in there. Add my main one, and it just kills Apple Mail.
post #21 of 54

Dell has 3 4K monitors, a 24", a 28" and a 32". Only the 28" is a cheap TN panel, both the 24 and 32 are IPSAnd only the 32" is horrendously expensive,  the 24" (UP2414Q) is only US$1,149. And it has "PremierColor" = 99% AbodeRGB and 100% sRGB. This is the sweet spot IMHO, because it crams 4K resolution in to 24" which is more Retina-like than e.g. having it on a 32" monitor.

post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

1) It's about time, but it'll still probably be 6-10 weeks before this update is out of Beta.

2) I hope Apple releases their own 4K display this year and I hope it's $2,999 or less.

 

At least they're making progress. Some of us thoughts Apple was going to be a bitch about this and not support it at all. 

 

It will certainly be under $2999. As more companies are adapting 4K resolutions this year, the cheaper the panels get. Dell is already offering an IPS 4K for about 1200$ and Dell often source the same panels that Apple does. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
 

This change alone is enough to make me upgrade my 2012 MBP Retina to a 2013. Imagine: a 2013 MBP in clamshell mode powering a Dell UP2414Q at 1920x1080 Retina, with an external Apple keyboard. Like a nMP for people on a budget.

 

Totally. I'm often on my '12 rMBP because I can't stand the current 27" Cinema. The text is just so blurry when you switch from a retina panel. I'm trying to save money right now to grab the '14 rMBP along with 4K Cinema if Apple chooses to release it this year. If not, I'll hold off until they do in '15. There's no way that Apple won't release an update until '16. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Maybe a future Retina iMac and Retina Cinema Display is in the cards. And if not, it's still a great way to make use of high density 2160p displays on Mac Pros.

Oh, it's coming. Apple have every reasons to adapt Retina across all of their lineups. They're already rumored to kill the cMBPs this year. I expect them to adapt retina in the MBAs next year assuming Sharp keeps innovating with their IGZO panels. I hear they're already close to the second generation series for iGZO panels. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post
 

Works as advertised. :)

With what monitor? Is it as sharp as rMBP's panel. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brlawyer View Post
 

Considering how crappy HDMI works with my Sony home theater setup, I can only expect that Apple's new displays accept only TB. It's unbelievable to see HDMI's feed gaps whenever changing video sources...not to mention the absence of support for closed captioning, of course.

No doubt, Apple is doing to adapt the TB2 on the next Cinema. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
 

Dell has 3 4K monitors, a 24", a 28" and a 32". Only the 28" is a cheap TN panel, both the 24 and 32 are IPSAnd only the 32" is horrendously expensive,  the 24" (UP2414Q) is only US$1,149. And it has "PremierColor" = 99% AbodeRGB and 100% sRGB. This is the sweet spot IMHO, because it crams 4K resolution in to 24" which is more Retina-like than e.g. having it on a 32" monitor.

Yea, that's why I believe Cinema is very closed to be released soon for $1200 at least. Apple/Dell tend to source the same panels with the scalers being customized by themselves. 

post #23 of 54
I'd prefer a non Retina 42" display, which is close to the dot pitch of the Apple 30" Cinema HD display. I've heard of prototype 39" UHD displays.
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post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikhailT View Post
 

Totally. I'm often on my '12 rMBP because I can't stand the current 27" Cinema. The text is just so blurry when you switch from a retina panel. I'm trying to save money right now to grab the '14 rMBP along with 4K Cinema if Apple chooses to release it this year. If not, I'll hold off until they do in '15. There's no way that Apple won't release an update until '16. 

I agree, it's really hard to go back. The only thing is, I'm getting a bit sick of being hunched over my laptop, and want an external monitor that is Retina so I can sit up straight a bit more. The only thing is whether to wait for a Cinema or go for a Dell. This software update could indeed signal that a Cinema is imminent. And the other advantage of the Apple display is that it will have Ethernet and probably a nice set of speakers built in.

post #25 of 54
Am I the only one that wants Apple to come out something much wider than 16:9? Something like CinemaScope width in 4K?

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #26 of 54

I’d prefer a half-theater size, rollable LCD (or QD display; I’m not picky) on the cheap. Comes to your house in a big ol’ tube, you pull ‘er out, lay ‘er flat, and hang ‘er on the wall. Tired of tiny screens for viewing content.

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post #27 of 54
The Sharp 4K display is showing only 4 options under "scaled" unlike some other other 4k displays that are showing 5, similar to the Macbookpro retina.

Additonally the desired resolution, one notch larger type than "best for display" looks like garbage...
post #28 of 54
Why not enable this for other screens as well? I realize that many displays do not have the needed pixels, but I have a Mac mini hooked up to a 1080p TV, but I have to run it at 720p so the text is visible. I have long been waiting for them to let me run at 1080, but scale everything up to allow the text to be the same apparent size as if it was running at 720. The text would be much crisper if rendered for the screen as opposed to letting the TV do the scaling. This is otherwise known as resolution independence and Apple almost did it with the retina macs, but arbitrarily limited it to a subset of their computers.
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quevar View Post

Why not enable this for other screens as well? I realize that many displays do not have the needed pixels, but I have a Mac mini hooked up to a 1080p TV, but I have to run it at 720p so the text is visible. I have long been waiting for them to let me run at 1080, but scale everything up to allow the text to be the same apparent size as if it was running at 720. The text would be much crisper if rendered for the screen as opposed to letting the TV do the scaling. This is otherwise known as resolution independence and Apple almost did it with the retina macs, but arbitrarily limited it to a subset of their computers.

I thought you could change the output resolution in Sys Prefs.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I thought you could change the output resolution in Sys Prefs.
Yes, you can change the output resolution in the sys prefs, but that scales everything on the screen and you end up running the TV in a non-native resolution so everything is blurry.  On Retina Macs, the size of the system elements (i.e., text, system bar, and everything else) is scaled independently of the resolution.  On non-retina Mac, the resolution and the size of the system elements are scaled together.  So, you can either run at full resolution with small elements or large elements with non-native (blurry) resolution, neither of which are ideal for hooking a Mac up to a TV.
post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quevar View Post

Yes, you can change the output resolution in the sys prefs, but that scales everything on the screen and you end up running the TV in a non-native resolution so everything is blurry. On Retina Macs, the size of the system elements (i.e., text, system bar, and everything else) is scaled independently of the resolution. On non-retina Mac, the resolution and the size of the system elements are scaled together. So, you can either run at full resolution with small elements or large elements with non-native (blurry) resolution, neither of which are ideal for hooking a Mac up to a TV.

But isn't that done in a very limited scope because Apple did a doubling of the pixel density so the scaling can happen in a controlled way? And isn't that effect greatly diminished when you don't use the 2x scaling?

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


But isn't that done in a very limited scope because Apple did a doubling of the pixel density so the scaling can happen in a controlled way? And isn't that effect greatly diminished when you don't use the 2x scaling?

The 2x scaling only occurs when using the "Best for retina display".  If you choose "Scaled" and "Larger text" or "More space", it is no longer scaled as 2x, which are supported options.  When selecting "More space", it runs at an equivalent 1920x1200, but there are actually 2880x1800 physical pixels.  When running at 1920x1200 on the retina, the text still looks clearer than it does when running on a non-retina display because there are still more pixels used to render the screen.  Turns out that the ratio of 1920:2880 is identical to 720:1080; as such, running a 1080 screen with the same scaling, but simulating a 720 screen could use the exact same method that Apple is employing with their Retina macs and would generate the same visual benefit, but they have decided not to support that feature.  This would be tremendously helpful to me.

post #33 of 54

Unfortunately latest reports about running 4K@60Hz on Retina MacBook Pro have to be considered misinformed. Twitter user @KhaosT, from where the rumors are originating, has declared that his report was mistaken. While there is an option to enable HiDPI Mode, there is no 60Hz MST Operation available in 10.9.3 as of yet.

 

I can verify that for my Dell UP 2414Q - 30Hz operation only.

 

Things might be different on the new Mac Pro. Unfortunately I have no chance to try yet.

post #34 of 54

Apple should release a new 4K 24-inch display, with built-in Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 hubs, as well as SDXC card reader.

post #35 of 54
Originally Posted by AppeX View Post
Apple should release a new 4K 24-inch display, with built-in Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 hubs, as well as SDXC card reader.

 

You mean 27”.

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post #36 of 54

Is this a step on the path toward the OS user interface where each element will be independent and have its own size/resolution setting?

 

I'm concerned about my aging parents and in-laws who purchased the largest iMacs, not realizing that the increased resolution actually meant everything was smaller and finer, not larger and easier to read. Being able to independently control the type size of the menu bar text across the top of the screen and various OS elements - not just folder labels, for instance - is what I'm hoping for from Apple, especially as they enter the 4K display era.

post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by lejean View Post
 

Unfortunately latest reports about running 4K@60Hz on Retina MacBook Pro have to be considered misinformed. Twitter user @KhaosT, from where the rumors are originating, has declared that his report was mistaken. While there is an option to enable HiDPI Mode, there is no 60Hz MST Operation available in 10.9.3 as of yet.

 

I can verify that for my Dell UP 2414Q - 30Hz operation only.

 

Things might be different on the new Mac Pro. Unfortunately I have no chance to try yet.

That's a disappointment. I wonder if it's a lack of MST support in Nvidia drivers?

post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by lejean View Post
 

Unfortunately latest reports about running 4K@60Hz on Retina MacBook Pro have to be considered misinformed. Twitter user @KhaosT, from where the rumors are originating, has declared that his report was mistaken. While there is an option to enable HiDPI Mode, there is no 60Hz MST Operation available in 10.9.3 as of yet.

 

I can verify that for my Dell UP 2414Q - 30Hz operation only.

 

Things might be different on the new Mac Pro. Unfortunately I have no chance to try yet.

 

I got all excited and was planning to pull the trigger on the UP2414Q until I heard about this issue. Are you sure you are running at 30Hz or maybe it just *feels* like 30Hz? Other users are reporting that the monitor says it's running at 60Hz but that the frame rate feels sluggish. I think you have to enable DP 1.2 to get 60Hz as well - on your Dell monitor select Menu > Display Settings > DisplayPort 1.2 > Enable. It is possibly disabled by default.

 

Maybe you can try playing around with this and reporting back your findings??? Would be much appreciated!


Edited by nquery - 3/11/14 at 2:38pm
post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
 

That's a disappointment. I wonder if it's a lack of MST support in Nvidia drivers?

 

Apparently the monitor says it's running at 60Hz but it is not smooth for some. https://twitter.com/KhaosT/statuses/442733969994313729. I guess we will just have to wait to see if this gets resolved in the next 10.9.3 beta releases, and keep an eye on what other users are reporting. 

 

This sub-issue hasn't been reported on other monitors that Apple has whitelisted in the 10.9.3 beta, so maybe it just requires some driver fixes before final release. Fingers crossed as the UP2414Q hits the 4k retina sweet spot, both price and spec wise. Any larger of a monitor and you will get large text at the 2x scaling mode.

post #40 of 54

 

Dell UP 2414Q stuck at 30Hz - Display Port 1.2 Setting Activated

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