Monitors for MacBook Pro 2015

(Bertrand Morin) #1

I just acquired from apple a MBP 2015, namely for the keyboard and openness! But the Thunderbolt 2 vs USB (USB 3, if I am correct. I really do not want to use the HDMI for a 4k monitor. But, I am confused when I search: really zero for the TB 2, USB-3 seems slower and restricted. I see no mention of Display Port (?), if that is an option.
Explanations or suggestions would be greatly appreciated and are welcomes!

Maybe I should return it to Apple…


(Simon) #2

The TB2 port is physically the same as Mini DisplayPort and it will automatically supply a monitor hooked up over it with a DisplayPort signal. If your monitor has DP, all you need is something like this:

If the monitor already came with a DP-DP cable, all you need is something like this:

Your MBP has USB3 and you don’t want to use that for video, especially not at 4K. Newer MBPs come with USB-C. Try not to get confused between USB3 (which is primarily a single-purpose port for USB data) and USB-C which among many other protocols (eg. video or networking) and features (such as charging a MBP) also delivers USB3 data. And in fact, the details are even more complicated. Bottom line, use your MBP’s TB2 ports as mDP ports to drive your monitor.

(Bertrand Morin) #3

Thank you for that answer. It is shedding lights in my 75 y. old mind. I will go for a 4K monitor, 27 in. from either LG or DELL or reputable provider.


(Simon) #4

Good for you. I’m not an artist or creative guy so I went with a 27" with a more ‘conventional’ 2560x1440 resolution about two years ago. I got a Dell U2717D which I then hook up to my 2013 MBP through a cable like the one I pasted above.

Although Dell is a terrible company and the monitor is indeed cheap looking plastic rather than nice solid metal like the old Apple displays, it is actually really a very good screen with large viewing angles, narrow bezels, and a simple & non-intrusive options interface. It offers plenty of ports (if you’re into that kind of thing), and it’s highly adjustable in all dimensions (something I always considered lacking on my old Apple display). So nowadays I actually would really recommend a Dell display.

(frederico) #5

@morinb, I hate to disagree with @Simon, but having purchased, used and compared the Dell and both the last and current LG 68 and 69 series (avoid the 58, even though substantially cheaper), I find the LG to be superior in most respects; especially when it came time to warranty the Dell, which was an absolute nightmare. Simon, I truly am glad you enjoy the Dell, and it seems you got one of the good ones.

Sure, if you get lucky and get a good screen that never has a problem, the screen itself is nearly as good as the LGs (can’t say for a fact, but AFAIK, Dell is using the same LG screen with their own hardware); but the review sites are absolutely littered with horror stories like mine trying to get a replacement that works; and the downtime and shipping costs they lay on you is intolerable. It’s the last Dell product I will ever intentionally own.

As for the LGs, the 27UD68P (and -W =white) is the most-superior model, and has recently become available for as low as $375-$400 on flash sales (normally $460-$525); the other 68 models, as well as the 69, are, for all intents and purposes, physically identical; from my research, the 68 is simply the cream of the crop of screen panels when manufactured and tested; and its hardware is capable of driving it to the brightest possible (it has better specifications than the Dell). Now, that said, I personally find that brightness to be insanely bright; indeed, the “lesser” 68s are also too bright at their default settings, and I have them set to about 70% of max.

If you are trying to do color accurate work in an exceptionally bright workspace, you might want the 68P; if you just want an exceptionally crisp screen with a brightness those of us with older eyes can appreciate for longer lengths of time, save money and grab the newer 69P. Best Buy usually has it around $400-$425 every day; I’ve seen it also as low as $360 for a flash sale. All cables included, except the mDP to DP adapter (I recommend you get the cable, not adapter).

I wrote a lengthier review addressing the good and the bad (there are several annoyances with the 68 and 69 both) on Amazon for the 68 if you’re interested. And, the enclosure is very nice, even in plastic, compared to the Dell; the included stands vary in quality depending on model number; but I use VESA mounts, so this is not an issue for me.

FWIW, the current LG USB-C 88 series 4K screens are also otherwise identical; they simply charge a $120-$170 premium for the USB-C (TB3) connection and hub (4x USB 3.0 ports) on the back; so, even if you own a TB3 Mac, this screen offers little more than a pricey hub you might not need, and a better performing external hub/dock with more ports/types and a DP adapter included will serve you better for comparable pricing (for what it delivers).



(David Tuma) #6

I used a 13” MBP 2018 with the LG 5K and 4K based on a recommendation from the Apple Store. I don’t think the 13” can handle it. The Dell 4K worked fine. I believe the 15” will work fine with the LGs. I would have gotten the 15” if Apple had told me the 13” wasn’t compatible but am happy with the 13” -

(frederico) #7

@david_tuma, that’s weird; I would suggest you had a cable or adapter issue; we have one 13" 2018 MBP (non-touchbar) with the Intel 640 (the slowest option) in the group, and it’s driving a UD69 just fine. I don’t have a 5K screen to test with, unfortunately; but I don’t think OP was interested in 5K as far as this thread goes.

(frederico) #8

Also just realized OP @morinb has a 2015 MPB, but doesn’t specify which model; however, according to EveryMac, even the slowest model with shared memory can support one 4K screen @60hz:

" *This model supports a simultaneous maximum resolution up to 3840x2160 on two external displays via Thunderbolt 2. Alternately, it can support a single display up to 3840x2160 via Thunderbolt 2 and a single 1080p display at up to 60 Hz, 3840x2160 at 30 Hz, or 4096x2160 at 24 Hz via HDMI."

So, no matter the 2015 model, it should drive a 4K @60hz with no problems, other than reduced performance due to shared system memory. OP, if you are concerned about this, post your exact model, so you can avoid disappointment.

You should probably also know that driving a 27" 4K screen at full 3840x2160 resolution results in very tiny text; most people end up running both 4K and 5K screens at the typical 2560x1440 resolution, but in HiDPI (double-pixel) mode.

Personally, I run at 3008x1692, which is the highest compromise I can make (i’m not bothered by the funky pixel rounding at that res); while my brother with five-years-older eyes is content at 3200x1800; neither of us can deal with 3840x2160, let alone the 5120x2880 native to the 5K or 5K iMac screens. Not sure how good your 70-years-old eyes are, Bertrand, but you might want to consider this. You can get extremely nice 2560x1440 IPS 27" displays for around $200-$225; I highly recommend the AOC Q2577W, of which I have three, in addition to three of the LG 4K (2x 68P & 1x 69) on my Mac Pro.

(David Tuma) #9

I took it into the Apple store and they tested both and then told me it was an issue with the less capable “drivers?” in the MBP 13” They gave me full refunds on both the 4K and 5K and recommended the Dell 4K which works just fine.


(frederico) #10

Bizarre. We just received it on the weekend, set up on Monday, and it works fine. Could it perhaps be resolved by the 10.13.6 Supplemental Update that was just released? If I had a clone of the un-updated factory-delievered version, I would test, but I didn’t think to make one. I don’t even know if our model was subject to the processor throttling issues that the update addressed; but perhaps they knew about the display issues, too. It would be absolutely shocking if LG 4K displays, at least, aren’t officially and fully supported; they are a minimum starting point for many users these days.

(Bertrand Morin) #11

I am surprised (not really…) at the detailes replies to my initial query. Read them and took notes, event printed the thread. The information and comment have answered my ? and I am now shopping for the various suggestions. The resolution of the monitor leads me to a couple of alternatives, namely the LG models and the AOC (if I can get them in my area which is Québec. Prices vary from provider to provider, but trying one or the other will be the final test. Again infinite thanks to all the respondantsB. The outcome will come next week and will be posted here.
Bertrand, in la Ville de Québec (warm and humid, I love it)

(frederico) #13

Let me know if you need further information on display differences. I can’t help with Canadian prices, of course. Cheers. — Frederico

(Kelly) #14

Use the DisplayPort connection on the monitor with he DisplayPort o Mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt) Cable mentioned here. I have two Dell U2715H Displays attached to by MacBook Pro Retina 13" Early 2015 and they work great.