Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What Happened to 5K Displays?

Adam Engst:

With the recent releases of the MacBook Air and the Mac mini, Apple made a point of saying that they can drive a 5K display running at 5120-by-2880 resolution with a refresh rate of up to 60 Hz. That sounds great, but if you’ve been assuming that you could waltz out and buy such a 5K display, you might need to think again.


In short, the LG UltraFine 5K Display appears to be the only 5K display you can buy today, and you would have to order it online, sight unseen. If you can wait, it’s possible that LG will have a new model, and Apple has said that it will be releasing an Apple-branded professional display alongside the revamped Mac Pro in 2019.


It’s hard to see the broader display industry getting behind 5K displays in a big way at this point. Apple often releases new technologies before other companies, which sometimes makes Apple’s engineers seem prescient and at other times causes Apple’s products to end up in technological cul-de-sacs.

Previously: Mac mini 2018.

8 Comments RSS · Twitter

I just got myself a iiyama "XB2779QQS" 5K display in Europe because the LG is near-impossible to get here. The iiyama works in 5K with a AMD RX 580 card (with a single DisplayPort cable), but it only has a 27" size, whereas I'd have prefered the 32" size that my 1x AOC 2560x1440 monitor has. 5K is supported by macOS since 10.13.3 or .4 – Besides, I'm often using 10.12.6, where I only get physical 4K resolution, but which I can still set the screen to "Retina" 5120x2880 (i.e. 2560x1440), which is then scaled accordingly to 4K, still giving a much finer and sharper image than I got from the 1x AOC monitor). Also, macOS incorrectly identifies the monitor as the older (non-Retina) PL2779QQ model.

I was also pointing to that iiyama, a monitor I'm lusting for :)
It's very inexpensive, around 750 €, and my understanding is that this Japanese monitor is actually the panel used in 2015 iMacs 5K (so, slightly less bright than the current generation, but overall a great product).

BTW, when reducing the frame rate from the default 60 Hz to 30 Hz (with SwitchResX), I can even get the full 5K resolution in 10.12.6 (and probably as well with graphic cards that do not support DisplayPort 1.4 but only 1.2). See also: https://discussions.apple.com/message/33163207#message33163207

I'm surprised the interest for 5K isn't bigger. Maybe it's just to early to call them a failure? To me a 27" 5K monitor seems like the ultimate screen size and resolution to work in front of, regardless of Mac or PC.

I currently use an AOC 27" 2560x1440 monitor and that resolution is very nice, a lot of screen real estate to work with. I big step up from 1920x1080 and still not too high to make everything to small on screen. The only thing missing is the higher Retina resolution of course. Switching to a 4K monitor would give me less screen real estate (since it would be like a Retina 1920x1080 screen).

There are few 5K monitors on the market,
By HP, Dell, Iiyama, LG and Philips.
Yet, it not a straight forward for people to choose and buy one, and Apple is almost dropped a ball on that.

This is the same situation as WQHD (2560x1440) on the pre-Retina 27 iMac. 27 inch displays were 1080 until only a year or two ago. Now any half-decent 27 inch is WQHD.

@Thomas Tempelmann, have you tried it with the 2018 MacBook Pro 15" too? I wonder if that works, because I would be really interested in using this display in my setup.

Are any of those matte? The gloss of the iMac screen is unusable in my sunny office...

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