Is it possible to run an external display connected to a late 2011 MacBook Air at 3840x2160@30Hz.

I realize having this resolution at 60hz exceeds the bandwidth limitation of a Thunderbolt 1 port. This is why I am asking specifically about 30hz.

Hardware: Late 2011 MBA running 10.9.3

Monitor: Samsung U28D590D, connected to MBA with Mini DP to DP cable

This isn't a duplicate question. The other related asked-and-answered questions all point out that this impossible for 4k@60hz. I am inquiring about 3840x2160@30hz specifically.


No, this is not possible. As Apple states, the only models capable of supporting 4k resolutions (3850x2160 UHD) at 30 or 60 Hzs are the late 2013 Mac Pros and late 2013 Macbook Pros:

"You can use 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs with your MacBook Pro (Retina, Late 2013) or Mac Pro (Late 2013) computer. You can use these displays at the following resolutions and refresh rates with the built-in HDMI port

3840 x 2160 at 30 Hz refresh rate"

In fact, this is the default configuration.

Though these two models also are capable of supporting 4k @ 60 Hz refresh, multi stream transport must be enabled on the external display.

The same applies to your Thunderbolt port. Thunderbolt 1 is not capable of driving 4K displays. Thunderbolt 2 is.

  • 1
    Apple's documentation is clear about what their implementation allows, but it is not necessarily a hard physical limit. Given that TBolt 2 supports 4k @ 60, TBolt 1's throughput is theoretically sufficient to run 4k @ 30. Of course, the semantic distinction between "supported" and "possible" is moot for most end users. – Foo Bar Jun 19 '14 at 13:53
  • 2
    i've got 4k running at 40Hz over SST on my mac mini server mid 2011, this has only HD3000 GPU. look for pixel clock patch, and then add custom resolution with SwitchResX, HDMI supports 30Hz max DP 40Hz but this is a GPU limit my display can handle 60Hz over SST. – Floris497 Jul 25 '14 at 19:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .