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I have a brand new MacBook Pro (Mid 2014) and a Dell U3011 30" display.

Is there any way to get the full 2560x1600 resolution on the Dell without the $100 Dual-Link DVI adapter?

I've tried HDMI to HDMI and Thunderbolt (Mini DP?) to HDMI, but I can't get more than 1920x1200. I've also tried resetting NVRAM/PRAM.

  • No, HDMI can only put out 1080p. You will need the Dual Link DVI adapter to surpass the 1080p limitation. – user10355 Aug 1 '14 at 7:41
  • @cksum That ain't true with HDMI 1.4 which support 4K (UHD). – Matthieu Riegler Aug 1 '14 at 7:53
  • @MatthieuRiegler sigh. The 1.4 spec only allows 4K at 30hHz. Hence why Apple lists the supported resolutions on their website as being ~4k at either 30Hz or 24Hz through HDMI. Native resolution on nearly every consumer grade monitor runs at 60Hz. Hz matters. So no, it is true. You won't get true 4K with HDMI 1.4. Only HDMI 2.0 can output 4K at 60Hz, which the MBP does not yet support. – user10355 Aug 1 '14 at 18:35
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Try using the mini Display Port to the Dell's Display Port.
That's how I connect to 2 2560*1440 Dell screens.

I've found, in order of reliability

  • Display Port - works every time
  • DVI - works most of the time, can be fussy on some screens
  • HDMI - haven't used
  • anything > VGA [barely works at all on anything over 1920*1200]
  • 1
    That did it! Ordered a DP to Mini-DP from Amazon, works great. – Dan Aug 3 '14 at 5:34
  • @Ze'ev and Tetsujin what brand of DP->miniDP you have? I have two different cables and I have issue with flickering the only thing that worked for me was big Apple DVI adapter + USB cable... – Wojciech Bednarski Oct 21 '14 at 22:53
  • @WojciechBednarski This one $10: amazon.com/gp/product/B004CAGDUA/… – Dan Oct 21 '14 at 23:21
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Despite several sources & specifications stating it is impossible, I have an HDMI output connected to a Dell U2711 DVI input at 2560 x 1440 via a simple HDMI to single link DVI-D cable, because the Dell U2711 accepts single link ~340MHz HDMI on the DVI-D inputs.

Unfortunately, manufacturers don't seem to actually tell anyone if a display has this capability - looks like the Dell U3011 and Philips 288p6 do as well. Good luck confirming this on other monitors.

Here are the lines you have to read between to figure out what is going on:

With some limitations, HDMI and DVI are the same signal. DVI uses dual link (more TMDS pairs) to get higher resolutions, while HDMI ups the per channel throughput with higher cable specs.

An Apple HDMI support article tells us that "MacBook Pro (Retina, Late 2013 and later)" support 4k (3840 x 2160 x 30Hz, 4096 x 2160 x 24Hz) on HDMI. This means 2560x1600x60Hz can work and probably will.

But HDMI only has pins for a single DVI link (4 TMDS pairs), so even if the DVI end of a cable or adapter shows the extra pins, it's still single link, and as everyone knows, single link DVI only goes up to 1920x1200x60Hz. Right? Except...

"... many devices output HDMI over a DVI connector [..] and some multimedia displays may accept HDMI (including audio) over a DVI input." (Wikipedia HDMI article)

A hint! I found confirmation on a random product page on amazon:

"Note 1: Resolutions above 1920x1200 60z require monitors to support DVI-D single link speed of 340MHZ, such as Dell U2711 & U3011 and Philips 288p6." ("active" Mini Displayport to DVI adaptor)

DisplayPort (vs HDMI) still applies here: the adaptor will only work with our "special" monitors, because the DisplayPort++ dual-mode (as in LVDS or TMDS, not dual-link!) version 1.1 transmits a single-link HDMI/DVI signal well above DVI single link specs, just like the HDMI output on my MBP.

By implication, DisplayPort to HDMI at high res should work, but clearly doesn't a lot of the time - searching Amazon for "DisplayPort to HDMI 4K" shows cheap cables and positive anecdotes. And DisplayPort to DVI-D single-link might work at higher resolutions if you have a monitor with this well-hidden beyond-spec feature, instead of having to buy the expensive converter to split it into 2 <165MHz dual link DVI channels.

Thank goodness for standards!

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The new retina MacBook Pro have the following support over HDMI :

  • Support for 1080p resolution at up to 60Hz
  • Support for 3840-by-2160 resolution at 30Hz
  • Support for 4096-by-2160 resolution at 24Hz

Specs at Apple.com.

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I just bought the mini displayport to DVI adapter(30 euro) but have not got a DVI cable yet. In the apple store they said this would get me the 2.5k resolution.

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I know it's anecdotal but I thought I'd share my similar situation.

I have a MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013) and I receive the following outputs using these cables:

  • hdmi -> hdmi only gives me 1080p
  • hdmi -> dvi (adapter) only gives me 1600x900
  • dvi -> hdmi (adapter) gives me 2560x1440

It's pretty backwards (literally), I know. But it's what's worked for my setup.

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I'm not sure if Apple changed anything with El Capitan, but I'm able to get 2560x1440 60hz with HDMI. I'm on a rMBP 13'' 2014. I'm connecting to Acer G257HU monitor. I can confirm using the monitor's overlay that it is indeed 1440p 60hz. Just using a standard Amazon HDMI cable.

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For additional and helpful information see this http://www.michaellabbe.com/DellU3011MacbookPro.html (bottom line!)

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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I was able to get the Dell 3011 working at 2560x1600 resolution (30 Hz) when I run Windows 10 on a Macbook Retina and use the HDMI adapter. This means the hardware in the Macbook Retina will support 2560x1600 through the HDMI adapter. I set a custom resolution using the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel functionality. Don't know why this won't work when running macOS, but this would appear to mean that there is a software issue or potential software fix.

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