I'm looking for an external Monitor for my MBP15 mid2012 (GeForce GT 650M, 1 GB). I'm looking for high resolution 2560 x 1440 minimum / high framerate (60 Hz minimum) - and it should also work under Bootcamp Win7.

I've been researching for 2 weeks now. AFAIK my MBP has Thunderbolt-ports that I can use as DisplayPort (but NOT v1.2) to achieve my goals.

Can I run a 2560 x 1440 screen at 60hz with a Thunderbolt 1 to Displayport-cable? Or is Thunderbolt 1 even compatible with DP 1.2?

  • Welcome to Ask Different. Be aware that hardware shopping questions are discouraged. If there is some need that you weren't able to research or some requirements you are not sure of, explaining that will generally make "recommendation" questions more popular or likely to not get closed. I've also edited this to be one question. Feel free to ask several narrow questions or focus on one before asking a follow on question.
    – bmike
    Sep 14 '15 at 10:32
  • Could you edit in the specific GPU your Mac has?
    – bmike
    Sep 14 '15 at 10:37
  • Sorry I wasn't trying to break the rules, edited the question - I hope it is fine now. Not looking for a specific hardware recommendation, just want to know what I'm looking for... Thx.
    – Nik
    Sep 14 '15 at 10:44
  • Well done - this looks to me a great question now - identify the technology involved so anyone can learn and then shop price once they are educated
    – bmike
    Sep 14 '15 at 10:46

Short Answer:

The short answer to your question is:

Yes you can run a 2560 x 1400 @ 60Hz on an external monitor. Thunderbolt compatibility doesn't matter since the only interface you need to and can work with is the mini display port (mDP).

The question now is, what are your "goals?" Maybe we can direct you to a different solution.


The MBP Mid-2012 only came with 512MB VRAM, not the 1GB you are specifying. In any case, the maximum resolution you will ever get will be 2560 x 1600 MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) - Technical Specifications

That said, there is no "thunderbolt to display port" adapter. Below is a snipit from another answer where I addressed this very issue:

Now, there is no "Thunderbolt" to DVI/HDMI because Thunderbolt is an extension of PCIe. So, in a very basic sense, this would be like trying to plug your monitor in directly to the logic board and not go through the video adapter; it cannot happen.

However, Thunderbolt "multiplexes" the DisplayPort signal on that single cable. You are going to get both. Now, if you use a a Thunderbolt compatible cable, you can daisy chain additional TB devices off your monitor, albeit at a reduced data transfer rate. This is why monitors are the last in the chain. If you use a non-TB cable, you will only get display and no TB signal.

The mini display port (mDP) on your MBP isn't going to give you any more resolution than your GPU is capable of delivering. mDP 1.2 can support up to 4K video at 60Hhz; it's just your MBP can't deliver it. Changing your cable to one that supports more bandwidth isn't going to give you more resolution the same way changing out your cat5 cable for cat6 will increase the bandwidth of your 1GB NIC.

  • Thank you, that helps alot. My GPU has a gig tho. I have a MBP 15'' - bought in Euope. 2560x1600 would be plenty. I just want a solid monitor that is better than FullHD and can be run with my MBP - something that won't be old when I buy my next computer. That's why I need to know what I can get out of my MBP...
    – Nik
    Sep 15 '15 at 13:03
  • I have always relied on Dell Monitors for the quality you get for the price. You can get a 2K monitor for about $600 and a 5K for about $2,0000. amzn.to/1QgaQu0. Can you get better? Yes, but not by much. If you aren't doing really high end graphics, it isn't worth the premium.
    – Allan
    Sep 15 '15 at 23:37
  • Some mistakes in this answer, as you've used the 13" specs, and OP had the 15". The MBP Mid 2012 could have 1 GB VRAM. That is the maximum resolution you will get a 60 Hz, but you can get higher - 4k at 30 Hz. Link: support.apple.com/kb/SP694
    – Chalky
    May 13 '20 at 21:22
  • @Chalky - maybe I’m mistaken but 2650x1600 is not 4K. From the page you linked: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors. Whether it’s the 13 or the 15, the video specs are the same.
    – Allan
    May 13 '20 at 21:38
  • 4k isn't listed by Apple, I assume that's because it's only do-able at 30 Hz on that model. Sorry if my comment implied that link showed it! Was just the link to the correct model.
    – Chalky
    May 13 '20 at 21:43

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