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I'm thinking about buying a new monitor for my old 13" Macbook Pro, primarily because I've been doing programming work on it and the laptop's display is often too small and seems crowded.

I found this monitor on Amazon.com and liked it a lot, but I don't know how compatible my Macbook Pro will be with the monitor.
One of my primary concerns is if the monitor will have black rectangles on the edges because the aspect ratio doesn't fit or something.

Does anyone know if they are compatible or how this configuration would work out?

  • Why would it not be compatible? – Allan Dec 19 '16 at 21:23
  • Aspect ratio is different, I'm not sure if it matters though – rodrigochousal Dec 19 '16 at 21:24
  • Aspect ratio is different as compared to what? Your graphics chip will display whatever you need it to (up to it's max). Now, if you want to match your MBP's internal screen...well, that's another matter altogether. If that's what you want to do, then that's a different question and not a compatibility issue per se, but a shopping one. – Allan Dec 19 '16 at 21:38
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Your model MacBook Pro shipped with an onboard Intel HD Graphics 3000 graphics card. This graphics card uses a minimum of 384 MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with your main memory (i.e. your computer's RAM). The amount of memory it actually uses will vary depending on your graphics needs.

In terms of connecting an external display, your computer has a Thunderbolt digital video output port and supports the following display modes:

  • Dual display extended
  • Video mirroring
  • AirPlay Mirroring (not relevant in your scenario)

Your MacBook Pro supports an external resolution up to 2560 x 1600 pixels.

As for the Dell UltraSharp U2715H this has an optimal resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels at 60Hz.

In terms of your concern relating to black rectangles and aspect ratios, this will depend on how you use it? Do you intend to extend your display or mirror it?

Regardless, this monitor uses a 16:9 aspect ratio and your MacBook Pro supports the following resolutions at the 16:10 aspect ratio (that you can mirror):

  • 1280 x 800 (native)
  • 1152 x 720
  • 1024 x 640
  • 800 x 500

Whether the difference between 16:10 and 16:9 will annoy you, only you can answer.

However, if you want to use it in dual display extended mode (I'm guessing you do), then you would just take advantage of the best resolution your MBP can output to the monitor.

The only hesitation I would have (and this would apply to any external display) is that you haven't specified how much RAM you have, so if you intend to do anything that is graphics heavy on the external display, you may find the Intel HD Graphics 3000 graphics card struggling.

Otherwise you should be happy with this display (if you really need the 27").

[EDIT]

(Additional info re screens with DVI ports)

If you go ahead with a different external display requiring a DVI connection and find that the highest available resolution is 1280 x 800 instead of 2560 x 1600, this is likely due to you using a single-link DVI connection on a display that requires a dual-link DVI connection. (Note: This is not a factor for the U2715H you're looking at, but may be for others).

If this happens you would need to connect the display to a dual-link DVI port to access the higher resolutions available. However, your model MacBook Pro does not provide a dual-link DVI connection without an appropriate adaptor!

For best results you will need to use a Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter.

You should refer to this info on Apple's website (as the general info is still applicable to many external displays). Also of interest may be this Mini DisplayPort adapter FAQs page.

  • The only thing to add here is to make sure you have the right cable. You won't get the full resolution with a standard VGA or DVI cable. You'll need a DisplayPort cable or Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter. I had a similar setup with my 2011 MBP 13" and a Dell U2713HM. – Volsk Dec 20 '16 at 0:06
  • @Volsk Thanks for the reminder - I've just updated my answer to cover this! – Monomeeth Dec 20 '16 at 0:14
  • Thanks, and I'm guessing I would then need a DisplayPort to DVI cable to connect this adapter to the monitor? – rodrigochousal Dec 20 '16 at 15:22
  • The monitor does not have a DVI port, only mini Display Port, Display Port, and HDMI. – rodrigochousal Dec 20 '16 at 16:18
  • Sorry, Volsk's comment led me a little astray. The U2713HM has a DVI port and they didn't realise the U2715H doesn't. I've slightly edited my answer to clarify this as the DVI issue is important and others may benefit from the info. Apologies for the confusion. – Monomeeth Dec 20 '16 at 20:18
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I don't think this is the best place for purchase suggestions, however considering it is apple hardware that is involved you may be lucky.

As for your question, how about a bit of googling? There are so many compatibility check websites, customer reviews and more that it is hard not to find something you are after.

How about this page?

U2715H specs:

  • two HDMI (MHL) ports
  • DisplayPort
  • mini-DisplayPort
  • USB 3.0 ports.
  • Quickly charge BC1.2 compatible and other USB devices with a USB 3.02 port found on the rear of the monitor that supplies high-speed charging and powering

Here is the article but without the type and year of your MacBook Pro I am only able to get general information.

I recommend you try a search such as this which included your exact make and model:

Connecting Dell U2715H Monitor to Macbook Pro Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013

All the best and let me know how you get on.

  • Valid points made! You should know the make and model of the machine in order to have a starting point for your search, some models handle the screen better than others - for any number of reasons. – ProGrammer Dec 19 '16 at 21:39

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