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As a software developer I insisted on buying a 4K Monitor which used to work with my previous MBP 2017 quite ok.The Retina MBP Late 2015 has output that lags quite a bit when I use a scaled resolution.

The output is only OK if i try the 4k or 1080p resolutions which are not very optimized for reading things on the screen.

Is there any way to optimize this? The lagging performance can be seen when I do something with Java VM especially Android Studio.

UPDATE

I connected my mac book over mini display to display port since HDMI does not support 60hz. Lag means when you scroll the code editor in Android studio, it is not very fluent.If i type something there is a small time gap till i see the letters appear on the screen.

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  • Welcome to Ask Different. There are lots of details missing like how you are connecting to the monitor, the OS(es) you are using between the two MBPs, what you mean by the term "lag" (is it slow, non-responsive, delayed, etc.), which mouse you are using (wired, wireless, built in trackpad, etc.)
    – Allan
    Nov 24, 2017 at 11:10
  • Hi Allan. I connected my back book over mini display to display port since HDMI does not support 60hz. Lag means when you scroll the code editor in Android studio, it is not very fluent.If i type something there is a small time gap till i see the letters appear on the screen Nov 24, 2017 at 11:37
  • Java-based IDEs have a reputation for being slow. Have you tried (just for the purpose of determining the cause of the lag) a different editor? I.e. try scrolling in the code editor in Xcode or other editor. Do you have the same lag there?
    – jksoegaard
    Nov 24, 2017 at 11:46
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    @IlkerBaltaci - can you please edit the original question with the details and not leave them in comments. Comments can get removed.
    – Allan
    Nov 24, 2017 at 11:57
  • @jksoegaard, XCode is little bit better but not much more. Generally OS windows are also a little bit slaggy. Nov 29, 2017 at 7:22

2 Answers 2

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Scaling is your culprit. Anything different than 1080p or 4K is going to tax the GPU and cause lag. It's unfortunate. I think a solution which costs a lot more money would be to purchase a 5K monitor then run it at 1440p (the only acceptable resolution imho) This would be the default resolution since it's exactly half of 5K. 1080p is exactly half of 4K which is why the GPU doesn't struggle on a 4k monitor when run at that resolution. Of course 4k at it's natural resolution is far too tiny to be useable which I'm sure you found out. So 1080p and 4k are just not useable for a 27" monitor. Purchasing a blurry 1440p monitor or a 5K monitor run at retina 1440p are the only options to get a lag free experience imho on a 27" external display paired with a MacBook Pro.

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It's pretty weird that device with a cost of $2k+ is not able to handle 4K screen scaling... I am really disappointed and assume to buy a Windows Laptop next and forget about Apple infrastructure at all. @cyberfunk is right - screen on "Default" resolution (1080p) works much smoother.

Just a note for other users if someone experienced the same issue I am on MacbookPro 2015 15" highest configuration.

A bit of my research history:

  • connecting by HDMI the monitor lags so much. I realized that it's because of HDMI 1.2 cable can't handle 4k monitors.
  • connected the monitor using DisplayPort to MiniDisplayPort (Thunderbolt) and this worked much better - the visible lags without any processes has gone, but I still had a feeling I work on Pentium 3 machine doing some GPU and CPU expensive tasks.
  • changed resolution to "Default" 1080p solved the low performance on heavy tasks, but now 4k monitor just lost his initial designation because everything is too huge.

There are 3 ways to proceed:

  1. use it as it is
  2. buy a 5K monitor where "Default" resolution will be 1440p which is most comfortable to use. But note that 5K monitors price is insane, easier to buy new laptop
  3. sell your Macbook and forget about this problem.

Good luck. If someone have any idea or other solutions I will be very appreciated.

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  • You do not offer any useful solutions other than what has already be stated in the answer posted by @cyberfunk. Jul 14, 2021 at 18:26

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