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I recently purchased a 2012 Mac Mini and am attempting to max out my dual monitor setup.

Currently, I connect my Mac to a Dell S2417DG's HDMI 1.4 in via this passive mini DP to HDMI 1.4 cable. According to the specifications, 1440p should be possible, yet macOS only offers a 1080p maximum in System Preferences > Displays.

After some exploration, I found and applied this patch, which made a 2560 x 1440 resolution available in Displays. Enabling this resolution, however, doesn't work, and the monitor indicates that there is no longer an input signal. I have also tried setting up 1440p via SwitchResX and verified that all timings are correct according to the monitor manual, but when I apply the custom resolution, the display stays in 1080p mode.

Is it possible to achieve 1440p via mDP -> HDMI on a 2012 Mac Mini?

I am running High Sierra (10.13.3).

I am aware that a working solution would be to use mDP -> DisplayPort, but my gaming PC takes up the DP slot for 1440p@165hz.

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    You need an active adapter. See this post: apple.stackexchange.com/a/275978/119271 – Allan Feb 18 '18 at 11:18
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    @Allan I read here that Thunderbolt does the necessary conversion so I purchased passive originally. My display connection quality is perfect, just limited to 1080p. Is my understanding here correct? Either way, I ordered the active cable yesterday so I'll try it out in a few days, thanks! – FThompson Feb 18 '18 at 21:30
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As I suspected and as Allan suggested in the comments, I needed an active adapter. This cable, which is the active version of the passive cable I originally purchased, did the trick; I now have 1440p via mDP -> HDMI.

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You don't need to have a special set up. Make sure your monitor is 1440p and with display port input, it will work automatic. I have a Benq GW2765 1440p connect to my 2012 Mac mini through display port. It work perfectly. mDP to HDMI will not work. I have tried one that claim can support 4K which still stay in 1080p only.

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