Has anyone tried whether Intel Iris Pro found in 2015 retina MBP is powerful enough to drive single 5K screen like Dell UltraSharp UP2715K or Iiyama ProLite XB2779QQS or Philips 275P4VYKEB or HP Z27q? (basically all the ones that aren't relying on usb c/thunderbolt 3 connector like LG 27MD5KB-B UltraFine)?

I'm trying to find an external screen for my MBP and unfortunately due to macOS/OSX's focus on retina screens, non retina screens (fonts mainly) look pathetically bad, whereas Windows (even launched within OSX via RDC) looks sweet. So the only option is to either go 4k but that means usable resolution would be 1080p or 5k with usable 1440p. Hence I'm wondering if it can drive 5k screens.

  • 1
    This is the first time I have heard that macOS font rendering looks bad. Usually it compares quite favorable to other systems. Are you sure nothing is wrong with you non-Retina setup?
    – jksoegaard
    Feb 22, 2018 at 19:30
  • It looks bad on non retina screens, be it external or even the 1440x900 13.3 inch that MBA uses. On retina screens it looks fantastic, I want to lick it that's how good it looks.
    – Jay Doe
    Feb 22, 2018 at 19:53
  • I have never come across that - that's why I think you should have it checked out. Like most I have been using non-Retina screen for years, and had no problems - and definitely haven't seen the Mac compare unfavorable to Linux or Windows when it comes to font rendering. Check that you haven't accidentially turned off font smoothing, that you are indeed using fonts suitable for screen usage, that you aren't using a pivot'ed monitor or similar that will degrade font rendering.
    – jksoegaard
    Feb 22, 2018 at 21:41
  • If you look to the right at the "related" there's enough on the subject there. Example apple.stackexchange.com/questions/57963/… or here apple.stackexchange.com/questions/311117/… You can also google "blurry fonts under osx". The underlying issue is with how system renders fonts, and since Apple focuses on retina (4pixels representing one) screens they don't care about non retina screens. You might not be sensitive to it but to me the difference is day/night.
    – Jay Doe
    Feb 22, 2018 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


No, the mid-2015 15" Retina MacBook Pro is not powerful enough to drive a 5k-display.

You can see the specifications here:

Mid-2015 Retina MacBook Pro Technical Specifications

You're limited to driving up to a 3840x2160 pixels external display via the Thunderbolt/mini-DisplayPort port while using the built-in display.

For the HDMI video output you can go up to 4096x2160, but only at 24 Hz. So still no 5k support.

  • Thanks for the link, I know that page very well unfortunately. I was hoping that maybe someone tried to see what happens when you connect one to a 5k screen. I could potentially use an external graphics card in a box but that adds cost significantly. I'd be better off buying an iMac.
    – Jay Doe
    Feb 22, 2018 at 19:58
  • There's really no point in seeing what happens - the hardware simply does not support a 5k resolution. The Intel Iris Pro 5200 itself (i.e. the actual GPU) is limited to 4096 pixels in width. This is the case no matter who builds the computer with this CPU/GPU (i.e. it is not Apple or MacBook Pro specific).
    – jksoegaard
    Feb 22, 2018 at 21:38

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