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I recently connected my MacBook Pro Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013 running 10.12.6 to the Asus PB238Q 23-inch via the mini display cable to VGA cable. The max resolution of the external monitor is 1920 x 1080.

The external display is not as crisp as my retina display, is this due to how I am connecting the monitor, or is it simply because I don't have enough pixels on my external monitor to display it with the same level of sharpness?

If I was to purchase a 4k monitor would this solve the problem?

Thank you for your help!

  • Probably a little of both - you've got a digital to analog conversion (mini-DP to VGA) which is going to cause some loss, and the Asus display is ~96 PPI vs. the MacBooks ~220 PPI. 4K display with mini DP to DP would definitely help. – ernie Oct 31 '18 at 15:32
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The "sharpness" of a display is defined by its pixel density and measured in ppi (pixels per inch). So it is the combination of size and resolution that makes a display appear sharp. Unless the 4K monitor is extremely large the pixel density will be higher then on your 1920 x 1080 pixel display.

You can check compatibility on Using 4K displays, 5K displays, and Ultra HD TVs with your Mac.

In your case, your Late 2013 MacBook Pro 15" supports 4K displays. However you also have to use a cable that supports the resolution accordingly. For example:

HDMI:

  • 3840 x 2160 at 30Hz
  • 4096 x 2160 at 24Hz

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