Does the MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012) output 2560x1600 to the HDMI port?

The reason I ask is that I would like to drive 2x30 inch 2560x1600 monitors while still using the Gigabit Ethernet adapter. (My backup plan is to get the USB 2 to 100 Mbit adapter and use that and then just use the Thunderbolt for graphics). So I would appreciate any additional caveats to this plan as well.

  • If the HDMI port can't do that, you could consider daisy-chaining multiple 27" ThunderBolt displays. Also, if you use even one 27" ThunderBolt display, that has the FireWire and GigE ports built-in to its internal hub. Or you could use one of the upcoming third-party ThunderBolt "port dock" devices that have been announced (such as from Belkin).
    – fluffy
    Jun 25, 2012 at 18:10

6 Answers 6


If it's HDMI 1.4 as noted above, it should support "4k" resolution (4096×2160p24)


  • 5
    Although it would be Nice to know If it does support these resolutions… Jun 28, 2012 at 19:29

The hardware on the mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro technically supports up to 4K resolution over HDMI.

However, OS X seems to limit the resolution to 1080p60 (1920x1080 at 60 hertz).

The NVIDIA drivers on Windows support higher resolutions, for example I have no problem using an Asus 27" 2560x1440 at 60 hertz over HDMI on the rMBP (Windows 8.1 in Bootcamp). The same display will only go up to 1080p when run on OS X Mavericks (10.9).

It might be possible to enable higher resoutions on OS X via HDMI using SwitchResX (I haven't tried).

  • 1
    Just tried SwitchResX & it didn't render correctly at 2560x1440 - it was that resolution in a 1080p pixel configuration on the native resolution - extremely blurry. Mar 27, 2015 at 19:22

Given that the new (late-2013) Mac Pro supports 4k over HDMI, this is wrong.

I believe HDMI is limited to full HD resolution, i.e., 1080p (1920x1080), so nothing can drive a larger screen through that.

Even if HDMI isn't restricted to 1080p, 2560x1600 requires dual-link DVI and I'm quite certain that HDMI doesn't have those pins, restricting it to the resolutions single-link DVI is capable of (2,098 × 1,311).

Your best bet is to use the 10/100 Fast Ethernet adapter over USB.

  • 2
    "HDMI 1.3 increased that to 340 MHz, which allows for higher resolution (such as WQXGA, 2560×1600) across a single digital link." (From Wikipedia). I read on a forum that the HDMI port on this model is 1.4 Jun 25, 2012 at 17:46
  • I've never heard of HDMI supporting larger resolutions like that, but Wikipedia tends to be right about this sort of thing. I've never seen an HDMI to dual-link DVI adapter, not have I seen a screen advertised to accept higher resolutions from HDMI.
    – Cajunluke
    Jun 25, 2012 at 18:19
  • Nope, HDMI supports higher resolutions than 1080p, if your graphics drivers and the display does. Jan 5, 2014 at 15:54

DisplayPort can display without problem at 2560x1440. Under Windows 7, you can set a personalized resolution for HDMI to use 2560x1440. Under Windows 8, this personalized resolution didn't work :( Perhaps W8 is too young and we must wait a bit. Under Mac, I don't know. -> HDMI is in standard limited to FullHD, but with some tweak, you can go higher.


From the MacBook Pro Retina Specs Page(2013):

HDMI video output

Support for 1080p resolution at up to 60Hz
Support for 3840-by-2160 resolution at 30Hz
Support for 4096-by-2160 resolution at 24Hz

It'd be nice if they mentioned the 2560x1440 resolution at all, but they don't appear to in the official specs, despite mentioning higher resolution support.


Where is all this "HDMI is limited to full HD" falseness coming from? For years HDMI has supported resolutions well beyond any what TV set could display... or at least any TV set mere mortals can afford.

If you don't trust Wikipedia, then go to the source and look at the HDMI 1.4 specs for yourself. http://www.hdmi.org/download/press_kit/PressBriefing_HDMI1_4_FINAL_8_0_061809.pdf

  • 3
    It's not an issue of "what does HDMI support?", it's an issue of "what does this particular MacBook's HDMI port support?"
    – gabedwrds
    Nov 4, 2013 at 20:49
  • @gabedwrds The hardware supports it (it works fine on Windows 8.1), but OS X's graphics drivers don't. Jan 5, 2014 at 15:55

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