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4K and 5K Display Buyer's Guide for Macs

4K displays are becoming increasingly popular as they come down in prices, and even some 5K displays have been released over the past year, but there are lots of variables to consider before purchasing one for your Mac. This buyer's guide will help you determine the ideal 4K or 5K display for your MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro or Mac mini, based on compatibility, price, display technologies and

'60Hz' Articles

Intel's Skylake Chips Will Drive Three 4K Monitors at 60Hz

Intel has shared new details about its faster, more power-efficient Skylake processors at IDF 2015 in San Francisco. PCWorld reports that Intel engineers have suggested the sixth-generation Core processors could launch in around "two weeks," setting the stage for a possible announcement of new chips appropriate for Macs at the IFA Berlin trade show on September 4-9. Skylake processors will feature improved Iris Pro integrated graphics capable of driving up to three 4K monitors at 60Hz, whereas Haswell architecture could drive a single 4K monitor at 30Hz and Broadwell architecture could handle a single 4K monitor at 60Hz. Skylake will also have fixed-function support for 4K video processing in hardware and support for the latest APIs: DirectX 12, OpenCL 2 and OpenGL 4.4. Intel's six generations of processor graphics (Image: Ars Technica) PC World:That means Intel has dedicated transistors directly to the job of decoding and encoding 4K. In one demonstration showing playback of a 4K RAW video stream from a Canon video camera, playback was smooth using the Skylake graphics chip, while using just the CPU, it would constantly drop frames.Skylake architecture is also more power efficient thanks to a new power-saving feature called Speed Shift, which allows the CPU to intelligently adjust its power state for extended battery life. Skylake CPUs are also more efficient overall and feature eDRAM+, which can cache information, for increased performance. In June, Intel introduced Thunderbolt 3 with a USB Type-C connector and support for USB 3.1, DisplayPort 1.2 and PCI

2015 MacBook Air Can Drive 4K Displays at 60Hz

The recently refreshed 2015 MacBook Air can drive 4K external displays at a refresh rate of 60Hz, as confirmed by Ars Technica. The report claims that Intel's new Broadwell processors with integrated Intel HD Graphics 6000 support 4K output at 60Hz using a DisplayPort 1.2 cable, whereas previous-generation notebooks with Haswell processors were limited to lower resolutions at 30Hz. Apple's tech specs page for the new MacBook Air lists the notebook as capable of supporting one external display at up to 2,560×1,600 pixels, which clearly is not the case. Apple may be electing not to advertise 4K support for the new MacBook Air on purpose, however, as performance can still be somewhat laggy or jerky and the company has a shortlist of supported displays and configurations."Given that the Air is using one of Intel’s integrated GPUs, general OS X user interface performance isn’t too bad while driving the Air’s internal display alongside the 4K display. Dropped frames are clearly visible when entering into Full Screen mode or using Mission Control, and of course you’ll never want to try playing games or doing heavy 3D work at native resolution. But things are more than smooth enough for desktop use."The new Thunderbolt 2 port included on the refreshed MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is compatible with the DisplayPort 1.2 spec, meaning that Single-Stream Transport is possible using one cable. Meanwhile, 4K over HDMI remains restricted to a 24Hz refresh rate due to the limitations of the current 1.4 spec. Multi-Stream Transport should also be possible using DisplayPort 1.2,