This Christmas I upgraded my IT infrastructure to the latest and greatest. I bought a new Mac Book Pro Retina 15 inch with 1 TB SDD, 16 GB Ram, NVidia graphics card and latest i7 processor available for Mac Books. This is the detailed spec I currently own:
- 1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage
- 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
- 2.8GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
The performance and hardware you get for the price is really awesome. Then I started looking around for good external screens for both reading online content and developing software. My thought was to go for 4k screens. Before started evaluating the screens I looked for specs whether the Mac Book could handle 4k resolution and also multiple screens. My quick research showed that connecting 4k screens is possible although I overlooked one small but important detail which I’ll explain later. First I ordered two Samsung LU28D590DS screens. But a good friend of mine told me that the stand of these screens is so terrible that the screen trembles heavily even when you type. So I cancelled my order. After comparing the prices of the remaining 4k screens I finally settled on the Asus PB287Q. It is “only” a TN-Panel but has a very good price for its capabilities.
When I got the screens I started MacOS and connected both 4k screens over mini DisplayPort (on the thunderbolt connector) to my Mac Book. Before I did that I enabled DisplayPort 1.2 support which is required to support 4k with 60Hz. Then the shock started. Only one screen was working at a time. First I thought there is something wrong with the screens. I switched them off and on, exchanged cables and more. Still only one worked at a time. So I googled again the specs and found the missing piece in the puzzle in a support article. Basically they are saying in order to have 4k with 60Hz you need Multi Stream Support enable on the screen which I did and then only one 4 k screen is supported with 60Hz.
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Let me think again. I have Thunderbolt2 with approximately 20 Gbps bandwidth. DisplayPort 1.2 needs somewhere around 17 Gbps so this should technically be plenty. I have two Thunderbolt2 ports in my Mac Book and still Mac OS refuses to turn on my additional 4k screen. I couldn’t believe that. After some more research and reading the discussion threads here and here I found out that it is really a driver and not a hardware restriction.
So how can I get around this driver restriction? Nothing simpler than that. You prepare a bootcamp partition, install Windows 8.1, start into the Windows 8.1 on the bootcamp partition, connect both 4k screen to each Thunderbolt2 port, Windows 8.1 detects those display and runs them with 60Hz in full 4k resolution! Here the proof:
Dear Apple: Are you silently saying that MacOs is dead and Windows 8.1 is the future platform for Mac Books?