If you’re a creative type and need a laptop that transforms into a powerful desktop, the new MacBook Pro is for you. Having read Tech Specs page for the 15-inch MacBook Pro, one thing stood out for me—the machine can drive not one, not two, not three, but four high-resolution external displays.
Or, you could run two 5K external displays. What’s more, the new notebooks support a smooth refresh rate of 60 Hz across all 4K/5K external displays connected to them.
From the Video Support section of the 15-inch MacBook Pro:
Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display at millions of colors and:
- Up to two displays with 5120-by-2880 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors
- Up to four displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors
Thunderbolt 3 digital video output
- Native DisplayPort output over USB‑C
- VGA, HDMI, and Thunderbolt 2 output supported using adapters (sold separately)
As for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, that machine can simultaneously drive its built-in display and either one external 5K display at 60 Hz or two external 4K displays at 60 Hz each. That’s because it uses a less capable integrated Intel Iris graphics which shares RAM with the main processor versus a much speedier AMD Radeon Pro discreet graphics card with two gigabytes of dedicated video RAM in the 15-inch model.
Both 13 and 15-inch models of the MacBook Pro (with the exception of the entry-level 13-incher without Touch Bar and Touch ID) have four Thunderbolt 3 ports that also support USB-C, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI and more.
Each of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports provides an insane 30GB/s bandwidth which permits the machine to drive a 5K display and power itself via a single cable.
Apple defines a 4K screen as having a resolution of 4,096-by-2,304 pixels while a 5K display has a 5,120-by-2,880 pixel resolution. By comparison, the phased-out 27-inch Thunderbolt display has a non-Retina resolution of 2,560-by-1,440 pixels.
At the event earlier today Apple showed off LG’s new 27-inch 5K UltraFine display which its marketing honcho Phil Schiller called the “ultimate docking station” because it has multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports, and can even charge the new MacBook Pro. It’s basically the 5K external display that Apple didn’t want to make itself.