How I got UHD (~4k) working on a MAC Mini

Started Mar 2, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP bronxbombers4 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,387
Maybe best to try it on HD3000/4000+ and other such more recent models only

bronxbombers4 wrote:

Dell UP2414Q UHD monitor

OK, wow, actually got my MAC Mini to be able to support 3840x2160 or 1920x1080p HiDPI modes. It took a lot of searching and some hacking and some serious scares along the way though! And most google searches only lead you to partial solutions or talk that it's impossible. But 2 hours later it works.

I have no clue what Apple fans go on about how MS has no clue compared to Apple when getting UHD running on a regular MAC is so tricky and not directly supported in the OS. Direct support was only for 1920x1080p (which interestingly enough the Dell UP2414Q actually WAS able to scale to fit the screen and run at 60Hz, although it doesn't do simple scaling but interpolation so it's a bit blurry looking from the interpolation). And supposedly there is no way to make it work, even with hacks, if you have already upgraded to Mavericks, which thankfully I had not.

Once you do all the hacking though it appears, at first glance, to work quite well though and perhaps better than Windows although I can't yet say. I don't have much software for the Mac since I basically only use it for tablet development. Although Apple still has 60Hz support locked out for some reason running at UHD so you have to live with either 30Hz and UHD or 60Hz but interpolated by the monitor 1920x1080.

Anyway when I did these steps and used HDMI I got locked into a no signal mode and my HDMI port now seems to be locked out of working with this UHD Dell monitor, although the port still works if I use with other monitors that it recognizes as being different brand. And then I found that using DisplayPort it still works with the Dell even at UHD and I can get in and reset things for this monitor.

Anyway here are the steps:
0. Make sure you have NOT installed Mavericks! AFAIK it only works with OS SUB 10.9, at least so far.

1. use the DisplayPort and not HDMI connector.

2. Go here and follow the to install the mac-pixel-clock patch to unlock higher pixel clocks.

3. Go here and download and install SwitchResX and select UHD mode for DisplayPort.

4. Go to create custom resolutions in SwitchResX and simple make a new 3840x2160 mode. Exit out of SwitchResX and agree to save changes.

5. Go here and follow the instructions to turn on HiDPI mode options.

6. Re-boot. You will notice that the HiDPI modes offered by the OS Display preferences are stinking options, there is no 1080P natural scale factor option and the ones they offer make the screen shake and are too lo-res.

7. So go back into SwitchResX and you will now find a 1080P HiDPI option. Select that and then finally you have both UHD AND all the text and icons not being hideously small running even on a MAC Mini or other non-retina MAC (maybe much older models this won't work for, my MAC Mini is only a bit over a year old)

So wow even a non-retina, little old Mac Mini can drive it just fine! It looks AWESOME! Well, so long as you didn't go to Mavericks! Hopefully they will hack Mavericks too. Or even better Apple will just unlock the port as well as make all of these options built-in and obvious and also get 60Hz drivers going too.

Probably best to keep it to the later machines with Intel 3000 or 4000 or better or the machines with the more full on graphics cards of reasonably recent issue. If you see that the chipset is run on UHD/4k on some other system then it should be plenty safe to unlock it here on the MAC.

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