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What kind of monitor can my MacBook Pro handle?

EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Spending too much money eating out. That's about it.Portland, ORRegistered User regular
edited April 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
So, I'm getting a little tired of playing WoW on my 13" MacBook Pro and I'm thinking of grabbing a monitor to hook up to it. Without sacrificing too many FPS or having to dial down the detail (it's running at Med-High really smoothly) what size would be best to hook up to it? This is the 2010 model using the Nvidia GeForce 320M display adapter running at 1280*800.

Esh on
"At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade

Posts

  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Well, anything with a DVI interface will work. As far as resolution, you may want to get a monitor with a native resolution similar to the macbook so there's no artifacting from the monitor having to stretch a lower res but if you're cool with the stretched out look get anything from 20" to 100".

    XBL: heavenkils
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Spending too much money eating out. That's about it. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    saltiness wrote: »
    Well, anything with a DVI interface will work. As far as resolution, you may want to get a monitor with a native resolution similar to the macbook so there's no artifacting from the monitor having to stretch a lower res but if you're cool with the stretched out look get anything from 20" to 100".

    Well, I know how to hook it up. That's not what I'm asking. It's more a performance issue and aesthetic issue. So, no, I don't want it stretched out looking. I'm wondering what's going to closest to my native.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • Red RaevynRed Raevyn Ooga booga booga Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    The size of the monitor has no effect on performance. What effects the performance is the resolution. That's why saltiness pointed out what he did. Go to newegg and look at what monitor sizes have native resolutions around your target (1280x800). You can also research what the max resolution a GeForce 320M can put out is. 1280x800 will look fine on a 17" monitor, and maybe 19", in my experience.

  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Spending too much money eating out. That's about it. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I see. I'm having a bit of a time finding the specs and max resolution for the 320m. So you think a 21" would be a bit much?

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • ZxerolZxerol The fullest, most luscious beard. Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Again, it depends on the resolution of the screen. At 21", I'm going to safely assume that it'll be a 1680x1050 (for 16:10 aspect), which the GPU surely would support and -- for WoW at least -- shouldn't be too much of a performance hit. You can always dial it to a lower resolution if you need to, though it'll look a bit jankier at resolutions other than native.

  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Spending too much money eating out. That's about it. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    The 19"s seem to run at 1440*900. I'm thinking maybe this Asus 19"?

    So, will it run at the monitor's resolution or the resolution of my video card?

    I mean, I wouldn't mind a 21", but I just don't want it to look like ass or play like ass. The Asus ones I'm looking at run at 1920*1080, not 1650*1050.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Esh wrote: »
    The 19"s seem to run at 1440*900. I'm thinking maybe this Asus 19"?

    So, will it run at the monitor's resolution or the resolution of my video card?

    I mean, I wouldn't mind a 21", but I just don't want it to look like ass or play like ass. The Asus ones I'm looking at run at 1920*1080, not 1650*1050.

    The macbook will probably be limited to 1920x1080 max res or something around there although but it will be able to do just about anything lower than that - video cards don't have native resolutions. You will probably notice a significant performance difference going to that res over 1280x800 so I'd stick with a smaller native res.

    Edit: You may consider buying the monitor at best buy just to see what it looks like at lower resolutions and you can return it if it looks like junk since I think they got rid of their restocking fee on most items.

    XBL: heavenkils
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Spending too much money eating out. That's about it. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    saltiness wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    The 19"s seem to run at 1440*900. I'm thinking maybe this Asus 19"?

    So, will it run at the monitor's resolution or the resolution of my video card?

    I mean, I wouldn't mind a 21", but I just don't want it to look like ass or play like ass. The Asus ones I'm looking at run at 1920*1080, not 1650*1050.

    The macbook will probably be limited to 1920x1080 max res or something around there although but it will be able to do just about anything lower than that - video cards don't have native resolutions. You will probably notice a significant performance difference going to that res over 1280x800 so I'd stick with a smaller native res.

    19" it is then. There were a couple Acer 21"s that ran at 1650*1050, but I think 19" will be fine. Anything is better than 13".

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Edit: Ignore this, I didn't realize apple made a MiniDVI to VGA adapter.

    That ASUS appears not to have DVI according to the newegg specs FYI.

    XBL: heavenkils
  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Had to remove part of my post before posting since saltiness already answered with part of what I was gonna post, heheh. Hopefully this is all still relevant info now.

    As for how well WoW would play depending on the resolution... Obviously with WoW itself, in the worst-case scenario you can easily just have it tell the monitor to run at the same resolution it was running on your MBP (and in my experience this doesn't really make it look terrible as long as you're not used to playing at a higher resolution-- which you obviously aren't) with basically no performance drop, but a bigger screen. At worst, as long as you're connecting via DVI, you'd just be noticing the lack of anti-aliasing you're already missing out on just a little bit more because it's not hidden by a tiny screen. I did take a look on Notebookcheck just now, and your card is listed as Medium-Low while my own (which is actually a little older than yours but can go from its usual 1600x900 to 1080p without much of a hit) is listed as Midrange at the moment, and mine is normally driving a higher resolution than yours, so you would definitely take a worse performance hit than my own card did, depending on how much higher you go. Again, though, you can always just set the other monitor to something worse than its usual resolution (you should still be able to up the resolution a little without making it look terrible, I'd hope) for WoW while perhaps keeping it at its native resolution for other things, and it'll still be much better than it was. Jeez, I can hardly imagine using a 13" at 1280x800 now that I've used an older 17" laptop at 1440x900 and now a 16" laptop at 1600x900. Be warned, you may never want to go back! :P

    Edit: Does that monitor actually only have a VGA connection, though? I've personally had pretty bad experiences with the quality allowed over VGA vs. DVI or HDMI... The last time I tried to connect my mom's own MacBook Pro (older model than yours) it honestly looked pretty bad to me. I couldn't even convince it to display a widescreen resolution last time I tried (may have been the TV or something I couldn't figure out without spending ANOTHER half-hour trying to get it to work, I admit). Same with a laptop I was borrowing and had hooked to what I seem to remember was a 19" monitor (but it was admittedly not a great monitor in the first place). If anybody else could weigh in on this issue, and especially if they happen to be able to tell me that I was doing something wrong when I last tried and how to fix it since that would help my mom out to be able to change this in the future, that would be great.

  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Spending too much money eating out. That's about it. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I ended up buying this monitor which does have DVI.

    I've played WoW at higher resolutions many times on other computers so it's not going to be some sort of crazy revelation for me. The 320m runs WoW pretty damn well. It may be a Medium-Low card, but it's not like WoW is that demanding in the first place. I don't think jumping to 1440*900 is going to hurt it that much.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Esh wrote: »
    I ended up buying this monitor which does have DVI.

    I've played WoW at higher resolutions many times on other computers so it's not going to be some sort of crazy revelation for me. The 320m runs WoW pretty damn well. It may be a Medium-Low card, but it's not like WoW is that demanding in the first place. I don't think jumping to 1440*900 is going to hurt it that much.

    Sounds like a good idea to me! Yeah, I'm sure that WoW runs very well on your machine, and it should be alright to go to 1440x900, I think. 1080p would be more of a stretch. I mostly just wanted to give you that link so you can see how your card compares to others, since you weren't too sure about your specs. :) For reference, my card, the Radeon HD 4650, was near the top of their listings when I picked up the laptop, so it's not really "mid-range" for anything but some of the newer games, and yours isn't really "medium-low" for most games either. In WoW, I have pretty much everything on Ultra but without multisampling or shadows (which are frankly usually a waste) at 1600x900. So yours definitely isn't actually BAD or anything.

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