My purpose is to connect a MacBook Pro to an HDMI/DisplayPort monitor and maintain 4K resolution with 60Hz. But since MacBooks still lack support for HDMI2 and Thunderbolt cabels are expensive, I would like to ask the following:

Can I use a normal DisplayPort cable to connect from MacBook Pro's Thunderbolt port to a DisplayPort monitor and maintain 4K resolution 60Hz?

  • 1
    You should probably specify exactly which MacBook Pro you're talking about. Also, I'm not sure if this will matter, but when you say "4k", you might want to specify whether you're looking for "UltraHD" (3840x2160) or "4k digital cinema" (4096x2160). – Spiff Jun 11 '15 at 19:36
  • I'm talking about Apple MacBook Pro 13" Retina 256 Gt SSD (Early 2015 model, MF840KS/A). I'm looking for both Ultra HD and 4K. – Jarzka Jun 12 '15 at 4:15

Yes, it should work fine for display capabilities.



If you're buying or have a ThunderBolt display, you should really have a ThunderBolt cable.

Thunderbolt mostly just adds PCI Express capabilities on top of what DisplayPort can do. 4096 × 2160 × 24 bpp @ 60 Hz is still within the capabilities of DisplayPort. Unless you need to do stereoscopic images at 60hz, you should be fine. Most commercially available "4k" monitors, fall under the 3840 x 2160 resolution anyways.

  • Are you sure his MBP can support those resolutions and frame rates via DP output instead of Thunderbolt video? – Spiff Jun 12 '15 at 8:11
  • There's no such thing as "thunderbolt video". Thunderbolt is displayport video with some PCIe lanes tacked on the side. – qasdfdsaq Jun 12 '15 at 14:53
  • @qasdfdsaq (BTW you have to @-reply to a fellow commenter for them to be notified of your reply.) I think there is such a thing as Thunderbolt video. For example, Apple's Thunderbolt display is not compatible with [mini-]DisplayPort. Only Thunderbolt-equipped Macs can display to it. Machines that only have DisplayPort cannot display on it. – Spiff Jun 16 '15 at 9:03
  • @Spiff: No offence but what you think is irrelevant. What arbitrary restrictions Apple choose to apply on their proprietary products to make people spend more money is irrelevant. The official specs published by the organisations who designed Thunderbolt explicitly state it uses DisplayPort, therefore it uses DisplayPort.. See here or here – qasdfdsaq Jun 16 '15 at 13:04
  • @qasdfdsaq Ah, those links clear some things up. They show TB is not "DP video with some PCIe lanes tacked on the side", TB is its own thing over which PCIe and DP messages can be tunneled. So when a legacy DP display is connected to a host's TB port, the host switches off the TB-ness of the port and puts it in DP compatibility mode (DP messages over the legacy DP physical layer). When a TB monitor is connected, DP messages are instead tunneled over the modern TB physical layer. Apple must not have wanted to burden their monitor with the extra cost of supporting the old DP physical layer. – Spiff Jun 16 '15 at 15:18

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