After getting a 15″ Retina MacBook Pro (or “rMBP” as I see them referred to as) and being awed by the real estate offered by the retina screen (I use the scaled 2880X1800 resolution), I wanted an external monitor that came somewhat close to this. 1920 X 1200 is nice, but it’s just nowhere near the MBP retina resolution, which is particularly vexing considering how much larger the external displays are. Looking around I saw a number of $600-700 displays with 2560×1440 resolutions, but that’s just more than I wanted to spend (and certainly makes me think the MBP is a good deal considering you get such a high resolution screen AND a computer!).
Reading reviews of IPS monitors on AnandTech I saw in the discussions mention of a crop of cheap monitors out of South Korea with 2560×1440 resolution, offered out of eBay. Slightly sketchy sounding, but having found such a monitor on eBay for only $380 with free shipping, I couldn’t resist:
WECUBE ST2770W LED IPS 27″ 2560×1440 WQHD HDMI PC Monitor
I received it 3 days later (amazing as it was shipped from South Korea), and while it’s definitely South Korean (read: menu system and manual is in Korean), the screen is gorgeous for my needs (DevOps stuff…lots of browser and terminal windows). The one catch which made this story almost have a very sad ending: getting it to work with a MacBook Pro. So to spare others the pain and suffering:
You cannot get the full 2560×1440 resolution via HDMI (but don’t worry, you’re not sunk!)
2560×1440 via HDMI doesn’t work…won’t happen. The highest you can get is 1920×1200. My reading seems to indicate that this is NOT because of a hardware limitation on either the monitor or on the MacBook Pro, but rather OS X itself. The reason I say this is others have reported that, using bootcamp and running Windows, you get the full 2560×1440 just fine via HDMI. Now isn’t that weird.
You CAN get 2560×1440 but you need to pony up $80 to get a displayport to dual-link DVI adpater
You can use a generic one
or pay more for Apple’s (what I did by walking over to the Apple store as I didn’t want to wait)
BUT you need to make sure you have a dual-link DVI cord!
News to me, but the DVI cable you have lying around is probably single-link (read up on the exciting world of DVI to learn more). I didn’t know there was such a think, but after trying to use the DVI cable I had been using for my existing monitor (not the one that came with the WECUBE), the screen would go through repeated contortions/flickers (completely unreadable). It’s really not what I would expect to see with the wrong cable (I’d of thought it just wouldn’t work), but what you see makes you think you have a bad monitor or adapter. But as mentioned, the WECUBE does come with the correct cable. Using the Wikipedia article on DVI you can look at the pins on your DVI cable to see what kind it is.
So end of story: nice big high resolution 27″ monitor! Woo hoo! DevOps perfection!