5K Retina Display iMac Priced Equal To Dell’s 5K Monitor, Too Good To Be True
Apple announced its 27-inch, 5K retina display, iMac this week, and we can’t seem to get over it. The iMac, which is thinner, cheaper and has an even better power control than before, might put Dell’s 5K monitor to shame which is of the same price.
A 5K retina display means 5120×2800 resolution, which Apple claims is the world’s highest resolution display. It has seven times more pixels than a 1080p TV or desktop screen.
Now how is this layered, 5K amazing retina display being powered?
The GPU used for this display is the R9 M290X, with the R9 M295X being offered as an optional upgrade. The GPUs will, however, be restricted to DisplayPort 1.2. This is an important factor, as a 4K @ 60 fps signal in SST (Single Stream Transport) requires around 17 Gbps bandwidth.
An MST (Multiple Stream Transport) display cuts the display width wise into two tiles and then integrates the two different DisplayPort streams to be shown as one image, whereas SST display works like the usual monitor. Though MST is not fully supported by games and applications, it is the only way a greater than 4K panel can be run smoothly.
DisplayPort 1.2 has just about enough bandwidth to drive a single 4K @ 60 fps SST stream, but for 5K, that is restricted.
Apple has already hinted at a 40 Gbps Timer Controller (TCON). If Apple had somehow managed to compress the 5K stream into the existing DP 1.2 bandwidth, it might not have needed the TCON at all.
However, another possibility has emerged, saying Apple might have overclocked its TCON and tweaked it for low overhead timing, which could take enough bandwidth from DP 1.2. Apple would have to overclock the DisplayPort signal by 50-100% to attain the required bandwidth on SST.
To scale the monitors, it is comparatively easier because the 5120×2880 resolution has exactly four times the pixels of the previous 2560×1440 monitors.
However, another mystery yet to be deciphered is the refresh rate of the monitors, whether they are 30 Hz or 60. Since the majority of videos in the United States are shot at either 24p or 29.97p, both of which are supported by a 5K @ 30Hz monitor, having a 30 Hz screen is not going to be a hindrance.
How much gorgeous the display might be, the gamers are going to have let reality sink in when we say they won’t be able to play at high level details. It might not even be able to support low level details, since we’re on that topic. The R9 M290 is a midrange GPU from 2012 and at 5K, it has twice the number of pixels as compared to 4K.