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Dell U2412M vs Dell U2713HM & Monitor Resolution for the MacBook Pro

December 29, 2014

Last month I was in the market for a secondary monitor that I could connect to my MacBook (Apple 13.3″ MacBook Pro Notebook Computer with Retina Display – Late 2013).  With a modest budget of around $500, I began looking for a monitor that had the following features:

  • 27″ Widescreen (16:9 Aspect Ratio) IPS monitor
  • 2560×1440 Resolution
  • Anti-glare coating/Matte Finish
  • Height-Adjustable stand
  • Energy Efficient

I was so happy with the Dell U2412M monitor I bought last year, that when B&H Photo Video offered the Dell U2713HM at $518.19 + Free S&H I purchased it immediately. 

Here is a quick overview of the differences between the two monitors.

Monitor Dell U2412M Dell U2713HM
Size 24″ 27″
Aspect Ratio (16:10) (16:9)
Resolution 1920×1200 2560×1440
Brightness 300 Nits 350 Nits
Response Time 8ms 8ms
Pixel Pitch .27mm .23mm
USB Yes (2.0) Yes (3.0)
DisplayPort Yes (1.1) Yes (1.2)
DVI-D & VGA Yes Yes
Power 38 watts 42 watts
Price $249.95 $518.19

The addition of USB 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 were welcome features.  The .23mm pixel pitch and 350 Nit brightness present a beautiful picture, and Dell has managed to keep power consumption at a miserly 42 watts.  However, I was disappointed that HDMI 1.4 wasn’t offered on the U2713HM as HDMI 1.3 is limited to a maximum resolution of 1920×1080.  Note: HDMI 1.4 is available on the more expensive U2713H monitor ($799) which also adds a Mini DisplayPort 1.2 connection.

Given the outstanding review by Chris Heinonen in the Anandtech article Dell U2713HM – Unbeatable performance out of the box, I was surprised to see that out of almost 700 customer ratings the average score was only 4.35/5.0.

Vendor Rating Reviews
Amazon 4.2 421
NewEgg 4 146
B&H 4.5 80
Best Buy 4.7 32
Total 4.35 679

What I found after reading many of the reviews posted was that several Apple MacBook owners had complained about being unable to achieve the maximum resolution of 2560×1440.  Apparently, many of those who purchased the monitor didn’t realize that the U2713HM only supports HDMI 1.3, which provides a native resolution of 1920×1080.  It is the more expensive U2713H ($799.00) that supports HDMI 1.4, which can provide the maximum resolution of 2560×1440.  If you bought the U2713HM don’t fret! You can still achieve the monitor’s maximum resolution, you just can’t use the HDMI port to do so.

To achieve the maximum resolution out of the U2713HM using your MacBook you will have to use either the DisplayPort connection or the DVI-D connection.  To use the DisplayPort connection simply purchase a Accell Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort 1.2 Cable for $11.99.  The Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter is Single-Link and will only give you 1920×1200.  To use the DVI-D port at 2560×1440 you would need to purchase an Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter for $99.00 and use the provided Dell DVI-D cable.

I would recommend using the DisplayPort connection, it is the lower cost option and provides you with the monitors maximum resolution of 2560×1440.  Although Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cables from other manufacturers are available, many of them are not VESA compliant which can cause several problems such as: flickering; no sound; or unable to wake from sleep.  To avoid any grief, make sure you buy the Accell cable!

Here is a summary of the supported resolutions based on your connection to the Dell U2713HM.

Connection Max Resolution Required Adapter and Cable
VGA 2048×1152 Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter + VGA Cable
HDMI 1920×1080 HDMI 1.3 Cable
DisplayPort 2560×1440 Accell B143B Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort 1.2 Cable
DVI-D Dual-link 2560×1440 Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter + DVI-D cable
DVI-D Single-link 1920×1200 Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter + DVI-D Cable
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