MacBook Pro 16-inch is powerful enough to drive two 6K monitors

MacBook Pro 16-inch
(Image credit: Future)

The MacBook Pro 16-inch is capable of driving a pair of 6K monitors, or if you’re working with 4K monitors, four of the things can be powered by the new larger spin on Apple’s laptop.

The revelation comes courtesy of an Apple support document as highlighted by 9 to 5 Mac, which makes it clear the notebook can power the following monitor configurations:

  • Two 6K displays with resolutions of 6,016 x 3,384 at 60Hz
  • Two 5K displays with resolutions of 5,120 x 2,880 at 60Hz
  • Four 4K displays with resolutions of 4,096 x 2,304 at 60Hz
  • One 5K display at 5,120 x 2,880 at 60Hz and up to three 4K displays at 4,096 x 2,304 at 60Hz

That means the MacBook Pro 16-inch will be able to drive a pair of Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitors at their full 6K resolution, for those who want to fork out a serious amount of cash for two of these beasts (they go on sale in December).

Apple also outlines the configurations you can hook up with LG’s UltraFine 4K and 5K displays, which are as follows:

  • Two LG UltraFine 5K displays configured at 5,120 x 2,880 10bpc at 60Hz
  • Four LG UltraFine 4K displays configured at 4,096 x 2,304 8bpc at 60Hz
  • One LG UltraFine 5K display connected to one side of your Mac and two LG UltraFine 4K displays connected to ports on the opposite side

Careful with those ports, Eugene

As Apple further observes, you have to be somewhat careful about which Thunderbolt 3 ports you’re using here. There are two busses for these ports: one for the Thunderbolt 3 connectors on the left, and one for those on the right.

And wherever possible, you should plug in your monitors to different busses in order to get the best performance (in other words, with two 6K monitors, you should always plug one in on the left, and one on the right-hand side).

Note that the latest MacBook Pro 15-inch can drive four 4K monitors and also a pair of 5K displays, but not two 6K monitors.

As we observed in our hands-on review, the MacBook Pro 16-inch introduces a very welcome new keyboard, ditching the problematic Butterfly switches, alongside that larger display. The notebook can be specced-up to seriously powerful levels, too, although you’ll pay a hefty price for that (unsurprisingly).

But that said, creative pros will doubtless be willing to fork out the cash for this and the likes of the Pro Display XDR if they’re truly serious about wanting top-notch hardware for the job.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).