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We bask in 5K glory with the Dell UltraSharp 27 UP2715K

Gordon Mah Ung | Sept. 16, 2015
Look at these adorable kittens! We walk you through the ins and outs of 5K and tell you what you'll need to run it.

Now let’s finally jump it up to full 5120x2880 resolution. Yes, bask in the cute kitten.

Here’s that cat in its full glory with all 14.7 million pixels lit up. Cat image courtesy of the Furrtographer

The first 5K monitor

Dell’s UP2715K was officially the world’s first UltraHD 5K monitor. It’s designed primarily for the professional markets and originally had a price tag of $2,500. Of course, everyone knows Apple soon rained on that parade with its 27-inch 5K iMac for $2,200. HP actually mocked both with its own 5K Z27Q monitor for $1,300. Dell has since had to adjust the UP2715K to about $1,700 on the street.

The Dell monitor measures about 27 inches diagonal, has true 10-bit color support, and a color gamut of 100 percent of the sRGB and 99 percent of the Adobe RGB gamut. The rated contrast ratio is 1000:1, and the viewing angles are the typical 178 degrees horizontal and vertical. And yes, of course, it’s an IPS panel, which also means it has a response time for gray-to-gray of 8ms. Though beyond the scope of this story, I’ll say I compared an identical image shot on a 50-megapixel EOS 5D on the 27-inch 5K iMac to the Dell, and the Dell had a very slight edge in highlights. Both were stunning, and there’s evidence to suggest that both use the same LG panel inside.

The differences may be down to how Apple and Dell tweak the internals and calibrate them from the factory. Just so you know, I displayed the image on the Dell using the iMac 27-inch to power it, to reduce variables in the comparison. The Dell does have slightly less glare. Side by side, though, both are stunning—and well, 10K of resolution! (not really but 5+5=10 right?).

The Dell 5K Ultrasharp gives you a decent serving of ports and even includes a 35-watt speaker system.


For ports, you get five USB 3.0 plus two DisplayPort 1.2 and one mini DisplayPort. That gets us into the tricky parts of 5K monitors.

DisplayPort 1.2 has just enough bandwidth to run a 4K monitor at 60Hz, and 5K pushes it over the edge. To get 5K to work, you’ll have to use two DisplayPort 1.2s simultaneously. Fortunately Dell includes the two DisplayPort cables you need. They’re actually connected and color-coded to help you plug them in right. You’ll need to plug them in the right order on both the monitor and your GPU. 

The good news is, 5K seems a little more mature than 4K was when it was first introduced on the PC. Many early 4K monitors required switching between single-stream transport (SST) or multi-stream transport (MST) mode, and they were flakier than a box of breakfast cereal. Early units I used in 2013 required having a second monitor for those times when the machine would POST (power-on, self-test) but you’d get no image on the 4K monitor.


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