2 monitors, different sizes?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Chiromac81, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. Chiromac81 macrumors regular

    Nov 18, 2018
    Ontario Canada
    on my new iMac 16GB ram, I8 and 1TB SSD I currently have a dell 24 inch 4k monitor. If I wanted to have a second monitor for looking at pictures and videos (just sorting albums from the Apple photo app) alongside the smaller 24 inch monitor, is that something that can/should easily be done and if so would I have any scaling problems? Would only need text on the 24 and might use a 27 or 32 for pics to stay open...

    Would I need a iGPU for this? It’s not going to be professional work or edited etc.

    Is the only drawback it looks funny with diffeeent sizes? Anyone currently using this setup? Any feedback or pics?
  2. dwig macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2015
    Key West FL
    I have two setups where I have dual monitors of differing sizes. One is my personal MS Surface Go (11") which is frequently connected to my Dell 24" display as well. At work, I have a 27" 5K iMac with a 24" Cinema display (2k) as a second monitor. It works well in both cases, but there is some getting used to the arrangement, particularly since there are issues moving the mouse pointer from the larger screen to the smaller one.

    You can only move between them along the area where they align. Also, when resolutions are different there can be some "jump". For example, my 11" Go's screen (1800x1200) is much higher DPI than my 24" Dell (1920x1080). Despite being only 1/2 as wide in real world inches, the Go's screen is really 90% as wide in pixels. When logically aligned (via the Windows equivalent of macOS System Preferences) so that the Dell is above the Go's internal display an aligned on their right edge, moving the mouse up from the Go's upper left corner to the Dell it cursor appears almost at the Dell's left side some 7" to the left of the physical location it had on the Go's display.

    My iMac is arranged with the two monitors left and right of each other and there is a similar issue. In that case, the larger screen is also the higher DPI display. The result is a larger portion of the left edge of the iMac's screen is not covered by the smaller logical size of the Cinema display and you can't mouse over to the smaller display except through the "window" where they share a logical edge.

    In short, it works well if you are good at adapting. I've been using the iMac setup for a couple of years and its foibles are second nature. I've been using the Go with the second display for 3 months or so and for me the adaption was quick and easy. YMMV
  3. Chiromac81 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 18, 2018
    Ontario Canada
    Anyone else have experience with this?
    Any pics?
  4. Honumaui, Apr 30, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019

    Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    I use a 27 inch monitor for editing (full time photographer and retoucher) 27 IMHO are the best for retouching and my use but I use a larger monitor for other things not on a mini but building a mini up now for the wife and putting her on a dell ultrawide 34 inch I have since that thing is insane for daily tasks and then along side might put a benq SW2700 (color accurate great price monitor)
  5. Chiromac81 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 18, 2018
    Ontario Canada
    I’m not sure that is answering my question about using 2 monitors concurrently that are different sizes...

    Anyone else have any feedback or pics or experience
  6. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    drawback of looking funny ? me I do not worry about looks I worry about it working

    would you run into scaling problems I reckon no :)

    trying to run 3 monitors at 4k you are going to need a eGPU

    pushing two 4k is going to tax the iGPU more and you might feel it lag at times ? when that is hard to say but all those pixels have to be dealt with

    I might say if your current dell is a 4k monitor do you really need to get another 4k ? that much to push around maybe a normal 27 inch would go well with it 2560x1440 resolution 27 inch still look really good and you are not pushing all those extra pixels would be something to think about and you can save on the cost and no scaling as far as trying to match icon size so it can run native resolution easier on the GPU

    a good eGPU setup can be had for $400 so savings in that non 4k monitor would go to help that IF you decide you want/need one
  7. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    I have had a set up with two different size monitors, then same size monitors that had different overall size measurements. i was stuck between buying two new monitors or going back to a single.
    For the interim I went back to a single. the different sizes were too distracting for me.
  8. getrealbro macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2015
    I answered the OP's question and posted my experience using two different size monitors in another thread — https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/best-monitor-for-new-mini.2151340/page-28#post-27211450

    For those who may be interested in more detail …
    I run two monitors on my 2014 Mini — A BenQ EW3270ZL and an antique Dell 2407WFP. They are different sizes 32” vs 24”, different “resolutions” 2560x1440 vs 1920x180, and have a different color gamut. BUT critically, they have almost the same pixel density. I use the larger BenQ as my main monitor with the dock on the left side. The monitors are aligned at the bottom. This means the cursor no-go zone is pretty small (640 pixels) and includes the macOS menu bar on the BenQ. Since they have almost the same PPI, I drag windows between the monitors with no scale changes. On rare occasions I place windows spanning both monitors despite the wide bezels. I use the smaller monitor for network/system monitoring windows, the main Mail window, utilities, etc..

    FWIW I find 27” 5K monitors to be too small for my old eyes (yes, even the much admired iMac 5k). It doesn’t matter how beautiful/crisp the display is if I can’t easily read the text :( Unfortunately 32/34” 4K/5K monitors are pretty pricey and may stay that way. So I’ll probably just keep my two monitors when I upgrade to a 2018 Mini.


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7 April 27, 2019