Buying a monitor for 11" MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by thesituation, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. thesituation macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2010
    Do you guys think it would be a good idea to buy a computer monitor for my MBA and use it as a desktop when i'm at home and transform it into a iMac-ish thing?

    I already have a custom built PC desktop at home, but i only use that when i'm gaming and it's connected to my HDTV. My MBA is what i use constantly and it's the latest version.

    I want to get into web designing and i think the 11" screen is too small. Instead of going out and buying a whole new computer and instead of using a pc computer, i thought it would be a good idea to just buy a monitor. With Black Friday coming, i'm sure i can find one around $100 .

    Has anyone done something like this before?
  2. yosemit macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2013
    Have been doing this for over three years :), with 11-in MBA 2010 and then 11-in MBA 2013. There are others on this board, too.

    MBA is a wonderful desktop replacement and meanwhile very portable. The 2013 MBA is powerful and noise-free (for 99% of time).
  3. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    Wow, no I don't think so.... you will probably be the first! :D

    Seriously, this is how I use my 2013 11" MBA 90% of the time. Same with my 2011 13" MBA. I am just using the ancient 23" Apple Cinema originally purchased with my PowerMac G5 around 2004 with a miniDisplayport to DVI adapter. It still looks great after all these years.
  4. mpantone, Nov 13, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013

    mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    I did this in 2002 when I bought my iBook G3.

    Since then, all of my Mac portables normally spend the majority of their days connected to an available monitor, full-sized keyboard and mouse/trackball/trackpad peripheral when available.

    So no, you are not the first person to try this out.

    My current MacBook a mid-2013 Air 11" is connected to an eight-year-old 24" Dell DVI monitor, the same one I used with my 12" PowerBook G4 (circa 2005).
  5. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    I would spend more than $100 on a monitor - I bought a cheap 21.5" Acer at Christmas time last year and quickly took it back for a better model.
  6. dean1012 macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    I regularly use two external monitors with my 2013 11" MBA.

    One is connected via HDMI and the other is Airplay extended via apple TV connected to my large television.

    Works well in both counts.
  7. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
    Mine is a 13", but I use a 23" external Acer monitor along with bluetooth keyboard and mouse when in the home office.
  8. Doctor Mabuse macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2013

    I also have an old 20" Cinema display that I would like to use with my mid-2012 MBA.

    Could you direct me to exactly what cable I need to do this - all I have is a Thunderbolt out...

  9. Jedi Master, Nov 15, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013

    Jedi Master macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2013
    ar the moment on the Death Star

    Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
    The Mini DisplayPort allows you to connect a DVI-based external display using an adapter. The Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter lets you connect an advanced digital monitor that uses DVI video. Review the documentation or check with the manufacturer of your monitor to make sure you’re choosing the right adapter. Compatible with Mac computers with Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt ports.
  10. Malizzar macrumors newbie

    Jul 9, 2011
    I connect my Macbook Air to monitor at work every day. Then use it as laptop when I travel.

    I also use my 2011 Macbook Pro 17 at home with dual monitors as my desktop.

    Both uses have not given me a good enough reason to purchase an iMac.
  11. Doctor Mabuse macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2013
    OK, so I got the right cable and the old Cinema display works fine with my Air. Looks even better than when I had it connected to my Mini. Yay!

    But... I need to run some external stuff over Firewire too, i.e. audio interfaces and the like.

    How can I do this when the Air's single Thunderbolt port feeds the Cinema Display?
  12. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    This. Works very well for me.
  13. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    I think the only way to do this is with a thunderbolt dock, and they are expensive. If you get a thunderbolt drive that has a pass-through port then you can connect the external monitor to it (I do this myself), but that can't be done with an audio interface or firewire drive. You'd need a dock that has multiple ports.

    I switched to a USB audio interface when I got my MBA and have been very happy with it.
  14. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    all the time. my desk has a TBD, apple wireless keybaoard, magic mousepad.

    i plug in the power and tb cable and i have a desktop. no lag, no heat, no problems.

    i see no reason why you couldn't do the same thing with a cheap monitor+adapter and as you've seen in this thread, people do it all the time.
  15. Doctor Mabuse macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2013
    OK - thanks for that.

    Solutions are:
    • Thunderbolt hub
    • New Drive that passes TB thru

    I take your point about switching to a USB interface but I've got way too much invested in Firewire peripherals for that to be a solution at the moment.
  16. Boyd01 macrumors 68040


    Feb 21, 2012
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    The pass-through thunderbolt drive should be fine to use along with either a display or your firewire interface, but not both at the same time. :)
  17. arrowtree macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2013
    is it possible to connect the MBA to a monitor(or HDTV) wirelessly?
  18. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    An AppleTV will allow you to mirror or extend your MBA to a TV.
  19. DisplacedMic macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2009
    like jdechko said, yes - you can use AppleTV for this. it works beautifully...but i don't know about for work. an HDTV isn't a great computer monitor, but i suppose you could hook ATV3 upto a monitor with an hdmi port.

    i use mirroring exclusively for watching sports and youtube off of my computer. some people play movies which works, but i use a media server for that so i can use the computer if needed.

    there is a slight delay that for my purposes is imperceptible, but probably wouldn't be if you were using the external as an extended desktop.
  20. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I tend to use one cable solutions where possible. I never liked adapters.

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