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ascender

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 8, 2005
5,008
2,893
I spend most of my day at my desk which has a Mac Studio as the main computer and its currently connected to two Apple Studio Displays. I've been playing around with the arrangement and just can't seem to settle on one that works for me.

  • I've tried one display centred, with the second off to the side, angled. That helps keep focus on one screen, but I end up turning off to the right to do other stuff which can't be good.
  • Both screens dead ahead, slightly angled in to a subtle "V" shape is good as I can see most of both without much turning, but its ironic that when I look dead ahead, I can see the bezels and the space between them, so I'm always slightly angled. I guess what I've done is recreate an Ultrawide screen... with a gap in the middle 😀
  • I think the idea of having a primary and secondary screen works well - so whatever I'm focusing-on should be front and centre - with everything else on the other monitor in a space along with a separate space for Mail, Music etc.
I'm starting to think I should go down to a single ASD or XDR with no second screen. Or maybe just a laptop/iPad off to the side for things like Music, Mail, messaging apps etc.

I do like having lots of space, but the current setup just isn't working.

Any ideas?
 

MacGizmo

macrumors 68040
Apr 27, 2003
3,135
2,458
Arizona
I've found that multiple monitors works best on an L-shaped desk, where you can place the main display in the corner/middle of the desk and the second just to the left or right. Because it's a L-shape, the second display isn't so far to the side and reduces the neck strain.

No matter what, getting used to multiple displays takes some time to settle in with whatever is most comfortable.

I can say that having one large ultra wide display is better for me personally (I have a 34" ultra wide 5k/2k display), but I have a second 27" display simply because I have the display from the company I work for—I don't absolutely need it.
 
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ascender

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 8, 2005
5,008
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I have one front & center in landscape and one just off to the side in portrait. Works for me.
I'm going to try that arrangement tomorrow and also borrow an ultra wide from a colleague to try again - but I suspect with the ultra wide I'll miss the brightness and high ppi of the ASD.

What do you have on your portrait-oriented monitor? Presumably as its just off to the side, you don't need to move much to view what's on it.
 

xraydoc

Contributor
Oct 9, 2005
10,868
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I'm going to try that arrangement tomorrow and also borrow an ultra wide from a colleague to try again - but I suspect with the ultra wide I'll miss the brightness and high ppi of the ASD.

What do you have on your portrait-oriented monitor? Presumably as its just off to the side, you don't need to move much to view what's on it.
Depends. Depending on what I’m working on, the portrait display might be a PDF file (as portrait gives a nice full-page layout). Or it might be my calendar on top half, email on bottom half so I always have those to refer to; the main screen in landscape will be for everything else.

Its also come in handy for Zoom meetings - main landscape screen for the meeting’s shared desktop and the other for the attendee’s webcam feeds.
 
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keithop

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
687
910
I spend most of my day at my desk which has a Mac Studio as the main computer and its currently connected to two Apple Studio Displays. I've been playing around with the arrangement and just can't seem to settle on one that works for me.

  • I've tried one display centred, with the second off to the side, angled. That helps keep focus on one screen, but I end up turning off to the right to do other stuff which can't be good.
  • Both screens dead ahead, slightly angled in to a subtle "V" shape is good as I can see most of both without much turning, but its ironic that when I look dead ahead, I can see the bezels and the space between them, so I'm always slightly angled. I guess what I've done is recreate an Ultrawide screen... with a gap in the middle 😀
  • I think the idea of having a primary and secondary screen works well - so whatever I'm focusing-on should be front and centre - with everything else on the other monitor in a space along with a separate space for Mail, Music etc.
I'm starting to think I should go down to a single ASD or XDR with no second screen. Or maybe just a laptop/iPad off to the side for things like Music, Mail, messaging apps etc.

I do like having lots of space, but the current setup just isn't working.

Any ideas?

I could've typed that post word for word. EXACTLY the same for me with two studio displays, really can't get used to it at all and pondering an XDR because one ASD really isn't enough.

Ironically, a few years ago I used to have my web browser on a "tiny" 17" display to the side and then my main screen was a 27" and it worked fine. Then I got a 49" ultrawide and I think that's what wrecked things for me.

Definitely can't put up with staring at the bezels and space between the monitors so I think you're spot on when you say that one screen needs to be centred...
 
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IAlberta

macrumors regular
Dec 29, 2011
109
112
Mountain View County
My set up evolved as such..... Corner desk, M1 Mac mini supporting 2 ACD's, 2 keyboards, 2 track pads, 1 sound bar w/ floor sub and a comfortable swivel chair. For my needs it is an ideal set up..
 

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ascender

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 8, 2005
5,008
2,893
I could've typed that post word for word. EXACTLY the same for me with two studio displays, really can't get used to it at all and pondering an XDR because one ASD really isn't enough.

Ironically, a few years ago I used to have my web browser on a "tiny" 17" display to the side and then my main screen was a 27" and it worked fine. Then I got a 49" ultrawide and I think that's what wrecked things for me.

Definitely can't put up with staring at the bezels and space between the monitors so I think you're spot on when you say that one screen needs to be centred...
I've been using a single ASD for a couple of days and the centred-thing is definitely much more natural, but with my workflow, I definitely miss having that extra space.

Funnily enough I was wondering about a single XDR too if I could get one at a decent price, maybe second hand. Although I think LG do a 4 or 5K 32" screen which might be worth a look.

I've borrowed an ultrawide to try that again for the weekend and then will try one ASD off to the side in portrait orientation for a couple of days before making a decision. I did also think about that LG Dual Up monitor off to the side of a single ASD.
 
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ascender

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 8, 2005
5,008
2,893
My set up evolved as such..... Corner desk, M1 Mac mini supporting 2 ACD's, 2 keyboards, 2 track pads, 1 sound bar w/ floor sub and a comfortable swivel chair. For my needs it is an ideal set up..
Lovely!

Those ACDs really are timeless in their design.
 

pprior

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2007
1,448
9
My dual screen for many years was a larger horizontal monitor right in front of me and then a 27" monitor in portrait orientation off to my right. So I could edit photos in either orientation full screen and also having full page vertical editing for word processing and document layout was very nice - you would see the whole page life size at one time.

Depends on your use case - it's a bit janky "looking" from a style perspective, but it's actually very useful at least in my workflow.

I've since moved and only have a 16" laptop so I miss all that real estate!
 
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Misheemee

macrumors 6502
Feb 28, 2020
360
329
CDD839B5-CDDA-4671-9819-2CBDB9361275.jpeg
Ok! So mine aren’t studio displays and there’s normally a MBP 14” in place of the surface laptop here - but I did this setup works the best for me and all screens are in use which a high productivity output
 

ascender

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 8, 2005
5,008
2,893
Nearly there with my testing I think! I'm back to a single ASD front and centre with a 27" in portrait orientation off to one side. I'm finding it keeps whatever I'm working-on as a point of focus, but can have other things off to the side that I need to "keep an eye on"... but quickly switch them in when I need them.

I'm enjoying it so much I'm thinking about one of those LG Dualup monitors to fulfil that role....
 

ascender

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 8, 2005
5,008
2,893
If you do end up getting one of those, please share your experience. :)
I ordered one and it arrived today, initial impressions are very positive. Will try it for a week or so and see how it does, but it does seem like it might be a very good second screen for me - taking up much less space than a 27" in landscape mode and being more practical than a 27" in portrait mode thanks to its extra width.
 
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xraydoc

Contributor
Oct 9, 2005
10,868
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I ordered one and it arrived today, initial impressions are very positive. Will try it for a week or so and see how it does, but it does seem like it might be a very good second screen for me - taking up much less space than a 27" in landscape mode and being more practical than a 27" in portrait mode thanks to its extra width.
How is the text size and sharpness in comparison with the Studio Display? I know it won’t be quite as good, but my concern would be having text be the same size across both displays.
 

ascender

macrumors 603
Original poster
Dec 8, 2005
5,008
2,893
How is the text size and sharpness in comparison with the Studio Display? I know it won’t be quite as good, but my concern would be having text be the same size across both displays.
Default res for ASD is 2560x1440.

1280x1440 is a HiDPI resolution on the DualUp and it looks very nice and crisp, albeit you're getting much less screen real estate. As does 960x1080 which is also HiDPI.

2560x2880 is the default resolution on the DualUp but you need to zoom-in Safari a lot to get the text at a readable size. And to be fair, it looks nice and crisp and non-blurry.

The other native supported resolutions look OK actually, but I've found you end up in a bit of a trade-off to get one that works for you - i.e. higher resolution = smaller text = need to zoom-in... which kind of defeats the purpose.

There's also no doubt that there's a general quality issue whenever you pair a non-ASD with an ASD. You're going to notice the drop in screen brightness, crispness, font appearance etc. That's just inevitable I think. So it depends on what you're going to use that second screen for I think.

I was running it in PBP yesterday with a Windows laptop on the bottom half of the screen and macOS in the top. Windows looked great. But the top half of the screen was pretty useless unless you just wanted to run one app in it. And even then, it was a struggle to get the resolution & window sizing right.

Jury is still out on it... I need to use it a bit more and find the settings that work for me, but I suspect my issue is the font smoothing/HiDPI issue which as we all know is very noticeable on anything below 4K.

I still think its a neat idea... but just reinforces my view that Apple should be making the ASD in a variety of sizes rather than just the 27".
 

JaredJenkinsDesign

macrumors regular
Jul 19, 2022
100
81
My dual setup is a bit unusual but it works really well for my needs. It's sort of like a ghetto Dual-up haha.

I have a 27" 4K as the main screen and a 16" portable monitor centered below it on a monitor riser.

All of my main tasks are on the 27" 4K and I'll usually leave my To-Do list, email or reference images on the portable monitor.

What I really like about this setup:
  • No more turning side-to-side which was annoying when I had my MBP off to the side.
  • Since the portable monitor is closer to me, I can run it at 1920x1200 and no issues reading text. I can also comfortably fit my To-Do list on the left half and my Email on the right half of the screen. When my MBP was further off to the side, I had to scale it to 1440x900 which made me lose screen real-estate.
  • No issues with neck strain since the portable monitor is on a monitor riser.
  • Since it's a portable monitor, I can also easily take it off the desk when I don't need to use dual monitors and just use my 27" monitor which keeps a nice desk aesthetic (in my opinion). That's not easy to do with another larger monitor.
What I don't like about this setup:
  • Since I have to drag my mouse down to get to the portable monitor, accessing the dock at the bottom of the 27" monitor is only possible on the edges which is a bit annoying. I could always just move the dock to the side or always leave the dock on at the bottom but I've gotten used to it.
  • There are some instances where I wish I had a larger second monitor but most of the time, this gets the job done for me.

20221117_064435.jpg
 

tagumcity

macrumors regular
May 11, 2015
164
83
Tempe, Arizona
Using 3 monitors, the left and right monitors are turned approximately 35º and the center monitor is in orthogonal. Same arrangement without the 3rd monitor.
 
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cwosigns

macrumors 68020
Jul 8, 2008
2,229
2,725
Columbus,OH
I have a two-computer setup that works well for me. One is an M1 iMac and the other is a 16" MBP docked to my 27" LG UltraFine. I have both in front of me, angled a bit toward each other. I use one keyboard and one mouse (thanks, Universal Control!), and it's really easy to just look at whatever screen I need when I need. Works well for my needs.
 
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