From 13" MBA to Dual Display Setup - How to get there?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Octavian89, May 20, 2011.

  1. Octavian89 macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2011
    I currently have current-gen 13" MacBook Air that I use for work (I'm self employed). After reading this comprehensive and thoroughly convincing post on the productivity advantages of having a multiple-display setup, I've decided to take the plunge. My questions is how best to do it. My budget is pretty flexible as my business will pay for it and I'm always looking for things to expense :).

    1. First of all, can my MBA power 2 large displays (either 27" or 30") displays (methinks not)? I'd rather not get into a lot of adapters and doodads to hook the monitors up.

    2. Apple 27" LED vs 30" Cinema (used on ebay)? What would you choose?

    3. Apple displays versus other brands. I'm a diehard Apple guy but could be convinced to buy another brand of monitor if the value proposition is compelling. I'm willing to pay the price for Apple gear if it's considerably better.

    4. If my MBA won't be able to push out all of the needed pixels to drive 2 large displays, what other hardware options should I explore? I sync all of my work files via dropbox so adding another machine to the mix won't be an issue at all. Would a MacMini be able to power dual displays?
  2. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    to get to 2 external monitors, you will have to add a video adapter. You could get a USB adapter (which is not likely to support a 27 -30 inch display) or something like the Matrox DualHead To Go (which probably won't do 2 large displays either).

    You might consider a single 27 or 30 inch display ( which the MBA will drive) then use the built-in LCD as the other display. I use a Rain Design mStand with my 15" MBP along with a second display and I find this to provide plenty of space. Maybe try this out with a single monitor before buying both + the required gizmos...

    a mac mini should be able to drive the 2 monitors, but not 2 cinema displays (the HDMI port only supports 1920 x 1080).

    If you're willing to buy a second mac anyway, you might do best with a 27" iMac + 27" cinema display.
  3. Octavian89 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2011
    Thanks for the advice. In doing some research, it appears there is no way for me to drive 2 27" ACDs from my 13" MBA. The Matrox DualHead2Go seems to be the only external adapter out there and it doesn't come close to the 5120x1440 resolution that I'd need to run the 2 displays. I think I'll just go with the 1 27" ACD.
  4. Octavian89 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2011
    I purchased 1 27" ACD and am very pleased with it. I must say that I'm still itching for some more screen real estate.

    I checked out the CinemaView Duo that you mentioned, but it doesn't support the resolution of the 27", only the 24". I emailed the company and asked if they are planning on supporting the 27". We'll see what they say.
  5. s.hasan546 macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2011
    do you really need more than a 27"? i tried my freind 27" iMac and i personally like my 2 23" & 1 22" monitor setup. I feel like those sizes best since they each arn't too big and still have the benefits of a multi monitor setup.
  6. firmansolutions macrumors member


    May 31, 2010
    I bought 2 x 24" ACD's on eBay and am running the Matrox DualHead2Go setup. I am using a new 2011 MBP 15". Works quite well but has a few issues with waking up the screens with the MBP lid closed.

    It had been de-stablised by the latest firmware and software update from Matrox.

    So, it works and dual screen is great but you do need to tinker.

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