MacBook Pro 16" & Pro Display XDR - Clamshell Mode

vodouman

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 30, 2008
202
9
London
Hey guys,

I have a Pro Display sitting here in my office, awaiting the arrival of a new MBP16.

I intend to use the MBP in clamshell mode for most of the time I'll be driving the monitor. Is anyone using a config like this? I was wondering how the MBP ran from a heat and noise perspective with this pairing?

I was on the fence about buying a Mac Pro... I'm hoping I didn't make the wrong choice here!

- Vodouman
 

nethead

macrumors newbie
Oct 5, 2008
19
18
It works really well for me. The dGPU only pulls ~5W, so this combo doesn’t have the power drain bug that other monitors often trigger, where it constantly pulls ~20W and generates a lot of heat.

Under normal usage, I can’t hear any fan noise even in a quiet room. Obviously when the CPU or GPU gets busy, the fans turn up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MacFlaX

vodouman

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 30, 2008
202
9
London
It works really well for me. The dGPU only pulls ~5W, so this combo doesn’t have the power drain bug that other monitors often trigger, where it constantly pulls ~20W and generates a lot of heat.

Under normal usage, I can’t hear any fan noise even in a quiet room. Obviously when the CPU or GPU gets busy, the fans turn up.
Thanks so much for sharing this.

I had read a lot of threads on here about the 16” MBP running super loud and hot in clamshell and I wondered about the practical long term viability of a setup like that.

My machine was dispatched from China by Apple yesterday. Hopefully get it early next week :)

Happy to hear other feedback from users too.
 

AndreeOnline

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
443
259
Zürich
Hey guys, I want in on this. Please keep me in the loop.

I was late out of the gate ordering the 16" MacBook Pro, but it's coming tomorrow. A bit about my setup:

  • The Pixla Mac Pro in a separate office outside of my apartment (same house though) with dual monitor setup.
  • My trusty 2016 MacBook Pro that I bring to place of work every day.
  • Semi recent buy: late 2015 iMac 5K that sits in small office space in apartment. This top end late 2015 iMac with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD was amazing value at $1200 (cheaper than an LG monitor only, basically) and works well for office work and entry-mid level Xcode.
Since I got the iMac, I've been using my 2016 MBP less at home. Only for light reading and watching videos basically. But as happy as I've been with the 2015 iMac, what I really want now is to sell it (at least at break even) and replace it with a Pro XDR and use the new 2019 MBP 16 in clamshell mode with external keyboard and trackpad. Down the line I'm looking to see if the BMD eGPUs get a refresh and I might hook one of those up too, in order to get workstation-ish performance from clamshell, eGPU and Pro XDR.

So far I've only replaced my 2016 MBP for a 2019 MBP and I'm not looking forward to doing any costly mistakes. I do quite a bit of photo/video both in SDR and HDR so I can invest in a proper monitor, but I want it to be rock solid if I spend the money. There aren't many videos online about this setup that I can find. Do you guys have any links?

Summary, overall objective: invest in mobile platform (MBP 16") that can also be used for home office space with iMac 5K quality display, or better.

Anyway... please keep this up to date with your experiences! I'd love to see some photos too!
 

vodouman

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 30, 2008
202
9
London
Hey guys, I want in on this. Please keep me in the loop.

I was late out of the gate ordering the 16" MacBook Pro, but it's coming tomorrow. A bit about my setup:

  • The Pixla Mac Pro in a separate office outside of my apartment (same house though) with dual monitor setup.
  • My trusty 2016 MacBook Pro that I bring to place of work every day.
  • Semi recent buy: late 2015 iMac 5K that sits in small office space in apartment. This top end late 2015 iMac with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD was amazing value at $1200 (cheaper than an LG monitor only, basically) and works well for office work and entry-mid level Xcode.
Since I got the iMac, I've been using my 2016 MBP less at home. Only for light reading and watching videos basically. But as happy as I've been with the 2015 iMac, what I really want now is to sell it (at least at break even) and replace it with a Pro XDR and use the new 2019 MBP 16 in clamshell mode with external keyboard and trackpad. Down the line I'm looking to see if the BMD eGPUs get a refresh and I might hook one of those up too, in order to get workstation-ish performance from clamshell, eGPU and Pro XDR.

So far I've only replaced my 2016 MBP for a 2019 MBP and I'm not looking forward to doing any costly mistakes. I do quite a bit of photo/video both in SDR and HDR so I can invest in a proper monitor, but I want it to be rock solid if I spend the money. There aren't many videos online about this setup that I can find. Do you guys have any links?

Summary, overall objective: invest in mobile platform (MBP 16") that can also be used for home office space with iMac 5K quality display, or better.

Anyway... please keep this up to date with your experiences! I'd love to see some photos too!
I received my 16” MBP yesterday. I’ll set it up later today and share some feedback on experience when paired with XDR.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AndreeOnline

AndreeOnline

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
443
259
Zürich
I received my 16” MBP yesterday. I’ll set it up later today and share some feedback on experience when paired with XDR.
Much appreciated. I'm especially interested in if it's 100% seamless if I sit down at my desk and plug my MBP into the single cable going into the XDR.

I envision my MBP standing in one of those stands, clammed up and plugged in, turning my XDR into an iMac deluxe.

Ideally, plugging in the cable to the monitor would be the same as lifting the lid, i.e. I want the XDR to "wake" and give me an image.

Every little bit of 'micro management' such as having to plug the MBP in with the lid open before clamming it takes me out of my solution and needs careful consideration if it's worth it.

Looking forward to the initial reports!
 

ARBORIOSTUDIO

macrumors newbie
Jan 29, 2020
5
0
I have a MBP 16 and XDR waiting for the stand to arrive tomorrow so I can try this. If it's loud I will either bite the bullet and get a Mac Pro or wait for a redesign on the iMac.
 

AndreeOnline

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
443
259
Zürich
In the meantime I’ve been looking at an other thread about external monitors. It seems the MBP can get hot when connected to external, high resolution monitors. Curious to hear if that happens on the XDR too,

It might be that the best setup would be to hookup the MBP to a Blackmagic eGPU (hopefully refreshed soon) and then plug that into the XDR. That would be OK with me too, but it would be nice if it isn‘t necessary.
 

XNorth

macrumors 6502
Feb 23, 2018
274
198
United States
I’m interested in the XDR as well for a reference monitor, to replace an LG 34" 5K2K.

Current setup is the 16" connected to the LG 34" and LG 27" 5K and works flawlessly. Plug and play with just one TB cable to each monitor. The 16" gets hot but only under a heavy workload, and is well within the specs of the 16", which is rated to support two XDR displays.
 

AndreeOnline

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
443
259
Zürich
Current setup is the 16" connected to the LG 34" and LG 27" 5K and works flawlessly. Plug and play with just one TB cable to each monitor. The 16" gets hot but only under a heavy workload.
Thanks for pitching in.

Hot is a non issue, but does it get loud too?
 

AndreeOnline

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
443
259
Zürich
The fans kick in and it does get louder, for example when I share/export from FCPX.
Sure... but that doesn't count. I'm talking more about bugs like if just the fact that you connect the monitor somehow triggers the fans even when doing browsing or watching Netflix.

Every case where the fans would come on if the MacBook Pro was used as a single unit is going to be the same with the monitor attached, of course.

Let's see if we can get some actual users of MBP 16 and XDR to report!
 

ARBORIOSTUDIO

macrumors newbie
Jan 29, 2020
5
0
OK, I'm all setup with the MBP 16 and Pro XDR. I have been using it in clamshell mode for a couple of hours under photo browsing in Lightroom and Photoshop as well as email, web browsing while watching Youtube and it has been silent. When I open up Cinema 4D and start an interactive render window the fan kicks in even when open but that's expected. I have to say I'm pretty impressed so far but it's early. At least it will keep me from dropping $11k on a Mac Pro for now.
 

gugy

macrumors 68040
Jan 31, 2005
3,352
4,079
La Jolla, CA
OK, I'm all setup with the MBP 16 and Pro XDR. I have been using it in clamshell mode for a couple of hours under photo browsing in Lightroom and Photoshop as well as email, web browsing while watching Youtube and it has been silent. When I open up Cinema 4D and start an interactive render window the fan kicks in even when open but that's expected. I have to say I'm pretty impressed so far but it's early. At least it will keep me from dropping $11k on a Mac Pro for now.
I am a motion designer and I am very curios about the MBP performance with C4D and After Effects. What's your overall impression?
I am also considering migrate from my old 5,1 MP to the MBP16" and get a XDR display to use with my two 30"ACDs. Thanks
 

ARBORIOSTUDIO

macrumors newbie
Jan 29, 2020
5
0
I am a motion designer and I am very curios about the MBP performance with C4D and After Effects. What's your overall impression?
I am also considering migrate from my old 5,1 MP to the MBP16" and get a XDR display to use with my two 30"ACDs. Thanks
I haven't really pushed it with C4D but it works great for light modeling while traveling. In the studio I use a BOXX Workstation for architectural design and rendering but now that Apple seems to be on board with Pros again I'm moving back in that direction. I'm looking forward to Metal support for Octane and Redshift.
 

vodouman

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 30, 2008
202
9
London
Here's my update.

The Pro Display is great when paired with the MBP16.

Pros:-
+ It looks incredible.
+ Even under load, the MBP might spin up and make some noise but it seemed to handle that just fine without having to open the lid to let it breathe.
+ It is a single cable and it works great. Plug it in, off you go. Even if the lid is closed to begin with.

Cons:-
+ The ports on the back work for some stuff and not others, and it doesn't seem clear where the line is... E.g., USB-audio - nope - at least mine didn't anyway, I had to plug it directly into the MB16 itself to make it work. USB-C to Gb Ethernet adapter - nope - had to plug into MBP. But my external SSD did plug in just fine -shrug-.

It's a great display but because of the weird port compromises I'm taking it back. I wanted it to be simple but it's not. I'm still going to have a load of dongles on my desk.

Also... I haven't finished migrating stuff to my new MBP16 yet so I'm still running at late 2014 iMac(5k) next to it on the desk... And really... Truly... The difference in quality between the two is absolutely there... but it's not £6k amount of difference - it's minor.

Going to get a LG 32UD99 instead.
 
  • Like
Reactions: XNorth and tearsen

AndreeOnline

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
443
259
Zürich
Thanks for the update guys—minor warts and all.

Essentially it seems to work, but then there are those limitations mentioned.

I'm still running at late 2014 iMac(5k) next to it on the desk... And really... Truly... The difference in quality between the two is absolutely there... but it's not £6k amount of difference - it's minor.
IIRC the XDR is the same pixel pitch as the 5K iMacs, just bigger. And to add to that we have all the specific modes for HDR and other content creation (major selling point for me). But if you're just watching it in SDR with normal content it should probably look very similar to an iMac. It's still a LCD screen and the 5K P3 iMac is quite OK.
 

syndr0me

macrumors regular
Sep 17, 2014
132
79
Here's my update.

The Pro Display is great when paired with the MBP16.

Pros:-
+ It looks incredible.
+ Even under load, the MBP might spin up and make some noise but it seemed to handle that just fine without having to open the lid to let it breathe.
+ It is a single cable and it works great. Plug it in, off you go. Even if the lid is closed to begin with.

Cons:-
+ The ports on the back work for some stuff and not others, and it doesn't seem clear where the line is... E.g., USB-audio - nope - at least mine didn't anyway, I had to plug it directly into the MB16 itself to make it work. USB-C to Gb Ethernet adapter - nope - had to plug into MBP. But my external SSD did plug in just fine -shrug-.

It's a great display but because of the weird port compromises I'm taking it back. I wanted it to be simple but it's not. I'm still going to have a load of dongles on my desk.

Also... I haven't finished migrating stuff to my new MBP16 yet so I'm still running at late 2014 iMac(5k) next to it on the desk... And really... Truly... The difference in quality between the two is absolutely there... but it's not £6k amount of difference - it's minor.

Going to get a LG 32UD99 instead.
Still waiting for mine. I think I'd be okay with just similar/somewhat better picture quality over the LG5K but with more space. But it's absolutely got to do all the things the LG struggles with right to be justified. Reliable wake from sleep, not doing the open the lid/close the lid/unplug the cable dance half the time, not flop around on the stand, not retain images. And of course, the ports need to work. The stuff you mentioned not working seems odd to me. Everything I've read says you should be getting USB 3.0 speeds with a 16" MBP at 6K since it supports display stream compression.
 

vodouman

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 30, 2008
202
9
London
The stuff you mentioned not working seems odd to me. Everything I've read says you should be getting USB 3.0 speeds with a 16" MBP at 6K since it supports display stream compression.
Absolutely. It makes no sense to me either. The 16" MBP is indeed cable of using full USB3.0 speeds through those ports because of display stream compression. Totally unclear as to why it wouldn't work. As I said further up, it is entirely frustrating that there's no way to know whether something is simply going to work or not and spending thousands of pounds to get ports that - may or may not work - is not really acceptable.

I returned the monitor to my local Apple Store. I know the store manager and he was super excited to get it in the back with his team and take a look haha.

- Vodouman
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.