My Final Choice: 1 x 30" or 2 x 24"?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Subkultured, May 11, 2009.

  1. Subkultured macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2009
    Well, it looks like everything is set, and soon enough I'll have a gorgeous Apple-based workspace, with a shiny Mac Pro powering the setup. I've calculated all the prices, applied all the cuts, looked at all the promotions, and thought about (almost) every aspect of the purchase. All of it comes down to this.

    Before I explain the situation, know that I work in film and motion graphics. Thus far, I've only been working on a single 23" display, which served me great. However, this cycle, I'm prepared to go further -first, because I need the desktop real estate, and second, because I need to bring myself up to today's high-definition standards. For the past few days, I've been trying to compare some Mac Pro-based workspaces and setups, trying to see what looked like a nice fit. After hundreds of photos, I just can't decide.

    So, I'm going to ask the MR Community about it. I know this might be as simple as "what is more comfortable for you", but I'd like to know what some users have experienced first hand?

    So, what is the ideal display setup for me:

    • One 30" Display
    • Two 23/24" Displays


    - - - -

    In this topic, I'm referencing to the ACD/LED displays, but I'm also open to any other manufacturer's product. In fact, if anyone knows of some good, cheaper alternatives, I'd appreciate you pointing some out.
  2. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I find working with two monitors, no matter what their sizes to be the ultimate. I guess I've just gotten in the habit of working that way. Every time I'm working on a machine with just one monitor (such as I am now :mad:) I find it frustrating and limiting. Although I must say that spaces is possibly showing me another way.

    With two monitors, you can maximize your main application window on your primary display and then have finder or another app (email, browser, etc. ) open on the second monitor.

    I worked for a couple of years on a 30" Dell (2560x1600) with a 20" Dell 1600x1200 next to it in portrait mode which works nicely since the vertical resolution (and the physical height) was the same on both monitors in this configuration. That's really having your cake and eating it too though. :D

    It's worth re-iterating that this is how "I" prefer to work... It's not to say that one larger screen isn't better for some. Granted two of the largest screens would be ideal, but now we're just getting greedy. :p
  3. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    the best setup is having a 30" as a main screen and a smaller 20" or 24" on the side. Two would be even better.

    But yeah, having two different sizes help in organizing the work flow.
  4. mattlong1978 macrumors member


    Dec 4, 2008
    United Kingdom
    Two screens are better than one

    Initially I thought one huge screen would be best but after a bit of getting used to it I like the idea of two seperate screens and splitting my applications between them I'd never go back if anything two bigger screens would be nice :D
  5. gotzero macrumors 68040

    Jan 6, 2007
    Mid-Atlantic, US
    I started out with two 23"s, but wanted the bigger desktop of the 30".

    After getting a 30", I could not decide so currently I use a 30" with a 23" on each side (will be switching them to portrait mode once I get some parts from Ergotron which btw has some of the best customer service in the world).

    I get most of the work done on the 30", and the side displays show PDFs, remote windows, VMs, etc. It is a fantastic way to work.
  6. Subkultured thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2009
    Thanks for the input guys. I found out a few more advantages to both sides! Do you think that a good idea would be to first invest in a 30" display, and then purchase any secondary monitor at a later date? Or perhaps vice-versa, buying two 23/24" displays first, then investing in a 30" at a later date?
  7. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    i suggest going with the 30" first. For all you know, it might be enough for you thus saving $$ on getting another monitor.
  8. MarianoE, May 15, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  9. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    First off, both are awesome options :D. Now, for my thoughts...

    There have been multiple studies that cite productivity increases when moving to a dual monitor setup. I can tell you that my productivity dramatically increased when I moved to a laptop + second monitor setup. There's also other studies out there that say bigger monitors increase productivity, with a dropoff after 24". I can't vouch for this one, since i've never had a monitor larger than 24".

    Even putting those two sets of studies aside, I just love my dual monitors so that is what I would go with!
  10. pellets007 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2009
    New York
    I concur. I have a 13.3" MacBook hooked up to a 21.5"monitor at 1920 x 1080. The 21.5" is still a bit big for me, so I cannot fathom a 30" display.
  11. zer0tails macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    haha trust me...after a month the 30" seems like a regular sized monitor. I got used to mine very fast and that's when I decided i needed more pixels for work.

    As for the 30" and 24"LED not matching aesthetically. I don't really find that a problem since it's the display that matters not the outside..i don't know but that's just me.

    I see it as having the best of both worlds.
  12. lloydh macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2007
    London, England
    The 30 will really shine if you're compositing or working with multiple graphics and video apps. If you think you'll spend more time in an NLE then the two 24s will probably be more effective. A 30 and a reference display would really be ideal.

    Obviously if you're still thinking about ACDs then there's the glossy v. matte issue to consider. Is there even a Mini DisplayPort -> DVI adapter?

    In your situation I'd try to wait and see how the new 30s turn out (though knowing Apple it could be 1 week or 2 years). If you need to make a decision now (as I suspect is the case) I think that two 23/24s will probably serve you better (much as I adore the 30).
  13. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    I think it depends on the kind of work you will be doing. Suppose you usually only used one main app, such as logic which only has one window, a 30" would be best because you can make that window as big as possible in vertical height, which is useful to see all the audio channels.

    If you use two main apps at the same tile for your work, maybe Photoshop along side Aperture, two screens might be better because each app can have one screen each, so you can see both without them overlapping each other.
  14. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    My 2¢...

    I prefer one 30" to two independent displays, as what I do tends to involve either one window or a main window with a few smaller pallets (like Keynote).
    I found having to traverse one display to get to the second to be a bit of a hassle, and didn't like having a bezel right down the middle if I wanted to maximize the main window.

    I still have multiple displays, but the two aux. displays are usually off unless I specifically need them. The main display is an Apple 30" and the others are an LG 24" (1920x1200) and a Dell 20" (1600x1200). The 30" is run off an nVidia 8800GT and the other two are run off an nVidia 7300.

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