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Online Teacher Needs Laptop and Monitor(s)

justashooter

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2020
138
52
Your write speeds are OK, but your read speeds are low. They both should be about the same. My internal ssd is 475 write, 490 read. Are both of your drives almost full? Also, did you see my private message?
 

macsound1

macrumors regular
May 17, 2007
115
131
SF Bay Area
Hoping to help you save some money, increase productivity, and make you feel like you're not fighting your tech when sitting at your desk.

I think your Mac could use with replacing the internal drive to one large enough to eliminate the external Lacie. Thankfully for your model, it's a dozen screws and about an hour, super simple if you read through the iFixIt guide.
Purchase a 1TB internal SSD, use external SATA to USB interface and Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your old drive to your new drive.

Installing VmWare wouldn't be too much of an issue and install Windows on your mac. You can download a free 180 day version of windows directly from the microsoft website. Purchase if you like or save files to mac and delete and replace the VM when windows gets mad. Use command "slmgr -rearm" from a command prompt to remove the Activate watermark every 30 days.

Purchase a larger external monitor since it seems like you operate well with those 3 displays. Dell ultrasharps will be easy on the eyes and give you more pixels (more space). You don't want to feel like you've downgraded, and if you're working in windows and Mac OS at the same time, you'll probably not want to have to minimize windows constantly.

Purchase Logitech C920, an industry standard webcam that deals with lighting issues well and can clip on top of your monitor, so you have less of the "up the nose" angle when in zoom meetings.

I'd also vouch for using the mac in "clamshell" mode, that is, closed, and getting yourself a wired mouse. As nice as wireless is, sometimes the lag or dead battery is 1000 pins and needles killing you slowly over time. Lord knows we have tons of time to be annoyed...

Best of luck. Working from home has its benefits, especially when we don't want to be exposed to a life threatening virus, but most of us don't have homes setup to be offices for 40 hours a week. Check your chair too. Don't wanna screw up your back from not being ergonomic.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
Your write speeds are OK, but your read speeds are low. They both should be about the same. My internal ssd is 475 write, 490 read. Are both of your drives almost full? Also, did you see my private message?
156GM available on the external (system) 500GB SSD, and 16GB free on the internal 120GB SSD.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
Hoping to help you save some money, increase productivity, and make you feel like you're not fighting your tech when sitting at your desk.

I think your Mac could use with replacing the internal drive to one large enough to eliminate the external Lacie. Thankfully for your model, it's a dozen screws and about an hour, super simple if you read through the iFixIt guide.
Purchase a 1TB internal SSD, use external SATA to USB interface and Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your old drive to your new drive.

Installing VmWare wouldn't be too much of an issue and install Windows on your mac. You can download a free 180 day version of windows directly from the microsoft website. Purchase if you like or save files to mac and delete and replace the VM when windows gets mad. Use command "slmgr -rearm" from a command prompt to remove the Activate watermark every 30 days.

Purchase a larger external monitor since it seems like you operate well with those 3 displays. Dell ultrasharps will be easy on the eyes and give you more pixels (more space). You don't want to feel like you've downgraded, and if you're working in windows and Mac OS at the same time, you'll probably not want to have to minimize windows constantly.

Purchase Logitech C920, an industry standard webcam that deals with lighting issues well and can clip on top of your monitor, so you have less of the "up the nose" angle when in zoom meetings.

I'd also vouch for using the mac in "clamshell" mode, that is, closed, and getting yourself a wired mouse. As nice as wireless is, sometimes the lag or dead battery is 1000 pins and needles killing you slowly over time. Lord knows we have tons of time to be annoyed...

Best of luck. Working from home has its benefits, especially when we don't want to be exposed to a life threatening virus, but most of us don't have homes setup to be offices for 40 hours a week. Check your chair too. Don't wanna screw up your back from not being ergonomic.
I like the idea of the larger SSD card for my existing MacBook Pro. I then have a better connection to the external monitor, and if using the Mac in clamshell mode, I have more desk space.

I don't think I can do away with the PC laptop. School districts like control and I have little leeway in what I can install or access that's not centrally administered. I can't use Microsoft Remote Desktop, and since it would be my personal computer for Parallels and the like, it's disallowed. So I'm stuck with two computers.

So, I'm thinking of also buying another monitor, likely another Dell 21.5" with 1920 x 1080 resolution, since it seems ok and cheap, and it would be nice to have the Dell connected to an external monitor (I have old eyes and like bigger screens). Can the Dell laptop be used in clamshell mode? I still need a couple of keyboards and mice (a PITA). And the C920 is a good idea if I can find it in stock anywhere.
 
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Erehy Dobon

macrumors 68000
Feb 16, 2018
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So, I'm thinking of also buying another monitor, likely another Dell 21.5" with 1920 x 1080 resolution, since it seems ok and cheap, and it would be nice to have the Dell connected to an external monitor (I have old eyes and like bigger screens).
One day you will try a 32" QHD (2560x1440p) monitor and you will say to yourself "I wish I had the foresight to get one of these back in 2020."

Said someone with tired and old eyes...

My desktop real estate is essentially the same as yours and my 32" monitor fits comfortably on my less cluttered desk. I'm actually switching between two desktop computers right now (one is a Mac mini) but I could toss a third unit (Windows PC ultrabook) without any hesitation.
 
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wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
One day you will try a 32" QHD (2560x1440p) monitor and you will say to yourself "I wish I had the foresight to get one of these back in 2020."

Said someone with tired and old eyes...

My desktop real estate is essentially the same as yours and my 32" monitor fits comfortably on my less cluttered desk. I'm actually switching between two desktop computers right now (one is a Mac mini) but I could toss a third unit (Windows PC ultrabook) without any hesitation.
So I could use one external monitor for two computers - one Mac and one PC? Really?

Recommendations?
 

justashooter

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2020
138
52
So I could use one external monitor for two computers - one Mac and one PC? Really?
Yes. You could have 1 monitor, 1 keyboard and 1 mouse.

I have an Asus monitor that has HDMI, displayport, VGA inputs. The VGA is connected to an old Dell XP box I use as a server, the displayport is connected to the 2012 Macbook Pro. I use the ASUS monitor menu to switch the monitor between the computers, an old KVM switch to switch the keyboard and use 2 different mice (my preference). You could use something like this:
to switch a USB mouse and keyboard between the two. 1 monitor, mouse and keyboard for 2 computers.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
Yes. You could have 1 monitor, 1 keyboard and 1 mouse.

I have an Asus monitor that has HDMI, displayport, VGA inputs. The VGA is connected to an old Dell XP box I use as a server, the displayport is connected to the 2012 Macbook Pro. I use the ASUS monitor menu to switch the monitor between the computers, an old KVM switch to switch the keyboard and use 2 different mice (my preference). You could use something like this:
to switch a USB mouse and keyboard between the two. 1 monitor, mouse and keyboard for 2 computers.
Wow again! I had no idea a USB switcher existed. Very cool.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
Is there a switch that with just one touch of a button would switch a mouse, keyboard, and the monitor from one computer to the other? I see the mouse/keyboard switch, but if I want to use just one monitor for both computers I would have to push a second button on the monitor to switch screens between the two computers.
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,746
3,365
You don't need a KVM switch if you can install software on the work laptop. Get the program ShareMouse and you can interact with all 3 screens in your current setup from a single keyboard and mouse, as if you were interacting with one computer. Copy and paste and even dragging and dropping files between devices all work.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
You don't need a KVM switch if you can install software on the work laptop. Get the program ShareMouse and you can interact with all 3 screens in your current setup from a single keyboard and mouse, as if you were interacting with one computer. Copy and paste and even dragging and dropping files between devices all work.
I cannot add apps to my PC; the school district will not allow it.

So, would a KVM switch work? I've never heard of such a thing, but I'll search it.
 
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zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
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I cannot add apps to my PC; the school district will not allow it.

So, would a KVM switch work? I've never heard of such a thing, but I'll search it.

Yeah, if you get one like the one posted above that is driver-free it will probably work fine for you.
 

clueless88

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2020
100
24
Re-reading your original post it seems that you definitely should just do school related work on your district issued laptop. If there any problems with the apps (programs) or files you can reach out to the district IT for assistance. I don't think the problems you are have encountered running the school apps on your Mac has anything to do with the age of your Mac--these are probably Windows based programs with a Windows based infrastructure. Unless the district has invested $ in Mac machines, they will have no interest in supporting the Mac OS or provide licenses for Mac versions of their programs. In order to clean up the desktop it would be good to use the school laptop in a closed position which means you'll need a keyboard/mouse (wireless would be preferable--one dongle taking up only one usb port) as well as a microphone and camera. You could hook that up to your existing monitor, OR if it fits you can get a 32" 4K HDTV (probably for a lot less than a 32" computer monitor) and hook up the dell laptop as well as your MBP via HDMI cables. With the larger monitor you could have multiple windows/programs open on your desktop and actually be able to read the text in the windows. By using the TV you could use the TV remote to toggle between the two HDMI (or other inputs such as DVI, serial) sources without the need of a separate switch. If you use HDMI you may be able to get audio through the TV.

To reduce clutter and if you went the Logitech unifying route, you could get a second unifying receiver and pair it with the same keyboard and mouse. The only problem would be if you wanted to use both laptops simultaneously.

It does look like your Mac needs some attention/tweaking, but that is a separate issue, if you do school/teaching with the district laptop it will reduce the urgency to address that.
 
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mk313

macrumors 65816
Feb 6, 2012
1,115
464
Maybe I wasn’t clear in my prior posts, but I use one monitor, one keyboard & one mouse to handle both my work PC & my personal mac.

I don’t use a KVM, as in the past I had one & it was a lot of wires. It sounds like there may be wireless ones now, but I’ve never sued them.

I use a Logitech multi-device keyboard & mouse & a widescreen monitor with 2 HDMI inputs. I don’t switch between them often (a few times a day) so this works great for me. When I start the work day, I turn the switch on the monitor to my work laptop and these the “input 2” buttons on the mouse & keyboard, and I’m ready to go. At the end of the day. I do the reverse and am back to my personal Mac.
 

Erehy Dobon

macrumors 68000
Feb 16, 2018
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So I could use one external monitor for two computers - one Mac and one PC? Really?

Recommendations?
With a handful of exceptions pretty much any monitor built in the 10-15 years has multiple inputs.

Here is the one I'm currently using Dell S3320DGF QHD 2560x1440p, 165Hz

While this monitor made the Tom's Hardware list of Best Gaming Monitors, it is in fact a very capable productivity monitor (I was seeking a monitor that could do both). The full review is here.

I had a 24" Dell 1080p monitor that died after 12 years of service. Dell's quality is pretty solid. That one also had multiple inputs; I think I bought it around 2006.

The main caveat is that this particular monitor has no built-in speakers. If you are primarily doing productivity work, you might consider one with speakers.

The 32" Dell replaced a 27" LG monitor (the latter is now a backup living in another room). The LG monitor -- model 27UL850-W -- has USB-C connectivity. It is an excellent productivity monitor.

The KVM switch can be useful. Those have been around since at least the the early Nineties. The main caveat is that PC and Mac key mappings are slightly different and some of the function or media keys might not function as you might expect when you switch inputs.

If your school district's IT department actually does their job, they should be able to provide specific hardware recommendations for you because they are PAID to support you and district issued computing assets. If they assign you a monitor and other peripherals, they need to provide support. THAT'S THEIR JOB.

Integrating a personal device like a Mac isn't their responsibility. Like someone said before, a sensible course of action is to separate your work and personal life.
 
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wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
24
Re-reading your original post it seems that you definitely should just do school related work on your district issued laptop. If there any problems with the apps (programs) or files you can reach out to the district IT for assistance. I don't think the problems you are have encountered running the school apps on your Mac has anything to do with the age of your Mac--these are probably Windows based programs with a Windows based infrastructure. Unless the district has invested $ in Mac machines, they will have no interest in supporting the Mac OS or provide licenses for Mac versions of their programs. In order to clean up the desktop it would be good to use the school laptop in a closed position which means you'll need a keyboard/mouse (wireless would be preferable--one dongle taking up only one usb port) as well as a microphone and camera. You could hook that up to your existing monitor, OR if it fits you can get a 32" 4K HDTV (probably for a lot less than a 32" computer monitor) and hook up the dell laptop as well as your MBP via HDMI cables. With the larger monitor you could have multiple windows/programs open on your desktop and actually be able to read the text in the windows. By using the TV you could use the TV remote to toggle between the two HDMI (or other inputs such as DVI, serial) sources without the need of a separate switch. If you use HDMI you may be able to get audio through the TV.

To reduce clutter and if you went the Logitech unifying route, you could get a second unifying receiver and pair it with the same keyboard and mouse. The only problem would be if you wanted to use both laptops simultaneously.

It does look like your Mac needs some attention/tweaking, but that is a separate issue, if you do school/teaching with the district laptop it will reduce the urgency to address that.
What's the difference between a TV and computer monitor? Are they interchangeable? Would a 4K 32" tv work well in an office setting? And if so, suggestions for a 4K 32" TV? Or, if not, what's a good 27-32" monitor? Thanks.
 
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clueless88

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2020
100
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Computer monitors may or may not have speakers. TVs may or may not have TV tuners and may or may not have streaming/smart capabilities. Do you belong to Costco? You could just buy a 32" TV from them (or two or 3 different ones) and hook them up to your computer(s). You keep the one that you like and return the others (or if you don't like the way any of them look you can return all of them)--Costco has no restocking fees, even if you took the TVs out and tried them. I personally am using an older offbrand 24" monitor. You may find out that 32" is too big for your desk--it is all personal preference. I think with TVs now days, brands don't really matter so much--would shy away from the higher end TVs and go for a mid price range one.
 
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wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
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Computer monitors may or may not have speakers. TVs may or may not have TV tuners and may or may not have streaming/smart capabilities. Do you belong to Costco? You could just buy a 32" TV from them (or two or 3 different ones) and hook them up to your computer(s). You keep the one that you like and return the others (or if you don't like the way any of them look you can return all of them)--Costco has no restocking fees, even if you took the TVs out and tried them. I personally am using an older offbrand 24" monitor. You may find out that 32" is too big for your desk--it is all personal preference. I think with TVs now days, brands don't really matter so much--would shy away from the higher end TVs and go for a mid price range one.
I do have COSTCO nearby. Would you suggest a 4K version?
 

zhenya

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Jan 6, 2005
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I do have COSTCO nearby. Would you suggest a 4K version?

Personally, I would not recommend a TV as a monitor. First, a 32" screen is likely going to be too big for your desk if you want the two laptops as well. Second, the panel quality of an inexpensive TV is much lower than that of even a halfway decent monitor. Fine for watching TV at 10-15' away, much more noticeable when you are working with text at 2'.

I would buy a 24-27" Dell monitor with QHD resolution (2560x1440). Buy from the Dell business line and you are pretty well guaranteed a high quality panel with excellent calibration and viewing angles, and for this size range, QHD is good enough without the potential scaling issues of 4k (which can be worked around, but save the money - why bother?) You will pay a little bit more for a Dell than a Samsung or whatever brand off Amazon, but you avoid the hit-or-miss of those brands where you might get a good model or you might not.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
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Right now my priorities are:

1) internal ram
2) stand to hold mac laptop in closed position
3) external webcam
4) mic (I have Samson Q2U on backorder, but would the Samson Meteor be better since it's smaller?)

I would like to see how much I can do on my Mac and not the PC. And no. I don't want to separate work and home computers. I have some side business that I need to use the home computer (plus I like Macs better).

5) then maybe a better and larger monitor, or just a second 21.5" for the PC.
 

wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
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Personally, I would not recommend a TV as a monitor. First, a 32" screen is likely going to be too big for your desk if you want the two laptops as well. Second, the panel quality of an inexpensive TV is much lower than that of even a halfway decent monitor. Fine for watching TV at 10-15' away, much more noticeable when you are working with text at 2'.

I would buy a 24-27" Dell monitor with QHD resolution (2560x1440). Buy from the Dell business line and you are pretty well guaranteed a high quality panel with excellent calibration and viewing angles, and for this size range, QHD is good enough without the potential scaling issues of 4k (which can be worked around, but save the money - why bother?) You will pay a little bit more for a Dell than a Samsung or whatever brand off Amazon, but you avoid the hit-or-miss of those brands where you might get a good model or you might not.
This make sense, and I do miss my 27" monitor with my old iMac. Would the Dell UltraSharp U2719D be a good choice?
 

brianmowrey

macrumors 6502
Oct 5, 2020
363
105
Prioritize 3 & 4 before worrying about 1, 2, and 5. Connect Cam and Mic, fold lid and gauge your mac’s full clamshell potential. There’s nothing inside a newer mbp that will make a non-video-editor’s experience better than a 2012 with 16gb memory machine would.
 
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wacomme

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 21, 2009
284
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Prioritize 3 & 4 before worrying about 1, 2, and 5. Connect Cam and Mic, fold lid and gauge your mac’s full clamshell potential. There’s nothing inside a newer mbp that will make a non-video-editor’s experience better than a 2012 with 16gb memory machine would.
Sounds good.
 
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