Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

Appledoesnotlisten

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 2, 2017
505
208
I am trying to figure out what is best for desk productivity:

2 independent MBPs (not connected with any screen sharing or anything like that)
OR
1 MBP + 1 or 2 external monitors?

What I dislike about external monitors, is that if I need to type something on it, I have to move mouse "there" and "bring it back", which is sometimes very annoying. With 2 MBPs I need to move half of my body, but the mouses remain where I leave them, which is a different scenario, it's hard to say which is better in the long run.

What do you think? Has anybody tried such a comparison?

Thank you!
 

mightyjabba

macrumors 68000
Sep 25, 2014
1,586
328
Tatooine
I suppose it depends on what you're doing on the machines, but I don't really see how using two separate computers is going to be good for productivity. Do you not need to do things like copy and paste, etc.? I would also find it difficult to remember which machine was dedicated to which programs, etc.
 

Appledoesnotlisten

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 2, 2017
505
208
I suppose it depends on what you're doing on the machines, but I don't really see how using two separate computers is going to be good for productivity. Do you not need to do things like copy and paste, etc.? I would also find it difficult to remember which machine was dedicated to which programs, etc.
Yeah, copy-paste is a no-no here,
but remembering what is where will be easy once you start using that.
 

SuperSonic80

macrumors member
Apr 20, 2019
38
31
If two MBPs share the same iCloud account there should not be issues with copy-paste.

The solution I would recommend will be 2 same size monitors installed next to each other and 1 MBP with the closed lid (only in this case you will have no problems with the cursor). I would not recommend using 1 monitor + 1 MBP, different screen sizes will drive you nuts.

Personally, I use two MBPs (2012 + 2019). 2012 primarily to browse some stuff in the Chrome and 2019 for work. Never had issues with this setup.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nicho

buran-energia

macrumors 6502
Oct 9, 2017
285
104
I am trying to figure out what is best for desk productivity:

2 independent MBPs (not connected with any screen sharing or anything like that)
OR
1 MBP + 1 or 2 external monitors?

What I dislike about external monitors, is that if I need to type something on it, I have to move mouse "there" and "bring it back", which is sometimes very annoying. With 2 MBPs I need to move half of my body, but the mouses remain where I leave them, which is a different scenario, it's hard to say which is better in the long run.

What do you think? Has anybody tried such a comparison?

Thank you!

I can't see 2 mbps being faster and better for productivity than 1 plus, say, a good 4k monitor.

No problem with the mouse. My mouse is set to relatively high sensitivity with acceleration off, and it's comfortable to use.
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
71,697
40,889
What will two computers give you that a single powerful one will not?

I've always found in using more then one computer, problems with syncing data and at leat for me a reliance on one
 

jerryk

Contributor
Nov 3, 2011
7,349
4,146
SF Bay Area
When you have work spread across more than one computer it is more to maintain and keep synced and more to places to lose track of things. As a result, I prefer one computer and multiple monitors.

Regarding the need to use the mouse, there are keyboard shortcuts for moving between windows and monitors so your fingers never need to leave the keyboard.
 

chrono1081

macrumors G3
Jan 26, 2008
8,169
3,245
Isla Nublar
I am trying to figure out what is best for desk productivity:

2 independent MBPs (not connected with any screen sharing or anything like that)
OR
1 MBP + 1 or 2 external monitors?

What I dislike about external monitors, is that if I need to type something on it, I have to move mouse "there" and "bring it back", which is sometimes very annoying. With 2 MBPs I need to move half of my body, but the mouses remain where I leave them, which is a different scenario, it's hard to say which is better in the long run.

What do you think? Has anybody tried such a comparison?

Thank you!

What the? Why on earth would you think two computers would increase productivity. Unless the second computer is doing some singular task you don't want to tie up your main computer for (like rendering a 3D animation) you're not going to be more productive with multiple laptops. You'll have all kinds of issues keeping data in sync. While iCloud does a great job at syncing data, it's not always perfect, no network solution is.


I never understood how more monitors increase productivity


They're great for programming or art. Having the ability to have multiple windows up is a godsend vs constantly switching between windows.
 

amgff84

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2019
377
294
I am trying to figure out what is best for desk productivity:

2 independent MBPs (not connected with any screen sharing or anything like that)
OR
1 MBP + 1 or 2 external monitors?

What I dislike about external monitors, is that if I need to type something on it, I have to move mouse "there" and "bring it back", which is sometimes very annoying. With 2 MBPs I need to move half of my body, but the mouses remain where I leave them, which is a different scenario, it's hard to say which is better in the long run.

What do you think? Has anybody tried such a comparison?

Thank you!

While I was in school, I finished my last year with a Mac mini and an ultra wide monitor (2560x1080). MacOS was very easy to use and I would write my paper on one side of the screen and have my research materials on the other side. I still own this set up, and was considering putting it up stairs. I have a Docked MacBook and 19" monitor in my living room as its small and fits well into my condo's living room.

An ultra wide monitor is essentially 2 4:3 ratio monitors, but they do make wider, I would make sure your Mac supports it prior to purchase. I found this to flow better than two individual monitors, but everyone has their preference.
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
71,697
40,889
An ultra wide monitor is essentially 2 4:3 ratio monitors,
That's what I now have and I love it. A nice anecdote, after setting it up, my daughter came and saw it on my desk and said it was ugly and huge. Then the following day, I see her using it and the curved display just enveloping her and I asked her again and she's was loving the large display Made a huge difference. Its increased my productivity and its a nice addition :)
 

amgff84

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2019
377
294
That's what I now have and I love it. A nice anecdote, after setting it up, my daughter came and saw it on my desk and said it was ugly and huge. Then the following day, I see her using it and the curved display just enveloping her and I asked her again and she's was loving the large display Made a huge difference. Its increased my productivity and its a nice addition :)

Yeah, it looks a little funny but you get used to it. I have a 3 bedroom Condo, so while it's super efficient... things get tight quick with 3 kids. I have a large desk in my bedroom with no computer on it since I removed the old tower. Might set things up there.
 

hipnetic

macrumors 65816
Oct 5, 2010
1,244
526
If money is no object, then 2x MBP would give you twice the power, RAM, and storage space compared to 1x MBP + an extra monitor. But if you're buying two of the least expensive MBP 16, you could buy one of the higher-spec'd models and an extra monitor, and pay less while still getting much of the advantage (you'd lose out on the number of CPU cores, but if you want to be able to take advantage of all of the cores for a single app, you'd be better off with the single MBP). Also, I wouldn't necessarily want to have 256GB worth of stuff on one laptop and 256GB of other stuff on a 2nd laptop and then need to access a lot of the stuff from one for the other, but depending on what types of files they are, a fast ethernet or Wi-Fi connection might be fine.

In my situation, I actually do have two different MBP laptops on my home office desk, but that's because one is employer-supplied, while the other one is my personal MBP. I also have two Dell 25" 2560x1440 monitors (which I sometimes devote to one of the laptops, but most of the time I allocate one for each).

I tried experimenting with a 43" Sony 4K TV at one point, but it felt a little too large/close. A 40" might be more workable. But with TVs/monitors this large and close, you find yourself twisting your head around quite a bit to see all corners, and the corners also end up being a bit dimmer. A curved (and not as tall) ultrawide monitor would be better for productivity purposes.
 

Appledoesnotlisten

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 2, 2017
505
208
If money is no object, then 2x MBP would give you twice the power, RAM, and storage space compared to 1x MBP + an extra monitor. But if you're buying two of the least expensive MBP 16, you could buy one of the higher-spec'd models and an extra monitor, and pay less while still getting much of the advantage (you'd lose out on the number of CPU cores, but if you want to be able to take advantage of all of the cores for a single app, you'd be better off with the single MBP). Also, I wouldn't necessarily want to have 256GB worth of stuff on one laptop and 256GB of other stuff on a 2nd laptop and then need to access a lot of the stuff from one for the other, but depending on what types of files they are, a fast ethernet or Wi-Fi connection might be fine.

In my situation, I actually do have two different MBP laptops on my home office desk, but that's because one is employer-supplied, while the other one is my personal MBP. I also have two Dell 25" 2560x1440 monitors (which I sometimes devote to one of the laptops, but most of the time I allocate one for each).

I tried experimenting with a 43" Sony 4K TV at one point, but it felt a little too large/close. A 40" might be more workable. But with TVs/monitors this large and close, you find yourself twisting your head around quite a bit to see all corners, and the corners also end up being a bit dimmer. A curved (and not as tall) ultrawide monitor would be better for productivity purposes.
Money is secondary. Right now I have 2*15" 2017 that are good enough and bought a 16" that I consider returning. I also have 2 Dell p2415Q, but I like to move my laptop around a lot and feel like working with 2 laptops is so much better for portability even withing my house (but I usually keep my 2nd laptop on my desk anyway).
[automerge]1577912519[/automerge]
What will two computers give you that a single powerful one will not?

I've always found in using more then one computer, problems with syncing data and at leat for me a reliance on one
They are all-powerful enough. What I am looking for is convenience and productivity.
 

chrono1081

macrumors G3
Jan 26, 2008
8,169
3,245
Isla Nublar
for web programming? code editor on main monitor and browser on second monitor?

That would be a good use for one. It all depends what you're developing. I develop iOS apps and it's nice to have Xcode in one window, and documentation or files I need to constantly reference in the other.

I mean you can do it just on the laptop screen but if you have to do a lot of referencing documentation you'll end up doing a lot of shuffling of windows.
 

jinnyman

macrumors 6502a
Sep 2, 2011
752
664
Lincolnshire, IL
I like to run multiple machines while I work so I think I can give some feedback.

To be honest, sticking with one machine is most productive with right setup. As others suggested, two external monitors with same size and resolution while MBP is in clamshell mode is ideal. Two screen as I like to allocate one entire screen to my program window and other for shell/terminal/other apps/etc. The same size desktop spaces are really straightforward in user experience and crucial. My work laptop is connected that way. When on mobile, all I have to do is disconnect the machine from the dock (just one TB3 cable connection).

The reason I'm using multiple machines is somewhat personal, one Mac laptop for personal and calendar/scheduling task, my desktop for heavy duty work requiring CPU & GPU (the work I do with win desktop is not really for my work, but rather personal graphic rendering and editing).

Also, I like to make my multiple machine running under load while I do work in my main. It's weirdly satisfying to see multiple machine doing work while I do others. :)
But honestly, you don't need multiple machines.
 

Appledoesnotlisten

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 2, 2017
505
208
I like to run multiple machines while I work so I think I can give some feedback.

To be honest, sticking with one machine is most productive with right setup. As others suggested, two external monitors with same size and resolution while MBP is in clamshell mode is ideal. Two screen as I like to allocate one entire screen to my program window and other for shell/terminal/other apps/etc. The same size desktop spaces are really straightforward in user experience and crucial. My work laptop is connected that way. When on mobile, all I have to do is disconnect the machine from the dock (just one TB3 cable connection).

The reason I'm using multiple machines is somewhat personal, one Mac laptop for personal and calendar/scheduling task, my desktop for heavy duty work requiring CPU & GPU (the work I do with win desktop is not really for my work, but rather personal graphic rendering and editing).

Also, I like to make my multiple machine running under load while I do work in my main. It's weirdly satisfying to see multiple machine doing work while I do others. :)
But honestly, you don't need multiple machines.
I cannot type without glancing on my keyboard, so notebooks keyboards, that ae every cloys to high resolution screens, are very convenient for me.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.