Users who dock their MBP and use monitor vs. desktop...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Dr.Duct_Mossburg, Dec 9, 2018.

  1. Dr.Duct_Mossburg macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    #1
    Any compromises made?

    My current setup is a Late 2014 MBP with a late 2015 27" iMac. I've been thinking about swapping both for a dedicated new 2018 MBP and a large monitor (potentially the 38" LG).

    My biggest thought behind this is having all of my programs and files on one computer vs. having to move files around and having to buy multiple subscriptions.

    For those that have done it, what am i (if anything) giving up?

    I work from home about 50% of the time... the other 25% im flying somewhere and the other 25% its just typical local travel for 8-10 hour days.

    TIA
     
  2. Trey M macrumors 6502a

    Trey M

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Definitely think there are benefits for having one machine vs. two. Having to always keep 2 devices in sync can be a major pain, especially when it comes to your typical stuff (software updates, app updates, multiple backups, etc).

    Performance wise I’m fairly certain the latest MBPs will blow your iMac away. You really won’t be giving up much. Even if you hate the new keyboards, you’ll used it docked with a different keyboard anyways.

    I personally use my MBP to drive dual displays (one is 4K) and I love it. I have absolutely no complaints and if you have a Thunderbolt 3 dock, it basically makes it a desktop-like experience.
     
  3. Dr.Duct_Mossburg thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    #3
    Thanks for the reply. My iMac isn’t that great. I got it originally to just do light work at home and mostly for memory to back up our devices (I’ve got over 300gb on my phone). It was a stupid purchase, honestly. Since then, I’ve gotten more into media which has me wanting a better laptop.
     
  4. IdentityCrisis Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2018
    #4
    I just did this switch. I wanted all my stuff on one machine instead of a desktop and laptop. Plus I got better specs on my laptop since I only need to buy one machine. You can get the monitor you want (unless you get a mac mini), and with a nice dock (Caldigit TS3 plus), you can make it like a desktop when you are home. I love my setup.

    S4vrWV2FRAG+xN610%q1DA.jpg
     
  5. Thysanoptera macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2018
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #5
    I have the same desk (it sucks Ikea doesn't make them anymore), similar glass riser, same Anker charger, same monitor, also a logitech gaming mouse (the proteus). I keep the notebook behind the monitor, have two additional monitors next to it, hooked up to eGPU. I'd make a picture but it's a mess, don't feel like cleaning it up until my wife forces me to. What's that thing over the monitor, a soundbar?
     
  6. IdentityCrisis Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2018
    #6
    It’s a benq led light bar. Very useful and bright. Yea the desk is about 7-8 years old now. Looking a little rough these days. Wanting to switch it up my next trip to Dallas with a white desk probably.
     
  7. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #7
    Nice setup! What's the issue with mini and monitors? :eek:

    I just did the switch in opposite direction, from 15" to mini+13"... still waiting for both. No clue how it will work out.

    I assume Mini will be okay for the studio since i need to tuck it away somewhere silent (and preferably keep it there).
     
  8. MrGunnyPT macrumors regular

    MrGunnyPT

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2017
    #8
    Yep! I do this at work I have a dock alongside a monitor..

    I arrive at work and put my MacBook Pro on the dock and start up using the monitor this way I don't really need to hurt my eyes by looking at such a small monitor.

    I use a Windows VM for some couple of stuff at work and it works just fine.
     
  9. Dr.Duct_Mossburg thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    #9
    I considered running the 13” but I feel with a 12.9” iPad Pro it might not quite feel the gap.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 10, 2018 ---
    This. I also have a Lenovo Computer for work that uses type c... So I could easily switch between the two. I think I’m going to pull the trigger when I get back to town from work this weekend.
     
  10. IdentityCrisis Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2018
    #10
    I mistyped that. I meant you can get the monitor you want unless you have a mac mini too which can also get the monitor you want. iMAC comes with one, so you are forced with it.
     
  11. IdentityCrisis Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2018
    #11
    Which Mac Mini did you get? I am still considering replacing my Mom's 2009 Mac Mini I got her years ago. She doesn't want it replaced, but you know after 10 years, she needs it replaced. lol. I'll be curious of your opinion of it.
     
  12. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #12
    Thunderbolt makes docking crazy easy. Just get a good dock and you're off to the races.

    Lots of people like a monitor with integrated dock. It's a cleaner look but I really appreciate a separate dock because it's very easy to upgrade the monitor.
     
  13. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #13
    i7/8gb/512/10gbe
    Will replace RAM myself :)

    Ill surely chime in when i get it - hopefully in a week or so
     
  14. Goldfire macrumors regular

    Goldfire

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #14
    I've been using a vertical Henge Dock with my MBP and two monitors on my desk for years and it has been fantastic (just upgraded to 2018 MBP with the new dock and it is even better). It is really nice being able to just pull the computer out of the dock and go, without needing to plug in/out every time. It effectively turns it into a desktop so that my desk can stay empty of clutter.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #15
    My MBP is my main machine, it replaced an iMac. I'm using an old 24" Apple Cinema display that is still going strong, the MBP is on a Rain M Stand, which protects it from any possible spills.

    The advantages are as mentioned, one location for the files, makes life a lot easier.
     
  16. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #16
    Yes, I get the "clean" aspect -- though it seemed like Thunderbolt3 monitors were crazy expensive and USBC monitors were limited in doing what I wanted (supporting dual-display, ethernet, SD card reader, etc).

    So for that reason I went with separate dock - the CalDigit TS3+ is more compact in person than it looks in the photos.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 11, 2018 ---
    The Henge is a very nice device, clean setup.

    How do you connect it to two non-USBC monitors and get power to the computer as well? Or do you need to use at least one USBC monitor in a dual-monitor setup?
     
  17. Goldfire macrumors regular

    Goldfire

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #17
    One of the monitors plugs directly into one of the USB-C ports with an hDMI-to-USB-C cable. The other plugs into a USB-C hub that I got (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FX2LW35/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1), which also allows for power pass-through and gives me some USB-A ports.
     
  18. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #18
    Ah, okay - didn't see it in the picture.

    If my desk were to ever look that clean my family would wonder WTF happened to me. LOL
     
  19. Thysanoptera macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2018
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #19
    I was thinking the same thing ;)
     
  20. unglued macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    #20
    Photo courtesy hengedocks.com :)
     
  21. Goldfire macrumors regular

    Goldfire

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    #21
    Yes, I was feeling too lazy to take my own photo, though it is a pretty similar setup.
     
  22. DaveyVigs macrumors regular

    DaveyVigs

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2016
    #22
    Love my vertical Henge dock too! The thing is perfect for a clean desk especially when I need the space and swap monitors with my work PC when working from home.
     
  23. Padsterman macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2018
    Location:
    Boston
    #23
    I am looking at docks now. Looks like the Caldigit TS3 is the one to go for. If I have a dual monitor setup I would consider a vertical Henge Dock to free up desk space. I have just got a 2018 MacBook Pro i9, 32bg RAM, 1TB SSD with Vega 20 is space grey. It sits on a Rain Design space grey mStand. At the moment I have my travel Satechi type C 3-port hub with ethernet.

    https://satechi.net/collections/usb...usb-3-1-aluminum-3-port-hub-and-ethernet-port

    I have a BenQ SW271 monitor connected by it's USC-C to USB-C cable. Now I am looking for a good hub with a card reader, gigabit ethernet, DisplayPort and a bunch of USB ports to connect a bunch of backup disks. Gigabit eithernet will be used to connect to a gigabit ethernet switch to connect to a couple of Qnap NAS drives. To get the most out of the BenQ I think a DisplayPort cable would give the best performance of 4k at 60Htz. So, I will probably get the TS3 Plus. Anyone had any problems accessing a NAS and a bunch of USB drives?
     
  24. Ubele macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #24
    When I needed to replace my 2008 MBP in early 2013, I couldn't afford a new MBP, so I bought a refurbished late 2012 Mac mini i7 2.3 GHz with 4 GB of RAM and a 1 TB HDD to tide me over. I soon upgraded the RAM to 16 GB. In 2015, I bought a new 13" MBP with 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD. My plan was to sell the mini, for the same reason you mentioned: the simplicity of having only one computer. I bought a Henge Dock and planned to buy a 4K monitor once the prices dropped. I briefly considered getting a 27" iMac instead of a MBP, but I like the flexibility of being able to undock a laptop and use it anywhere.

    I hesitated selling the mini for two reasons: 1) The 1 TB HDD allowed me to store all my files on the system drive, which was essential for Dropbox if I wanted to have everything stored locally as well as in the cloud. 2) The quad-core i7 processor was faster for certain tasks, such as video encoding. I'm glad I hesitated, because when OS 10.9 came out that fall, my mini upgraded without a problem -- but my MBP wouldn't. When it got to the end of the upgrade process, I got an "unknown error." I restored from my OS 10.8 Time Machine backup and tried two more times, with the same result. I couldn't find any information about what was happening. Finally, I decided to do a clean installation of OS 10.9 and reinstall everything from scratch. Fortunately, I was able to use my mini as a guide for all the apps I needed to install, how to organize my desktop, etc. Without that second computer, setting up my MBP would have taken a lot longer. The incident prompted me to better organize my digital life, though: I got 1Password and entered all my app passwords, serial numbers, and other information.

    This past March, when Costco started selling a 28" Samsung 4K monitor for $300, I bought one. It works with my MBP just fine, but my mini won't drive it at 4K, and it looks a bit fuzzy at lower resolutions. Also, the 1 TB HDD was painfully slow by this time. I once again considered selling my mini, given how much people were still paying for the 2012 i7 quad-core models. After discussing it on this forum, though, I finally decided to keep it, for the two reasons I mentioned earlier, as well as for the practical consideration of having a backup computer in case my MBP fails for some reason. I bought a 120 GB SSD and an upgrade kit from OWC and created a 1.12 TB Fusion drive. It was like getting a brand-new computer.

    So now I use my mini as a base station. I have all my legacy USB peripherals connected to it, so there's the minor convenience of being able to scan a document or import photos from my camera while my MBP is undocked elsewhere in the house, without having to put the MBP in the Henge Dock, wake it back up, perform the task, eject the external hard drives connected to the Henge Dock, and move the MBP back to wherever I was using it earlier. Also, the mini's 1080P monitor sits next to the 4K monitor that I use with my MBP. While I work on my docked MBP, I've been using the mini in the background to gradually rip our extensive DVD collection to hard drive. It's also good for doing other background tasks, such as video conversion, that would tax my MBP while I'm doing other work on it.

    Once I figured out a good system (only two months ago!), I was able to eliminate most of the hassles involved with having two computers. First, I switched from Dropbox's 1 TB individual plan to Apple's 2 TB iCloud Drive family plan -- which I share with my wife, thus allowing me to discontinue her Dropbox 1 TB plan, as well. With the exception of my ripped DVDs, all of data files, my iTunes library, and my Photos library are stored locally on my mini, as well an in iCloud. On my MBP, I download files as needed from iCloud. It's easier than Dropbox, because I can see all of my files in Finder, even if they're not downloaded. With Dropbox, I had to log into my account via a web browser to see what files I had that weren't downloaded to my MBP. Anyway, I no longer having to worry about moving files around. In most cases, I add new files to my mini, and they're automatically uploaded to iCloud and available to my MBP (and my iPad and iPhone).

    Once I got all my apps installed on both Macs (and every app I have can be installed on two or more computers), the only minor hassle is remembering to update both copies of an app when an update is released, and to install plugins (e.g., for my photo-editing programs) on both copies. For what services would you have to buy multiple subscriptions? Everything I've encountered allows use on multiple devices.

    The only other piece of complexity involved in having two computers is the number of external hard drives I need. My DVD rips are on a 4 TB drive, cloned to another 4 TB drive. I have a bootable clone drive and a Time Machine backup drive for my MBP and for my mini. That's six drives total. Everything except my DVD rips is also in iCloud. Maybe that's overkill, but I'd rather have too many options for restoring than not enough.

    So, bottom line: could I get by with only my MBP? Yes. However, the advantages of having two computers outweigh (for me) the $700 or so I could get for my 2012 Mac mini. Your considerations might be different, though. First, are either of your computers feeling slow enough for what you do that you legitimately need a newer model? Second, if you had only one computer, and it went down for some reason, how badly would it impact you until you were able to get it repaired or replaced? Third, consider how you store and back up your files. Unless you buy a new MBP with an SSD big enough to hold all your files, are you okay with not having everything available at all times locally? As far as I know from my research, both Dropbox and iCloud Drive require your files to be on the system drive, due to file corruption that can occur if an external drive disconnects during synchronization. When I was thinking of selling my mini, my solution was to have an external drive containing all my files, as well as copies in the Dropbox cloud. However, that meant manually synchronizing two sets of files, which soon became a pain. (If you don't already have all your files stored on your iMac's system drive, then you're already dealing with this issue in some way.)

    Whatever you decide, good luck! And, despite everything I just said, I'm still tempted to sell my 2012 Mac mini while resale value remains high (and Mojave is the last version of macOS that likely will be supported), install a 1 TB SSD in my MBP to keep all my files on my system drive (those SSDs are down to $350-400 now), and buy a new Mac mini when my 2015 MBP starts feeling too slow for the (nonprofessional) photo and video work I do. I'd still keep my MBP for the less-taxing word-processing and WordPress work I do.
     
  25. unglued, Dec 11, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018

    unglued macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    #25
    I like the clean look and convenience of the Henge dock, thinking about getting one to pair with my CalDigit TS3+.

    Edit: Scratch that they don’t have Henge docks for 2018 MBP’s.
     

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