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AZhappyjack

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jul 3, 2011
9,916
23,205
Happy Jack, AZ
Apple and their migration away from Intel, and their design limitations may force us back to the world of Windows.

I work for a church. As long as I have been there, we've used an iMac to run ProPresenter software (presentation software from RenewedVision). Our setup, and similar setups of other churches that we have talked to, requires multiple outputs.
  • Console display - the actual computer screen of the iMac.
  • Audience display - multiple projector/screens driven by a single source and an HDMI splitter. The screens provide text, scripture, song lyrics, graphics and video output for the congregation to view
  • Stage display - a screen to display lyrics/text for the on-stage singers/speakers to reference.
  • Lower third display - a dedicated "green screen" display for lower third information, text, scripture, lyrics that is fed to the ATEM Mini system for live streaming.
With the external screen limitation baked into Apple Silicon, we cannot even consider Apple computers moving forward.

Our current iMac is a pretty much maxed out 2019, i9, 27" iMac, and frankly, it's showing the signs of its age.

Even the vaunted M3 Apple Silicon is handcuffed by this issue.

I am curious if anyone else is facing this kind of dilema and how we can convince Apple to address this serious "flaw" in their hardware lineup? Or do they just not care?
 
Last edited:

arw

macrumors 65816
Aug 31, 2010
1,138
896
Apple simply wants you to buy the Pro, Max or Ultra version of their chip if you require more than 2 displays in total.
As they are not available in the (current) iMac, that leaves the MacBook Pro, Mac mini or Mac Studio.

MacBook Pro M3 Pro: internal display + 2x external *
MacBook Pro M3 Max: internal display + 4x external
Mac mini M2 Pro: 3x external *
Mac Studio M2 Max: 5x external
Mac Studio M2 Ultra: 8x external

* To reach your target of 4 individual displays, 3rd party solutions like DisplayLink are required.

EDIT: (*)
 
Last edited:

AZhappyjack

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jul 3, 2011
9,916
23,205
Happy Jack, AZ
Apple simply wants you to buy the Pro*, Max or Ultra version of their chip if you require to connect more displays.
As it is not available in the (current) iMac, that leaves the MacBook Pro, Mac mini* or Mac Studio.

(MacBook Pro M3 Pro: internal display + 2x external *)
MacBook Pro M3 Max: internal display + 4x external
(Mac mini M2 Pro: 3x external *)
Mac Studio M2 Max: 5x external
Mac Studio M2 Ultra: 8x external

* 4th display only via 3rd party solutions like DisplayLink.

EDIT: differentiated between 3 and 4 displays total

Thanks for the responses. We are not married to the iMac... and I realize that Apple is pushing the Mac Studio and monitor as the replacement for the iMac... we can live with that.

I was also under the impression that NO AS device could drive more than 2 external monitors...

They need four display outputs; so either the M2 Max Mac Studio or the M3 Max MacBook Pro...

None of these are high resolution displays, so what’s wrong with just using a DisplayLink adapter with multiple outputs? You can drive way more that way than officially supported.
You are correct... the current projector/screen output is only running 1920 x 1080, and I do not expect that to change for the foreseeable future.
 

falainber

macrumors 68040
Mar 16, 2016
3,461
4,040
Wild West
As far as I know, ProPresenter works on Windows. Why would you even want to pay extra for a Mac and deal with all the Apple drama?
 

AZhappyjack

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jul 3, 2011
9,916
23,205
Happy Jack, AZ
As far as I know, ProPresenter works on Windows. Why would you even want to pay extra for a Mac and deal with all the Apple drama?

It does, but we're locked in with additional software for which we would need to find workable alternatives - Final Cut and Logic Pro to name two ... and the training and learning curve for alternatives (DaVinci Resolve or Premier and whatever could/would replace Logic Pro) would present significant hurdles.
 
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gwhizkids

macrumors G5
Jun 21, 2013
12,274
19,565
I was also under the impression that NO AS device could drive more than 2 external monitors...

Per the attached Apple Support doc, the Mac Studio is capable of driving up to 5 external displays at up to 8K res each.

4792f6aeda2209230164352e41238b04.jpg


The 2023 M2 and M3 MacBook Pro (Max) models can support 4 monitors (+the internal display) at up to 6K res.

3c12ac2d835101317e3c0a134d8aec69.jpg



I think you will have some options. Just not the new base model or the M2 or M3 2023 MBP (Pro) models.

You can probably get an early 2023 MBP (Max) machine for a little while yet from a third party retailer (or refurbished from Apple) for a decent price.
 

mmkerc

macrumors 6502
Jun 21, 2014
288
152
Apple and their migration away from Intel, and their design limitations is forcing us back to the world of Windows.

I work for a church. As long as I have been there, we've used an iMac to run ProPresenter software (presentation software from RenewedVision). Our setup, and similar setups of other churches that we have talked to, requires multiple outputs.
  • Console display - the actual computer screen of the iMac.
  • Audience display - multiple projector/screens driven by a single source and an HDMI splitter. The screens provide text, scripture, song lyrics, graphics and video output for the congregation to view
  • Stage display - a screen to display lyrics/text for the on-stage singers/speakers to reference.
  • Lower third display - a dedicated "green screen" display for lower third information, text, scripture, lyrics that is fed to the ATEM Mini system for live streaming.
With the external screen limitation baked into Apple Silicon, we cannot even consider Apple computers moving forward.

Our current iMac is a pretty much maxed out 2019, i9, 27" iMac, and frankly, it's showing the signs of its age.

Even the vaunted M3 Apple Silicon is handcuffed by this issue.

I am curious if anyone else is facing this kind of dilema and how we can convince Apple to address this serious "flaw" in their hardware lineup? Or do they just not care?
Not sure what your issue is as even an M1 Mini can drive at least 6 monitors. There are several treads about how to do this from when the M1 came out. Here is a Macworld article on one way to do it.
 

Mr.Fox

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2020
157
85
Apple and their migration away from Intel, and their design limitations is forcing us back to the world of Windows.

I work for a church. As long as I have been there, we've used an iMac to run ProPresenter software (presentation software from RenewedVision). Our setup, and similar setups of other churches that we have talked to, requires multiple outputs.
  • Console display - the actual computer screen of the iMac.
  • Audience display - multiple projector/screens driven by a single source and an HDMI splitter. The screens provide text, scripture, song lyrics, graphics and video output for the congregation to view
  • Stage display - a screen to display lyrics/text for the on-stage singers/speakers to reference.
  • Lower third display - a dedicated "green screen" display for lower third information, text, scripture, lyrics that is fed to the ATEM Mini system for live streaming.
With the external screen limitation baked into Apple Silicon, we cannot even consider Apple computers moving forward.

Our current iMac is a pretty much maxed out 2019, i9, 27" iMac, and frankly, it's showing the signs of its age.

Even the vaunted M3 Apple Silicon is handcuffed by this issue.

I am curious if anyone else is facing this kind of dilema and how we can convince Apple to address this serious "flaw" in their hardware lineup? Or do they just not care?
Until the problem becomes widespread and they start shouting about it from almost every iron, the company will not care
 

dmccloud

macrumors 68040
Sep 7, 2009
3,026
1,783
Anchorage, AK
Apple and their migration away from Intel, and their design limitations is forcing us back to the world of Windows.

I work for a church. As long as I have been there, we've used an iMac to run ProPresenter software (presentation software from RenewedVision). Our setup, and similar setups of other churches that we have talked to, requires multiple outputs.
  • Console display - the actual computer screen of the iMac.
  • Audience display - multiple projector/screens driven by a single source and an HDMI splitter. The screens provide text, scripture, song lyrics, graphics and video output for the congregation to view
  • Stage display - a screen to display lyrics/text for the on-stage singers/speakers to reference.
  • Lower third display - a dedicated "green screen" display for lower third information, text, scripture, lyrics that is fed to the ATEM Mini system for live streaming.
With the external screen limitation baked into Apple Silicon, we cannot even consider Apple computers moving forward.

Our current iMac is a pretty much maxed out 2019, i9, 27" iMac, and frankly, it's showing the signs of its age.

Even the vaunted M3 Apple Silicon is handcuffed by this issue.

I am curious if anyone else is facing this kind of dilema and how we can convince Apple to address this serious "flaw" in their hardware lineup? Or do they just not care?

Not a "major issue" at all, and there's a plethora of methods to get more displays working on even a base M1 MacBook Air. Even on the Windows side, you're looking at needing a medium to high end dedicated graphics card to run multiple displays, and possibly some sort of HDMI hub to run multiple signals.
 

gwhizkids

macrumors G5
Jun 21, 2013
12,274
19,565
Until the problem becomes widespread and they start shouting about it from almost every iron, the company will not care

There’s no “problem” here. As I and several other posters have pointed out, all but the base models support at least two monitors natively and more with some “tricks”.

Is it not logical for more advanced, more expensive models to have more features?
 
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Mr.Fox

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2020
157
85
There’s no “problem” here. As I and several other posters have pointed out, all but the base models support at least two monitors natively and more with some “tricks”.

Is it not logical for more advanced, more expensive models to have more features?
Are you satisfied with paying for what should be included?
 

gwhizkids

macrumors G5
Jun 21, 2013
12,274
19,565
Are you satisfied with paying for what should be included?

Who determines what “should” be included? That’s not a very convincing argument. Just because you (or others) want a feature in a laptop, doesn’t mean it SHOULD be included.

As another poster up above noted, it’s not like basic Windows machines are driving multiple monitors easily.
 

Mr.Fox

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2020
157
85
Who determines what “should” be included? That’s not a very convincing argument. Just because you (or others) want a feature in a laptop, doesn’t mean it SHOULD be included.

As another poster up above noted, it’s not like basic Windows machines are driving multiple monitors easily.
Do you know how to solder microboards? If on the board deliberately removed this or that node in order to get an additional benefit, is not it a deception of the consumer under the pretext of flattery the best, the fastest, rather run to buy, etc.? ?That nonsense that marketers like to hang on their ears? Or products that don't meet the requirements. Mac products have already been stripped of upgrades. Why spend money over the counter?

Depends on how you configure Windows and your video card. Everyone has several monitors running smoothly.
 

kappisto

macrumors newbie
Dec 6, 2009
27
54
It's easy to view this as a moral quandary: is it right, or wrong, for Apple to enforce this limitation?

But the real answer is a much more straight-forward economic one. Building only two display buffers into the base level chip is a little cheaper (profit margins on each chip are a tiny bit higher), and allows for greater product differentiation (more people pushed to hardware that supports pro/max configs, with even greater profit margin).

Whether this is a good strategy or not comes down to consumer trends. If 3+ displays is a common config, you risk losing a meaningful portion of customers to the competition rather than moving them up to higher price tiers. Apple's strategy here suggests they believe - and I would agree - that it's not at all common, and the Venn diagram between "I want the lowest end chip" and "I want to run 3 or more displays" is very, very tiny. Even if you know a bunch of people who do this, chances are 99% of users buying computers with this limitation will never know or care.

For what it's worth I think it's kinda ******, although as it has been pointed out there are fairly simple workarounds, and I'm sure Apple is happy to leave those workarounds to enthusiasts and esoteric use cases. I for one would love to be able to run 2x 5k displays from an Air. But as far as "major issues" go, I think you'll find that from Apple's point of view this just simply isn't one.
 

gwhizkids

macrumors G5
Jun 21, 2013
12,274
19,565
Do you know how to solder microboards? If on the board deliberately removed this or that node in order to get an additional benefit, is not it a deception of the consumer under the pretext of flattery the best, the fastest, rather run to buy, etc.? ?That nonsense that marketers like to hang on their ears? Or products that don't meet the requirements. Mac products have already been stripped of upgrades. Why spend money over the counter?

Depends on how you configure Windows and your video card. Everyone has several monitors running smoothly.

What you are saying here makes no sense whatsoever.

Do you expect the same features in a base model Toyota as on a fully tricked out Lexus? If you do, well, I don’t know what to think.
 

throAU

macrumors G3
Feb 13, 2012
9,021
7,179
Perth, Western Australia
Apple and their migration away from Intel, and their design limitations may force us back to the world of Windows.

I work for a church. As long as I have been there, we've used an iMac to run ProPresenter software (presentation software from RenewedVision). Our setup, and similar setups of other churches that we have talked to, requires multiple outputs.
  • Console display - the actual computer screen of the iMac.
  • Audience display - multiple projector/screens driven by a single source and an HDMI splitter. The screens provide text, scripture, song lyrics, graphics and video output for the congregation to view
  • Stage display - a screen to display lyrics/text for the on-stage singers/speakers to reference.
  • Lower third display - a dedicated "green screen" display for lower third information, text, scripture, lyrics that is fed to the ATEM Mini system for live streaming.
With the external screen limitation baked into Apple Silicon, we cannot even consider Apple computers moving forward.

Our current iMac is a pretty much maxed out 2019, i9, 27" iMac, and frankly, it's showing the signs of its age.

Even the vaunted M3 Apple Silicon is handcuffed by this issue.

I am curious if anyone else is facing this kind of dilema and how we can convince Apple to address this serious "flaw" in their hardware lineup? Or do they just not care?
You could add a display link adapter.
 
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pshufd

macrumors G4
Oct 24, 2013
10,007
14,481
New Hampshire
Apple and their migration away from Intel, and their design limitations may force us back to the world of Windows.

I work for a church. As long as I have been there, we've used an iMac to run ProPresenter software (presentation software from RenewedVision). Our setup, and similar setups of other churches that we have talked to, requires multiple outputs.
  • Console display - the actual computer screen of the iMac.
  • Audience display - multiple projector/screens driven by a single source and an HDMI splitter. The screens provide text, scripture, song lyrics, graphics and video output for the congregation to view
  • Stage display - a screen to display lyrics/text for the on-stage singers/speakers to reference.
  • Lower third display - a dedicated "green screen" display for lower third information, text, scripture, lyrics that is fed to the ATEM Mini system for live streaming.
With the external screen limitation baked into Apple Silicon, we cannot even consider Apple computers moving forward.

Our current iMac is a pretty much maxed out 2019, i9, 27" iMac, and frankly, it's showing the signs of its age.

Even the vaunted M3 Apple Silicon is handcuffed by this issue.

I am curious if anyone else is facing this kind of dilema and how we can convince Apple to address this serious "flaw" in their hardware lineup? Or do they just not care?

I have an M1 Max Studio. I've run as many as 4 Dell Ultrasharp monitors off of it. I supports up to 5 natively Sounds like it should take care of your needs. I'd guess that the M1 Max Studio cost a lot less than your 2019 i9 iMac.
 
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