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How do I make a kick a$$ multi-screen Mac workstation?  

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I've been thinking about making a really unbelievable workstation with multiple screen (3-4) that looks like the attached.  Given that pretty much every Mac besides the Mini  all come with screen, how would one accomplish this?

NOTE:   Forget the "why" for now, just want to understand how one would build a Mac workstation to do this...

Screen Shot 2019 01 14 at 7.57.07 PM

The number of screens you can attach depends on the Mac and its GPU capabilities, or if you are planning on getting an external eGPU box attached via Thunderbolt 3 and a USB-C cable.

For example, if you are talking a recent 13" Macbook Pro, then you can do two 4K monitors, plus the Macbook Pro's screen.  But if you are going for 1080p monitors, you might be able to get 4, plus the Macbook Pro's screen.  The 15" models might support four 4K monitors and two 5K monitors.

What you should do is go over the everymac.com and look up the Mac in question.  They tend to provide information about how many monitors at what bit density can be supported.

There are more or less 4 different classes of monitors you can attach

  • 1080p (1920 pixels wide - very easy to get and not very expensive)
  • 2K monitor (2560 pixels wide - these are very common in the gaming world - this is more or less the original 27" iMac screen size - I own the first Late 2009 27" iMac and I've been very happy with this screen)
  • 4K monitors (3840 pixels wide - becoming more common, and prices are coming down)
  • 5K monitors (5120 pixels wide - the size of the 5K retnia iMacs - Not as common, and generally have a preimum price)

The fun part is either getting monitors that allow you to daisy-chain the USB-C port from monitor to monitor so you do not need to use too many ports on your Mac.  Or you might need to get several docks that support mulitple monitors.

Also finding the monitor mounting hardware.  Well if you are going to just do 2 or 3 monitors all in a line, that just needs a big desk.  If you are going to stack them on top of each other, then you need some monitor mounts.  I'm sure you can find what you want (or at least get started, on Amazon.com.

Anyway, if you know the Mac, then figure out how much it can support and at what size.  Then figure out the monitor density you want.  Then figure out if you want the screens havea retina viewing.  Google "Retina Display Calculator" and you can figure out the bit density (1080p vs 2K vs 4K etc...), monitor size (24" vs 28" vs 32" etc...) and distance from the monitor will make the viewing Retina for you.

If you need adapters, some multi-monitor supported USB-C docks are Targus, OWC's, StarTech, Caldigit, Toshiba, Lenovo, Elgato, Monoprice.com, Sonnet Thunderbolt 3 docks.  Then again these docks all have lots of other ports that you may want 1 set up, but maybe not several sets of.

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