Running a macbook through an external monitor

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by purpleroan, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. purpleroan

    purpleroan TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone! I'm looking to upgrade my laptop this year, and have decided on a macbook pro. I know most photographers would point me towards the 15" becasue of the larger screen, but I'm a student as well and have decided on the top-spec'd 13" due to increased portability. I wish to purchase an IPS external monitor as well to edit photos on to make up for the smaller space. However, I've recently heard rumors that macs can overheat in clamshell mode and destroy the display...does anybody have experience with this happening? Is this overall an ok set-up? Opinions and info greatly appreciated...I just don't want to unknowingly damage a brand new laptop!


     
  2. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I cant speak to the 13 inch ones but I have the most recent 15 (my main work computer as an iOS developer) and I ONLY run it closed and connected to 2 monitors. I have not, in the past 2.5 years of doing this, had an issue. The computer is on all day and run closed for at least 9 of those hours continuously.

    The bigger problem, and this extends to all laptops not just mac, is people who shove it right in the case with the fans running. Basically you disconnect it from your monitor and the fans are still running (there is some spin down time before it goes to sleep) but you put it right in the case. This circulates hot air in a sealed case and can damage the computer. The other big problem I have seen with these computer (I have been using mac laptops every day since 2005) is those silly plastic snap on cases. Those tend to impede proper airflow and don't really offer that much protection.

    I would wait and see if any one here pops up and says they have had an issue as I am only one user.

    Regards
    Dave
     
  3. waday

    waday Do one thing every day that scares you Supporting Member

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    I would consider myself to be a lighter user than Dave, but I've used mine with an external screen without issue.

    Totally agree with this.

    I used one of those plastic snap cases for about a month before I took it off. It made it bulkier, I don't think it offered much protection, and my computer did seem to get pretty hot with it on.
     
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  4. nbsunshine

    nbsunshine TPF Noob!

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    What monitors for this setup do people recommend as you cannot buy a thunderbolt display anymore?
     
  5. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have 2 24 inch ViewSonics at work (they were kinda issued to me so I did not have much choice in the matter). They do how ever work quite nicely. I use the lightning to DVI and lightning to VGA adapters to connect them. There is also a lightning to HDMI if you need it. At home I have a 24 inch Asus monitor of the 2010 vintage. Its lasted me this long and has been great.

    Most of the time I spend behind a computer is programming, that being said having 2 monitors is more important than monitor specs for me. All the monitors I encounter have been used for photo editing at some point and done a great job but thats more of a hobby than a profession for me. For strictly photo editing there may be better options out there that come if you are willing to pay for them. Frankly most Monitors out there are pretty solid, and in the end of the day if you are only printing 8X10's and posting to facebook/instagram having a 36 inch 5K monitor may not really be necessary (but to each his own). I started out on a 12 inch mac book pro so zooming in to look at things had always been a thing I did.

    Regards
    Dave
     
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  6. purpleroan

    purpleroan TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your replies guys! Some really good stuff here...very grateful for any advice I can get!
     
  7. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If memory serves the 13's and 15's have different graphics cards which may impact some things but if you are just running one monitor it shouldn't matter much. Some of the guys I work with have the 13's and use external monitors without issue so it will do the job.

    The other key thing to remember about the laptop cooling is to not block the fans. Don't put the back of the laptop up against a wall or the back of your desk as that is where the air is let out from. You can get all manners of stands for the mac books and I trust you can find them if you are interested (I don't use one so I wont really comment any more on them). Keeping dust out will also go a long way to keeping computers from over heating.

    DON'T USE DUST BLOW: well you can but you need to take the computer apart. Dust blow (air in a can) is from the days when you could open a computer tower easily and hit both sides of the fan with the air and blow the dust OUT of the computer. Pointing a can of compressed air into the back of a laptop only pushes the dust farther in which makes the problem worse. While under warranty if you notice an issue take it in. Once your warranty or apple care is up you can open the bottom and clear out the fans.

    Also don't jail break or install weird temperature control applications on your computer, the people at apple are very very very very smart, there is hardware within your computer that will shut it down if it thinks its getting to a dangerously hot range. That being said don't bring your computer to the beach on a hot day and expect it to run cool and run all day....

    FWIW I am on my second 15 inch (I had a 2009 era one that just couldn't do what it needed to any more but I still use it as a "TV computer") I have never found them to be that hard to move around or that un portable. the new ones are way thinner with out the super drive so maybe its just by comparison (keep in mind I was alive when floppy disks were still being actively used, and the 8 inch ones at that, so everything is small and light to me...)

    Regards
    Dave
     
  8. table1349

    table1349 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It will cost you more but get the upper end 15"MPB with the Intel Iris Pro Graphics + AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB GDDR5 memory. the Iris pro is fine for general use. the R9 M379X is better for the graphics.
     
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  9. purpleroan

    purpleroan TPF Noob!

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    I have decided to wait until October when (hopefully) the newest pros will be released. I believe i will go with the 15" as well, but still purchase a monitor just for the extra space when I'm in my dorm. Based on the rumors that have been going around, do you guys believe it will be worth it to upgrade to the 2016 model, or just take advantage of a discounted 2015? I heard something about a better graphics card and skylake processors.
     

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