Developers and M1 Mac computers — The 2 display limitation

screen grab from https://www.apple.com/in/

This year is the upgrade year for me. My HP Gaming Beast is 2 years old. Once the worldwide graphics card shortage cools down, I need to look at replacing that. To keep pace with the new generation of consoles, I should at least get a RTX 2060, or preferably, RTX 3070.

My Macbook Air is more than 2 years old. My iMac is also more than 2 years old. At least one of them needs to be replaced this year.

Hence, the new SoC from Apple, M1, is good timing. SoCs definitely will have some incredible performance improvements. I also expect M1 Macs to be cheaper since Apple no longer has to pay licensing fees to Intel. I am really excited for Mac Mini and iMac powered by M1 chips.

Then, I read the fineprint. The 2 display limitation on the current M1 chips. It applies to the new 24 inch iMac and the Mac Mini from last year.

The new line of iMacs look super nice. I love colors. I love it. 4K display, nice. I dont mind the reduced ports. On my current 4K iMac 21.5 inch, I rarely use the USB ports. All of my devices are high end and Apple stuff, so, everything is wireless.

Unfortunately though, my current developer setup is 3 monitors. The super nice built in 4K display. Then, I have a nice BenQ 2K photoshop grade display plugged into it. Then, a 3rd, basic and bare bones 1080 p display connected, also from BenQ. I think, I have like half a dozen BenQ monitors right now. They really are good. from basic to expensive models. The quality is amazing.

Previously, a total of 2 displays were sufficient for me. However, recently, i have been dabbling a bit with UI development. You can read about my adventures here — Thoughts on Bootstrap and Reactstrap — 1. For UI development, 3 displays is pretty much the bare minimum. I got big plans for UI development over the next few years.

Final Note

At this point, my excitement for M1 based Mac Mini and iMac has died out. As a life long developer, the more screens the better. It is clear that the M1 aimed at a more casual crowd. I will either wait for the rumoured M2 based Macs to roll out.

Or, it’s staying with intel Macs for now.

I work as a full time freelance software developer and coding tutor. Hire me at UpWork or Fiverr. My personal website is here. I also have a Podcast. Thanks for reading.

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