Advice needed about dual monitor setup and M1 Macs

I’ve been spoilt by dual displays at work and want to have a dual display setup at the home office (WFH a lot these days).

Ideally I want dual Apple Studio Displays. I have a Mac mini M1 (2020). I’m required to use a PC laptop for work and wanted to get a thunderbolt dock for easy plug and play.

The problem is that M1 Macs only support one external display. I don’t know which route to go.

  • Upgrade the Mac mini to the new Mac mini M2 Pro
  • Upgrade to Mac Studio (is it even worth customising Mac mini high end or upgrading to Mac Studio?)
  • Keep the Mac mini M1 as a backup/media server and upgrade to MacBook Pro

I’d prefer M2 Macbook Air but unfortunately Apple has made stupid decisions in this area … none of the options I currently have/want support dual displays.

What have other folks done?

Technically the M1 Mac mini supports dual monitors, however if you’re set on studio displays then I’m not sure it can run them both in full resolution.

I run a Samsung G9 49" screen as my main display and a LG 4k display above it without any issues.

We have dual screens at work, and they’re powered by DisplayLink. The problem is that this uses the laptop CPU much more, so it slows down everything.
Now they’ve started buying ultrawide monitors instead, which is a weird side effect of Apples restriction…
Anyway, we all love the ultrawides and keep stealing them from
Unused desks :wink:

I just bought an M2 Mac mini, and am running two monitors. What makes this set up special is that I use PC for work at home and use the second display for both my Mac set up and my windows laptop.

Both connect to the display using hdmi, and with a simple GAMA switch it has worked great.

Might not be applicable to your situation, but it might give you confidence that a solution for you might be out there…

M1 mini runs 2 monitors no problem. The M1 MacBook Air does not.

Thank you! I’d forgotten about this as I forgot about the HDMI port. Looks like this will be a much cheaper solution. I might need to let go of the idea of two 5k displays until the price is more acccessible. If I get two 4k displays, I can continue using the same Mac mini and that should be good enough.

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I might still be stuck. The CalDigit Element Hub doesn’t have HDMI. Looks like the Mac mini M1 can only support one monitor with Thunderbolt. Does this mean I’d need a different dock/hub? Or could I use the built in hub in this Dell monitor to run the dual dispalys?

I bought 2 4k LG monitors that had Displayport, USB-C and HDMI connections and used the Mini HDMI and one Thunderbolt port to connect both. Worked like a charm