Studio Display with multiple computers?

I am tempted by the Studio Display. Mainly because I have a buying urge, but I have (almost) convinced myself there is sense in making the change.

I currently use an Ultrawide monitor and have two computers connected to it:

  1. my work MPB which is generally the most used and connects via USB-C, drawing power to the MBP also; and
  2. my home M1 Mini which connects to the monitor via HDMI. Although always on, it is used less frequently than the MBP.

The setup works for me but the sheer size of the Ultrawide makes it difficult to focus and I end up having random windows all over the place by mid-day… despite trying to be disciplined with Moom and KBM shortcuts to control the on-screen chaos. I’m just a messy worker.

So.,… my justification is… make the screen smaller, use it with two windows in 50/50 split view model at most and then use KBM or Shortcuts to switch the left or right applications as required. I know, its weak justification. But I want one.

My question is… how would I switch between the two computer sources on the Studio Display? My current monitor has a hardware button to switch input sources. I want to avoid having another piece of hardware (KVM switch or otherwise) to make the switchover, and would prefer not to have to disconnect / reconnect the Thunderbolt cable between the two computers when I want to switch. I might be tempted to have a new multi-function device (combo of a KVM switch and thunderbolt/USB-C hub) that serves the purpose and also lets me share other peripherals between both computers… but does such a thing exist? Most IUSB-C Hubs seem to assume a one-to-many between computer and peripherals don’t they?

I also don’t find the idea of a headless Mini with remote access particularly workable.

I guess I want the Studio Display to be able to switch inputs either with a button press, or somehow magically knowing which computer is actively being used. Or I want a Hub/KVM combo device if one exists.

Am I missing something obvious or is this a real consideration?

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For me also one of the reasons for being unsure about this monitor.

Looking forward to replies!

I think it’s a real consideration and I just wrote about it on another thread :slight_smile:

The Studio Display has only one input and I don’t know of a KVM-like solution.

Let’s see if other fellow forum members have any insights on this.

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Well, this is interesting.
I would imagine Apple’s monitor is based on an LG panel.
LG’s 5k display only supports TB in.
LG’s 5k display seems to be discontinued, with no replacement on their site.

It seems that Apple users are/were a very specific use case, where one uses the monitor with a MacBook, or a desktop, but not both. Essentially what @thealbs found.

Thanks for the responses thus far. Its comforting that I haven’t asked a stupid question (for a change!) but also surprising that this is not a common requirement. With more people working from home, the two-computer lifestyle must be far more prevalent than before. I’d imagine most people have neither the funds nor the space to have dual monitors of this size.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone is routinely using the unplug / plug method to achieve the same objective and how seamless that switch is for them. I don’t use both computers simultaneously, but do switch back and forth on a frequent basis…

Woah. The 5k is discontinued?

I just checked the Apple Store and it’s not there either. This makes sense, but also, now there’s even fewer options for new buyers than there were before.

I do not use the plug/unplug method (currently, see below), but I do share a monitor between my personal machine, 2018 Mac mini, and my work machine, a Dell laptop.

I use a simple HDMI switch and this works well for me. Note that each machine has multiple monitors and only one is shared. And in general I have both machines running during working hours, and then only the Mac otherwise.

As the HDMI switch is in an inconvenient place I use a SwtichBot to control it when needed. This has worked surprisingly well for me.

I did have an issue that caused me to use the plug/unplug method for a while. It seems there was a Windows update that messed with the HDMI output such that when using the HDMI switch, the shared monitor went ‘wonky’ (actual technical term :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:). This was annoying because of the switch location. The issue was resolved by either a windows update or a cable change (from the laptop to the switch), as I had gotten tired of the manual cable switching. And as noted above everything is working fine now. At no time was there ever an issue with this monitor and the Mac.

Good luck whatever you decide.

I would not assume that the LG 5K is definitely discontinued, but it has been difficult to acquire since November, both on their website and Amazon.

I have been attributing this to “Global Supply Chain Issues” rather than assuming it was gone, because it still exists on their website.

But that’s not proof either.

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Thanks. So I guess I would need a thunderbolt version of the HDMI switch in that case … not sure if such a thing exists though? Ideally it would also be able to share other peripherals too but that may be pushing my wishful thinking too far…

Soooo much easier to just pull out the cable and stick it in the other machine. :slight_smile:

You don’t know where the other machine is ! Maybe if I was a contortionist;-)

Maybe this:

Such devices do seem hard to find. HDMI switches are more readily available as they are used for connecting devices to TVs as well.

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OK, so much cheaper then :slight_smile:

Looks good … might just do the trick. Thanks.

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I think the Studio Display is Thunderbolt driven and not USB-C.

I am not aware of any Thunderbolt KVM solution available at the moment.

A Windows machine with Thunderbolt should theoretically work, but doubt a USB-C connection will drive 5k natively. If this were the case there would be many more options in the market

The page does say this:

" * Support for two USB Type-C Power Delivery input connections. Fully compatible with Thunderbolt 3".

So, as I said, “Maybe …”

But yes, they are scarce.

If you end up buying and trying this, please post your impressions; I’d be curious to hear.

Yes, I will … if I buy it. I’m still debating as it would effectively increase the cost of changing monitors by an additional £100 … on top of the £1499 for the Studio Display costs.

Although my current setup is not 100% frictionless, I think I may need additional justification to make that level of investment … especially as it may not still actually work !

That would have been my suggestion. I worked on multiple Macs and PCs remotely almost everyday for years.

What’s the risk of frequently changing cables?

I’m afraid that practice might break the cable or (worse) the port in the long run…

(OTH build quality of an Apple product might be better than cheap monitors?)