Macbook Pro/Air deployment without Thunderbolt display

Contributor II

Our organization is trying to find more cost effective way of deploying Macbook setup without becoming an hassle.

Currently, all Macbook Pro/Air users get Thunderbolt display at their desk to act as a docking station. This setup is always being compare to our PC (Dell) setup with the monitor(s) and the docking station.

1.) Cost: Thunderbolt cost a lot more than the traditional Dell monitor and Docking station. 2.) Convenience: The PC users only need to dock the laptop on the docking station. If we don't use the Thunderbolt display, it will require for the user to plug in more than 2 cables to the computer. (Power cable, Display Cable, Network Cable).

I would like to hear from other organization how they are deploying these? Most of the users at our company will get two monitor setup (Laptop Screen and 24/27" monitor or Two 24/27" monitors). Looked into one of these Thunderbolt docking station but it doesn't seem to support dual monitor setup through the dock.

Let me know how you are deploying Macbook Pro / Air to your organization. As a bias Apple fan, I would like our organization to embrace Apple products but I always get push back because of the cost.


Valued Contributor

Ouch, yes that's an awful lot of money. We buy Dell monitors. I like that their product line is extensive so there's plenty to choose from and they all look alike, for office appearance sake. They are easy to buy through resellers when you need a pallet of 60 or from Amazon when you need a quick replacement. A Dell P2414H 24" 1080p Dell monitor is around $200. I buy $10 Cable Matters DisplayPort to Mini-DisplayPort cables in 3" lengths (when I can) to make it look really clean.

For docks I would look at Landing Zone and/or Henge. Both support the docked-while-open use that PC users would expect. Henge seems to be better looking/solidly built but it's 2x or 3x the price of the Landing Zone. If you want a closed dock for the laptop to slide into and hide behind two external monitors, Henge has a dock like that. (Although many don't like the idea of using a laptop while closed)

Airs get one external monitor, the Dell ultrawide monitors are nice if you need more real estate, and the Pros can run two monitors either using the two Thunderbolt ports or using one Thunderbolt and one HDMI port.

Contributor III

I'm also not fond of the 1-year warranty of the Apple displays. I'm not a fan of Apple displays at all for reasons beyond the warranty.

Valued Contributor II

We're much like @adamcodega except we get a slightly different model Dell monitor (The U2412m or new equivalent). We're all for having our users connect two things if that saves us $600/user. That said, we have few users that require multi monitor setups.

Also, I agree with the sentiments regarding the Apple TB Display. It's just too low res for the money. We have a few and they are nice (until they have issues), but there are other TB displays out there that should handle daisy-chaining right?

Contributor III

I've used Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Docks, with Dell displays. Depending on the resolution, either just connecting the external display via HDMI, or terminating the Thunderbolt chain with mini DisplayPort. The Dell displays allowed for DisplayPort Daisy Chaining, but the necessary cables that supported that kind of bandwidth was difficult to source.

New Contributor II

Do yourself a favor and check out the LG 34UM95 monitors with Thunderbolt. We've gotten them as low as $650/each, 3440x1440 ultrawide translates to about the same real estate as Two 1920x1200 monitors. Display quality is on-par with any Cinema display I've ever used, they can be calibrated, have a USB 3.0 hub, speakers, and thunderbolt pass-through.

Contributor II

We are going with the Landing Zone dock to test things out first. DisplayPort daisy chaining is other feature that I want to look into for the users who requires two external displays.


We need to add a replacement monitor for the Thunderbolt Display since it has been discontinued. I tested our high end PC offering, HP Z27 UHD, but the resolution is either too high making everything really tiny and unreadable or the res is to low making everything blurry.

What monitor is working best for everyone that is comparable or better than the Thunderbolt Display's resolution and quality?