New iMac, 2 Ext 2560 and Parallels Quesion

Discussion in 'Apple and Mac OS X' started by Apparition, Oct 24, 2013.

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  1. Apparition

    Apparition Notebook Consultant

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    I am considering getting a new 27" iMac. I have two 27" 2560x1440 monitors now and I am wondering if they can both be connected to the new iMac (via Display/TBolt) and keep their same resolution.

    The next brilliant question has to do with Parallels software. Can I run it so that I have Navericks on the iMac, Windoiws 7 on one external and Windows 8 on another?

    If this is possible, could I then simply skip screen to screen with the mouse and keyboard and, as well, move data quickly and easily?
     
  2. kornchild2002

    kornchild2002 Notebook Deity

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    Something similar was accomplished with the 2011 model though I'm not sure what the resolution was of those two Dell 30" monitors. Apple's tech specs list the iMac as working with up to only "an" additional display with a maximum resolution of 2560X1600. I'm not sure if that means the iMac is limited to one single additional output at 2560X1600 or if it means that, when the iMac is hooked up to any additional monitor (multiple or single), it is limited to 2560X1600. I can't help you with that aspect of your question but I can help you with Parallels.

    Yes, Parallels can work like you want with the additional monitors (assuming the iMac can do what you want). You can have OS X 10.9 on one display, Windows 7 on another, and Windows 8 on a different display. Technically speaking, 10.9 will be on every single monitor as Parallels is run within that OS. However, you can make Windows 7 and Windows 8 full screen on the additional monitors and freely move between all three ecosystems just by dragging your mouse. That would have been cumbersome before but Mavericks fixed multi-monitor issues in OS X. In fact, right now I have my 2012 15" MBP hooked up to an external monitor (Dell 19", 1280X1024). I am running Mavericks along with Parallels (which is running Windows 7). Windows 7 is fullscreen on the Dell monitor yet I have iTunes, Safari, and Excel 2011 on my MBP's primary display. All it takes is a move of my mouse and I am at a different display. I can also freely drag-and-drop files between each OS's. So yes, Parallels can work exactly like you want. I'm just not sure if the iMac will be able to output to two additional monitors at those resolutions. I know the 27" iMac has two video output options (i.e. two thunderbolt ports) but I don't know if they will work as you want, there might be a GPU limitation.
     
  3. Apparition

    Apparition Notebook Consultant

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    Thank you for your thoughts! My main idea came from the thought that they say the two TBolt ports are capable of external monitors of higher resolution but, yes, my curiosity ends up being whether I can get 2560x1440 on the iMac AND TWO SEPARATE monitors, all in that same resolution. Gotta admit, it would be a pretty great feat to run three op systems from the same iMac, all in separate screens and separate of one another where we can just hop back and forth!
     
  4. doh123

    doh123 Without ME its just AWESO

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    You'd want to make sure to get the fastest CPU and 32GB of ram... running 2 VMs at once will be taxing on performance.
     
  5. Apparition

    Apparition Notebook Consultant

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    Abdolutely, if the purchase is made it is top of the line everything on it. Already have the two 2560x1440 monitors and use Parallels on my MBA.
     
  6. kornchild2002

    kornchild2002 Notebook Deity

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    I don't think 32GB of RAM will be required. I have 16GB of RAM in my 15" MBP (with a quad-core CPU) and it works fine running Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8 all at once in three VMs. I assigned Windows XP 2GB of RAM, 7 got 4GB of RAM, and so did Windows 8 (which is now Windows 8.1). That still leaves OS X with 6GB of RAM which is still quite a bit. I run iTunes, Safari, Mail, Excel 2011, and Word 2011 in OS X with Excel 2010 and MATLAB in Windows XP, Excel 2013 and a newer version of MATLAB in 7, and Excel 2013 and the latest version of MATLAB in 8.1. They are all assigned a single CPU core and my MBP seems to run them without issues. Granted, battery life is atrocious and I'm using the Nvidia GPU but it still seems to work. Unless you are doing complex 3D animation/drawing in each Windows VM, I wouldn't worry about getting 32GB as 16GB has been more than enough on my MBP which features specs below that of the current iMac.

    I did look further into your question and people have been able to successfully hookup two external monitors to their 2011 and 2012 iMacs. However, people aren't listing the resolutions of these monitors. One guy did and each monitor was 1080p, that's been about it. I don't know why people have been so cryptic. One thing you should try is going into an Apple Store with your two monitors and seeing if they will let you hook them up to a display model iMac. They should have the video cables there. That way you can see if its physically possible. Plus you'll have a definitive answer for yourself and you'll be able to slightly gauge performance and see what aspects you might want to upgrade (such as going with the highest GPU configuration, slapping a quad-core i7 in there, etc.). I wouldn't blindly upgrade everything just to have all the top specs though. You do that and you'll end up spending $4000 which is way too high. You might as well get a Mac Pro for that much since it has a powerhouse CPU.
     
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