Dilemma here. I’m leaving my 9-5 graphic design job to go full time freelance (and still doing contract work for my previous employer). So, I’m in the process of buying all my own gear (MacBook pro, etc). I’ve always had an older Mac thunderbolt monitor at work, and just used adapters to connect to my Mac Pro. It’s fine but obviously the resolution isn’t retina or 4K/5k. So if I’m going to spend money on a new one, I’d like the resolution to be comparable to my laptop. I know several designers who have dropped $1,500-$2,000 on LG (or other brand) monitors. Those are great and all, and yes I could probably find a little cheaper. BUT my question is this; if I’m going to drop $1,500-$2,000 on a second display (27” or thereabouts), WHY wouldn’t I just get a 5k or even slightly older model iMac for about that price? It does a whole lot more than just a monitor but is still on par with the resolution of those aforementioned $2k other brand monitors. That way if my laptop was down/being serviced/whatever, I essentially have a backup computer. Even if it is just the base model. Has anyone done this? Is it easy to do? My creative cloud subscription will work on one computer at a time, but if I could use the iMac as a monitor and not standalone computer when needed, this would solve using creative cloud on both screens. I often leave email on my laptop screen and work on whatever graphics on the larger screen. Would love feedback here! Yes buying a cheaper monitor is an option. But also being a designer I would love all my stuff to be Mac and matching. This is obviously the least important factor but STILL a factor. Sorry for the long post, thanks in advance!!

One license to Creative Cloud is good for use on two different computers.

Do you do the kind of design where such a high end monitor is needed?

Slaving one computer to another used to be a PITA. Now it is really simple, IF you have all the necessary ports, adapters and compatible system updates.

It’s true you can use one license on two computers, but you can’t be using CC on both of the computers at the same time. I can’t really think of a ton of situations where this would be an issue, unless I was multitasking and maybe had photoshop one one screen and Illustrator on the other. But more than likely I’d want all the CC programs on the larger screen. As for the kind of design I do, I think it would be beneficial to have better resolution where possible. It’s not impossible to do my job with lower resolution, but looking from my retina laptop screen to the old Mac monitor screen, being able to see the pixels there/the noticeable difference in quality is sometimes annoying and distracting. I do a good amount of photo editing, layout, illustration, and some animation. I’m only doing video editing on occasion but most of the graphics I work with are still. Most are digital (maybe 60% digital, 40% print) and a few times a year I work on large format printed pieces. So to answer your question I probably don’t have to have that high of resolution but it would be a plus. I’m definitely not animating for Pixar! Only cons would be cost, but at this point I’d rather spend a little more to get something quality and lasting vs a cheaper monitor I may end up wanting to replace in a year or two anyways. It’s seeming like the pros may outweigh the cons at this point as long as it’s easy to connect the two. Thanks for the feedback!

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