iMac to Mac Studio - display thoughts and ideas

Sigh Just like some of us here I guess, my trusty maxed-out 27" iMac is obsolete according to Apple. Stuck on MacOS 12 forever.

It’s still a powerful tool but I’ve experienced a noticeable sluggishness in key apps - my iMac fans audibly kicking in when using FCP, Lightroom and Photoshop. Never heard them before a few months ago.

I bought my first Mac in 1989 (yeah, Macintosh IIcx, Mac System 6.0.2, Radius monitor - about £4k even then) and have become quite used to being shafted every seven years or so for new pro Apple kit.

So, this year I’m in shafted mode and here’s the question:

Like most professional designers, there’s no doubt that I need a Mac Studio. I’m kind of happy with that. But a decent spec combined with a Mac Display now costs around £4,000.

The only way to reduce my investment is to get another display - but it must be a 4K+ calibrated monitor. I see LG and Samsung have previewed some at this year’s CES.

Obviously too early to tell but I thought I’d start this topic to maybe help lube the shafting!

(Before anyone mentions it, no way can you use a 4K iMac as a monitor with a Mac Studio despite the bull you’ll see on YT and elsewhere.)

This is the one I use for editing photos, I’m happy with it.

As to the calibrated thing, I would suggest getting a SpyderX as this will allow you to check and calibrate just about any monitor:

This year I bought a Mac Studio, and went for the LG UltraFine 24MD4KLB-B monitor, same as Paul recommends. The Apple store has been selling that monitor for years, it is designed for Macs! It is a great monitor for the money, assuming you don’t need a big screen.

Paul, have you actually calibrated your LG Ultrafine with the Spyder? I am just wondering if there are any issues with calibrating it.

I have an older version, called the Spyder5Pro I used a USB-C to USB adapter cable. I was able to create a new profile without any problems. Reminds me I should probably recalibrate to check it as I last did it back in May

1 Like

Just checked it and 8 months later the calibration is still spot-on

1 Like

I took exactly the same journey - iMac to Mac Studio about a year back. I use a ultra wide 34 inch monitor and LG 27 inch monitor. The 27 inch monitor had no problems but any thing over 27 inches will cause some display issues. If you do get a monitor over 27 inches you will most likely need a new cable. This is the one that worked for me from Amazon: Maxonar USB C to DisplayPort 1.4 VESA Certified, 8K 60Hz Thunderbolt 4/3 /USB4 to DP Cable. Apple still have not fixed the issue with M1 chips and ultra wide monitors.

Here is a good video explaining the problem with an ultra wide monitor and Mac Studio: The Problem with Ultrawide Monitor & M1 Max Mac Studio - YouTube

Good luck!


Geoff I’m in the same boat, needing to replace my 2015 iMac Retina with a new Mac Studio. I’ve watched several “opinion reviews” on how to avoid paying $ for the Apple monitor and it appears that for quality of build and maximal compatibility the Apple monitor is the way to go. Several LG owners are a bit less than happy. LOL, I had a Radius monitor too-way back when. Currently in Mexico for a few months, so will hardcore research when I get back in a few weeks. Yes, I was hoping I could use the iMac as a monitor, but no way. While I don’t need to calibrate, I definitely will go for a 27".

1 Like

Thanks @Jody. I see that LG have a new 27" model coming out this year - let’s see if it’s got a better build quality. As they supply Apple, I have them top of the list at the moment.

@fg8 I’m more than happy with 27" - widescreen monitors are undoubtably good for gaming but not suitable in a dedicated design environment for many reasons that I won’t bore you with here… and you seem to be discovering.

I use my iPad Pro to one side of my iMac and handoff (for example) the Rapidweaver Library pane to it, leaving me with more real estate on my iMac. This also works well for other menu-heavy apps like Final Cut Pro.

@LiveShots The LG is an extremely good choice… on my list. Thanks for the Spyder info - I remember similar back in the 80s when we had Sony Trinitron CRT monitors on which we stroked wired pucks to calibrate them for accurate(ish) print output. Better than nothing but ambient temperature and lighting had a big effect on accuracy - a pain in the arse frankly.
However, these days, you should be able to natively calibrate a monitor and then use output colour profiles to achieve accurate wysiwyg.

My two choices right now are either cough up for the Apple display or save money on LG - but the 2023 model if the specs are close to Apple’s. The current LG is very close to a Retina display without the hefty price tag.

Rumour has it that Apple are releasing another 27" monitor - half way between the Studio Display and Pro Display - or maybe an upgrade of the Studio Display. There’s never a good time to buy new kit… always something better/cheaper on the horizon 😫

Let’s all keep hunting and sharing - I’m hoping to make a decision by May.

Just my 2 cents, why not a MacBook Pro?

No decent sized 5K monitors around at all, which is sad. And yeah, wait re the Mac Studio due to the M1 vs M2 thing…

1 Like

Well, as it happens @Jannis I’m in the market for a second-hand MBP to use while travelling.
However, the my current setup is the main reason; I need connectivity to stuff.
I have five external HDD attached (two of which are RAID volumes). These hold my video, web, print and photography work, TimeMachine backup plus a dedicated 2TB scratch disc (for PS and LR).
A total of 18TB grown over the past 10 years.
Add to this a graphics tablet, card reader, optical drive, dslr, GoPro and you can imagine the need for as many native USB/Thunderbolt ports as possible. As it is, I have a 12-port extension which doubles up as a desktop heater at busy times 😂

1 Like