February 03, 2011
The desktop computer I was assigned at work two years ago, was three years old when I inherited it. Even with a recent memory upgrade, it's getting a little long in the tooth. When I was given a green light to spec out a replacement machine I looked at both another Mac Pro and at a 27" iMac.
The configuration I've had on my desk for two years now was three 20" Cinema displays coupled to a Mac Pro sporting 12 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. A new Mac Pro was only going to bump up the processor speed a little, and increase the hard disk size. Looking at an iMac, with its lower initial cost, allowed me to add a solid-state hard drive - something I've wanted to experiment with for some time now.
Three 20" displays side-by-side make for a very wide work surface. I tended to work on the center display with odd windows or palettes on the right and left displays. Having a very large primary display and a slightly smaller secondary display seemed like a better idea.
Wednesday at 4 pm the iMac arrived and I've spent the time since then transferring my account from the Mac Pro and rearranging my physical desk. I stood the one remaining 20" Cinema screen on end, giving me a tall narrow secondary display. My idea is to use this screen for email, terminal windows, and other ancillary things, while keeping the vast 27" display for my primary tools. After just a short use I think this is going to work beautifully. Eventually I'd like to get a monitor arm and mount for the 20" display so that it isn't just balanced on it's edge.