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I intend to buy a MBAir 11 and need lots of pixels.

the more I have the better. If I could have 4 30' screen I'd do it. Graphic performance is of absolutely no interest to me, as I only do programming and bloomberg.

What is the configuration that gives the most pixel estate ?

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You should accept andynormancx's answer, as it is the most correct or whatever answer helped you the most. –  CajunLuke Aug 23 '11 at 0:35
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5 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As has been said in the other answer, you are restricted to a single external display with the built-in hardware.

You can however add extra external displays using USB based display adapters. For example I use one of the DisplayLink adapters. Some of the DisplayLink adapters can do 2048x1152. There will be a limit to how many USB adapters make sense, before you start saturating the USB bus. But it should be fine for a couple of extra displays.

USB based adapters aren't well suited to 3D gaming and full screen video, but should be fine for what you want.

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Unfortunately, the integrated Intel graphics hardware in the MacBook Air does not support multiple external displays. You would be limited to the built-in display plus a single external display.

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The Thunderbolt port on the MacBook Airs supports one external display. You can use that with a Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter to run a 30" screen (2560x1600). @andynormancx mentioned DisplayLink adapters and that some can do 2048x1152; the Air has 2 USB ports, so let's say that you can run two of that size of monitor with them (you may be able to squeeze more in there). Finally, there's the internal display (the 11" has 1366x768; if you want bigger, the 13" is 1440x900).

In total, you're looking at 2560*1600 + (2048*1152)*2 + 1366*768 = 9,863,680 pixels. Is that big enough?

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There's an adapter from mini-DisplayPort to dual-HDMI, so that would give you (internal display)+2*1920x1080. As others have said, though, your best bet at achieving as many pixels as possible is an additional external graphics adapter, such as TripleHead2Go.

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If you want both, screen estate and mobility, wait for Thunderbolt-equipped Mac Pros. Keep all of your data on the MacBook Air and connect it to the Mac Pro using Thunderbolt Target Disk Mode. One of the downsides will be that you’ll have to reboot when switching between working at the desk and on the road.

On the other hand you’ll have lots of RAM, faster processors, internal backup disks, and all the pixels you need.

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