I have a Lenovo Windows 7 laptop and now I have a shiny new Macbook pro to go with it.

I want to build a workstation where both share the same monitor. Since I code, I want a fairly large monitor with a fairly large resolution so that I can see a lot of code. The only thing better than high resolution is very high resolution. :)

The Lenovo laptop is docked and has a digital output (the unused rectangular white outlet in middle of the picture)

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Since I want a large monitor which is going to be a decent investment, I should get one with the best goodies so I can hook up other things to it and use it for other purposes.

So here is a two part question:

  • Can anyone provide insight on the features to get?

  • How do I go about choosing a monitor that can be shared between the Lenovo and the Macbook Pro laptops?


@Daniel has a good idea with the switch.

However, if you don't need to share keyboards/mice, I recommend getting a monitor with multiple inputs (almost all these days) and just connecting the Lenovo to one and the MacBook Pro to the other. Switch the inputs on the monitor.
The downside of this is that, even if the monitor isn't using the Mac's input, the Mac will think it's connected. So, you may get windows popping up on a nonexistent monitor, and losing your cursor now and then.

As for features: Make sure you get something with a high contrast ratio, and as VESA mount. Even if you don't anticipate mounting it right away, you may well want to later, especially if you share it between multiple machines.

  • This is the setup I use. I have a Dell 2407 display, with both a MB Pro (DVI) and a Dell mini tower (VGA) attached. The PC keyboard and mouse are wireless so I just push them off to the side when they aren't in use; the laptop uses a keyboard & trackball that sit on a keyboard drawer, so I can just push the drawer in when the Mac isn't in use. Cheap and simple. – Dori Jan 19 '11 at 9:33

This may have less to do with the monitor you get and more to do with how you hook up the laptops to the monitor. When using multiple desktops on a single monitor, I've found KVM switches extremely useful. If you were planning on using a single keyboard for the two laptops, I would recommend this approach. However, I'm not aware of a single keyboard that will give you OS-specific controls for both Mac (command, eject, volume, etc) and Windows (start, etc).


In addition to Daniel and Nathan's answers, do not buy any monitor that has "speakers", 99% of the displays that came with speakers turned out to be a complete waste of technology (not the display itself, but the speakers), which will let you wonder, why put speakers there in the first place if the volume/quality is going to be worse than using a Megaphone.

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