Mac Setup: The Dual Display Mac Pro Desk of an Assistant Professor

Jun 7, 2014 - 33 Comments

Dual Thunderbolt Displays and a Mac Pro

This weeks featured Mac setup is the powerhouse new Mac Pro workstation shared with us by Alberto G., an Assistant Professor at ITESM (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, a university in northern Mexico). Let’s jump in and learn a bit more about the hardware and what great apps get put to use.

What hardware is part of your desk setup?

Mac Pro desk setup

What do you use your Apple gear for?

The Mac setup is primarily used for:

  • Mobile App Development
  • Web Development
  • Course preparation (I’m an assistant professor)
  • Research and simulation
  • Everything!

Mac Pro with Dual Thunderbolt Displays

What are some of the apps you use most often?

Do you have any tips you want to share with others?

Use the Timing app to measure your time working, surfing, etc., it can be very insightful.

Do you have an interesting Apple workstation or great Mac desk setup you want to share? Answer some questions about your setup and how you use it, take a couple of good pictures, and send it all in to osxdailycom@gmail.com – or you can just browse through our previously featured Mac setups instead…

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Posted by: OSXDaily in Mac Setups

33 Comments

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  1. Pat Astre says:

    Droool…. this is literally my dream setup. One day, maybe! I know it’s in an office setting too but I love the bright room and minimalist desk too.

    ITESM is a fantastic school, kind of like the MIT of Mexico, I would have loved to have studied abroad there!

  2. Matt says:

    The right Thunderbolt display is so close to the extremity of the desk !

    Otherwise, nice config :)

    One question. Are you really using ToR Browser or is just to be cool ? :)

    • Alberto says:

      I use it for some websites that are blocked, for instance, if the URL contains the word ‘play’ it is blocked; and sometimes a site without a gaming orientation is blocked for this reason.

  3. Chris Cheng says:

    New Mac Pro, so good

  4. Jimmy says:

    Very Nice, but… you’re not actually sitting at this desk, are you..? Your nose would be right up against the screen, this isn’t looking comfortable at all. I guess it’s just a setup for the picture.

    • Alberto says:

      Actually is pretty comfortable, I use the monitor on the right for secondary tasks such as email, viewing help or tutorials when developing or doing research, or monitoring servers.

  5. MacPaul says:

    Terrible! The screens are the usual mirrors that give you headaches and hurt your eyes, and the distance to them wouldn’t be enough even when they stand at the edge of the table. Cool looking and MacPro, but no sense of ergonomics. Maybe a intelligent person who works for a professor should know better.

    • McRoberts says:

      Sounds like you’re jealous. Hey I understand, that’s a $5000+ Mac setup, heck of a setup! Hard to afford that, but no need to be jealous, jealousy is never appealing to anyone and creates a burden inside you.

    • Tice says:

      Absolutely right! My first thought was: Great example for not using the awful mirror-displays Apple made standard a few years ago. I never understand wy Pros work with that.

  6. Wow… This table is a bit expensive! I WANT IT! :D

  7. Patrick M says:

    How do you like the Bose QC20is? I have a pair of QC15s and they are fantastic.

  8. Stan says:

    WOW, such setup just for making presentations, websites and skyping… what a waste…

    • Nope says:

      Reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit I take it, or maybe you’re a useless troll? The interview states extremely clearly what the Mac Pro is used for:

      “The Mac setup is primarily used for:

      Mobile App Development
      Web Development
      Course preparation (I’m an assistant professor)
      Research and simulation
      Everything!”

      • Stan says:

        Oh, you mean “everything”! Sure this justifies it. Really, this is not specific at all. If by “everything” you mean video editing or some other advanced computing process, than sure Mac Pro is what you meet, but for the listed stuff iMac is sufficient. I still stand by my point of view – Mac Pro in this situation is a waste of horse power, it will never be fully used. If you wish to discuss this further, that’s OK, but if you still have no valid arguments stop being, as you wrote, a useless troll.
        Peace!

        • Kevin B. says:

          Stan, maybe he was referring to “research and simulation”???

          • Kevin B. says:

            Stan (and all), never mind. I see the other comments below. I think the bottom line is that NONE of us know what Alberto is using this for (and maybe he doesn’t want to share all the details for various reasons – why can’t “research and simulations” be enough to not get slammed for buying this instead of an iMac???).

            And I definitely agree with you Stan … peace!

  9. James Brickley says:

    Overkill for the work he’s doing. An iMac 27″ would suffice. That’s like buying a Ferrari and never driving over 10mph.

    • Alberto says:

      Hi James, for research, simulation (multitheading is a must), iOS and webservices development a setup like this saves you a lot of valuable time. And the Air gives you advantage on the road.
      BTW, I’ve never used a Ferrari but it should be amazing even at 10MPH. :-)

      • James Brickley says:

        No offense, Alberto and it may be the OSXDaily Mac Setup format but a single bullet point “research and simulation” doesn’t explain nearly enough. I build super compute cloud nodes, so I know a little about threads. Each node is running 16 CPUs, 768GB RAM, 20 SATA III 4TB drives, and 4 SSD’s plus several GPU cards. Would be sincerely interested in how hard you push the machine and how much of a difference it has made in your productivity.

    • frappedia says:

      So, James, based on your comment, I take it you know what kind of research and simulations he’s running, right? Only a very smart person like you, could extract this info from the interview and I’d say that for your intelligence an abacus would be an overkill…

      • James Brickley says:

        Yay, a FanBoi extraordinaire! What a surprise… I came into the Apple world via Unix, I never ever would have purchased a Mac prior to OS X (NeXTStep/OpenStep foundation). He’s an “assistant” professor at the Mexican equivalent of MIT, of course I am interested in how he uses it and how he justifies the cost. More detail than just a single bullet point list and some pictures of his setup would be appreciated. It might be the OS X Daily Mac Setup at fault but knowing how it’s made a difference in his simulation and research would be nice. Course publishing the details would make your eyes glaze over and your head pop as you wonder if it will run Angry Birds or TweetBot any faster.

  10. Gradstudent says:

    How do you see over the monitors to talk to your students?

  11. Fernando says:

    Can we have an inversion approximate?
    How long until the system needs an update to keep it on the high-end category and how much do you think you’ll have to invest in it?

    • Alberto says:

      Hi Fernando, the two monitors and the Mac Pro about 7000, the MacBook around 2300 (Tax and Apple Care are expensive in Mexico) and the rest of the gadgets I’ll say 1500+.

      I think the Mac Pro would give me enough power for at least another 3 years and then I’ll evaluate upgrading the RAM, CPU, or SSD (I’m OK with the graphics card) since all that I mention is user-upgradeable. I understand that there are already some options in the market right now, in 2-3 years, there will be even more.
      The Air is fine for at least 3-4 (perhaps 5) years (I also own a 2010 Mac Book pro and still works like a charm, I just replaced the battery 6 months ago)

      What I fear the most is that in the not so far future all Apple iOS devices would be “retina” and to continue development without an iOS device (simulator only) I’ll need a retina display (that according to some rumours is already in the works)

      • Matt Chan says:

        I suspect Apple will get a Retina on a desktop, maybe an external screen, sometime in the next year or two, but it would run with that Mac Pro for sure. Then, maybe 3-4 years out from now, I think all Retina Macs are a possibility. I think it comes down to price, otherwise a retina 27″ display could cost $3000 for a single screen alone! Thus, I think they are waiting for price to be reasonable.

  12. Matt Chan says:

    This is a fantastic desk setup, I would love to get a Mac Pro and Dual Thunderbolt screens like this, what a dream workstation! Can’t imagine the performance and system speed, must be incredible.

    Next update I’m thinking about a Mac Pro, or an iMac if they go Retina, or maybe the next gen MacBook Pro Retina if they’re beefy enough…. oooooh tough to wait for upgrades sometimes!

  13. Will.i.am says:

    I’ve worked with many people from “the tech” in mexico and they just want to take pictures of their desk. He has the track pad but probably doesn’t know how to use it so he keeps the mouse too.

  14. Will.i.am says:

    Further more, what sense does it make for the second used app to be for android devices when we can all see an iPhone on the desk. Ergonomics, ear buds instead of real headphones and a time capsule instead of professional backup means this guy makes the real apple fans come down a notch because this fan boy has a clean white desk.

  15. Mario says:

    Two nice mirrors!

  16. Anton says:

    My set-up is:

    1 Thunderbolt 27” screen
    1 Macbook Pro 15”: topmodel
    1 iPad Air
    1 iPhone 5s

    I suspect that the power of the topmodel Macbook Pro would be enough for his needs.

    This would set-up would cut his price-tag to one third and it has some advantages.

    If you take your Macbook on the road, you can work in exactly the same surrounding as when using it with the Thunderbolt display. No need to install programs twice and no need to sync between devices. You only have to maintain one computer instead of two. Makes your life easier and you can concentrate on getting the work doen.

    When needed, you can use your Macbook 15” as a second screen (and if you want: the iPad as a third screen.) However, I usually prefer the better focus and productivity, using just one screen.

    If you only need to do basic stuff on the road (reading, e-mail etc.): you can take your iPad with you and leave the Macbook at the office.

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