Connecting two laptops to monitor

JakeJ

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Jun 12, 2017
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Hi everyone.

I would like to connect my personal laptop (Macbook Pro m1 max) and my work laptop (Surface 4) to my monitor (pro display xdr).

Is there a device that I can connect the two laptops to the monitor and can I press a button to switch between the laptops on the display?

Greatly appreciate the assistance.

Thank you.
 

Nobu

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Any "HDMI switch" should do what you want. They're designed to work in the other direction though, so I haven't tried that configuration, but it should work.

Edit: err, you may need a displayport switch and a usb-c displayport adapter. Forgot we were talking about a Mac...
Edit2: And that apple display uses usb-c...mfer! XD
 
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Nobu

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Hrm... If it gets power and video from the same port, a simple adapter or switch may not work. Guess it depends on whether the adapter passes both through. :/

The thing GiGaBiTe linked looks like it might be a good option...maybe email the manufacturer to ask if it'll work?
 

GiGaBiTe

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I had a suspicion it wouldn't work. Again Apple being Apple wants to lock you into a walled garden only they have control over, both hardware and software wise. They have a history of making expensive proprietary dongles and locking out 3rd party vendors.

That monitor might look nice on the spec sheet, but it's just a very expensive piece of junk. It's 2021, $7000 monitors should not have a single input on them when you can go down to Walmart and get a 4k TV for less than $400 that has at least a half dozen inputs.

Unless Apple has a blessed Thunderbolt/USB-C switch box, I don't think you're going to be able to share that screen without physically unplugging cables and swapping them. And with how temperamental Thunderbolt is, it's definitely not something I recommend. Seen one too many Macbooks with holes blown in the logic board from detonated Thunderbolt controllers.
 

NattyKathy

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I had a suspicion it wouldn't work. Again Apple being Apple wants to lock you into a walled garden only they have control over, both hardware and software wise. They have a history of making expensive proprietary dongles and locking out 3rd party vendors.

That monitor might look nice on the spec sheet, but it's just a very expensive piece of junk. It's 2021, $7000 monitors should not have a single input on them when you can go down to Walmart and get a 4k TV for less than $400 that has at least a half dozen inputs.

Unless Apple has a blessed Thunderbolt/USB-C switch box, I don't think you're going to be able to share that screen without physically unplugging cables and swapping them. And with how temperamental Thunderbolt is, it's definitely not something I recommend. Seen one too many Macbooks with holes blown in the logic board from detonated Thunderbolt controllers.
I get where you are coming from, and I agree that Apples insistence on daisy-chaining everything over TB3 is severely limiting, but I think the XDR display may have better image quality and color accuracy than a $400 Wallyworld TV... There's more to monitor specs than inputs...
 

GiGaBiTe

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I get where you are coming from, and I agree that Apples insistence on daisy-chaining everything over TB3 is severely limiting, but I think the XDR display may have better image quality and color accuracy than a $400 Wallyworld TV... There's more to monitor specs than inputs...

It is true the Apple monitor probably looks better, but with only a single input, it has an extremely narrow range of uses. It's probably great for content development if you're super anal about color accuracy, but that only goes as far as the monitor itself. You can spend an eternity getting the color accuracy perfect on some project and nobody will care because they won't be able to see it unless they have the same $7000 monitor, or another monitor in the same class calibrated the same way.

It sounds like the OP just wants to use it as a generic workstation monitor, which it is in no way suited for.
 

JakeJ

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Greatly appreciate everyone's input.

I'm suspecting such a device does not exist.

Thanks again.
 

Zepher

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Could you do a remote desktop app on the Mac so you can use and control the Surface?
 

GiGaBiTe

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Could you do a remote desktop app on the Mac so you can use and control the Surface?

Teamviewer could do that, but the problem with it is that it will only run at the resolution of the target machine. So if the resolution of the target machine is lower than the monitor you're viewing it on, it'll be in a window.

I also remember seeing a program that could link up multiple machines and be controlled with a single keyboard and mouse, like multiple monitors on a single computer. But I think that's as far as it went, you couldn't drag windows or files between the machines I don't think.
 

LukeTbk

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Mousewithoutborder from Microsoft do really well to control multiple machine on the same network and make network copy of file with simply ctrl-C I think from memory, the usual use case is having multiple machine with each their monitor and when your mouse goes at the edge of one monitor if you continue you simply change machine.

Maybe ShareMouse ?
https://www.sharemouse.com/features/

Seem to be the same notion of expecting a monitor by device but maybe there is an option to shift computers (on the same network) sharing the same monitor.
 

Zepher

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Teamviewer could do that, but the problem with it is that it will only run at the resolution of the target machine. So if the resolution of the target machine is lower than the monitor you're viewing it on, it'll be in a window.

I also remember seeing a program that could link up multiple machines and be controlled with a single keyboard and mouse, like multiple monitors on a single computer. But I think that's as far as it went, you couldn't drag windows or files between the machines I don't think.
I know windows remote desktop will use whatever res you select. There is no Mac version that can do the same?
 

GiGaBiTe

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I know windows remote desktop will use whatever res you select. There is no Mac version that can do the same?

Apple has a remote desktop thing, but I know nothing about it. My knowledge of Apple stuff is mostly limited to 2006 and older.
 

Nobu

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Don't usb-c to displayport cables exist? Sorry for my ignorance.
Yes, however the output on the macbook is also usb-c, so you would need two adapters...and it still might not work.
 

GiGaBiTe

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Don't usb-c to displayport cables exist? Sorry for my ignorance.

They do exist, but the confusing clusterfuck that is USB-C makes it impossible to know if you can use such a cable backwards, where USB-C is the monitor and DP goes to a device. To add to the confusion, not all USB-C devices support the "alternate" mode where video and audio can remap some of the pins for their use in the cable. To test such a configuration, you'd need a pile of hideously expensive adapter cables, KVMs, etc. and hope something works.
 

robijito123

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I know you guys are slaughtering apple here but the surface has the same issues, why not use a display port switch like Amazon dp
From there you need like a mini dp to dp for surface and usbc to dp for Mac.
 
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Nobu

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I know you guys are slaughtering apple here but the surface has the same issues, why not use a display port switch like Amazon dp
From there you need like a mini dp to dp for surface and usbc to dp for Mac.
You'd need a usbc to dp for the monitor to the switch, then a usbc to dp from the mac to the switch, and then you'd have to pray that it works. $80+ and it might not work.

That said, if it's that much of an inconvenience it might be worth it...assuming it works.
 

Varmint

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Mousewithoutborder from Microsoft do really well to control multiple machine on the same network and make network copy of file with simply ctrl-C I think from memory, the usual use case is having multiple machine with each their monitor and when your mouse goes at the edge of one monitor if you continue you simply change machine.

Maybe ShareMouse ?
https://www.sharemouse.com/features/

Seem to be the same notion of expecting a monitor by device but maybe there is an option to shift computers (on the same network) sharing the same monitor.

I use a Logitech Flow keyboard and mouse to run two PCs off one monitor. Press a button on each to switch between the PCs. Unfortunately I have to manually change the monitor input. Mouse without borders I think requires two monitors.
 
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