M1 Max MacBook drives classic Cinema Display [Setups]


Setups 17parkc-Reddit Dec 21 2022

At Cult of Mac we love retro Apple gear. Today’s featured setup pairs a powerful new M1 Max MacBook with a beautiful old Cinema Display plus the iconic Harman Kardon SoundSticks speaker system.

And if you love the old Cinema Displays but worry their resolution won’t cut it nowadays, read on.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

M1 Max MacBook Pro drives classic Cinema Display

Redditor 17parkc (“Park”) showcased the partly retro setup in a post entitled, “Cleaned up my 16″ M1 Max MacBook Pro Setup a bit. Thoughts?”

Park is clearly a fan of old Apple gear. We’ve showcased their setups twice before. One setup featured an iBook from around 2000, plus The Cult of Mac hardcover book and Lego models. The other setup was more spare, mainly showing off the then-new blue iMac that both setups shared, plug a cool Porsche die cast model.

In this newest setup, they’ve got a 16-inch M1 Max MacBook driving a classic aluminum Cinema Display.

“I love seeing the retro gear still kickin!” a commenter enthused. “Aluminum Cinema Display and the SoundSticks are a wonderful nostalgic combo.”

Harman Kardon SoundSticks

Here's a better look at Harman Kardon SoundSticks III, a clear speaker system with a subwoofer and two thin satellites.
Here’s a better look at Harman Kardon SoundSticks III.
Photo: Harmon Kardon

As noted, the other potentially retro item in the setup is the Harman Kardon SoundSticks speaker system. It’s hard to tell how hold it is. The first edition came out in 2000. The fourth version came out in 2020 with a slightly different look.

Here’s how we described SoundSticks III recently:

You won’t find may speaker systems more interesting-looking than the Harman Kardon SoundSticks III 2.1 system. It shares its eccentric design with its predecessor, SoundSticks II, which was so groundbreaking it found its way into the permanent collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).

SoundSticks III is a three-piece, 2.1-channel multimedia sound system with 40 watts of amplification, a 6-inch down-firing powered subwoofer and eight 1-inch full-range transducers.

Surprising Cinema Display

A commenter expressed concern over connecting an old Cinema Display to a new computer.

“How do you have your Cinema Display hooked up to your MacBook Pro?” they asked. “I’m using a really dodgy DVI to HDMI converter which goes into a generic USB-C dongle which then goes into a further CalDigit TS3+ hub, as you can probably tell the connection isn’t reliable.”

“I found a DVI to USB-C adapter on Amazon for like $15 about half a year ago, and it’s been solid for me,” Park replied.

So no worries about the connection, but what about the resolution?

“I like the legacy monitor, but I’d kinda want something above 1080p,” another commenter said.

And here’s the surprising bit, from another commenter:

Those Cinema Displays varied in resolution based on the size! This one looks to be a 20 inches so it’s the lowest 1680 x 1050.
23 inches is 1920 x 1200 and 30 inches is 2560 x 1600. So retro Apple Cinema Displays with decent resolutions are out there! People tend to wanna get rid of the 20-inch ones easier though lol.

So your mileage may vary depending on which of the numerous Cinema Displays released between 1999 and 2011 you find. You can read more about them here.

An another person said their 30-inch Cinema Display is still great.

“Those displays were so far ahead of the competition at the time,” they said. “My 30 inch is still going strong 16 or so years later.”

Shop these items now:



Input devices:


Furniture and lighting:

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.