Software engineer defends Apple’s pricey Studio Display [Setups]


Computer setup with M2 Pro MacBook Pro and Studio Display
Software engineer says his Studio Display's 60Hz refresh rate doesn't bother him (much).

A software engineer drives a Studio Display with an M2 Pro MacBook Pro in their enviable computer setup. And while some folks questioned the use of Apple’s pricey 5K display because of its relatively low refresh rate, the setup’s user praised the monitor highly.

Check out the advice the engineer got about setup improvements and see all their gear in the list below.

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Software engineer’s M2 Pro MacBook Pro drives Studio Display with ‘perfect resolution and scaling’

Apple launched the Studio Display in 2022 as a more-affordable alternative to its $5,000 Pro Display XDR. It’s a 5K monitor with TrueTone, P3 wide color gamut, a studio-quality microphone setup, a six-speaker sound system and a less-than-fabulous webcam. While not as impressive as the Pro Display XDR, it’s a surprisingly sophisticated monitor — and some folks absolutely love the Studio Display.

Redditor OK_Cobbler_806 showcased the Studio Display recently in a post entitled, “Rate me setup (software engineer).” 

“Looking for honest feedback and suggestions for improvement,” they said at the top of the post. “Thanks and stay sexy.” And so, implied to be sexy, commenters readily gave feedback, much of it positive.

A handful of people wondered if the Studio Display is a software engineer’s best choice of display, especially given its 60Hz refresh rate in a gaming-centric world of speedier screens.

One person included that question among other advice:

Is it worth it to use the ASD as software engineer? Btw I like the space, I personally would declutter it a bit. Especially the sticky notes. See if you can use a digital instead, or I would stick them to the wall on your right side. MacBook in a stand, will look clean imo. And see if you can remove some items from the desk. I think all that would give you a more relax vibe. Less is more.

‘Perfect resolution and scaling’

Cobb said the Studio Display is worth it. (And, in case you don’t know, “ASD” above refers to Apple Studio Display and they cost quite a bit. Apple’s pricing starts at $1,599, with nanotexture glass and a height-adjustable stand adding hundreds.)

“It is for me as it has perfect resolution and scaling,” they said. “The low FPS doesn’t bother me. It’s only noticeable when I switch immediately from my MacBook Screen to the ASD screen. Also, getting rid of the sticky notes now.”

Another commenter agreed, but lamented the refresh rate even if it’s not the most important thing for Cobb’s work. “I don’t have the ASD, but the high resolution does make text looking damn crispy,” they said. “60hz is a bummer though but not the biggest issue for development.”

A third commenter put it this way, contrasting dual Studio Displays to an ultra-wide monitor with a much higher refresh rate:

Exactly what I’m doubting about: Dual ASD’s -> 5k but only 60hz 38” ultrawide -> 144hz but only 1440p (1600p actually but same ppi as 1440p monitor). Not sure what the best choice/preferable is for a software engineer. It would be better reading text on the ASD’s for sure. But scrolling that text would look choppy compared to the 144hz.

Monitor lamp and display’s lack of height adjustability

“Does the monitor bar help when you are right next to window. What’s the actual purpose,” another person asked. “Also the monitor isn’t height adjustable right. So does it bother you.” (They’re into asking questions, but not into using question marks.)

Here’s Cobb’s reply:

My keyboard isn’t backlit. It is mainly so I can see my keyboard at night. I keep it on during the day for extra alertness. It’s more about establishing keyboard efficiency to be able to switch between desktops and windows effectively. This means less physical effort of moving your head around – which I have found makes me unproductive. I’ve flirted with the idea of getting a stacked ASD setup, but don’t think I’ll do that in the foreseeable future.

Other advice: Desk mat, mousepad, Trackpad, keyboard

Commenters also weighed in on other details in the setup. Someone said, “Maybe get a wider desk mat and get rid of the mouse pad? That placement is driving me mad.”

“Now it’s driving me mad,” Cobb replied. “On it.”

And another Redditor agreed and added more:

7.5-8/10 Mac could be vertical or on a stand matching the desk, keyboards is cool for a non custom but the red keycaps seem out of place. Overall it’s a nice setup, the asd w/light bar is cool – but that mousepad cut in 1/2 by the desk mat would drive me mad. I would get single desk pad that doubled as a mousepad, and a desk shelf to put mbp and ASD then the sticky notes could go into a little shelf. If you want a rabbit hole could look into custom keyboards with keycaps that match your esthetic. Overall pretty nice!

Cobb replied:

Didn’t realize the caps were out of place till you mentioned it. I’ll look into replacing them to match my aesthetic. Getting a mousepad soon. As far as MacBook stand goes – I’m worried about the pressure exerted on the screen when standing vertical as it’s a 16 inch laptop. Stands are designed for smaller laptops.

Another person joked about the apparent lack of colorful lighting. “No rgb? No nanoleaf…. Pshhh… lol jk, I like it…maybe a little plant would add some coziness. How do you like that Apple Tracked? I’ve been debating on getting one.”

“There’s a small cactus right in the middle,” Cobb replied. “And my room is fully equipped with RGB, actually. I just keep it a bright white during work hours. Apple Trackpad is good! I’ve made it a habit to use it for gestures and scrolling as the MX tends to be choppy with scrolling.”

Shop these items now:


Display and monitor light:

Input devices and mouse pad:

Audio and headphone stand:


If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to 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, challenges and plans for new additions.

Studio Display

Not as good as Apple's Pro Display XDR, but the 27-inch Apple Studio Display packs an impressive panel coupled with a six-speaker system and studio-quality microphones.

Buy Now
03/04/2024 12:57 am GMT


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