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Why I Use Three NEC Displays on Mac Pro

Get NEC wide gamut display at B&H Photo or or Amazon.

B&H Photo currently has the NEC PA302W discounted to $1799 (add to car to see price).
The PA272W is only $1149 and the EA244UHD is $999. See all wide gamut NEC displays. Deals end Dec 19. The NEC Color Sensor and SpectraView II Software Kit is available separately, so the best deal for the PA series is to buy the BK-SV model, which includes the calibration stuff.

See also My Workhorse Wide Gamut Display: NEC PA302W for why I favor the PA302W.

Three displays can streamline workflow for those like me (Lloyd) that spend most of every day at the computer. And it is one reason to favor a Mac Pro*. Discussion follows the images.

* MPG top pick for Mac Pro is the 6-core with 1TB Flash and D500 GPUs. Get 64GB OWC memory and a Thunderbay 4 and some backup drives, and you’re 'good'.

Pushing the limits of displays on 2013 Mac Pro
PA302W @ 2560 X 1440 (center), PA322UHD @ 1920 X 1080 (3840x2160), EA244UHD @ 1080 X 1920 (2160x3840)

Just getting all the Photoshop palettes off the main screen is a HUGE efficiency boost (a 2nd display is ideal for photographers). Plus I don’t want my color perception degraded by things like the histogram palette.

Photoshop palettes on 2nd display instead of the main display

How I put three NEC displays to use

Get NEC display at B&H Photo or or Amazon. MPG recommend buying one of them as the BK-SV model, which includes calibration software (SpectraView II) and hardware (same unit can be used on all NEC displays). NEC has a proven track record for professional calibration—don’t mess around with claims of calibration. Eizo displays are also a good choice, but are much more expensive.

  • Main display: the NEC PA302W is an ultra-wide gamut display with true display hardware calibration support at a pixel density that is friendly to image evaluation and editing. With a 4K UltraHD display or Retina display, pixel density is too high to evaluate image sharpness, at least for my eyes. So the PA302W is perfect, offering very friendly 2560 X 1600 pixel density.
  • Secondary display use for multiple purposes: the NEC PA322UHD for previewing the web pages I am creating, palettes in Photoshop, Terminal windows, etc.
  • Third display for superb web browser reading: NEC EA244UHD in portrait orientation 2160 X 3840 at 2:1 scaling of 1080 X 1920). Web pages are beautifully rendered due to the high pixel density and there is far less scrolling for longer pages—more to be seen at a glance, including checking my blog and such for layout glitches and similar, rendering in a tall and narrow window.

The PA302W and PA322UHD a plugged in directly to the Mac Pro. But because I did not want to use yet another Thunderbolt port on the Mac Pro, the EA244UHD was daisy-chained off a Thunderbay 4. This has one sporadic issue: coming out of sleep, the EA244UHD sometimes does not receive a signal, and I have to unplug/replug the cable into the Thunderbay, and then it comes back. This is not a display issue as far as I can tell, but a Thunderbolt or Apple wake-up bug. But with that proviso, 3 displays are looking good and really help my productivity since windows can just be there, minimizing application switching and so on.

Update: the out-of-sleep problem comes and goes. I expect a solution in 2016, stay tuned.

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