Presentations of new MacBook Pro models always emphasize support for working with multiple external high-resolution monitors. This time, there were such slides, but they did not apply to every model.

This year, the MacBook Pro lineup grew, with 14-inch variants in the base models receiving M3 processors and reducing the initial price of the lineup. Of course, these versions of professional laptops also have their own peculiarities compared to the configurations that have more powerful M3 Pro and M3 Max processors.

In addition to the obviously lower performance figures, the MBP 14 with M3 has one less Thunderbolt port, and there are only one cooler inside the topcase instead of two. However, there is another point that limits the ability to use the basic model for Pro users – the number of external monitors that the laptop can work with simultaneously.

The publication 9to5Mac drew attention to this problem.

Yes, the initial MBP 14 can only work with one external display. Regardless of the type of connection (Thunderbolt or HDMI), it can only output images to one monitor, but at resolutions up to 6K with support for a refresh rate of 60 Hz.

The new base model MacBook Pro 14 will not satisfy users of multiple external monitors

Meanwhile, the M3 Pro model will be able to provide the same resolution and refresh rate with two monitors connected via Thunderbolt. By changing the connection type of one of them to HDMI, you can get 144 Hz at 4K. This port will also be able to provide 240 Hz at 4K, and 60 Hz at 8K, but in this case you will also have to work with only one external screen.

Of course, the capabilities of the M3 Max are much greater. With this processor, you can simultaneously work on four external displays: three 6K/60 Hz connected via Thunderbolt and one 4K/144 Hz via HDMI. An alternative option with three displays: two 6K/60 Hz via Thunderbolt + one 8K/60 Hz (or 4K/240 Hz) via HDMI.

In any case, a setup with two external displays will not be possible with the basic MacBook Pro 14 model, and the user will have to buy a laptop with at least M3 Pro.

Let me remind you that the basic version of the MBP 14 with M3 in the US costs $1,599, while the variants with M3 Pro or M3 Max cost $1,999 and $3,199, respectively. And this is without taking into account possible upgrades of processors (where there are options for combinations of CPU cores and graphics), RAM, and storage.