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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:11 PM   #1
ProPedderKustom
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New MBA runs two Thunderbolt displays!

An Apple Store rep told me that the new MBA will run 2 Thunderbolt Displays in clamshell mode. Can anyone confirm if this seems/is correct?
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:13 PM   #2
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:14 PM   #3
GGJstudios
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Originally Posted by ProPedderKustom View Post
An Apple Store rep told me that the new MBA will run 2 Thunderbolt Displays in clamshell mode. Can anyone confirm if this seems/is correct?
MacBook Air - Graphics and Video Support
Quote:
Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:17 PM   #4
ProPedderKustom
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So what are you getting at? This doesn't mention 2 external displays.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:19 PM   #5
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So what are you getting at? This doesn't mention 2 external displays.
Exactly. I'm not "getting at" anything. I'm just quoting Apple.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:21 PM   #6
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Exactly. I'm not "getting at" anything. I'm just quoting Apple.
Ok - I am looking for an answer and don't see it there. Thanks though
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:23 PM   #7
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Ok - I am looking for an answer and don't see it there. Thanks though
The HD3000 was limited in how many displays it could power (2). I believe the HD4000 can power 3 displays. That may be why the 2012 MacBook Air can power 2 ATDs.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:24 PM   #8
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As I understand it, the graphics chip can support multiple displays at the same time (more than two), however Apple have limited it to just two. Could be wrong, but possibly to make a greater difference between the Air and the Pro?
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:44 PM   #9
Vladie
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Three Simultaneous Displays Was Part Of Intel's Marketing

I posted a similar question in another thread. It makes no sense to me that the new MacBook Airs - with the Intel HD 4000 chipset - are limited to the same one external display and the internal one as last year's models. That limitation was HARDWARE based. The 3000 chipset could not handle more than two simultaneous displays. But the 4000 chipset can. In fact, it was demoed by Intel running on a laptop on this video I posted in the other thread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOHBkFOyckYhttp://. So I'd like to believe that what you say is true, but until we receive confirmation, we won't know for sure.

To that end, I've emailed a couple of people at Macworld since they were one of the first to figure out the whole you-must-connect-something-between-a-thunderbolt-display-and-a-displayport-display-for-it-to-work. Will certainly report back if I hear anything.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 05:48 PM   #10
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I posted a similar question in another thread. It makes no sense to me that the new MacBook Airs - with the Intel HD 4000 chipset - are limited to the same one external display and the internal one as last year's models. That limitation was HARDWARE based. The 3000 chipset could not handle more than two simultaneous displays. But the 4000 chipset can. In fact, it was demoed by Intel running on a laptop on this video I posted in the other thread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOHBkFOyckYhttp://. So I'd like to believe that what you say is true, but until we receive confirmation, we won't know for sure.

To that end, I've emailed a couple of people at Macworld since they were one of the first to figure out the whole you-must-connect-something-between-a-thunderbolt-display-and-a-displayport-display-for-it-to-work. Will certainly report back if I hear anything.
You rock
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 06:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Vladie View Post
I posted a similar question in another thread. It makes no sense to me that the new MacBook Airs - with the Intel HD 4000 chipset - are limited to the same one external display and the internal one as last year's models. That limitation was HARDWARE based. The 3000 chipset could not handle more than two simultaneous displays. But the 4000 chipset can. In fact, it was demoed by Intel running on a laptop on this video I posted in the other thread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOHBkFOyckYhttp://. So I'd like to believe that what you say is true, but until we receive confirmation, we won't know for sure.

To that end, I've emailed a couple of people at Macworld since they were one of the first to figure out the whole you-must-connect-something-between-a-thunderbolt-display-and-a-displayport-display-for-it-to-work. Will certainly report back if I hear anything.
The 3000 chipset in the 13" MBP could support two external displays (powering down the laptop one) but the MBA using the same could not, this is assumed to be due to the difference in the thunderbolt chip used, if that's still the same thunderbolt chip it'll still only support one external display.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 06:47 PM   #12
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I can't even afford one thunderbolt display.. I probably won't experience 2 thunderbolt displays for a long time.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 09:26 PM   #13
Vladie
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Originally Posted by jsolares View Post
The 3000 chipset in the 13" MBP could support two external displays (powering down the laptop one) but the MBA using the same could not, this is assumed to be due to the difference in the thunderbolt chip used, if that's still the same thunderbolt chip it'll still only support one external display.

Jsolares,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my posts in both threads. You appear to be spot on.

The 2011 MBP 13 had the 3000 graphics, which could only handle two displays (internal + 1 external) BUT it had a thunderbolt chip - Light Ridge - that had two DisplayPort sinks. Thus, if you connected two external displays to it, it had to pick two of the three (2 external + 1 internal) because it couldn't display all three (again, 3000 graphics limitation). So it picked the two external displays and darkened the internal one. See point 8 here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5219?viewlocale=en_US. To quote: "You can connect a second Apple Thunderbolt Display (27-inch) to a 13-inch MacBook Pro, but the built-in display on the MacBook Pro will go dark. This is expected behavior."

Now, the 2011 MacBook Air had a different thunderbolt controller - Eagle Ridge - which had only one DisplayPort sink. So the 2011 MBA was limited in two respects: the 3000 graphics could only support two simultaneous displays and the TB controller could only support one external. Ergo, one internal, one external, period, done, end of story, thank you, good night, drive home safely.

The 2012 MacBook Air, however, has the 4000 graphics, which clearly supports THREE simultaneous displays. So the GRAPHICS could handle, say, two TB displays AND the internal display. But, as you correctly point out, what about the TB controller?

Well, Sandy Bridge ships with 2nd generation TB controllers - Cactus Ridge. But the only differences, as I understand it, between Cactus Ridge and Light / Eagle Ridge is that Cactus Ridge has some more things built into it that were formerly external chips, so they consume more power, but as a system, it consumes less power because those other chips are flat out gone. But what about display capability? Those stayed THE SAME:


Note that Cactus Ridge 2C is the same as Eagle Ridge - only one DP sink.

So, my conclusion: unless Apple put the 4C version of Cactus Ridge into the 2012 MacBook Airs, they are limited to only one external display and will NOT drive two, even in clamshell mode, even though the graphics chipset is more than capable of doing it.

Boy, oh boy I hope I'm wrong, but until someone shows it working, or I hear differently from an authoritative source, I'm gonna go with "no".
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 06:38 AM   #14
ProPedderKustom
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Originally Posted by Vladie View Post
Jsolares,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my posts in both threads. You appear to be spot on.

The 2011 MBP 13 had the 3000 graphics, which could only handle two displays (internal + 1 external) BUT it had a thunderbolt chip - Light Ridge - that had two DisplayPort sinks. Thus, if you connected two external displays to it, it had to pick two of the three (2 external + 1 internal) because it couldn't display all three (again, 3000 graphics limitation). So it picked the two external displays and darkened the internal one. See point 8 here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5219?viewlocale=en_US. To quote: "You can connect a second Apple Thunderbolt Display (27-inch) to a 13-inch MacBook Pro, but the built-in display on the MacBook Pro will go dark. This is expected behavior."

Now, the 2011 MacBook Air had a different thunderbolt controller - Eagle Ridge - which had only one DisplayPort sink. So the 2011 MBA was limited in two respects: the 3000 graphics could only support two simultaneous displays and the TB controller could only support one external. Ergo, one internal, one external, period, done, end of story, thank you, good night, drive home safely.

The 2012 MacBook Air, however, has the 4000 graphics, which clearly supports THREE simultaneous displays. So the GRAPHICS could handle, say, two TB displays AND the internal display. But, as you correctly point out, what about the TB controller?

Well, Sandy Bridge ships with 2nd generation TB controllers - Cactus Ridge. But the only differences, as I understand it, between Cactus Ridge and Light / Eagle Ridge is that Cactus Ridge has some more things built into it that were formerly external chips, so they consume more power, but as a system, it consumes less power because those other chips are flat out gone. But what about display capability? Those stayed THE SAME:
Image

Note that Cactus Ridge 2C is the same as Eagle Ridge - only one DP sink.

So, my conclusion: unless Apple put the 4C version of Cactus Ridge into the 2012 MacBook Airs, they are limited to only one external display and will NOT drive two, even in clamshell mode, even though the graphics chipset is more than capable of doing it.

Boy, oh boy I hope I'm wrong, but until someone shows it working, or I hear differently from an authoritative source, I'm gonna go with "no".
Thanks for this
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 07:53 AM   #15
Meph
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I know this isnt exactly on topic, but if the situation is as described above, do we have any options with USB 3?

Pretty interested in this. I'm going to be purchasing a new MBA and was hoping to have a multiple monitor docking station setup in the home office.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 09:57 AM   #16
Vladie
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I know this isnt exactly on topic, but if the situation is as described above, do we have any options with USB 3?

Pretty interested in this. I'm going to be purchasing a new MBA and was hoping to have a multiple monitor docking station setup in the home office.
Not off topic at all. Thunderbolt is still the answer - it's just an expensive answer. Buy this Sonnet external Thunderbolt PCI expansion chassis: http://store1.sonnettech.com/product...roducts_id=402 and put in a mid-range desktop graphics card and you'll be able to hook up at least 3 external monitors (one from the Air, two from the graphics card), plus you'll have more graphics processing capabilities that the Retina MBP. Of course, when you add the price of this to a nicely equipped Air, you'll PAY MORE than a Retina MBP too...
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 11:16 AM   #17
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Even if it could do it...it would probably be really slow. I hooked up my 13" Macbook Air to a 27" ACD...was NOT happy with system performance. YMMV
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 12:43 PM   #18
Meph
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I was thinking of something more like this for a USB 3.0 alternative for driving multiple monitors.

http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-PA3927U-1PRP-Dynadock-Universal-Connect/dp/B006ZGWJU2/ref=pd_cp_pc_0

I know there wont be any answers til folks get a chance to plug stuff up to the new Airs.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 01:05 PM   #19
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Even if it could do it...it would probably be really slow. I hooked up my 13" Macbook Air to a 27" ACD...was NOT happy with system performance. YMMV
That sucks! My 13" MBA is flawless when paired with the 27" Apple Thunderbolt display.
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 03:53 PM   #20
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iFixit Teardown suggests it will

Ive been researching this as well...According to iFixit, the 2012 macbook air teardown came up with the DSL3510 L Thunderbolt port (4c)...
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBo...eardown/9457/2

So according to the charts here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...80,3205-3.html

We do indeed have the dual display port ability 4c in the Air vs the older 3310 2C (2011 models).

Pair that with the 4000 graphics card, and I think we have a dual monitor winner. Now, hold your breath Apple doesnt intentionally cripple it!
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 06:18 PM   #21
Meph
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Ive been researching this as well...According to iFixit, the 2012 macbook air teardown came up with the DSL3510 L Thunderbolt port (4c)...
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBo...eardown/9457/2

So according to the charts here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...80,3205-3.html

We do indeed have the dual display port ability 4c in the Air vs the older 3310 2C (2011 models).

Pair that with the 4000 graphics card, and I think we have a dual monitor winner. Now, hold your breath Apple doesnt intentionally cripple it!
now that is some good news. thanks for the update!
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 08:50 PM   #22
Vladie
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Originally Posted by Vohaul79 View Post
Ive been researching this as well...According to iFixit, the 2012 macbook air teardown came up with the DSL3510 L Thunderbolt port (4c)...
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBo...eardown/9457/2

So according to the charts here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...80,3205-3.html

We do indeed have the dual display port ability 4c in the Air vs the older 3310 2C (2011 models).

Pair that with the 4000 graphics card, and I think we have a dual monitor winner. Now, hold your breath Apple doesnt intentionally cripple it!
WOW! I totally did not expect this! The 3510 is a MAJOR Thunderbolt upgrade, costs more money and consumes more power. Why on earth would Apple include it and then cripple it?

I agree with you - based on my understanding, there is now no HARDWARE reason a tiny little 11" MBA (unless the 11incher has a different TB controller than the 13) couldn't run TWO TB displays...which, I, at least, find really fricking cool.

<geek>
Oh, and did anybody else notice:
THE 2012 MACBOOK AIRS HAVE THE ASYMMETRIC FANS!!!
</geek>

So who's going to be the first one to go to an Apple store and beg their indulgence to try it out?
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 09:08 PM   #23
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Even if it could do it...it would probably be really slow. I hooked up my 13" Macbook Air to a 27" ACD...was NOT happy with system performance. YMMV
Weird. I have the top of the line 11" Air and it runs it's display and my 27" ACD just fine. Even with EyeTV playing live television on one of the screens.

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Old Jun 13, 2012, 01:31 AM   #24
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So anyone try connecting a 2012 Air to two Apple thunderbolt displays? Do they both get 2560x1440 resolution just fine?
If that's a bit too expensive, you can also try two HP zr2740w displayport monitors for $650 apiece.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 01:42 AM   #25
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Not off topic at all. Thunderbolt is still the answer - it's just an expensive answer. Buy this Sonnet external Thunderbolt PCI expansion chassis: http://store1.sonnettech.com/product...roducts_id=402 and put in a mid-range desktop graphics card and you'll be able to hook up at least 3 external monitors (one from the Air, two from the graphics card), plus you'll have more graphics processing capabilities that the Retina MBP. Of course, when you add the price of this to a nicely equipped Air, you'll PAY MORE than a Retina MBP too...
I didn't realise they had released this

Anybody tried it?
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