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Old Nov 8, 2011, 12:15 PM   #1
courteous
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Can (any) Mac Mini drive 3 monitors?

Twice 1920x1200, once 2560x1440. All monitors have both DisplayPort and HDMI.

(1) Any way that it'll work on 2011 Mac Mini (via daisy-chaining or something else ... but not with $200 "adapters")?
(2) Is the discrete GPU needed?
(3) What about the 2009 models (with DVI and mini-DisplayPort)?

Thank you.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 12:45 PM   #3
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I have (already) read ALL of the threads you've linked!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
Can a Mac Mini drive three monitors?
"All three run at the monitor's default 1920x1200 resolution." Well, I need one with 2560x1440 ... is there any (not expensive) USB adapter for this resolution?

3 displays on a mac mini
"... can drive two Thunderbolt displays, daisy-chained, while still handling a third display on the HDMI port."
Well, what about DisplayPort displays?

Triple display works!
Already asked here, and they've started arguing with each other OT!

How to connect Mini -] HDTV + 2 Apple/Dell displays?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellhammer View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by reputationZed View Post
not entierly accurate. Display port v 1.2 supports daisy chaining. I have no idea if the mini, or either of these displays support v 1.2 though. I agree that the AMD 6630 is the best option for 3 monitors
It doesn't matter what DP 1.2 supports. The GPU (Intel HD 3000) in base and server supports only two displays. There aren't any monitors other than TBD that support daisy-chaining, so that's a no-go anyway. Besides, the DP version in Mini is 1.1a due to Thunderbolt.
Well, what about DisplayPort (not Thunderbolt) displays???

Triple Monitors - Mac Mini
Matrox $200+ adapter is not an option. Besides, lower resolutions are being considered.

Triple Display Help
Same.


Can anybody, please, give me straightforward answer? Is it possible, and would entry (non-discrete-GPU) 2011 () Mini suffice?
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 12:54 PM   #4
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Here is your answer for which display chips can run 2 monitors off TB, otherwise all Mini's can run 1 display off the hdmi and 1 off the TB port.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4885
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 12:56 PM   #5
GGJstudios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcb001982 View Post
Here is your answer for which display chips can run 2 monitors off TB, otherwise all Mini's can run 1 display off the hdmi and 1 off the TB port.

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4885
The OP already excluded TB displays.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 12:57 PM   #6
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# 2 in your post will be the only one that can run 2 TB displays daisy chained together unless you go with a USB video card which will not have the best performance but is usable for basic browsing/word processing.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 12:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by courteous View Post
I have (already) read ALL of the threads you've linked!





Can anybody, please, give me straightforward answer? Is it possible, and would entry (non-discrete-GPU) 2011 () Mini suffice?
You will still need some assortment of adapters.

Specifically you'll need a USB adapter for the third monitor. 2009-2011 mini's can only (natively) support two monitors.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 12:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
The OP already excluded TB displays.

Got ya, I guess I missed that as I thought he was including those displays since he mentioned the monitors would have a MDP.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 01:06 PM   #9
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To the OP:

- Looks like you can only get 3 displays if you use an Apple Thunderbolt Display and if a separate Thunderbolt peripheral is involved. Apple doesn't let you directly daisy-chain a vanilla DisplayPort monitor off the Thunderbolt Display, but several third-party Thunderbolt peripherals will let you do so.

- The HDMI port is limited to 1920 x 1200.

- Here is a $70 USB video adapter that claims a max resolution of 1920x1280.

Last edited by dolphin842; Nov 8, 2011 at 01:15 PM.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 01:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcb001982 View Post
# 2 in your post will be the only one that can run 2 TB displays daisy chained together unless you go with a USB video card which will not have the best performance but is usable for basic browsing/word processing.
Does any (reasonably priced) USB adapter support 1920x1200 resolution?
Then I can use
  • the Thunderbolt output to DisplayPort monitor*,
  • HDMI to HDMI,
  • and this USB-adapter to the 3rd monitor.
Will this work? Even on entry model (without ATI GPU)?


*
Quote:
Thunderbolt is based on the Mini DisplayPort connector developed by Apple. This is electrically identical to "normal" DisplayPort connectors, but uses a smaller connector that is more suitable for use on laptops and other consumer devices.
Please suggest any Thunderbolt -- DisplayPort adapters ... with reasonable price. BTW, can iMac's display be easily rotated (by 90)? Because then I'd get more value/$$$ with an iMac.

Last edited by maflynn; Nov 8, 2011 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Please use TIMG tags for over sized images
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 01:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by courteous View Post
Does any (reasonably priced) USB adapter support 1920x1200 resolution?
After checking the quickstart guide of the adapter I linked to in my last post, it looks like that model supports 1920x1200. Keep in mind though, that this adapter doesn't do much aside from put text and pictures on the screen. Anything that's GPU accelerated like iMovie or Keynote slide animations won't work very well (if at all).

Quote:
Then I can use
  • the Thunderbolt output to DisplayPort monitor*,
  • HDMI to HDMI,
  • and this USB-adapter to the 3rd monitor.
Will this work? Even on entry model (without ATI GPU)?
Given the USB video card caveat above, yes that will work. Since you're only driving two displays from the native system graphics, the entry-level Intel HD 3000 Mini will work fine.

Also, if you're only driving one display off of the Thunderbolt port, you only need a cheap vanilla MiniDisplayport-->DisplayPort cable. I'm using one right now from Monoprice.com and it works fine.



Quote:
BTW, can iMac's display be easily rotated (by 90)? Because then I'd get more value/$$$ with an iMac.
You can't natively rotate the iMac's display. You can, however, work around that by getting a somewhat-hackish vesa-mounting kit from here.
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 02:18 PM   #12
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Thumbs up

Thank you Dolphin! Now I just have to check the performance of those USB adapters (just that there isn't too much flickering when scrolling text).
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Old Nov 8, 2011, 10:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by courteous View Post
Thank you Dolphin! Now I just have to check the performance of those USB adapters (just that there isn't too much flickering when scrolling text).
I use one with my 2009 Mini and it works nicely for browsing and most applications - Definitely don't want to do video/youtube with them.
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Old Apr 21, 2012, 11:04 AM   #14
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iMac on its side...90 degree rotation

I would suggest not putting the iMac on its side. If you do, you need to add an external fan to force air through the machine keeping it cool. If you don't, heat is now radiating in a way it wasn't designed for, and the machine *will* crash. I learned this myself as i wanted to see what the 27" would do in this scenario. I got about 5 minutes before the machine froze. Turned it back, and no more crashes. So its possible, and you can force the displays to rotate the graphics with a hack, but you have to take care of the heat issue or risk crashes and damaging hardware.

USB video cards get slower and slower on the size of resolution you put through them. I use one at 1920x1200...fine for web pages, email...and small videos. You never want more than say 25% of the pixels actively changing on it or it starts showing lag. A video at fills green and your now down to about 5 FPS redraw on the monitor and even moving your mouse to stop the video is difficult. A USB video card at 1600x1200 or 12801024 would be faster.

So any mini can drive two external USB monitors, but for good performance, you need to do 2x thunderbolt, plus the built in DVI which is only on the high end mini.

I personally do an iMac, display port for DVI monitor, and USB to another DVI monitor for a 3x setup.
Left to right: 1920x1200, 1600x2560, 2560x1440
Having a tall center monitor screws with apps that don't let you choose the monitor of preference. (iTunes, Quicktime, Steam) And forget about "full screen mode" in 10.7, its worthless.
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by courteous View Post
Can anybody, please, give me straightforward answer? Is it possible, and would entry (non-discrete-GPU) 2011 () Mini suffice?
Yes, yes, and yes.

http://www.amazon.com/J5-Create-JUA3...ords=j5+create
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 08:30 PM   #16
biroshima
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I'm interested to know the same thing posted as the OP but in relation to the newest 2013 mac mini models with Intel 4000 graphics.


My specific details...
Not interested in anything to do with thunderbolt displays, I currently run:
(DVI) 1680x1050 [Lenovo], (DisplayPort) 2560x1440 [Dell], (DVI) 1680x1050 [BenQ].

My audio is running through my DisplayPort monitor so I would like to maintain that connection but if that's not possible and I need to use DVI instead I'm willing to sacrifice audio as long as I get full resolution.

(I'm looking at the cheapest model, I don't know if there are any differences between models that would have any effect here)
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Old Mar 31, 2013, 09:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biroshima View Post
I'm interested to know the same thing posted as the OP but in relation to the newest 2013 mac mini models with Intel 4000 graphics.


My specific details...
Not interested in anything to do with thunderbolt displays, I currently run:
(DVI) 1680x1050 [Lenovo], (DisplayPort) 2560x1440 [Dell], (DVI) 1680x1050 [BenQ].

My audio is running through my DisplayPort monitor so I would like to maintain that connection but if that's not possible and I need to use DVI instead I'm willing to sacrifice audio as long as I get full resolution.

(I'm looking at the cheapest model, I don't know if there are any differences between models that would have any effect here)
Only if you want to use a USB to DVI/VGA/HDMI adapter. You can not use the HD4000 to drive more than 2 monitors.
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Old Apr 1, 2013, 09:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulrbeers View Post
Only if you want to use a USB to DVI/VGA/HDMI adapter. You can not use the HD4000 to drive more than 2 monitors.
Thank You Sir,

I think that would have to be the most clear, concise & straight to the point reply I have ever received on any forum. You deserve a medal!
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Old Apr 17, 2013, 01:17 PM   #19
colonelclick
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But if you do want to use a USB adapter for a 3rd monitor use this one. I love mine.

http://www.amazon.com/J5-Create-JUA3...ords=j5+create
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Old Dec 31, 2013, 01:45 PM   #20
dscoob
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3 DVI monitors in portrait mode

I am switching from Windows to Mac and am thinking of getting the current Mini 2.6 i7. I want to attach my 3 DVI monitors in portrait mode. They are all HP LP2065 monitors, currently hooked up to a Windows desktop with 2 video cards, with each monitor in portrait mode 1200 x 1600. I want to have the same setup on a Mac. I like having a separate instance of Chrome on each monitor, and Word or other apps open on different monitors.

I was hoping to avoid some of the DisplayLink issues by getting a USB to DVI adapter with the latest generation DisplayLink chip (dl-3x00) and USB 3.0, but Im not sure if that will help much.

Im not gaming or doing video editing or any graphic intensive apps on the 3rd monitor, just web browsing, word processing and audio production. I dont want to buy a new monitor now because Id rather wait until there are reasonably priced retina displays in the next few years.

1. Is there any reason to get the Matrox DualHead2Go instead of a USB DisplayLink adapter?

2. Is anyone using a DisplayLink adapter with the latest generation chip and USB 3.0 and still experiencing any of the problems mentioned above?

3. I guess I could buy a Thunderbolt PCIE expansion box and buy a video card, but that seems like an expensive solution around $500. Any thoughts on that, or any other solutions?

4. If I want to run 3 monitors in portrait with no performances difference between the 3 monitors (no lag, etc.), do I need to get a Mac Pro instead of a Mini?

5. Will the problems with DisplayLink be tolerable since I am not doing anything graphics intensive?

Thanks!

USB DisplayLink adapters: http://www.displaylink.com/shop/adapters
HP LP2065 monitor specs: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/q...a/12377_na.PDF
Matrox DualHead2Go and TripleHead2Go: http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/

Last edited by dscoob; Dec 31, 2013 at 02:22 PM.
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