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Old Jun 13, 2012, 01:44 AM   #26
corduroygt
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Originally Posted by Vladie View Post
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...
Might as well get a desktop PC for that price in addition to your Air
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 01:53 AM   #27
PeterJP
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Originally Posted by Vladie View Post
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.
One question: don't we need drivers then ? Sonnet also gives the examples of fancy video capture cards, 10Gbit Ethernet etc. All nice in theory, but suppose I plug in some exotic hardware, the manufacturer should give me drivers, which frequently isn't going to be standard support for OS/X.


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Old Jun 13, 2012, 10:22 AM   #28
Vladie
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Originally Posted by PeterJP View Post
One question: don't we need drivers then ? Sonnet also gives the examples of fancy video capture cards, 10Gbit Ethernet etc. All nice in theory, but suppose I plug in some exotic hardware, the manufacturer should give me drivers, which frequently isn't going to be standard support for OS/X.
I don't know anything about the Sonnet solution other than that it exists - for exactly the reason corduroygt stated in the post immediately prior to yours. If I was going to spend that kind of money, I'd just buy a different machine (in my case it'd probably be a MBP rather than a desktop, but you get the picture...)
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 10:50 AM   #29
bogatyr
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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
There is no performance difference on mine - as long as you're not trying to game at the 27" monitor's native resolution, of course the HD 3000 isn't going to keep up with that
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 12:54 PM   #30
JasonR
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There is no performance difference on mine - as long as you're not trying to game at the 27" monitor's native resolution, of course the HD 3000 isn't going to keep up with that
Definitely wasn't trying to game

When I hooked it up..it was just slow when multitasking in a couple different applications. I know a few people have had the same issues I had (I had started a thread about it).
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 04:55 AM   #31
load97
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I would like to run 2 external monitors as well. I'd be fine with having the MBA monitor off to do it(clamshell).
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 07:18 PM   #32
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Anything new? Anyone try this?
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 07:39 PM   #33
rookpsu
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Instead of ONE thunderbolt display I think I'm going to buy 4 of these.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/320857320377...#ht_5199wt_871

Think my MBA will be able to drive them all? No?
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 09:01 PM   #34
Vladie
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Originally Posted by ProPedderKustom View Post
Anything new? Anyone try this?
I went to the Apple Store today and they were very helpful, but...

1) The only MBAs they have for demo purposes are the ones out on the show floor - the rest are for customer sales. The ones on the show floor are bolted down with security cabling that the staff can NOT undo. They can be moved a few inches, but not more.

2) The TB displays are barely close enough together to run a cable from one to another and, even if you could, the cabling is all lock tied together, so you can't route it anywhere other than where they already have it.

So using their hardware to test this is a non-starter.

HOWEVER, I've managed to beg/borrow/steal two Thunderbolt displays from friends for a short while. I'll pack the displays back up in their boxes and take them to the Apple Store and hook them up to the MBAs on display are provide a DEFINITIVE answer.

I will NOT be able to do so before Saturday. I know that's a long time to keep your fingers crossed, but...
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Old Jun 15, 2012, 08:58 AM   #35
Vladie
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Thumbs up YES - CONFIRMED by APPLE

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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?
On a whim, when the new machines were introduced, I set Update Scanner on Firefox to monitor Apple's ThunderBolt FAQ web page. Well, late yesterday it was modified to include information about the new machines.

Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Of particular note to this thread is QUESTION 11: How many Apple Thunderbolt Displays can I use with my Mac in OS X?

The following machines are listed as supporting TWO Thunderbolt Displays:

MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
MacBook Pro (15-inch and 17-inch, Early 2011) and later
MacBook Air (Mid 2012)
iMac (Mid 2011)
Mac mini (Mid 2011), 2.5 GHz

(Apple's footnotes omitted)

Note "MacBook Air (Mid 2012)" !!!!
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Old Jun 15, 2012, 11:14 AM   #36
Vohaul79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vladie View Post
On a whim, when the new machines were introduced, I set Update Scanner on Firefox to monitor Apple's ThunderBolt FAQ web page. Well, late yesterday it was modified to include information about the new machines.

Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Of particular note to this thread is QUESTION 11: How many Apple Thunderbolt Displays can I use with my Mac in OS X?

The following machines are listed as supporting TWO Thunderbolt Displays:

MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)
MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012)
MacBook Pro (15-inch and 17-inch, Early 2011) and later
MacBook Air (Mid 2012)
iMac (Mid 2011)
Mac mini (Mid 2011), 2.5 GHz

(Apple's footnotes omitted)

Note "MacBook Air (Mid 2012)" !!!!
Nice find! I had a feeling after confirming the updated Tbolt hardware that it would be the case unless apple decided to hamstring it for some unknown reason. Looks like I may be ordering my new book today.
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Old Jun 15, 2012, 04:40 PM   #37
ProPedderKustom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vladie View Post
I went to the Apple Store today and they were very helpful, but...

1) The only MBAs they have for demo purposes are the ones out on the show floor - the rest are for customer sales. The ones on the show floor are bolted down with security cabling that the staff can NOT undo. They can be moved a few inches, but not more.

2) The TB displays are barely close enough together to run a cable from one to another and, even if you could, the cabling is all lock tied together, so you can't route it anywhere other than where they already have it.

So using their hardware to test this is a non-starter.

HOWEVER, I've managed to beg/borrow/steal two Thunderbolt displays from friends for a short while. I'll pack the displays back up in their boxes and take them to the Apple Store and hook them up to the MBAs on display are provide a DEFINITIVE answer.

I will NOT be able to do so before Saturday. I know that's a long time to keep your fingers crossed, but...
Looking forward to this.
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 02:35 AM   #38
VaBeachKevin
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I just stumbled across that same Apple support page, and that was the final thing I was looking for to help me decide to upgrade to a new Macbook Air.

UNTIL...

I kept reading that page and it said that the new retina pro will support two thunderbolt displays AND a hdmi display from the hdmi port.

Now I'm back to not knowing which one to pick.
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 08:49 AM   #39
Smartie
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Originally Posted by VaBeachKevin View Post
I just stumbled across that same Apple support page, and that was the final thing I was looking for to help me decide to upgrade to a new Macbook Air.

UNTIL...

I kept reading that page and it said that the new retina pro will support two thunderbolt displays AND a hdmi display from the hdmi port.

Now I'm back to not knowing which one to pick.
Seriously, you need three external screens and you are thinking about the MBA?
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 07:53 PM   #40
Zzari
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Seriously, you need three external screens and you are thinking about the MBA?
This. Plus, why get the RMBP if you're just going to use externals?
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 10:45 PM   #41
cue003
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That newly found info on supporting 2 displayseen the mid 2012 MBA is a great find. So in order to connect this you would connect the first monitor to the MBA TB port and then the 2nd would Daisy chain off the back of the monitor? Is that correct?
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 10:53 PM   #42
tuxon86
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That newly found info on supporting 2 displayseen the mid 2012 MBA is a great find. So in order to connect this you would connect the first monitor to the MBA TB port and then the 2nd would Daisy chain off the back of the monitor? Is that correct?
Yes
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 01:18 AM   #43
oripash
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Let's take this to the next level

I just ordered my MBA upgrade, with CPU, RAM and storage gimped up to the max. (2GHz i7, 8GB, 512GB storage). Custom all around so it'll roll up in two weeks or so.

I want it to be my next game box (as much of one as you can make an MBA into one. No quad-core CPU, but most games, and especially the ones I care about, are not CPU-bound anyway)

Obviously, that'll mean discrete graphics. The GMA4000 isn't a gaming GPU.
(and native windows in boot camp. Not under OSX, heaven forbid).

I've seen the current hack (Thunderbolt -> Express card) adapter -> (Express card -> PCIe) adapter, but the expresscard imposes a single PCIe lane bottleneck. That's marginally ok to game on 1920x1080, but not much beyond that.

So the questions are:
1. How much of the raw cactus ridge thunderbolt controller capability (2 channels x 2 lanes x 10GBps) is actually squeezed through that one single port? One or both channels? Tom's suggests (in the diagram at the bottom of the link) that both:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...gd80,3205.html

That's 20GBps, or the equivalent of four PCIe 2.0 lanes (each lane is 500MBps)

2. How much of it can be taken advantage of by a 2-channel TB -> PCIe enclosure?
Sonnett has now started selling the Eco Express Pro which appears to do just that. But it's not certified against ANY graphics cards. They're zip-silent about GPU support while supporting everything from fiber channel to TV capture to 10GbE cards (even though graphics is where a large portion of their market lies) meaning there may be compatibility issues with it still. Whether those are something a tinkerer with a brain can work around or not is still in the air.

It's also got a 150W power limit on their enclosure, so a GPU needs to be picked carefully to work within that constraint (it's not too bad. Lots of capable GPUs fit into that bracket).

Thoughts anyone?
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 03:02 AM   #44
PeterJP
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Originally Posted by rookpsu View Post
Instead of ONE thunderbolt display I think I'm going to buy 4 of these.(link to Shimian skipped). Think my MBA will be able to drive them all? No?
You want your Air to drive a Terry Pratchett-like setup ? Check out photo #2 in this article.

I think if you want that sort of setup, you might want to consider another system than an ultra-portable

My ideal setup would be an Air 11" with a 27" screen. To start with, of course


Peter.
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 01:17 PM   #45
Galatian
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Originally Posted by oripash View Post
I just ordered my MBA upgrade, with CPU, RAM and storage gimped up to the max. (2GHz i7, 8GB, 512GB storage). Custom all around so it'll roll up in two weeks or so.

I want it to be my next game box (as much of one as you can make an MBA into one. No quad-core CPU, but most games, and especially the ones I care about, are not CPU-bound anyway)

Obviously, that'll mean discrete graphics. The GMA4000 isn't a gaming GPU.
(and native windows in boot camp. Not under OSX, heaven forbid).

I've seen the current hack (Thunderbolt -> Express card) adapter -> (Express card -> PCIe) adapter, but the expresscard imposes a single PCIe lane bottleneck. That's marginally ok to game on 1920x1080, but not much beyond that.

So the questions are:
1. How much of the raw cactus ridge thunderbolt controller capability (2 channels x 2 lanes x 10GBps) is actually squeezed through that one single port? One or both channels? Tom's suggests (in the diagram at the bottom of the link) that both:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...gd80,3205.html

That's 20GBps, or the equivalent of four PCIe 2.0 lanes (each lane is 500MBps)

2. How much of it can be taken advantage of by a 2-channel TB -> PCIe enclosure?
Sonnett has now started selling the Eco Express Pro which appears to do just that. But it's not certified against ANY graphics cards. They're zip-silent about GPU support while supporting everything from fiber channel to TV capture to 10GbE cards (even though graphics is where a large portion of their market lies) meaning there may be compatibility issues with it still. Whether those are something a tinkerer with a brain can work around or not is still in the air.

It's also got a 150W power limit on their enclosure, so a GPU needs to be picked carefully to work within that constraint (it's not too bad. Lots of capable GPUs fit into that bracket).

Thoughts anyone?
I'm sorry this is no answer to your question, but why in the world are you getting a Laptop that has a.) a CPU unfit for gaming and b.) a GPU unfit for gaming so that you can c.) get some weird cable/box/graphiccard-combos so you can have a few extra FPS and turn a non-gamer laptop into a pseudo-semi-casual-gaming laptop when you can also just use the money and get a 15" MacBook Pro with or without Retina, which has a graphic card equal to what you would get out from a bandwidth and power constrained enclosure you are suggesting?
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 01:41 PM   #46
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Am I right in thinking that this will allow me to connect two NON TB displays to my 2012 mba. It has HDMI and a TB passthru which I assume I could plug the minidisplay to dvi into?

http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/05/...ice-to-399-99/
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 02:23 PM   #47
ProPedderKustom
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We still have no confirmation
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 02:46 PM   #48
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Theres a post over at anandtech with a guy driving 2 TB displays + built in on the new Air.

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2251899

And heres this pic. Notice the 3 displays in the preferences. WOW!

Expensive (TB display x2) but it works.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mxgvgd6gjr4x7oa/photo.JPG
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 03:36 PM   #49
richardabrams
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I bought a USB displaylink video adapater (USB 2). I've been testing that to give me dual (non tb) external monitors.

It works well in Windows 7 (bootcamp) and you can play 1080p video without a horrible hit on the CPU but in OSX it's horrible. Anyone else found a decent non TB video option? Are there any USB 3 solutions with OSX drivers?....I don't have 1500 to drop on two TB screens.

Richard..
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Old Jun 19, 2012, 04:42 PM   #50
ProPedderKustom
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Originally Posted by BeatFreaker View Post
Theres a post over at anandtech with a guy driving 2 TB displays + built in on the new Air.

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2251899

And heres this pic. Notice the 3 displays in the preferences. WOW!

Expensive (TB display x2) but it works.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mxgvgd6gjr4x7oa/photo.JPG
Thanks!!
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