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Old Nov 7, 2012, 04:20 PM   #1
AdiosVista
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New 2012 27" iMac as display for Windows PC?

I know the "can I use my iMac as a display" question has been asked a million times but I have a specific scenario that I'm not sure will work:

When it is released, I want to use the new 2012 27" iMac as my main computer for work, and I also want to have a separate Windows PC for gaming. Desk space is limited so, ideally, I want to be able to connect the PC directly to the iMac and use it as a display whenever I want.

Before you recommend using Bootcamp or software like Parallels or VMware, those aren't options I want to use. I've installed both on all of my previous Macs and end up with nothing but problems. When I get the new iMac, I'm not installing Windows on it and that's why I'm building the separate Windows PC box.

Is what I want to do possible if I purchase the right kind of video card? Also, would I be able to use my Mac keyboard and mouse for both machines, or would I need another set just for the PC?

Any advice is much appreciated!
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 08:06 PM   #2
drambuie
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You would need a video card with a Thunderbolt output, which probably means a higher end card. Asus, for one, has nVidia cards with Thunderbolt ports. Also, the iMac would need to be operated in target display mode, therefore there is no guarantee as to which cards will work, or not work, with the iMac, versus working with the Apple Thunderbolt display.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 09:06 PM   #3
cosmicjoke
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Originally Posted by drambuie View Post
You would need a video card with a Thunderbolt output, which probably means a higher end card. Asus, for one, has nVidia cards with Thunderbolt ports. Also, the iMac would need to be operated in target display mode, therefore there is no guarantee as to which cards will work, or not work, with the iMac, versus working with the Apple Thunderbolt display.
It's actually the motherboard, not the videocard... Gigabyte, Asus, & MSI all have Thunderbolt motherboards. I know they work w/ Apple Thunderbolt Displays, but whether or not they will work in target mode is a whole other matter... I'd def. email the motherboard manufacturer and ask.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 09:10 PM   #4
AdiosVista
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Originally Posted by cosmicjoke View Post
It's actually the motherboard, not the videocard... Gigabyte, Asus, & MSI all have Thunderbolt motherboards. I know they work w/ Apple Thunderbolt Displays, but whether or not they will work in target mode is a whole other matter... I'd def. email the motherboard manufacturer and ask.
Thank you for clarifying. I just found this on Newegg, looks like it may be a candidate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130642. I wonder if I could still use my Mac keyboard/mouse for the PC when in target mode?
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 09:10 PM   #5
KimJongEun
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I'd also like to know this.

I'm considering doing exactly the same as the OP, but with my 2011 iMac.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 09:35 PM   #6
Pharmscott
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I would suggest waiting until there are specs or an FAQ from Apple about Target Display Mode on the new 2012 iMac. They've changed it before (it used to be not TB only), who knows if it will change again.
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Old Nov 7, 2012, 10:46 PM   #7
cosmicjoke
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Originally Posted by AdiosVista View Post
Thank you for clarifying. I just found this on Newegg, looks like it may be a candidate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130642. I wonder if I could still use my Mac keyboard/mouse for the PC when in target mode?
Link doesn't work, I'd look for an Intel Certified Thunderbolt capable board though FWIW, I know Asus has a certified one,and email them and see if they have any information regarding using it w/ an iMac in target display mode. You can def use the same wired keyboard/mouse (probably what you'd be using as a gamer) w/ a KVM switch...
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 12:44 AM   #8
indy911
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And check if you can actually route the output of your GPU to the thunderbolt port of the motherboard. It's very possible that the motherboard TB port only displays the output from the integrated GPU of the CPU. Considering the fact you want to build a gaming system, I'm assuming that's not what you are looking for.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 01:26 AM   #9
cosmicjoke
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And check if you can actually route the output of your GPU to the thunderbolt port of the motherboard. It's very possible that the motherboard TB port only displays the output from the integrated GPU of the CPU. Considering the fact you want to build a gaming system, I'm assuming that's not what you are looking for.
I'm fairly sure all of the PC motherboards w/ TB support LucidVirtu, which copies the frambuffer of the eGPU to the iGPU, i'm not sure how much of a performance hit there is for this, have seen videos of JJ of Asus running SSF4 on a TB Display w/ LucidVirtu & gtx 680 and it creamed it.... but that's not really a demanding game
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 05:11 PM   #10
AdiosVista
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Thanks for the info. I'll be doing more homework contacting mobo companies and will see what happens when the iMac does come out.
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Old Nov 8, 2012, 05:21 PM   #11
cosmicjoke
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Thanks for the info. I'll be doing more homework contacting mobo companies and will see what happens when the iMac does come out.
Yep, NP... I owned two TB Displays when I decided to build a gaming rig, so did a fair amount of research into TB Motherboards, but ultimately decided to just get some different 2560x1440p displays for the gaming rig... as space was not an issue.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:06 AM   #12
AdiosVista
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Slightly off-topic but I currently own a 2010 iMac with mini displayport. Would connecting a PC via target display mode be as simple as making sure the video card also has mini displayport, then buying a cable?
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:40 AM   #13
HurryKayne
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Are we talking of Target Display mode?
If correct,as far Apple has changed idea,no,you need a Tb input and..try.
Then nothing from Athlona..etc,for Imac after 2009..,you can read it in this thread about Xbox-consoles and 27" inch Imac:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...y+mode&page=47
One last thing.
I saw this from Matrox,maybe this could work:
http://www.jigsaw24.com/product-deta...erbolt-adapter
http://www.matrox.com/video/en/products/mxo2_mini_max/

Last edited by HurryKayne; Nov 10, 2012 at 12:53 AM.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 12:42 AM   #14
hfg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdiosVista View Post
Slightly off-topic but I currently own a 2010 iMac with mini displayport. Would connecting a PC via target display mode be as simple as making sure the video card also has mini displayport, then buying a cable?
I haven't actually tried it ... but my understanding is that the 2009/2010 iMacs can accept video input from a mini-displayport output on another device with just a simple MDP-MDP cable. The external device must be a true mini-displayport for it to work.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 03:24 AM   #15
RexTraverse
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Originally Posted by AdiosVista View Post
Slightly off-topic but I currently own a 2010 iMac with mini displayport. Would connecting a PC via target display mode be as simple as making sure the video card also has mini displayport, then buying a cable?
Any mini-DisplayPort or standard DisplayPort (which is more common in PCs anyway) will work. I occasionally connect my ThinkPad, which has a full sized DisplayPort output to the mini-DP on the iMac and Target Display Mode works reasonably well. Just have to get the right cable for it.

I say reasonably well only because if I let the ThinkPad goes to sleep while the iMac is in Target Display Mode and I wake it back up, it doesn't wake up the iMac display. This isn't a problem when connecting the ThinkPad to a normal Dell UltraSharp monitor with DisplayPort
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 04:46 PM   #16
AdiosVista
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Great info, everyone. Thank you very much.
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 07:20 PM   #17
atthecross
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any speculation on when in December it's coming out?
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 04:45 PM   #18
AdiosVista
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This topic has been thoroughly covered and there are some great answers here already but I do have one other question:

If I buy a 2011/2012 iMac with Thunderbolt, could I then run Bootcamp on my Mac Air (also has thunderbolt), connect it to my iMac, and use target display mode that way? Basically, it would give me the ability to run OS X through my iMac, then quickly run Windows via TDM through Bootcamp on my Air.
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