Can the Mini Drive ( 3 ) 27" Displays?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by smarttiki, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2008
    Have read a number of post regarding the Mac Mini and how many displays you can attach to it. Almost everyone I read tells a slightly different story.

    Considering purchasing the following:

    2.6GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
    4GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm

    ( will upgrade memory & drive )

    I would like to know / verify the following:

    1. That it would support ( 2 ) 27" Apple Apple Thunderbolt Display at full/optimal resolution.


    2. That it would support ( 2 ) 27" Dell Ultra Sharp Displays at full/optimal resolution.


    3. That it would support ( 2 ) 24" Dell Ultra Sharp 2407 WFP Displays at full/optimal resolution.

    I would like to know if/how I could attach a third display to the system.

    I have seen a number of USB video adaptors but none seem to do the resolution to drive a 27" monitor.

    Found a review were the the reviewer claims they are using a USB product that claims to drive a Dell 27" monitor at 2560x1440. As a mater of fact the person claims to be driving 2 Dell 27" with 2 of the devices.

    Ultimately I would like to have a triple headed system with like displays.

    I will be using the system for design and video work. Adobe CS, Finale Cut, iMove, etc…

    Thanks for the anticipated replies.
  2. macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    1. You can daisy-chain two thunderbolt displays together at full resolution using the thunderbolt port.

    2. I'm not aware of any Dell Ultrasharps that can daisy chain in a similar manner as #1

    3. Yes - both the Thunderbolt and HDMI can support the 1920x1200 resolution. This is the rez limit for the HDMI port, which is why you can't use it to drive a 2560x1440 display.

    The video adapters should work, but you will have to make sure the resolution and refresh rate are suitable for your needs. There are limits to the bandwidth of the USB connection. They should be much better if you can find an adapter that utilizes the speed of USB 3.0, because the possible transfer rate is much, much larger. (I don't have personal experience with these devices)

    Anyways, you might be better off getting a 27" iMac and putting thunderbolt displays on either side. The HD4000 integrated graphics included with the mini isn't very powerful, especially when you hook up 3 high rez monitors. It is comparable to a basic laptop grade video card at best. The extra horsepower of a dedicated graphics card would come in handy for what you describe.
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2008
    Thanks for the idea. Will mull that over. Was trying my best to keep the cash in my wallet.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 15, 2008
    Is it just me or has Mac pricing gone through the roof?

    Correct me if i a wrong but if I went with the iMac i7 27" and two thunderbolt displays I would be spending over 4k. : (

    Over the years I have purchased a number of Macs. This is the first time I am asking is it worth it. : ( x 2

    I thought tech was to get better + cheaper.
  5. macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    No. The pricing hasn't changed in years. My 2009 27" imac was 2K and the 27" ACD's at the time were 1K. Frankly 27-30" displays from reputable dealers (HP, Dell, Apple) have been $800+ for years. Your premise about things getting cheaper AND better is not really possible. You get one or the other. You get cheaper which means older parts, or you get better which means newer faster parts and the price stays the same.

    Even the Mini's have only gone up about $100 since they were introduced in 2005 and you get a lot more for your money these days in 2013 than you did in 2005.

    Edit: To further make my point, when the original iMac was introduced in 1998 it was $1299. Using an inflation calculator that means in today's money it would be $1800. That's for a VERY basic computer. You can get an entry level iMac today for $1199. Using an inverse inflation calculator, that means that in 1998 money the 1199 would only be $850. So yeah, things have gotten cheaper.
  6. macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    The only one that is capable of 3 displays is the Mini 2011 with Radeon.
    It can drive 2 TB 2560x1440 displays daisy-chained and 1 1920x1200 monitor over HDMI.
    If you attach 2 TB's to the 2012 model, the HDMI output will stay black.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2008
    What he said.

    Blanka have you tried this?
  8. macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    No but the KB's from Apple have specifically stated this is what is possible. With that said, there are alternatives such as the Matrox dual/triplehead2go's and USB DVI/VGA adapters, but none are as nice as native support.
  9. macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Only that the 3 displays work on the 2011 as I have that one. Don't know if the theory on Apple's site applies correctly to the 2012 model.
  10. macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2012
    Not the 2012 mini u can daisy chain 2 thunder displays but not one on the hdmi

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