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tekfranz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2017
127
19
I have been using Apple Multi-port A/.V Adapters to run three monitors but would like to try a dock or external GPU. My monitors do not support USB-C Daisy-chaining that I know of.

How can I:
  1. Connect three HDMI or Display Port cables to my my MacBook Pro.
  2. Connect a USB Mouse, A USB External Drive, a Headset Dongle and a charger.
  3. Have the majority of these items in a dock or two.
  4. Not need to Daisy chain monitors.

I like the idea of the external GPU but they cost a bit more than a good dock, but would definitely consider them.
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,956
2,068
eGPU via TB3. Sonnet 650 OC supplies 100W charging. Depending on resolutions an under $175 GPU could easily handle.
 
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tekfranz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2017
127
19
https://www.elgato.com/en/dock/thunderbolt-3-pro

Connect one monitor via DisplayPort on the dock; connect the other two via USB-c to HDMI cables to the dock
The Elgato only can do a maximum of two monitors from what I can read. But I could connect the third to to a port on the mac.
[automerge]1576366995[/automerge]
eGPU via TB3. Sonnet 650 OC supplies 100W charging. Depending on resolutions an under $175 GPU could easily handle.
Very nice. I like the eGPU better because it seems like it offloads the graphic processing.
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,956
2,068
With an eGPU you also avoid having to use the USB DisplayLink drivers:
https://www.displaylink.com/downloads/macos

Basically that needs to compress your video to "drive" through lower bandwidth USB vs. TB3. For multiple monitors, it really would create a problem. (Not as bad as screen sharing into another machine, but similar concept.)

Depending on your resolutions, would probably suggest an RX580 (under $175 on sale) or even an RX560 or RX570 might be able to handle (on sale right now for ~$115).

Make sure you check this resource for compatibility BEFORE buying a card if you're going with an eGPU. Some manufacturers are not compatible and known issues with specific models:
https://www.sonnettech.com/support/downloads/manuals/Compatibility_Graphics_Cards.pdf
 
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tekfranz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2017
127
19
With an eGPU you also avoid having to use the USB DisplayLink drivers:
https://www.displaylink.com/downloads/macos

Basically that needs to compress your video to "drive" through lower bandwidth USB vs. TB3. For multiple monitors, it really would create a problem. (Not as bad as screen sharing into another machine, but similar concept.)

Depending on your resolutions, would probably suggest an RX580 (under $175 on sale) or even an RX560 or RX570 might be able to handle (on sale right now for ~$115).

Make sure you check this resource for compatibility BEFORE buying a card if you're going with an eGPU. Some manufacturers are not compatible and known issues with specific models:
https://www.sonnettech.com/support/downloads/manuals/Compatibility_Graphics_Cards.pdf
What do you think of the Sonnettech Breakaway Puck?
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,956
2,068
What do you think of the Sonnettech Breakaway Puck?

At ~$400-500 retail, I think it is a waste of money. It's locked to the built-in GPU and cannot be upgraded. Does not provide 100W power.

I picked up a Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650 (GPU-650WOC-TB3) for well under $300 on sale several weeks ago. Add a Sapphire Pulse RX560/RX570 to that for less than $400-500 total. You'll get upgradeable GPU down the road, plus 100W power over single TB3, or splurge on an RX580 for under $500 total.
 
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tekfranz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2017
127
19
With an eGPU you also avoid having to use the USB DisplayLink drivers:
https://www.displaylink.com/downloads/macos

On the DisplayLink part, I used a Dell dock with a Dell Laptop and besides installing the driver and upgrading the dock firmware it worked Satisfactorily.
Is DisplayLink stable on Mac? I keep reading DisplayLink requires beta drivers for Catalina.
For example this dock can do three monitors via DisplayLink https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MPC7PC9?ref_=pe_623860_70668520_dpLink

On the Sonnentech are there any concerns about what happens when a new version of MacOS comes out? Does Apple keep up with their eGPU support for laptops? On the Puck some folks are reporting it failing after several months.

I am really leaning towards using three Apple Multi A/V adapters like I have in the past. The Multi A/V ports worked OK , but am looking for a cleaner option.
 
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Jl006p

macrumors newbie
Dec 15, 2019
14
8
Looking for a triple monitor set up myself and I used this https://www.bestbuy.com/site/j5crea...2iYBz029Yz4kWQqwu1kaAngbEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

It didn’t work. The HDMI ports worked but for some reason I can get displayport to work. I bought a cheap adapter off amazon USB C to DisplayPort Cable,QGeeM 4K@60HZ Thunderbolt 3 to DP Adapter Compatible with MacBook Pro 2019/2018,ipad pro 2018,Surface Book,Dell XPS,Sumsang Galaxy S10 Note 9 Dex,USB C to DP Adapter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YDNSGY2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_4-V9Db82JKHQZ

But no dice. My monitor flickers when I use DisplayPort. I am legit thinking about returning the 16” MBP b/c of the sound popping issues and not being able to use my monitors properly. Any help? Thanks.
 
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mightyjabba

macrumors 68000
Sep 25, 2014
1,576
308
Tatooine
I went from using a 2014 MBP with three monitors (two Dell 2717H/HX monitors flanking a 34" LG Ultrawide), and I wanted to basically just drop the 16" into this setup, but I thought if I could get everything connected via one or two cables instead of taking up all my ports, it would be a nice bonus. My attempt to use an HP Thunderbolt 3 dock did not go well, as I have detailed in another thread here. It was not possible to use both of the DisplayPort ports on the dock at once (trying would only result in mirroring). But more disturbing was that even when I was just using one of the ports on the dock, I would get weird behavior when waking from sleep. Sometimes one or the other display would not turn on, and at least once I got into a weird state where all of the monitors would turn on for a couple of seconds and then turn off in a loop.

I have read enough horror stories to know that a lot of people are having trouble with a lot of Thunderbolt 3 docks (something I attribute to bugs in Catalina), and this has made me very reluctant to spend upwards of $200 to get another dock that may have issues.

However, I tried using a "plain old" USB-C hub with HDMI from Lenovo, and so far it has worked fine for the last 2+ weeks. I have the power cord plugged directly into the MBP to ensure that I get enough power, the USB-C hub plugged into another port, and the other two monitors plugged directly into the remaining two ports. I have a couple of regular USB hubs daisy chained to the USB-C hub, and that's where I have my legacy peripherals. I haven't had any issues with displays not turning on or flaking out, and the other peripherals seem to be working okay. So it is possible to have a stable 3-monitor setup, but at this point I am a bit suspicious of Thunderbolt 3 and multiple displays on these machines.
 
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vemac575

macrumors 6502
Feb 18, 2018
309
133
I have been using Apple Multi-port A/.V Adapters to run three monitors but would like to try a dock or external GPU. My monitors do not support USB-C Daisy-chaining that I know of.

How can I:
  1. Connect three HDMI or Display Port cables to my my MacBook Pro.
  2. Connect a USB Mouse, A USB External Drive, a Headset Dongle and a charger.
  3. Have the majority of these items in a dock or two.
  4. Not need to Daisy chain monitors.

I like the idea of the external GPU but they cost a bit more than a good dock, but would definitely consider them.

I run the TB3 cable into an OWC dock. NOW, there are two ports for two monitors. For the mini display port, it goes out into a matrox dual monitor dp, and the TB3 goes out to an HDMI monitor. So two of the monitors are one extended desktop and the third it it's own.

I would not do it any different.
 
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tekfranz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 16, 2017
127
19
Sometimes one or the other display would not turn on, and at least once I got into a weird state where all of the monitors would turn on for a couple of seconds and then turn off in a loop.
I had similar issues so I disabled sleep when connecting multiple monitors.
OCW reccomeded hooking two monitors to their Pro Dock and then plugging monitor number 3 into the other side of the Mac.
But I am areally thinking of going the "Adapter City" route (Three Apple Multi A/V adapters) and skipping the dock since the cost for the dock is a bit higher. Will let you know how it turns out.
[automerge]1576504373[/automerge]
I run the TB3 cable into an OWC dock. NOW, there are two ports for two monitors. For the mini display port, it goes out into a matrox dual monitor dp, and the TB3 goes out to an HDMI monitor. So two of the monitors are one extended desktop and the third it it's own.

I would not do it any different.
OK, any suggestions on the best way to buy a MATROX device?
 
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