2011 iMac - Possible to add second display?

LarryJoe33

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
1,567
505
Boston
This machine is used to work from home a few days a week using a VPN Windows 10 environment. In the office, we use dual displays and work heavily with financial models, so two screen real estate is the norm. Work from home with just the iMac display is limited.

The dual monitor need is specifically for the Windows 10 VPN connection. The ability to drag windows from one display to the next like on a Windows machine is key.

Possible?

Will this work? If so, any recommendations on hardware? I wouldn't mind a second display that looks like it belongs with the iMac aesthetically.

Thanks in advance.
 

vertical smile

macrumors 68040
Sep 23, 2014
3,942
5,139
I am not sure about the Windows VPN part of things, but you can definitely have a second monitor connect to your iMac on both Mac and Windows.

I wouldn't mind a second display that looks like it belongs with the iMac aesthetically.
I haven't tried this for Windows, but if you want to have an identical monitor, you can get another iMac from the late 2009 to 2014 models and use Target Display Mode. It basically turns an iMac into a monitor.

It is a shame Apple dropped support of this feature with the 2015 models.

Here is Apple's link
[doublepost=1561484058][/doublepost]
I haven't tried this for Windows
I am not sure if this means it won't work, but:
Apple said:
Target Display Mode isn't supported in Boot Camp.
 

LarryJoe33

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
1,567
505
Boston
I am not sure about the Windows VPN part of things, but you can definitely have a second monitor connect to your iMac on both Mac and Windows.



I haven't tried this for Windows, but if you want to have an identical monitor, you can get another iMac from the late 2009 to 2014 models and use Target Display Mode. It basically turns an iMac into a monitor.

It is a shame Apple dropped support of this feature with the 2015 models.

Here is Apple's link
[doublepost=1561484058][/doublepost]
I am not sure if this means it won't work, but:
Thank you. I ordered a monitor from Amazon. It’s an Acer. The stand height isn’t adjustable. I’m hoping it’s the same height as the iMac.

Acer SB220Q bi 21.5" Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Ultra-Thin Zero Frame Monitor (HDMI & VGA Port) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CVL2D2S/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_6fPeDb5RMXNVT
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
A 27" 2011 supports 2 additional monitors through the Thunderbolt ports. The monitor connection is actually MiniDP through the TB port. MDP to DP or MDP to HDMI adapters and cables are inexpensive.

There are two long discontinued Apple monitors that look and perform identically when connected to a 2011. Either should run around $300 on Craigslist when you find them.

The 27" Cinema Display
https://everymac.com/monitors/apple/studio_cinema/specs/apple-led-cinema-display-27-inch-specs.html.

and the Thunderbolt
https://everymac.com/monitors/apple/thunderbolt/specs/apple-thunderbolt-display-27-inch-specs.html

The only differences are that the TB display can supply 250W charging power and it will support USB3 passthrough to its 3 ports if connected to a 2012 or later Mac (USB 2 only connected to a 2011). A TB monitor cannot be connected to a 2010 or earlier Mac or any MacBook that does not support TB. The Cinema Display ports support USB 2/1.1 only.

For what you get, frankly, they're overpriced these days. New 27" 4k and 2K DisplayPorts can be had for less.
[doublepost=1561499846][/doublepost]
It’s an Acer. The stand height isn’t adjustable. I’m hoping it’s the same height as the iMac.
It won't be. Haven't seen one yet that is.

If that's important, there are others with adjustable stands. This one, for example (I have one on each side of my iMac) adjusts perfectly.
https://www.amazon.com/LG-27UD58P-B-Free-Sync-Monitor-Response/dp/B01LSRBU1G/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=LG+27UD58p-B&qid=1561499503&s=electronics&sr=1-2

Again, being Apple, you will need an adapter. I prefer an MDP to DP cable as adapters can sometimes be problematic and cables cost less.
https://www.amazon.com/Rankie-DisplayPort-Cable-Ready-Plated/dp/B00YOQYQWY/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=mdp+to+dp+cable&qid=1561499739&s=electronics&sr=1-5
 
Last edited:

LarryJoe33

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
1,567
505
Boston
A 27" 2011 supports 2 additional monitors through the Thunderbolt ports. The monitor connection is actually MiniDP through the TB port. MDP to DP or MDP to HDMI adapters and cables are inexpensive.

There are two long discontinued Apple monitors that look and perform identically when connected to a 2011. Either should run around $300 on Craigslist when you find them.

The 27" Cinema Display
https://everymac.com/monitors/apple/studio_cinema/specs/apple-led-cinema-display-27-inch-specs.html.

and the Thunderbolt
https://everymac.com/monitors/apple/thunderbolt/specs/apple-thunderbolt-display-27-inch-specs.html

The only differences are that the TB display can supply 250W charging power and it will support USB3 passthrough to its 3 ports if connected to a 2012 or later Mac (USB 2 only connected to a 2011). A TB monitor cannot be connected to a 2010 or earlier Mac or any MacBook that does not support TB. The Cinema Display ports support USB 2/1.1 only.

For what you get, frankly, they're overpriced these days. New 27" 4k and 2K DisplayPorts can be had for less.
[doublepost=1561499846][/doublepost]It won't be. Haven't seen one yet that is.

If that's important, there are others with adjustable stands. This one, for example (I have one on each side of my iMac) adjusts perfectly.
https://www.amazon.com/LG-27UD58P-B-Free-Sync-Monitor-Response/dp/B01LSRBU1G/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=LG+27UD58p-B&qid=1561499503&s=electronics&sr=1-2

Again, being Apple, you will need an adapter. I prefer an MDP to DP cable as adapters can sometimes be problematic and cables cost less.
https://www.amazon.com/Rankie-DisplayPort-Cable-Ready-Plated/dp/B00YOQYQWY/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=mdp+to+dp+cable&qid=1561499739&s=electronics&sr=1-5
Thanks for all the info. I went with the adapter and then a 3ft HDMI. I have a MDP/TB to HDMI cable I use on my MBP. Debated whether the cable would have been better but in the end, the adapter and HDMI cable are pretty cheap.

I’m guessing the monitor I chose will be lower than the iMac. I’ll get a monitor stand or something creative to put under it.
 

LarryJoe33

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
1,567
505
Boston
Just to close the loop. Easy peasey. Works great. So much easier than adding a second display on windows. Thanks for all the help.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mikehalloran

vertical smile

macrumors 68040
Sep 23, 2014
3,942
5,139
Just to close the loop. Easy peasey. Works great. So much easier than adding a second display on windows. Thanks for all the help.
Thanks for the update.

So many threads without conclusions, it is nice to see that this one has one, and it worked out for you.