Best Thunderbolt Display for Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Hrothgar, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. Hrothgar macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Now that Apple's out of the business, what the best option?
     
  2. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #2
    I don't think choosing a monitor based upon its support of Thunderbolt is that useful, as so few monitors have native support for it. Better, I think, to choose a monitor that supports DisplayPort, and either plug it directly into the Thunderbolt port, or use a Thunderbolt dock.
     
  3. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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    #3
    Any monitor you want , As long as it has DisplayPort, jsut get an adapter.

    As for TB, get a enclosure , much more versatile
     
  4. Hrothgar thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    Thanks. I wasn't really sure what the DisplayPort was -- I've never heard of it before. I guess that if I want to connect my mini (latest generation) to a displayport monitor, I need an adapter? I use a DisplayPort cable out of the monitor, and then an adapter into the Thunderbolt port of my mini?

    Another question while I'm here:
    The main purpose for the monitor will be a permanent connection to my mini. But every now and then, I might want to connect my Macbook Air or Pro to the monitor. Would the easiest solution be to use a dock between the mini and monitor? and when I want to use my laptop, I just take the monitor cable out of the dock and put it into the laptop?
     
  5. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Or get a display with more than one DisplayPort input?
    Like NEC's PA302, which also happens to be one of the best displays for the Mini - for a price (but you didn't specify an upper price limit in your original question...)
     
  6. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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    #6
    I'd recommend finding any monitor you like.

    It's a very good chance it will have a DisplayPort out, if it's a new one.

    All you need is

    https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matter...r=8-1&keywords=displayport+to+minidisplayport

    The Mini DisplayPort , the small square side, will plug into your mini, air or pro.

    Yeah you can have a thunderbolt dock in between, though they get pricy. If you are happy to just change connectors, as most of the time the mini will be plugged in I'd go that route.

    I'd also suggest getting a monitor with 2xdisplay ports or even a mini display port and display port. That way one cable plugs into your mini, and the other you can use for your air or pro, and just switch using the monitor input
     
  7. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #7
    Just to make sure we're on the same page here, the "Thunderbolt" port on the Mac Mini is in fact a Mini Displayport port that also has the electronics for the Thunderbolt standard. In short, if you'd prefer, you can simply plug in a display via a Mini Displayport cable and go on with life. :) You don't have to treat it as a Thunderbolt port if you don't want to.

    Actually, almost all modern monitors these days have more than one input. So, you can connect more than one computer to the same monitor at the same time; this seems the easiest way to share a monitor between two computers (as MRrainer and MH01 also stated). To do this, I suppose you'd probably want to choose a monitor that includes inputs that are compatible with both computers, to avoid having to buy adapter cables...
     
  8. Hrothgar thread starter macrumors 6502

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  9. anez macrumors 6502

    anez

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    #9
    Sorry to revive an older thread, but I thought it better than starting another on a very similar topic!

    I have the mid-2011 Mini and I'm considering getting a new monitor (Dell) which has a mDP port. I should be able to connect this to the Thunderbolt port on my Mini and achieve the max resolution (2560x1600), right?

    I'm now wondering what kind of cable I can/should use to do this. I have the Apple Thunderbolt cable-- will that suffice, or will something else be needed?
     
  10. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #10
    Yup, you should be fine, so long as you are using the Thunderbolt port. (The HDMI port should max out at 1920x1080 resolution.)

    That should work fine, although it's a bit of overkill; my understanding is that the cable itself contains some extra circuitry to make the Thunderbolt magic work. But you should be able to just plug a standard mDP cable into the Thunderbolt port, if you're just going to drive a monitor; the Thunderbolt port should be 100% backwards-compatible with standard mini DisplayPort.
     
  11. anez macrumors 6502

    anez

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    #11
    Thanks! Appreciate the clarification. Haven't used the Mini much in a year or two, so I'm planning on getting a new monitor, upping the RAM, and generally getting it updated a bit all over, but it's proving more complicated than expected...

    I struggled to find an mDP to mDP cable, actually! Most seemed to either be mDP to HDMI, or mDP to DP. I already have the Thunderbolt cable, so it's academic for me, but I wonder: is the limitation only on the HDMI port itself, so would mDP to HDMI work for the max resolution? I'm currently using an old monitor with an mDP to HDMI cable and it's coming in at 1900x1200, so I suspect it might. Would be nice to have the choice if it could handle it!
     
  12. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #12
    Actually, I suspect it probably is; I think the maximum resolution for HDMI was 1080p until around 2009, when the 1.4 spec came out. As always seems to be the case, it took a while for the new spec to be ironed out, so I'd bet that Apple didn't have a good 1.4 standard to work with for the 2011 Mini. So they probably had to use the older standard.

    Since the mDP standard had no such trouble, they could push larger amounts of bandwidth through it. And now that HDMI has settled on how it wants high speeds to work, I'd imagine that a proper adapter should be able to send full resolution from the mDP port to a modern HDMI-based monitor.

    But yeah, I'm kinda just guessing here. :) Don't take my word for it!
     
  13. Easttime, Jul 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016

    Easttime macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I ended up having to get Apple's expensive dual link adapter to get 2560x1600 resolution using the mDP port on my old MacBook for a DVI 27" monitor I recently bought. Requires both a mDP port and USB port on the MacBook. Works flawlessly. http://www.apple.com/us-opt/shop/product/MB571LL/A/mini-displayport-to-dual-link-dvi-adapter Not a TB monitor
     
  14. anez macrumors 6502

    anez

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    #14
    What a bother! Glad it worked out for you in the end, though. I'm hoping I will not have to resort to this myself (though I think the monitor I'm looking at has DVI as well as mDP), but if I do go ahead with the purchase, I'll report back here with my findings!
     
  15. macdragonfl macrumors 6502

    macdragonfl

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    #15
    Asus makes great DisplayPort monitors. I have one on my 2012 quad i7. Just use DisplayPort to mini DisplayPort cable. Same res as Thunderbolt Display non glare screen. Runs 2660x1440 mine is pb278 I'm sure there is a newer model now.
     

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