Can a docked ~2014 rMBP drive 4 1080p displays?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Grahamps, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Grahamps, Aug 28, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015

    Grahamps macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    I've been searching around on the internet, and can't find an answer that makes me confident. I've seen examples of the rMBP driving 3 displays, plus the rMBP. Will 4 displays with daisy chained DisplayPort work? I apologize that I don't have the model rMBP. This is for a client of our A/V company, and I am doing some research to make sure this will work.

    Here's a promising link, which also references manufacturers artificially limiting the number of possible displays.

    Any experience is appreciated.
  2. BoneDaddy Suspended


    Jan 8, 2015
    Short answer is yes. Even a 13" can. Hell, a 2010 can too.

    The HOW, is the question. There are many ways to add displays to your mac. For instance, if I REALLY wanted to be a show boating weirdo, I can run my 2014 13" on five monitors. First thunderbolt would go to a dualhead2go. Second would go to a display, then I would use a USB 3.0 to monitor card, and then my macbook monitor.

    I've tried that for sh|ts and giggles and to be honest, more than two monitors gives me an anxiety attack, but it worked well and my wife was more amazed at the sight of it, than she was when she first saw me nude...

    But enough about the incredibly tiny size of my trouser occupant. What I do NOT know, is if I could have added a 6th screen, if one were a TB monitor, and I had another TB monitor.

    So to reiterate. YES YES and YES. All you need to do is to find the most practical way to go about it, if your desire for four monitors is even practical. Not my business, but there's your practical answer.
  3. Grahamps thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks so much for your feedback!
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    It is possible. How you go about it can vary.

    Is it there a practical way of doing it without experiencing video lag? Not too sure.
  5. Grahamps thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks for your input!

    What I'd like to do is take advantage of DisplayPort and create a daisy chain across 4 ~1080p displays from a docked/closed MacBook Pro.

    There's no expectation from me that the client will be doing anything more intensive on these screens than surfing the web, watching web videos, monitoring investments, or participating in webinars or video calls. As long as it's possible, and we can configure the 4 screens on day 1 without a glitch, preferably in this daisy chain (but, however works), it would be his deal to buy a more powerful Mac that will handle it more optimally.
  6. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    The 15's have two display ports (thunderbolt).

    Theoritically they should be daisy-chainable. While I don't necessarily condone such actions, if you have the displayport wiring on hand and the displays as well, you could always buy one, test it out, and return it.
  7. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    A bit of advice. There's a bit more legwork you'll need to do, however, I don't have time today to spell it all out today. I checked out that "link" - it's not "promising" at all for Mac users, and they're leaving out quite a bit of relevant information, mainly which refresh rate you'll be looking at.

    Also, regarding Matrox's products for multiple displays, the subject Mac is likely running Yosemite - the only eGPU units that Matrox sells that supports Macs and Yosemite only supports DVI-D displays, a potential limitation, and will require the use of a USB port from somewhere to power the eGPU.

    First, check on the displays you'll want to use - I have 2 Dell P2715Q displays connected to my late-2013 rMBP; I can drive each at 4k 60Hz over two separate mDP>DP cables, but to "daisy chain" them they'll have to be set up for MST and they'll only work at 30Hz. Not many - if any - Mac laptops will supply sufficient graphics power to feed 3 daisy chained displays, and will require at least 10.10.3 installed on the subject Mac.

    The only other displays that could/would smoothly enough are Thunderbolt displays, either by Apple or LG - the TB interface in the displays properly handles the mixing/demuxing of the video signals that HDMI, DVI-D, and DP (which is carrying an HDMI signal) choke on. The second display in that DP daisy chain is terminating that HDMI signal; a DP display following a TB display will terminate that video signal.

    A tip, from a short slideshow I gave just this past Friday when my brother was wanting to show his pictures from his trip to HK and South Africa. The pics were shown on my rMBP screen, and mirrored to each of the two Dell displays, and my Sony Bravia TV that's connected to an Apple TV; my Dells are on Herman Miller arms and allowed me to rotate the Dells to face some of the people in the room. So, there were four displays in action there - all in "HD" (not 4k), and it worked well and only took about 2-3 minutes to get going.

    Another tip, get cables with the best throughput you can find. I finally settled on Lindy and StarTech DP 1.2 2160p cables - some will say DP is DP, and I'll offer a "you don't know what you're blathering about...". I have a box of 1440p and 1600p cables that leave our workspaces looking laggy.

    If your client wants to impress, I read this just this morning:

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