Connecting external monitor(s) to a 2011 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by SteveWTW, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. SteveWTW macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2010
    I'm about to take delivery of my first mac computer which is a 2011 27" iMac. I have 2 additional 24" Dell branded widescreen monitors I would like to connect to my Mac when it arrives. They both have a VGA and DVI connectors and I have 2 questions:

    1) I understand I will need to use the Thunderbolt ports to connect the monitors. What kind of cable will I need to purchase?

    2) How well does OSX handle multiple monitors? I'd like to keep my iMac in the middle as the primary display with the external monitors on either side. Is this possible to set up easily without additional software?

  2. MacHamster68, Jun 13, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    to question number 2 : sure it can handle that without problem

    to question number 1 : sorry i don't have a idea if that thunderbold port could handle more then one display (accept mirroring)
    if not there are always those usb to dvi adapters and those in the upper price class work really well up to 1080p and some even a bit above that , cheaper ones may struggle at anything above 480p ..but most will do 720p
  3. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    OS X handles multiple monitors very well indeed, but the iMac is only set up to drive one external display. For more than that, you'd need a Mac Pro.

    If you want to go for two external displays with an iMac you'll need an external adaptor as produced by companies such as Matrox.
  4. SteveWTW thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2010
    I had assumed the fact that the new 2011 iMacs have 2 thunderbolt ports meant they have the ability to connect to 2 external monitors. Is this not correct?
  5. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    You can split the thunderbolt port to use an additional 2 monitors

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. tomville macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2011
    This was my impression as well. In fact I remember seeing blogs that had two monitors connected to a 27" iMac when they were first released.
  7. SteveWTW thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2010
    Ok but I guess my real question is do you need to split if you have 2 thunderbolt ports?
  8. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
  9. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003

    Buy two of those, use the DVI cables with them that should have come with your dell monitors.

    As cited on this page, they will work with a 2011 27" imac using each thunderbolt port.

    Ignore the other posters, seriously, what's with you guys? It's like you pulled your posts out of thin air on a whim? You can't "split" a thunderbolt port, you can only daisy chain them with a monitor on the end of each chain.

    What the hell happened to factual advice?
  10. bemacbe macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2011
    So I can hook up 4 monitors to my iMac?

    Just curious... I discovered one can plug two displays to one thunderbolt port. So does this mean I can connect 4 monitors to my 2011 27" iMac 2.7, which has two ports? Could I actually have a 5 screen system?

  11. uaaerospace macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2005
    Don't believe so. The 3 monitor limitation is because of the graphics card. You'd need two or more graphics cards for 5 screens. If you need more than 3 screens, get a Mac Pro. If 3 screens are sufficient, get a 27" iMac.
  12. hops0rz macrumors newbie

    Jul 27, 2011
    Do they both graphic cards of the 27 iMac models are valid to use two external displays?
  13. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    If I understood the daisy chaining part of Thunderbolt correctly then IF you used the new 27" Thunderbolt displays instead of generic Displays then you could daisy chain further Thunderbold Displays.

    The page for the Thunderbolt display shows two displays connected to a MBP where the first display connects to the MBP and the second is daisychained off the first Thunderbolt Display.
  14. unixperience macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2010
    You can use one display port plug with each thunderbolt port, so you can still use your two dell monitors

    the splitting won't work unless you have a displayport monitor. Managing 3 monitors i will work without any problems. I also recommend buying mini displayport to DVI adapters (especially if you get them from 3rd party vendors), they are far cheaper can be had for 3 dollars even. The vga's are never cheap because displayport puts out digital and there is a chip to convert it to analog in the adapter, so the vga is always far more expensive than dvi or hdmi. Those are simply a rearrangement of wires

    as a side note, the amd site says that card hd6770m can support 6 monitors with eyefinity in windows vista/7, the chip is also displayport 1.2 compatible 21.6GBps data rates. two additional monitors will work fine i'm 100% sure. Id wager 4 would too, if you ever wanted to get thunderbolt displays.

    good luck mate
  15. mobilemenice80, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012

    mobilemenice80 macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2012
    daisy chaining Thunderbolt monitors is possible

    i have two on my iMac PLUS one dell monitor connected by mini display

    i do plan on turning that dell display into a thunderbolt display..

    so far the graphics can take full screen video on all of them at the same time without lag


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