Connecting two computers to one TB display

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by gadgetgirl85, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. gadgetgirl85 macrumors 68040

    gadgetgirl85

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    #1
    Is it possible? Both my mac mini and MBP have thunderbolt on them. They don't have to be running at once but was wondering if it was possible to connect them at once and somehow switch between them?
     
  2. ctyrider macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    #2
    Not possible until someone makes a TB switch box . Given the fact it's technologically challenging to produce even a TB dock (it took Belkin several years and many false starts) - I wouldn't be holding my breath for one anytime soon.
     
  3. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #3
    Seems to me I read where you could connect a 2nd computer to the Thunderbolt port on the TBD - which is normally an output, but that it could be used as an input. Whichever computer was turned on first would end up using the TBD. Not sure where I saw that or if it's a figment of my imagination. Even if it worked, switching would be kind of inconvenient, you'd have to power off or sleep the Mini in order to connect the MBP.
     
  4. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
  5. Outrigger macrumors 68000

    Outrigger

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    #5
    Not possible. You would have to connect one at a time.
     
  6. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #6
    I use my ATD with both my iMac (as a 2nd screen) and also as a main display for my corporate MBA when working from home.

    I only connect one at a time. If I plug the MBA into the pigtail without disconnecting the iMac first... Te MBA is not recognized.

    /Jim
     
  7. gadgetgirl85 thread starter macrumors 68040

    gadgetgirl85

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    #7
    Is it possible on any monitor? Or not possible at all
     
  8. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    At work I have a Dell U2711. I bought that instead of an Apple display because it has multiple inputs. At the time, I was using both a PC and a Mac (MBA) in the office.

    I connected my Lenovo X201 to the display using a display port connector. For the MBA... I used a MDP to Dual-Link DVI connector. You would be able to do something similar with your Mac mini and Macbook Pro.

    /Jim
     
  9. Giuly, May 2, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #9
  10. cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #10
    It is possible to use two Macs with one TB display, I do, so I know firsthand, but you cannot switch between them like using a KVM switch.

    You can switch one at a time, as long as one is turned off. All you need is a 2nd TB cable, plug it into the back of the TB display and when you want to connect your 2nd Mac, unplug the TB cable that is built into the display (or turn that Mac off) and plug in the 2nd TB cable to your 2nd Mac. I use this method with a Mac mini as my main Mac and my MBP as my 2nd Mac, but the mini (in my case) either has to be turned off or pull the TB cable out of the back so the TBD recognizes the 2nd Mac connected to the 2nd TB cable as the one to use for the display. I read that on CNET, I believe, before I bought the TBD and asked the manager of my local Apple store about it, he had never heard of it, but it works fine and there's no reason it wouldn't. You just can't have both connected and on, because the TBD will default to the hard wired TB cable-connected Mac, so either turn that one off or pull the plug out to use your 2nd Mac.

    ----------

    That is made for the Apple Cinema Displays.
     
  11. Giuly, May 2, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #11
    It should do passive switching similar to unplugging the cable and plugging it into the other machine, so it doesn't care what signals you transmit over the wire.
    The Thunderbolt plug is the same as the DisplayPort's. As long as you use a short Thunderbolt cable (as opposed to a Mini Displayport cable) to connect the switch box to the TBD, it should work fine.
     
  12. cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #12
    I believe the MDP cable and the USB cable on the back of the Kanex are hard wired, you can't unplug them and plug a TB cable.

    The Kanex website says 3 times on the FAQ page that it will not work with TBD, and again on the specs page.

    http://www.kanexlive.com/snapx

    It's a good idea but I don't think it would work. It would be great if it did, more convenient than the method I'm using.
     
  13. Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #13
    The cable that connects to the TBD is detachable, and it was the idea to place the active Thunderbolt cable there. Whether you can arbitrary prolong the part after the chip in the cable is another question and at least worth a try.
     
  14. ctyrider macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    #14
    TB requires end to end signaling by active cable endpoints, and it's completely different from DisplayPort. You cannot arbitrarily insert "stuff" in the middle of the connection.

    Save your time and money, this won't work.
     
  15. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #15
    Instead of an Apple monitor, you can buy a proper one with multiple inputs, buttons, and OSD. Just not Thunderbolt, if it has DisplayPort, you can just use a mDP to whatever size of DP the monitor has. For HDMI and DVI, you can buy the corresponding mDP adapters.
     
  16. Giuly, May 4, 2013
    Last edited: May 4, 2013

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #16
    Well, first of all I forgot that the TBD comes with its own cable, the you don't need that anyways.

    Second, nobody knows how far you can extend the outer part of the cable, because Intel doesn't publish those specs. It may work for the short cables on the switch, or it won't. You can always return it within 14 days, so there's no harm in trying.

    But it begs the following question:
    The cable features two GN2033 Thunderbolt Cable Transceiver chips, and is technically a crossover cable.
    If Intel was smart, it should be transparent to the hardware. In that case, you should be able to connect two cables crossed-over, and technically build a Thunderbolt switch by merely adding sockets and cabling to a device like the Kanex. No, Intel won't license a device like this, but that hasn't ever stopped Chinese people from manufacturing and selling their devices.
     
  17. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    #17
    The switcher linked is not going to work for the simple fact that there has not been a Thunderbolt extension solution found other than daisy chaining a Thunderbolt device. There are plenty of posts of people trying to extend their Thunderbolt cables for external storage devices to no avail and what you are trying to do is essentially extending the Thunderbolt connection without the use of a Thunderbolt device.

    I mean sure the Amazon return is "free". However there is always a cost associated with a purchase and considering the above fact and the fact that the manufacturer explicitly stated multiple times that it is not usable with the ATD, I would think it is wise to grab a beer instead of wasting time on this...
     

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