Dock MacBook Pro to iMac (Media Server)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Fed, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. Fed macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2012
    I've been eyeing up a Thunderbolt Display for quite some time. I quite liked the idea of docking my MacBook Pro to it as an external display and having the ability to access external drives connected to it. However the need for a media server for my house has made me rethink things.

    At first I was considering a combo of Tbolt Display + Mac Mini. But swapping this for an iMac (27 inch) seems like the better option given that it's cheaper and if it does the same functionally - happy days. Along with this, my other half has been talking about buying an iMac for quite some time and therefore I may be able to save some money here!

    The main tasks that I'd need to do are as follows:

    1. Connect MBP to iMac via Tbolt port to use as external display (is it possible?)
    2. Easily switch between MBP on iMac display to the actual running iMac (How?)
    3. Function as a media server (to Apple TVs) and general 'hub' for content via iOS devices and laptops (comments?)

    Which combo would you prefer and can you think of any pros/cons to each? Also, can you provide any insight on which hub may use more power (iMac on but display off vs Mac Mini constantly on)?
  2. iMarvin macrumors 6502


    Sep 29, 2011
    On the internet!
    1. Yes
    2. Yes cmd + f2 switches the display source
    3. What is there to talk about? It just works

    Get the iMac, you get more performance for your money than if you buy a mini + thunderbolt display. The iMac will use more power than the mini, you can find the power specs on Apples tech specs.
  3. kreismeister macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2013
    I'm about to make a similar decision. Did you go with the iMac and do you have some experience reports available? I'm wondering about the following things.

    - Can I use the keyboard and mouse connected to the iMac to operate the MBP (when connected)?
    - Will the MBP work with other USB devices connected to the iMac?
    - Will the MBP work with Thunderbolt devices connected to the iMac as well?

  4. eduardrw macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2013
    Answer is NO.

    Can I use the built-in camera or connect USB, ThunderBolt, or FireWire devices to my iMac when in TDM and have them work on my main computer?
    A supported iMac works like any other external display while it is in Target Display mode, except that you cannot access its built-in camera or USB, ThunderBolt, and FireWire ports. To use external devices while in TDM mode, connect those devices to the computer the iMac in TDM is connecting to.

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