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Dellfanboy

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 25, 2010
94
39
So, I purchased a 24GB/ 2TB M3 Macbook Air and can't for the life of me figure out how to get dual monitor with the lid closed. I'm using the following two monitors:

  1. Samsung C24F390: https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-LC24F390FHNXZA-24-inch-Monitor-FreeSync/dp/B01CX26WPY
  2. HP M27FW: https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/pdp/hp-m27fw-fhd-monitor
Any clue how I can get them to work with my new Macbook air? I tried the following: Connected the Samsung HDMI into the HP HDMI (in the back) then pluged the HP HDMI into a usb-c adapter to my mac. Only the HP monitor works when I close the lid. My macbook air and HP works with the lid open.

This is killing me. Any help needed. Do I need to buy new monitors?
 

bradman83

macrumors 65816
Oct 29, 2020
1,046
2,576
Buffalo, NY
So, I purchased a 24GB/ 2TB M3 Macbook Air and can't for the life of me figure out how to get dual monitor with the lid closed. I'm using the following two monitors:

  1. Samsung C24F390: https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-LC24F390FHNXZA-24-inch-Monitor-FreeSync/dp/B01CX26WPY
  2. HP M27FW: https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/pdp/hp-m27fw-fhd-monitor
Any clue how I can get them to work with my new Macbook air? I tried the following: Connected the Samsung HDMI into the HP HDMI (in the back) then pluged the HP HDMI into a usb-c adapter to my mac. Only the HP monitor works when I close the lid. My macbook air and HP works with the lid open.

This is killing me. Any help needed. Do I need to buy new monitors?
Couple issues here:

Are you sure the HP monitor supports daisy chaining? Typically daisy chaining displays is done via DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST) which as the name implies requires DisplayPort; to my knowledge HDMI doesn't support daisy chaining.

Even if you had the right hardware macOS doesn't support MST.

You need to do one of two things - either connect both displays to the Mac directly or connect the displays to a USB-C hub and then connect the hub to the Mac. (Both displays are FHD so a standard inexpensive USB-C hub that supports dual HDMI should work fine here, but you'd need to go Thunderbolt if you go higher than FHD).
 

Dellfanboy

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 25, 2010
94
39
Couple issues here:

Are you sure the HP monitor supports daisy chaining? Typically daisy chaining displays is done via DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST) which as the name implies requires DisplayPort; to my knowledge HDMI doesn't support daisy chaining.

Even if you had the right hardware macOS doesn't support MST.

You need to do one of two things - either connect both displays to the Mac directly or connect the displays to a USB-C hub and then connect the hub to the Mac. (Both displays are FHD so a standard inexpensive USB-C hub that supports dual HDMI should work fine here, but you'd need to go Thunderbolt if you go higher than FHD).
First thank you for taking the time to help me.This makes total sense. I think the "USB-C hub" makes the most sense. Do you have any recommendations? I'm trying to find one on amazon or Best buy but so many include "instant view" or something similar which doesn't allow me to stream DRM content. This is such a headache.
 

joevt

Contributor
Jun 21, 2012
6,774
4,106
You need a Thunderbolt hub or Thunderbolt dock or Thunderbolt to Dual DisplayPort adapter or Thunderbolt to Dual HDMI adapter to connect two displays to a single Thunderbolt port of a Mac.

Or you can use a USB hub with DisplayLink but you don't want to use DisplayLink if there's an alternative that allows a direct connection to the GPU such as Thunderbolt since DisplayLink must use video that is compressed (from 16 Gbps for 4K60) by the CPU and transmitted over USB at < 4 Gbps.
 

bradman83

macrumors 65816
Oct 29, 2020
1,046
2,576
Buffalo, NY
You need a Thunderbolt hub or Thunderbolt dock or Thunderbolt to Dual DisplayPort adapter or Thunderbolt to Dual HDMI adapter to connect two displays to a single Thunderbolt port of a Mac.

Or you can use a USB hub with DisplayLink but you don't want to use DisplayLink if there's an alternative that allows a direct connection to the GPU such as Thunderbolt since DisplayLink must use video that is compressed (from 16 Gbps for 4K60) by the CPU and transmitted over USB at < 4 Gbps.
Thunderbolt is only necessary if you're trying to do dual 4K. The monitors the original poster referenced are full HD so a standard USB-C hub with dual HDMI can handle that without an issue (or resorting to DisplayLink) for much cheaper.
 

joevt

Contributor
Jun 21, 2012
6,774
4,106
Thunderbolt is only necessary if you're trying to do dual 4K. The monitors the original poster referenced are full HD so a standard USB-C hub with dual HDMI can handle that without an issue (or resorting to DisplayLink) for much cheaper.
USB-C (non-Thunderbolt) hubs or docks can support more than one display only if they use MST or DisplayLink. macOS doesn't support MST for multiple displays (except mirroring).
 
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thauide

macrumors newbie
Jun 2, 2024
2
0
@joevt -- is there any adapter you would be happy to recommend / link? Especially one that also provides the other useful stuff like SD-reader, ethernet, USB-A and USB-C ports
 
Last edited:

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,892
2,888
@joevt -- is there any adapter you would be happy to recommend / link? Especially one that also provides the other useful stuff like SD-reader, ethernet, USB-A and USB-C ports
Adapter for what? MacOS does not support using two displays connected to a single USB-C port, other than some fairly narrow circumstances that don’t apply here. Plug them in separately.

You can use a dock/hub on one of the ports,if you want to connect something in addition to the one display. What do you want to connect?
 

thauide

macrumors newbie
Jun 2, 2024
2
0
Hi, sorry for not being clear. I am looking for that single device that allows me to connect two screens and my other stuff, basically I need 2 HDMI, 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C, Ethernet, SD-Card.

With your help I figured that a regular USB-Hub/Switch/Adapter doesn't do it, but something like this maybe? https://plugable.com/products/tbt4-ud5

I also found those USB docking stations that have two USB-C upstream connectors and hence allow two screens in extended mode, like this one here: https://www.amazon.de/MacBook-Docking-MOKiN-Thunderbolt-Ethernet-12-2-Dual-HDMI-VGA/dp/B0CL4M2644

So I guess that's all to it. Feel free to comment/add to my findings and thanks for your messages so far.
 

Acronyc

macrumors 6502a
Jan 24, 2011
907
392
Hi, sorry for not being clear. I am looking for that single device that allows me to connect two screens and my other stuff, basically I need 2 HDMI, 3 USB-A, 1 USB-C, Ethernet, SD-Card.

With your help I figured that a regular USB-Hub/Switch/Adapter doesn't do it, but something like this maybe? https://plugable.com/products/tbt4-ud5

I also found those USB docking stations that have two USB-C upstream connectors and hence allow two screens in extended mode, like this one here: https://www.amazon.de/MacBook-Docking-MOKiN-Thunderbolt-Ethernet-12-2-Dual-HDMI-VGA/dp/B0CL4M2644

So I guess that's all to it. Feel free to comment/add to my findings and thanks for your messages so far.
It's not hard to do with a good dock.

I have a thunderbolt 3 dock for my M1 Max MBP. I have two external screens (one 4K and one 1080), three external drives, and other peripherals connected to it. Since the dock can charge my MBP, I only need a single thunderbolt cable plugged in to my Mac for everything. It works flawlessly and I've never had a problem for almost three years now.

At work I use an M1 Air plugged into a DisplayLink USB-C dock that drives one 2K display and two 1080 displays along with other peripherals. This dock also charges, so for this setup I also just have one cable to plug in and it also works perfectly (DisplayLink is fine for my work usage).

I would avoid using something like the USB-C hub in your second link for all day use. I've used these before but always had problems with them disconnecting, losing power deliver, ports stop working, etc.. Personally, I'd go with a dock that gives you power delivery via a brick and isn't just pass through (like the Plugable one you linked to). You can take a smaller hub with you for travel when needed. For me, at work I'm using this dock from Belkin and at home I'm using an older thunderbolt dock from Targus.
 

bradman83

macrumors 65816
Oct 29, 2020
1,046
2,576
Buffalo, NY
Im looking for a solution to drive 2 4k monitors (cant daisy chain those particular monitors either) with my m3 mba open rather than closed. Came across this-- decent alternative to a thunderbolt dock? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CS8D3KF2/ref=ewc_pr_img_1?smid=A3HIHADV23VGU1&psc=1
The MacBook Air has two display controllers so it can only natively drive two displays at a time, including the internal display.

Devices like what you linked to leverage DisplayLink, which is a software based solution to make up for the lack of more than two display drivers. It will work, but the picture might not be as sharp and you will likely notice some lag or stutters versus a natively driven display.
 
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roadkill401

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2015
480
104
Im looking for a solution to drive 2 4k monitors (cant daisy chain those particular monitors either) with my m3 mba open rather than closed. Came across this-- decent alternative to a thunderbolt dock? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CS8D3KF2/ref=ewc_pr_img_1?smid=A3HIHADV23VGU1&psc=1
depending on you need timeframe. it was on the news that the chip company that makes the DisplayLink has a new PRO version that will up the 4k to 120hz for two monitors or can get a single 4k driving up to 240hz off usb-c connector. not even needed thunderbolt. the chips are available but they work with third party manufacturers so I don't know how long it will take for the new PRO to make it to market
 

joevt

Contributor
Jun 21, 2012
6,774
4,106
Im looking for a solution to drive 2 4k monitors (cant daisy chain those particular monitors either) with my m3 mba open rather than closed. Came across this-- decent alternative to a thunderbolt dock? https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CS8D3KF2/ref=ewc_pr_img_1?smid=A3HIHADV23VGU1&psc=1
If you close the MBA, then you can connect two external displays. If you don't want to use up both Thunderbolt ports, then you need a Thunderbolt adapter or dock. The least expensive is a Thunderbolt to Dual DisplayPort adapter (preferable) or a Thunderbolt to Dual HDMI adapter (if your displays only have HDMI input).

If you leave the MBA open, then you can connect one display normally.

In either case, you can connect additional displays with USB DisplayLink adapters though they won't perform as well but maybe it's good enough. If you decide on DisplayLink then let us know how it performs.
 
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