Dual Monitor Setup - Switch between Mac Mini & MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by redrider307, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. redrider307 macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2007
    A little help needed... I want to set up a new home office system. I also have the new MacBook Pro (it's amazing!)

    If I get a Mac Mini and 2 monitors for my desk, can I use this unit to split the monitor signal when I want to?

    Basically, if the monitors go into the inputs, I would use an HDMI from Output 1 to the Mini. Then, when I sit at my desk with my MacBook Pro, if I switch to Output 2 after plugging that HDMI into my MacBook Pro, would I be able to use all 3 monitors independently (MBP and the 2 on my desk)?

    Thanks for any help/advice on this!
  2. redrider307 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2007
    bump for help!

    Does anyone know if the HDMI out from the MacBook Pro will sense if there are 2 HDMI monitors connected and treat them as independent monitors?
  3. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    I'm not sure I follow, but can't you accomplish the same thing without the HDMI switch by getting monitors that have both HDMI and DVI out. Use the HDMI connections to connect to the Mac Mini and the DVI connections to connect to your MBP, then switch using the input buttons on the monitors.
  4. redrider307 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2007
    That would work, yes, but I don't intend on having my MacBook connected full time. Ideally, I have only one cord to plug into my MacBook when I bring it to that desk.

    Can one video out port (HDMI or mini display) send data to 2 monitors? That's essentially the question.
  5. ColdCase, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    HDMI is one monitor to one computer point to point. Display port is one monitor to one computer point to point. The thunderbolt port has two channels and there may be a way to connect two monitors by daisy chaining (in theory), but I dunno if anyone does that. Currently a Mac only supports one monitor per thunderbolt port. If your MacBook Pro is like mine, it has two thunderbolt ports, so you can drive two displays (over separate cables) if you want (but be ready for lots of heat). There are DisplayLink USB-graphics adapters that will connect multiple displays to a single USB cable to the computer USB port.

    My monitor has display port, DVI, and HDMI interfaces. I connect my rMPB to the display port, my MacPro to the DVI, and my netbook to the HDMI. I use the switches on the monitor to select what to view. The computers detect when the monitor is connected, well the netbook kinda sorta.... but thats a windose thing.

    I have just the one cable to disconnect from the portables when I want to go portable. In fact the LG monitor can be configured for split screen, where one computer drives one half and the other computer drives the other half. There is a PIP thing too, but I haven't played with that.

    Display port or DVI will give you much better computer PQ than HDMI. HDMI is fine for movies and if thats the only thing you have you make do with it.

    Anyway, the device you referenced sends the identical video to both monitors, you pick the input. Your Mac will not know that there are two monitors out there, it just thinks there is one. In other words, you will see the same picture on both monitors regardless.

    You can't connect monitors to the device inputs... the switch device inputs can only be connected to sources... like your computers. Computers connect to the switch device input, monitors connect to the switch device outputs. The same signal will appear on each output of the switch device you referenced.Big bucks will get you something more elegant.

    I don't know of a device like you are looking for, but there are KVMs that can switch DVI.
  6. wwohl macrumors regular

    May 2, 2013
    What you could do is rather than connect everything to the mini/macbook, you could get a USB3 or TB dock. Connect all the peripherals to the dock, Connect the cable from the dock to the mini when you want it, connect to the MBP when you want to use that.

    That one cable will provide ethernet internet, multiple USB input, dual monitors, sound and more.

    That cable could theoretically run to a USB switch that has multiple inputs. Select the input and your entire desktop experience will link to the selected device

    usb 3 switch

    usb dock

    The above dock is one of many available. I only selected it because I know there is display link drivers and software for mac to make that one work

    TB docks are available. Don't know of any switches

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