HDMI versus Thunderbolt via Mini Display Port

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by silverjam, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. silverjam macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2012
    My Mac Mini Server 2011 Quad Core has Thunderbolt and HDMI options for display (as do the new MBPs). I have used my HDMI port to date but I also have a more sleek (and it's white) mini display port to hdmi cable that I used to use for my MacBook Air that I rarely use.

    My question is this... the output on both ports is as follows:

    Thunderbolt port support for up to 2560-by-1600 resolution

    HDMI port support for up to 1920-by-1200 resolution

    So according to these specs, shouldn't I use the TB port? And if so on what config is such reso possible? My monitor is not a Thunderbolt display (SOny Bravia 1080P) but theoretically isn't the TB via a MDP to HDMI cable as good as a HDMI cable?

    I ask this because I always thought HDMI was more heavy duty than my Mini Display Port cable.

    Perhaps a more simple questions is this... if I use my Mini Display Port cable on my 1080P screen is it going to be as good as my current HDMI?

  2. itickings macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2007
    DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort are more capable than HDMI, yes.

    Anyways, your 1080P display is the bottleneck in any case, so it doesn't matter. Why not stick with HDMI and leave the TB free for expansion? Is the white cable really that sleek? :)

    Should work though.
  3. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Your monitor is 1920x1080 maximum
    HDMI supports up to 1920x1200
    Your monitor only has HDMI inputs.

    => there is no advantage to using anything other than HDMI, unless having a white cable is inexplicably important to you.

    It is a digital connection: it either works or you get a very obviously degraded picture.

    Should you buy a 2560x1440 display such as the Apple Thunderbolt Display or the Dell U2711 then it will need the displayport connection (but not through a miniDisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter which will have the same limitations as HDMI).
  4. Loganfilm macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2009
    Los Angeles
    On that same Mini server, can you use the HDMI to DVI to get 1920 x 1200 and then use a Thunderbolt to DVI to get 2560 x 1600?

    I have a 30" and a 24" Cinema displays that I'm currently using with a very dated MacPro tower. I've given up on the new MacPro tower and don't want to wait for a new version. At this point, I think a Mac Mini server connected to thunderbolt RAID storage will fulfill my needs anyway if I can get both monitors up and running. I don't want to buy new monitors. These are beautiful and working perfectly.

    Also... Can I run both of those monitors and also use Thunderbolt connected storage with a third party break-out box of some kind? Considering both the HDMI and Thunderbolt ports would be powering DVI monitors?

  5. silverjam thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2012
    Hard to answer that because I don't have the monitor resolution to test that. But I would be careful of buying a MM Server for graphics because the Graphics Card is reliant on the general RAM as opposed to a stand alone card. Simply put, it is designed as a server with a mega quad core i7 (for its size) but the GPU does not have a great following. I have an MM i5 with the stand alone GPU and the MM Server with the non-dedicated GPU and can't tell the difference with my Sony Bravia 1080P. But to try and output the reso you want on two mega monitors I would do your research. Check some of the forum posts on the MM Server Intel Graphics HD 3000 versus the i5 GPU (Can't remember the name). Also double check the newer Macs as well. I remember reading somewhere that the MBAs can not handle two Thunderbolt Displays on one TB port (according to Apple) but the MB Pros can. I say that because if you are thinking of focusing on multiple displays and also very high resolution I would do your homework. Having said all that, the MM Server beats my MM i5 hands down on all fronts and I can't see much diff in the graphics, then again I am not a gamer.

  6. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    Resolutions above 1920x1200 over DVI require the dual-link DVI adapter. It's a lot more expensive than the standard single-link DVI adapter.

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