How can I hook up four projectors to a late-2013 Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by DanaProd, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. DanaProd, Mar 8, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014

    DanaProd macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2014
    Hi all, I want to hook up 4 HDMI 1080P projectors to a late 2013 MacPro. The official Apple spec says,
    You can connect up to:
    Six Apple Thunderbolt Displays (27-inch), Apple LED Cinema Displays (27-inch), or third-party Mini DisplayPort displays.
    Three 4K displays: two connected via Mini DisplayPort and one connected via HDMI.
    One 4K Ultra HD TV or 4K display using HDMI and four Apple Thunderbolt Displays (27-inch), Apple LED Cinema Displays (27-inch), or third-party Mini DisplayPort displays.
    Two HDMI (HD or 4K) devices: one connected via HDMI and one connected via Mini DisplayPort with an HDMI adapter (see note below).​

    Source Mac Pro (Late 2013): Using multiple displays

    So how, if at all, can I connect four projectors to this machine? Thunderbolt/Mini Display to HDMI adapters do not work. Or more accurately they allow for the connection of exactly 2 monitors (that is regardless of whether or not I am using the built in HDMI port).

    Is there any display adapter technology that emulates or translates the thunderbolt signal to HDMI/DVI or DSUB while still convincing the mac that it is indeed connected to thunderbolt displays?

    There are a number of mini display port supporting projectors but I also have very specific short throw projectors and would prefer to stay with HDMI.

    I just did some research here and came across this thread
    and this comment.

    Am I encountering the same 10.9.2 monitor setup issues?



    P.s. Specs wise this is a 12 core, with dual D700s, running 10.9.2
  2. CH12671 macrumors 6502

    Dec 29, 2013
    Southern US
    You can only get 2 hdmi projectors to work at a time. That is the limitation as I understand it. So for the other two projectors your options would be dual link to dvi if the projector has it, or mdp to vga (I haven't heard vga listed as a limited form of connectivity outside of the six total)
  3. kennyman macrumors 6502

    May 4, 2011

    Are you trying to expand 1 desktop/image to multiple displays (like a video wall) or just trying to clone nMP to Projector 1, 2, 3 and 4 (meaning all projectors showing the same content edge to edge)?
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Do you need all the projectors to be independent (example: quarter of full screen, with the 4 combined showing the full screen), or will they all show the identical image (one screen mirrored to all projectors)

    (kennyman - I'm too slow with the same question :D )
  5. DanaProd, Mar 9, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014

    DanaProd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2014
    Sorry left out that important bit of info. Yes these projectors all need to be treated as separate monitors, extending the desktop.

    CH12671, I'm going to grab some mDP to VGA adapters and give that a try. The projectors don't support DVI but I might try some adapter shenanigans to see if that works too.

    I'll keep you posted.
  6. DanaProd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2014
  7. demars macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2002
    Santa Monica, CA
    The limitation only applies to passive adapters. You can use as many active adapters as you want (up to six) because to the Mac it will simply appear that you are hooking up Dispalyport monitors.

    In your case you will only need two; you can hook one projector up to the HDMI port and one with a passive adapter, so you would only need two active adapters for the other two projectors.

    The active adapters cost around $30 apiece. Here is an example:

    For this one you would also need a miniDP-DP adapter, since this one has a full size Displayport connector.

    Apple mentions this issue briefly at the end of their tech note on multiple displays. They mention the dual-link adapter that they sell; that adapter isn't relevant in this case because 1) you need HDMI, not DVI and 2) the resolution you are dealing with is not high enough to require dual-link. Even if you were using DVI rather than HDMI, you would only need single link active adapters, which are much cheaper than the dual link adapters.
  8. DanaProd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2014

    Excellent, I'll give active adapters a try. In efforts to get things working I grabbed two official apple mDP to VGA and the combination of HDMI and VGA is now working. I also connected a Cinema Display using thunderbolt. So 5 total displays running and so far so good but I'm still going to test the active adapters as I would like to stay all digital.

    Thanks all!
  9. tromlov macrumors newbie

    May 26, 2014
    I'm curious. Did you get the active adapters and did you try to hook up the 4 projectors via DVI ?


  10. DanaProd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2014
    For a variety of reasons --3d engine output, Syphon, short throw projectors, cable run length-- we ended up deciding it was best to split one almost 4K image into 4 - 1280x800s using a DataPath 4X and a DVI dualLink adapter. It was very stable, the image was crisp. You can see the results here:

    Link to datapath:
  11. DJenkins macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
  12. matthiasbr macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2015
    Can 1 Mac play 2 HD + 1 SD feed to 3 projectors?

    Great thread!

    In a multi-projector set-up with 3 distinct video feeds [ 2 HD + 1 SD] – is it possible for a single iMac to run all 3 simultaneously and from 3 different applications?

    Grateful for any suggestions on this.

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12 March 8, 2014