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Ideal way to connect 3 TB displays to nMP

orpheus1120

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 23, 2008
1,339
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Malaysia
I'm gonna order the 8-core nMP. This will be my first TB Mac and I'm just wondering what's the best way to connect 3  TB displays to the nMP?

From  nMP display support articles,  advises users to occupy different TB busses when possible. However TB supports daisy-chaining. So I'm wondering can I daisy-chain 2 TB displays to TB Bus 1 (Port 1), and the last TB display on TB Bus 2 (Port 2)? That would leave 1 TB bus free for other peripherals. Or should I just attach each displays to all 3 buses respectively? ie.

TB Display 1 -> bus 1 (Port 1)
TB Display 2 -> bus 2 (Port 2)
TB Display 3 -> bus 3 (Port 5)

Which is the best method? How would you do it?
 

macpro2000

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2005
997
685
I'm gonna order the 8-core nMP. This will be my first TB Mac and I'm just wondering what's the best way to connect 3  TB displays to the nMP?

From  nMP display support articles,  advises users to occupy different TB busses when possible. However TB supports daisy-chaining. So I'm wondering can I daisy-chain 2 TB displays to TB Bus 1 (Port 1), and the last TB display on TB Bus 2 (Port 2)? That would leave 1 TB bus free for other peripherals. Or should I just attach each displays to all 3 buses respectively? ie.

TB Display 1 -> bus 1 (Port 1)
TB Display 2 -> bus 2 (Port 2)
TB Display 3 -> bus 3 (Port 5)

Which is the best method? How would you do it?

I would do it with Port 1 2 5 above. Biggest problem, if you want to call it a problem is that you won't be able to see the Mac Pro in all its glory, because the cables are too short on the TB displays so it'll have to hide behind.
 
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orpheus1120

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 23, 2008
1,339
17
Malaysia
I would do it with Port 1 2 5 above. Biggest problem, if you want to call it a problem is that you won't be able to see the Mac Pro in all its glory, because the cables are too short on the TB displays so it'll have to hide behind.

The 2m TB cable from  should suffice.
 
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macpro2000

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2005
997
685
It'll work with the connected cable, you just can't have the Mac Pro to the side and have all three displays in front of you at the same time. And true, you can extend with an Apple 2m extension but be aware that you will not have powered USB/Firewire ports on the display if you do that.
 
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orpheus1120

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 23, 2008
1,339
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Hmm, I'm confused.

The width of a TB display is 65cm. Total width of 3 displays side by side would be 195cm.

Since all ports on the TB are located on the right side, by placing the nMP on the right end of the displays should theoretically be possible with 1 TB cable that comes with the TB display and 2 x 2m TB cables. Won't it?

Edit: ah I see about the powered USB thingy. That I'm sure I can do without, since I will be using the USB ports from the nMP instead.
 
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RoastingPig

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2012
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SoCal
Thunderbolt Bus Detailed
 

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JQuick

macrumors member
Feb 2, 2014
77
0
I thought the power for the USB 2.0 and firewire 800 ports are coming from the wall socket, not from the 10w supplied by thunderbolt. In other words, isn't the TB display acting as a powered rather than a passive hub?

I am using a TB display via a 2m cable from a mac mini. I am getting power to several USB 2.0 devices plugged into my display. I have not tried any big power consumers like external drive, though. It just seems peculiar that a device which plugs into the wall would rely on the host to supply bus power.
 
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Cubemmal

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2013
824
1
I've got two TB Cinema monitors and 1 Cinema monitor (all 27") attached to my nMP. The nMP is behind the center monitor, I have the two TB monitors on one TB bus, the Cinema mini-DP monitor on the other, and the third bus is for data (TB 2.0), basically a Pegasus2 array. I could just as well have put the two TB displays daisy chained I suppose, but either way.
 
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orpheus1120

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 23, 2008
1,339
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Malaysia
I thought the power for the USB 2.0 and firewire 800 ports are coming from the wall socket, not from the 10w supplied by thunderbolt. In other words, isn't the TB display acting as a powered rather than a passive hub?

My thoughts too. From what you had attested, this must be it.

That said, the build-in TB cables on the TB displays when not in used in this particular scenario do pose as eye sores. If only  have made them detachable then we could have kept them aside instead of leaving them dangling around.
 
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jenzjen

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2010
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My thoughts too. From what you had attested, this must be it.

That said, the build-in TB cables on the TB displays when not in used in this particular scenario do pose as eye sores. If only  have made them detachable then we could have kept them aside instead of leaving them dangling around.

Since you are indifferent with the TB display ports working, could you use (cheaper) a mDP extension cable on the native monitor TB cord?
 
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RoastingPig

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2012
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Since you are indifferent with the TB display ports working, could you use (cheaper) a mDP extension cable on the native monitor TB cord?

the only way to extend is to plug in a thunderbolt cord into the monitors thunderbolt port and the other into the nMP. so the original wire will not be in use...a mini displayport cable will not work...the long thunderbolt cords seem to be very expensive and there is no extender known to exist if there was it would still be an expensive thunderbolt cable with one end being female
 
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macpro2000

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2005
997
685
That is correct, you can't use a mdp extension cable with the attached tbd cable. Just doesn't work.
 
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JQuick

macrumors member
Feb 2, 2014
77
0
Are you sure the USB ports on the display are powered by the attached TB cables?

Ah, I get it now.

Earlier I thought this was a discussion of a potential problem with a 2m thunderbolt cable. Now I realize that the OP was talking about mini displayport cables.

Example, nMP->minidisplayport->thunderbolt.

This would disable the hubs in the thunderbolt display, but not because of failure to get power.

Mini displayport and thunderbolt are pin compatible. A big difference is that mini displayport is just a straight-through cable: the body of the plug is just metal and plastic. Thunderbolt cables have active electronics embedded in the plug ends.

When you use a real thunderbolt cable (of any supported length), the host will be able to talk to the remote PCIe bridge chip to access the USB and firewire device trees.

If you instead use a mini displayport extension cable into which a TB cable is plugged, the host only sees a brainless plug in its socket, thus can only use the displayport protocol.

So it is not that the 10v power is absent: the remote devices are never even seen by the host.
 
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macpro2000

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2005
997
685
Perfectly put...I was just too lazy to type that much.

Ah, I get it now.

Earlier I thought this was a discussion of a potential problem with a 2m thunderbolt cable. Now I realize that the OP was talking about mini displayport cables.

Example, nMP->minidisplayport->thunderbolt.

This would disable the hubs in the thunderbolt display, but not because of failure to get power.

Mini displayport and thunderbolt are pin compatible. A big difference is that mini displayport is just a straight-through cable: the body of the plug is just metal and plastic. Thunderbolt cables have active electronics embedded in the plug ends.

When you use a real thunderbolt cable (of any supported length), the host will be able to talk to the remote PCIe bridge chip to access the USB and firewire device trees.

If you instead use a mini displayport extension cable into which a TB cable is plugged, the host only sees a brainless plug in its socket, thus can only use the displayport protocol.

So it is not that the 10v power is absent: the remote devices are never even seen by the host.
 
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orpheus1120

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 23, 2008
1,339
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Malaysia
In essence, will the ports on the back of the TB display work IF I don't use the built-in TB cable but instead the 2m  TB cables?
 
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JQuick

macrumors member
Feb 2, 2014
77
0
In essence, will the ports on the back of the TB display work IF I don't use the built-in TB cable but instead the 2m  TB cables?

Yes. I have a TB display connected via a 2m TB cable to a mac mini.

USB on the monitor is working and in use. I have not used the other ports but can see that they are active. In System Preferences->Network panel, "Display Ethernet" and "Display Thunderbolt are present, showing that drivers are loaded.
 
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orpheus1120

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 23, 2008
1,339
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That's good to hear.

Not that I'm surprised because I can hardly believe  would overlook such obvious scenario given many users utilize multiple monitors setup.

Thank you for your response JQuick!
 
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