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ecdh

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 2, 2022
7
7
If I’m planning to use two external displays, both connected by Thunderbolt, would an M2 Mini Pro be a better idea than an M2 Mini for performance? Or does performance only depend on how you use the machine software-wise? I haven’t used dual displays before and I’m not sure what specs might make a difference.
 

ovbacon

macrumors 68000
Feb 13, 2010
1,586
11,397
Tahoe, CA
This is for the base M2 mini
 

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Jwinnin

macrumors member
Dec 31, 2022
42
44
A related question: Is there any advantage to using Thunderbolt for both displays vs one Thunderbolt and one HDMI port?

The reason I ask is that for the M2 Mini, if I use both Thunderbolt ports for the are used for the monitors, then nothing else is available of other USB-C/Thunderbolt accessories.
 

ovbacon

macrumors 68000
Feb 13, 2010
1,586
11,397
Tahoe, CA
A related question: Is there any advantage to using Thunderbolt for both displays vs one Thunderbolt and one HDMI port?

The reason I ask is that for the M2 Mini, if I use both Thunderbolt ports for the are used for the monitors, then nothing else is available of other USB-C/Thunderbolt accessories.
The only reason would be the type of display (4K, 5K, 6K).... the HDMI only supports up to 4K. the TB4/USB-C ports do seem to offer more with a display but the HDMI is there for a reason so you can use it.
 
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ovbacon

macrumors 68000
Feb 13, 2010
1,586
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Tahoe, CA
Here is a screen shot of the resolution choices for my BenQ display on either the TB4/USB-C port and the HDMI port. Left HDMI right TB4/USB-C.
 

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Soondae

macrumors regular
May 22, 2012
245
93
Hua Hin, Thailand
I would consider daisy chaining monitors using Thunderbolt to DP MON 1 (MacMini) and then DP to DP on second monitor, therefore freeing available ports on the Mini non pro version. The Pro version is a lot of extra money just for additional ports. Viewsonic and BenQ both offer nice reasonable monitors that support this option. Also understand that Thunderbolt to USB-C is the same as using a DP port, the specifications are the exact same. So you can go TB to USB-C MON 1 and then DP to DP on Mon 2.
 
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Soondae

macrumors regular
May 22, 2012
245
93
Hua Hin, Thailand
Wow, thanks for pointing that out. Since TB / USB-C use the same transmission format which is DP specifications, I found this statement from BENQ: There are two types of ports that allow you to daisy chain monitors: DisplayPort and Thunderbolt. Ensure that your PC features an output port of either type and that the monitors feature both input and output ports of the same type. Please note that MacBook®computer only supports daisy chaining via Thunderbolt.

Basically stated, TB to DP won't daisy chain. However if you own monitors that can daisy chain to USB-C connections, will that be supported by MacOS, I.e. the monitors support USB-C and not TB4. I mean there are what, 2 TB4 monitors available... Apple's and LG?
 

anshuvorty

macrumors 68040
Sep 1, 2010
3,347
4,786
California, USA
Wow, thanks for pointing that out. Since TB / USB-C use the same transmission format which is DP specifications, I found this statement from BENQ: There are two types of ports that allow you to daisy chain monitors: DisplayPort and Thunderbolt. Ensure that your PC features an output port of either type and that the monitors feature both input and output ports of the same type. Please note that MacBook®computer only supports daisy chaining via Thunderbolt.

Basically stated, TB to DP won't daisy chain. However if you own monitors that can daisy chain to USB-C connections, will that be supported by MacOS, I.e. the monitors support USB-C and not TB4. I mean there are what, 2 TB4 monitors available... Apple's and LG?
I don't think so. That is because the underlying technology that powers daisy-chaining, MST (multi-stream transport) isn't supported by macOS.
 

zedsdead

macrumors 68040
Jun 20, 2007
3,401
1,148
I have an M1 mini and the only issue with displays if of course you cannot connect two thunderbolt Apple displays. One of the reasons I am currently hooking my M1 Max MacBook Pro to my two studio displays and running the mini in headless mode as a server at the moment.

Tried the M2 Pro model which of course works for the two ASD's, but the 16 gigs of ram proved to be an issue for me so I returned it. I couldn't justify spec'ing that machine that high when it's so close to the Studio...so now I am waiting for an update to the Mac Studio to fix my desktop setup.
 

Jwinnin

macrumors member
Dec 31, 2022
42
44
The only reason would be the type of display (4K, 5K, 6K).... the HDMI only supports up to 4K. the TB4/USB-C ports do seem to offer more with a display but the HDMI is there for a reason so you can use it.
This is very helpful. Thanks for your reply!
 

burgman

macrumors 68030
Sep 24, 2013
2,677
2,262
The only reason would be the type of display (4K, 5K, 6K).... the HDMI only supports up to 4K. the TB4/USB-C ports do seem to offer more with a display but the HDMI is there for a reason so you can use it.
This is very helpful. Thanks for your reply!
Not true for M2 Pro Mini, so if you plan to keep it for along time, something to think about.

HDMI display video output
Support for one display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or 4K resolution at 240Hz
 

Jwinnin

macrumors member
Dec 31, 2022
42
44
Not true for M2 Pro Mini, so if you plan to keep it for along time, something to think about.

HDMI display video output
Support for one display with up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or 4K resolution at 240Hz
Thanks all for the replies.

I decided to take advantage of the sales on Amazon. I ended up getting
- a base m2 mini for the family computer ($499) -- just used for web browsing and connected up to a single display
- a base m2 pro mini for my work computer -- I was planning on getting 16gb and 512 SSD for it anyway and needed it to support dual displays and additional ports. For $1099, it was a no brainer.

It will be interesting to see if there is any perceptible difference in performance between the two for the basic productivity tasks. I suspect there won't be.
 
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