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darngooddesign

macrumors P6
Jul 4, 2007
18,163
9,850
Atlanta, GA
You guys are missing something important.

I don't think Apple is purposely crippling the MBP M3 14.

The built in HDMI port that's likely hardwired to the SOC and taking up one of the display ports at all times on the MBP. That's missing on the MBA models, hence more display support on MBA.
Can you run a second external display from the HDMI port with the lid closed?
 

darngooddesign

macrumors P6
Jul 4, 2007
18,163
9,850
Atlanta, GA
I'm with you. It's Apple disabling features of lower priced Macs to push people to buy the more expensive product.

I've always thought the 1 external monitor was an artificial limitation and now I know it's true. One has to wonder about the M1 and M2...can they actually handle 2 external monitors but are artificially knee-capped to allow only 1?
Probably wise to wait for a hardware analysis before saying the sky is falling.
 

jent

macrumors 6502a
Mar 31, 2010
894
587
Does this depend on how you define support for external displays? EveryMac suggests the current top-end MacBook Pro 14" (2023) can support several displays, but I might be reading the text wrong.
 

Tony_YYZ

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2015
249
282
I love the new M series chipsets but the monitor limitation is such a major disappointment for me. With my old 2020 Intel 16” MBP I was able to run my three external monitors without any issues. Then I was forced to upgrade to A 2023 16” M2 Pro and was shocked when my third monitor wouldn’t work. I did not know that would be a limitation until after I started searching for a fix. So I had to remove the third monitor from my desk altogether.
 

darngooddesign

macrumors P6
Jul 4, 2007
18,163
9,850
Atlanta, GA
I love the new M series chipsets but the monitor limitation is such a major disappointment for me. With my old 2020 Intel 16” MBP I was able to run my three external monitors without any issues. Then I was forced to upgrade to A 2023 16” M2 Pro and was shocked when my third monitor wouldn’t work. I did not know that would be a limitation until after I started searching for a fix. So I had to remove the third monitor from my desk altogether.
Did you consider an M1-Max which did support three displays?
 

Lounge vibes 05

macrumors 68040
May 30, 2016
3,659
10,626
Tim, isn't the "Pro" model supposed to be better than the "Air" model? I think you need one of these,
jobs-grid-6c.jpg
To be fair, even under jobs there were instances where the consumer level products got features before the “pro” products.
The multitouch trackpad, for example, came to the MacBook Air before the MacBook Pro.
The unibody enclosure came to the 13 inch MacBook and 15 inch MacBook Pro before the 17 inch.
The iSight camera came to the iMac before the MacBook Pro.
 

onepoint

macrumors 6502a
Aug 3, 2010
857
556
USA
Does this depend on how you define support for external displays? EveryMac suggests the current top-end MacBook Pro 14" (2023) can support several displays, but I might be reading the text wrong.
Most MBP have been able to support multiple external displays with the exception of the M3 MBP with non-Pro processor (link) - many of the questions swirling around this thread concern why these new M3 MBA can support two external displays (in clamshell mode) while the M3 MBP with non-Pro processor currently cannot
 
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darngooddesign

macrumors P6
Jul 4, 2007
18,163
9,850
Atlanta, GA
Tim, isn't the "Pro" model supposed to be better than the "Air" model? I think you need one of these,
jobs-grid-6c.jpg
The M3 Pro is better than the M3 Air in every metric except for size, weight, battery life, and external display support. Buy according to your needs.

PS: That iBook couldn’t even drive an external display.
 

Blackstick

macrumors 65816
Aug 11, 2014
1,260
6,100
OH
We just placed an order for 500 MacBook Air M3s 16/256 because of the dual display feature. Apple could have included it on the base 14" M3 and sold those for $400-500 extra per device.
 
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iMacDragon

macrumors 68020
Oct 18, 2008
2,371
716
UK
One might find a video switching chip in the new air that is not found in the base 14" MBP.
This is what I expect, the internal display output is most likely now behind a new switching chip that can direct it that has not been there before.
 

Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
5,568
1,270
Cascadia
Edit: It appears Apple did indeed build the hardware in, and just hasn't activated it yet.


-----

Original comment:

One note - this probably can’t be updated by software for the MBP, unless Apple planned to add it originally and just hasn’t activated it yet.

All the “non-Pro/Max/Ultra” Apple Silicon chips have been limited to two displays from day one. On laptops and iMac, the built-in display has always been one of the two allowed displays, even for laptops lid-closed.

The change here is that lid-closed, the built-in display no longer counts. This is probably accomplished with extra circuitry that routes that display signal to the USB-C ports. Adding this to a MBP would almost certainly require adding that same switch circuitry to the MBP.

So unless Apple built the M3 MBP with that circuitry but had it disabled in software, this feature won’t be able to be added via software update.
 
Last edited:
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Justin L Franks

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2013
155
185
Gosh, I miss the simplicity of this! Would be helpful if the consumer models had the base CPU/GPU, and the pro version had the same CPU/GPU, but with faster/more cores, plus more expansion

That's what we have now. The Pro and Max chips use the same CPU and GPU cores, just more of them.
 
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azentropy

macrumors 601
Jul 19, 2002
4,052
5,451
Surprise
Quite possible this is a software limitation that may be addressed is an upcoming release.
 
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EllZ89

macrumors member
May 15, 2019
85
200
Am I missing something blindingly obvious…. My M2 pro I can plug two external monitors into and use them both as well as the laptop display all at the same time?
 

apparatchik

macrumors 6502a
Mar 6, 2008
851
2,622
You guys are missing something important.

I don't think Apple is purposely crippling the MBP M3 14.

The built in HDMI port that's likely hardwired to the SOC and taking up one of the display ports at all times on the MBP. That's missing on the MBA models, hence more display support on MBA.

They could support one external display on the HDMI and another via display port (USB C), my take is that this new capability is part of macOS Sonoma 14.4 which is the version the new Airs will be shipping with, and will arrive in due time to the M3 MBP's.
 

iStorm

macrumors 68000
Sep 18, 2012
1,813
2,224
Am I missing something blindingly obvious…. My M2 pro I can plug two external monitors into and use them both as well as the laptop display all at the same time?
That's because you have the Pro chip. They are comparing the new MBAs with the base M3 chip on the 14" MBP.
 
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coolfactor

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2002
7,202
9,992
Vancouver, BC
And about 1 out of 100,000 buyers of the Air will actually use this capability.

I'm sure there's a hardware difference beyond just the M3 chip itself.
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 601
Jul 6, 2007
4,320
4,568
Am I missing something blindingly obvious…. My M2 pro I can plug two external monitors into and use them both as well as the laptop display all at the same time?
Yes, this thread is discussing the M3 non-pro chip. The MBA has a new feature that allows it to drive 2 external displays if the internal display is turned off due to being in clamshell mode. This is again, the non-pro chip. The pro chip can drive internal + 2 external displays.
 
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