Mac mini 2011 i5 & Mac mini '18 i7 separate connection possible?

Spoll

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 12, 2018
9
1
Hi-

I have a Mini '11 & now a 2018 that I know cannot be linked to work together. However, what I'm looking to do is use each separately with one monitor, one keyboard and mouse without have to unplug wires in one and connect to the other? I currently have the '18 hooked up to two monitors and I'd like to be able to connect just one monitor with the '11, essentially using one mini at a time.

I hope that makes sense?

If so, can anyone recommend the kind of adapter cables/hubs I'll need to accomplish this?

Thanks!

***After further review it looks like I'll need a KVM switch but still not sure what cables/adapters I'll need?
 
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ruslan120

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2009
946
651
What kinds of inputs do the monitors have? If they have multiple inputs then you can plug both of the minis into one of the monitors and use a button on that monitor to switch inputs.

What you might be looking for is a “KVM Switch” which lets you use the same monitor keyboard mouse combination on two computers (controlled via a switch).
 

nicho

macrumors 68030
Feb 15, 2008
2,875
1,380
Can you clarify something from the original post - you currently have 2 monitors. It sounds like you want to have one mac on one display, and the other on another and just share a keyboard and mouse. But later you say you want both connected to the Dell U3011. Let's call that monitor A. The other one B.

You want:

mm2018 - connected to A and B
mm2011 - connected to A (but not B)

one keyboard, one mouse.

Correct?

So sometimes both monitors would display content from the 2018, sometimes one monitor would display content from each?
 

mr_hyde

macrumors newbie
Nov 3, 2018
17
8
Italy
Have you also considered to use remote desktop? Obviously in this way you need to turn on both the minis.
 

iAssimilated

macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2018
193
180
PNW

Assuming if you want to share a single audio source as well. StarTech offers multiple models with different display connections.

I have two minis connected with the following (I do not need to share audio):

I use Screen Sharing to connect to my third mini (since it is headless).
 

Spoll

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 12, 2018
9
1
Thanks for the feedback, I do appreciate it. Before I read your responses I tried purchasing a DVI to Thunderbolt cable and connected it to my monitor from the '11 mini and generally that seems to work for my needs. I'm then able to switch inputs from my monitor. Problem is the resolution is too low at 1920 x 1200, the Dell U3011 is set at 2560 x 1600 on the '18. Is it just the wrong cable because I'm able to switch from the monitor.

I only need to use one monitor for the '11 without sound. I just need higher Rez.

This is the one I bought:
 

for this

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2014
279
102
If you want to drive that monitor with its DVI port, the adapter must support dual-link DVI, like this one, https://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-DisplayPort-Dual-Link-P137-06N-DVI-DL/dp/B01N4V8P6R

This kind of adapter seems to get mixed reviews, so do a good research before you buy.

PS: Apple has one but it only supports Mac mini 2014.

Update

Apple web sites are so confusing these days.

The only mac mini in the compatibility list on this page is Late 2014.
https://www.apple.com/sg_smb_5200/shop/product/MB571Z/A/mini-displayport-to-dual-link-dvi-adapter

But this one lists the "Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter" as an accessory for 2010 Mac mini.
https://support.apple.com/kb/SP585?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
 
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Spoll

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 12, 2018
9
1
Thanks for this, pretty confusing. Most of the reviews are from "Vine" customers and I always find them to be suspect because of the free product. Still hoping there's a display port splitter that can end with a mini display port connection, that seems to be the simplest solution.

Haven't found one and not sure they exist.
 

for this

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2014
279
102
In summary, looks like there are three options that support the max resolution of your 30" Dell:

- a mini displayport to dual-link DVI active adapter + USB switch for input devices

- a mini displayport to HDMI 2.0 active adapter + USB switch for input devices

- a (full size) display port KVM switch + mini displayport to (full size) display port adapter/cable


Dell U3011 has 2 HDMI 1.3a ports. Either one can drive it to the max resolution. So I think the most economical choice is a mini displayport to hdmi 2.0 adapter, like this https://www.club-3d.com/en/detail/2339/mini-displayportt-1.2-to-hdmi-2.0/. HDMI is backwards compatible.

You also need to use a high speed cable that supports at least HDMI 1.3. This one, being HDMI 2.0 standard, is overkilled but will work, https://www.amazon.com/SecurOMax-HDMI-Cable-18Gbps-Braided/dp/B00NQ9OQU2?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_2
 

Spoll

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 12, 2018
9
1
In summary, looks like there are three options that support the max resolution of your 30" Dell:

- a mini displayport to dual-link DVI active adapter + USB switch for input devices

- a mini displayport to HDMI 2.0 active adapter + USB switch for input devices

- a (full size) display port KVM switch + mini displayport to (full size) display port adapter/cable


Dell U3011 has 2 HDMI 1.3a ports. Either one can drive it to the max resolution. So I think the most economical choice is a mini displayport to hdmi 2.0 adapter, like this https://www.club-3d.com/en/detail/2339/mini-displayportt-1.2-to-hdmi-2.0/. HDMI is backwards compatible.

You also need to use a high speed cable that supports at least HDMI 1.3. This one, being HDMI 2.0 standard, is overkilled but will work, https://www.amazon.com/SecurOMax-HDMI-Cable-18Gbps-Braided/dp/B00NQ9OQU2?ref_=fsclp_pl_dp_2

Great, ordering the adapter and cable, thanks for your help!
 

for this

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2014
279
102
Can you cancel the purchase? Just found this info from Dell that their HDMI 1.3 is not designed to do 2560x1600.


I'm (very) sorry...
 

Spoll

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 12, 2018
9
1
Can you cancel the purchase? Just found this info from Dell that their HDMI 1.3 is not designed to do 2560x1600.


I'm (very) sorry...
Canceled just in time.
 
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Spectrum

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2005
1,471
783
Never quite sure
For years I ran a Dell 2711 2560x1440 from a 2011 mini. Using a mDP to DP connection.
did you try that?
- - Post merged: - -

What connection are you currently using to connect the 2018 to the 3011?
- - Post merged: - -

Perhaps you could make use of this?
 
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Spoll

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 12, 2018
9
1
For years I ran a Dell 2711 2560x1440 from a 2011 mini. Using a mDP to DP connection.
did you try that?
- - Post merged: - -

What connection are you currently using to connect the 2018 to the 3011?
- - Post merged: - -

Perhaps you could make use of this?
The mini's aren't connected. Currently they're stacked and when I need to use the '11 I'll just unplug the miniDP cable from the '18 and plug it into the '11. The Dell U3011 only has one DP port. The '11 is used maybe 10% of the time.

I'm just looking for a simple, inexpensive solution, otherwise it's not a problem doing what I've been doing.
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,388
717
Perhaps you could make use of this?
I'll mention that I'm using one of these. This, along with some other passive switches are available under a couple different brands. Amazon has the USB switches from the same line under the NetMate brand. I use it for a gaming PC and a 2018 Mini.

It works, but can get a bit touchy with my eGPU for some reason. It's been solid with a couple different laptops, the gaming PC, and the iGPU in the Mac mini. But the eGPU only seems to hold a solid signal on port 2 for whatever reason, and can be picky about cables. But I'm also driving a 38" LG at a limits of DisplayPort 1.4 (120Hz 10bpc), so there's that. Makes it more odd since my Gaming PC also runs at 120Hz 10bpc, and it's fine on port 1.

DisplayPort is just weird when switches/etc get involved, TBH. And this has been the most reliable switch I've used for this. (Edit: I'll add that I would buy it again, if it's stable, it stays that way)

I also use the USB switch, which I honestly like better than the other switches. No electronic switching seems to work a bit better. My keyboard isn't always thrilled, but it hates KVMs too.
 
Last edited:

Spectrum

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2005
1,471
783
Never quite sure
The mini's aren't connected. Currently they're stacked and when I need to use the '11 I'll just unplug the miniDP cable from the '18 and plug it into the '11. The Dell U3011 only has one DP port. The '11 is used maybe 10% of the time.

I'm just looking for a simple, inexpensive solution, otherwise it's not a problem doing what I've been doing.
i presume you must have a USBC to mDP adapter for the 2018 mini then?
To be honest, I think what you are currently doing is not much less work than using a switch.
I guess the bigger pain is needing to also swap the keyboard and mouse.
- - Post merged: - -

 
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sublunar

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2007
929
533
Thanks for the feedback, I do appreciate it. Before I read your responses I tried purchasing a DVI to Thunderbolt cable and connected it to my monitor from the '11 mini and generally that seems to work for my needs. I'm then able to switch inputs from my monitor. Problem is the resolution is too low at 1920 x 1200, the Dell U3011 is set at 2560 x 1600 on the '18. Is it just the wrong cable because I'm able to switch from the monitor.

I only need to use one monitor for the '11 without sound. I just need higher Rez.

This is the one I bought:
What you have purchased is a single link DVI cable by the looks of it - maximum resolution is 1920x1200. Mini displayport fixed this by allowing higher bandwidth on a single cable but dual link DVI also allowed this.

I think you would need Thunderbolt/Mini Displayport to Dual Link DVI to drive that monitor - I have the required cable but don't need to drive a monitor like that any more. It's not a cheap cable either as it uses a USB port to power the active connection (and provide USB ports to monitors that support it).

Not sure how that would work on a KVM switch. You might be able to carry the USB on a USB KVM but would it carry the power?
 
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