Mac mini 2012 and two 24"LED Cinema Displays

Justin Bailey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 1, 2014
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Hey,

I have extra Mac mini 2012 and two 24" Cinema Displays. I am wondering if there is any easy and cheap way to use both of those displays with my Mac mini?

ACD has just one built-in mini-DisplayPort cable and Mac mini has just one TB/mini-DisplayPort plus HDMI port. I thought all my problems would go away if I just buy female mini-DisplayPort to male HDMI adapter and plug other ACD to Mac mini's HDMI port with it, but that didn't work. At all. Why? Isn't HDMI and DisplayPort signal exactly the same?

Mac mini should support 1920x1200 resolution via HDMI port. So at least the resolution should not be a problem.

Here is a picture of that adapter I bought.
 
Last edited:

Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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I have a really old 23" Apple Cinema Display that has a DVI connector. The 2012 Mini included an HDMI to DVI adapter and this worked fine to give me 1920x1200 on a base 2012 and quad 2012 mini. Sorry, not familiar with your newer minidisplayport model.
 

treekram

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Nov 9, 2015
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HDMI <-> Displayport (or MiniDisplayport) adapters are not bi-directional. So you need to find one that goes from HDMI to Displayport. Those that I see have a separate USB-A connector that the adapter requires for power. A couple that I see on Amazon are from Cable Matters and gofanco and go for about $38. Read the specs to make sure it works for your situation.
 

Justin Bailey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 1, 2014
8
0
HDMI <-> Displayport (or MiniDisplayport) adapters are not bi-directional. So you need to find one that goes from HDMI to Displayport. Those that I see have a separate USB-A connector that the adapter requires for power. A couple that I see on Amazon are from Cable Matters and gofanco and go for about $38. Read the specs to make sure it works for your situation.
Hmmm.. Ok. What can I do with that adapter I already bought? Is that even supposed to work in any situation?

Is this right one?(LINK)

If I buy one of those and use cheapest mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter (like this) from eBay, will it work?
 

treekram

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Hmmm.. Ok. What can I do with that adapter I already bought? Is that even supposed to work in any situation?

Is this right one?(LINK)

If I buy one of those and use cheapest mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter (like this) from eBay, will it work?
The Cable Matters adapter is the other adapter.
https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-DisplayPort-Adapter-Supporting/dp/B00JQORLCG

This one has better reviews but you can compare the two and make a choice. In searching the reviews for "Mac", one review of the Cable Matters adapter said it worked on two Mini's one review for the gofanco said it didn't work past 30Hz but they were short on specifics so it's hard to say what's going on in either case.

I would say to avoid adding adapters but you probably already have the MDP-MDP cable but not a DP-MDP cable so try the MDP-DP adapter in your link and see if it works. There's nothing special about such an adapter but you are pushing a lot of data to the monitor so if the quality of the adapter isn't good, there could be some problems.

As for the adapter you have, I would guess that it's meant to be a HDMI-to-MiniDisplayport adapter with the adapter connected to the monitor, rather than the computer.
 

Justin Bailey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 1, 2014
8
0
The Cable Matters adapter is the other adapter.
https://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-DisplayPort-Adapter-Supporting/dp/B00JQORLCG

This one has better reviews but you can compare the two and make a choice. In searching the reviews for "Mac", one review of the Cable Matters adapter said it worked on two Mini's one review for the gofanco said it didn't work past 30Hz but they were short on specifics so it's hard to say what's going on in either case.

I would say to avoid adding adapters but you probably already have the MDP-MDP cable but not a DP-MDP cable so try the MDP-DP adapter in your link and see if it works. There's nothing special about such an adapter but you are pushing a lot of data to the monitor so if the quality of the adapter isn't good, there could be some problems.

As for the adapter you have, I would guess that it's meant to be a HDMI-to-MiniDisplayport adapter with the adapter connected to the monitor, rather than the computer.
It is so hard to find anything that has female mini-DisplayPort in it. I found just one seller who had that mDP-HDMI adapter and it was pretty expensive. Like $40.

I do have few DP-MDP cables and DP-DP cables but the problem is that Cinema Display has built-in mini-DisPlayPort cable in it and that is the only port it has. If I could just use HDMI cable with that screen, there would not be any kind of problem.
 

treekram

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Nov 9, 2015
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In looking at the specs for the Cinema Display, I missed that it comes with the cable attached directly to the monitor in which case, definitely, try the adapter and see if it works together with the other adapter.
 

California

macrumors 68040
Aug 21, 2004
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It is so hard to find anything that has female mini-DisplayPort in it. I found just one seller who had that mDP-HDMI adapter and it was pretty expensive. Like $40.

I do have few DP-MDP cables and DP-DP cables but the problem is that Cinema Display has built-in mini-DisPlayPort cable in it and that is the only port it has. If I could just use HDMI cable with that screen, there would not be any kind of problem.
This is just a wild guess, but your thunderbolt port on the mini should be able to support a dual mini display port adapter, if you can find one and if someone makes one. It's definitely enough power. If not, pick up an old 23" ACD and get the hdmi to DVI adapter.
 

treekram

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This is just a wild guess, but your thunderbolt port on the mini should be able to support a dual mini display port adapter, if you can find one and if someone makes one. It's definitely enough power. If not, pick up an old 23" ACD and get the hdmi to DVI adapter.
You need at least DisplayPort 1.2 for multiple displays on a single DisplayPort port. The 2012 Mini doesn't have 1.2.
https://www.displayport.org/cables/driving-multiple-displays-from-a-single-displayport-output

You could do multiple displays if one or both monitors is a Thunderbolt monitor. Some Thunderbolt monitors, I believe (but not sure) can drive a second DisplayPort monitor. The Apple Thunderbolt monitor does not support a second DisplayPort monitor. But this option is not viable financially if you don't already have the monitors since the OP already has the two monitors.
 

California

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Aug 21, 2004
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You need at least DisplayPort 1.2 for multiple displays on a single DisplayPort port. The 2012 Mini doesn't have 1.2.
https://www.displayport.org/cables/driving-multiple-displays-from-a-single-displayport-output

You could do multiple displays if one or both monitors is a Thunderbolt monitor. Some Thunderbolt monitors, I believe (but not sure) can drive a second DisplayPort monitor. The Apple Thunderbolt monitor does not support a second DisplayPort monitor. But this option is not viable financially if you don't already have the monitors since the OP already has the two monitors.
Weird problem, there should be some logical work around...
 

treekram

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Weird problem, there should be some logical work around...
If you're referring to the DisplayPort version, that's part of the GPU - I haven't seen instances where you can upgrade the DisplayPort version in a GPU.

If you're referring to not being able to connect a DisplayPort monitor to the Apple Thunderbolt monitor, I had come across an old Intel reference on Thunderbolt and according to it, what comes out of the computer with a Thunderbolt 1/2 + Mini-DisplayPort port is a Thunderbolt signal multiplexed with the DisplayPort signal. So if a vendor of a Thunderbolt device chooses not to continue this multiplexing down the chain, then you don't get one or the other signals. Apple's done the same thing with it's TB3<->TB2 adapter - it will pass the Thunderbolt signal but not the DisplayPort signal. On the other hand, I think you can connect a DisplayPort monitor with some of the LaCie drives with multiple Thunderbolt ports.
 

California

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Aug 21, 2004
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If you're referring to the DisplayPort version, that's part of the GPU - I haven't seen instances where you can upgrade the DisplayPort version in a GPU.

If you're referring to not being able to connect a DisplayPort monitor to the Apple Thunderbolt monitor, I had come across an old Intel reference on Thunderbolt and according to it, what comes out of the computer with a Thunderbolt 1/2 + Mini-DisplayPort port is a Thunderbolt signal multiplexed with the DisplayPort signal. So if a vendor of a Thunderbolt device chooses not to continue this multiplexing down the chain, then you don't get one or the other signals. Apple's done the same thing with it's TB3<->TB2 adapter - it will pass the Thunderbolt signal but not the DisplayPort signal. On the other hand, I think you can connect a DisplayPort monitor with some of the LaCie drives with multiple Thunderbolt ports.
I meant the entire problem of not being able to link two DP Monitors to a 2012 mini is weird and there must be some logical work-around.

Something that is also interesting to me is how in a 2009 Mac Mini, sound is transmitted to the Apple 24" DP display, but I don't think it will natively transmit sound on other DP monitors. The display ports only in the 2010 minis and above transmits sound on all compatible monitors, not just Apple Displays.

That said, I also really love the long discontinued 24" ACD (DP) the original poster has, and it just doesn't make sense tha the 2012 Mini can't run two of them easily.
 

DeltaMac

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Jul 30, 2003
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I meant the entire problem of not being able to link two DP Monitors to a 2012 mini is weird and there must be some logical work-around.

Something that is also interesting to me is how in a 2009 Mac Mini, sound is transmitted to the Apple 24" DP display, but I don't think it will natively transmit sound on other DP monitors. The display ports only in the 2010 minis and above transmits sound on all compatible monitors, not just Apple Displays.

That said, I also really love the long discontinued 24" ACD (DP) the original poster has, and it just doesn't make sense tha the 2012 Mini can't run two of them easily.
A DisplayPort connection does not pass audio - only video. You get audio through the USB connection on the main cable. That is the only way the ACD speakers get audio.
 

treekram

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I meant the entire problem of not being able to link two DP Monitors to a 2012 mini is weird and there must be some logical work-around.
It is what it is. We're talking about 2012 technology here. The DisplayPort version used in the 2012 Mini doesn't support multiple monitors on a single DisplayPort port. Thus, your options are:
1) HDMI-to-DisplayPort conversion which, if it works, requires a $38 adapter as discussed in the previous posts.
2) Thunderbolt dock which supports 2 DisplayPort monitors, such as the StarTech ($281):
https://www.amazon.com/Thunderbolt-Compatible-DisplayPort-TB2DOCK4K2DP-StarTech-com/dp/B018M8RF0O
How well this would work with Thunderbolt 1 is a good question.
3) USB3-to-DisplayPort, such as the StarTech ($73).
https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-DisplayPort-External-Adapter-USB32DPPRO/dp/B008CXFM64
I'm pretty sure this will reduce bandwidth available to other USB devices as the USB3 ports on the 2012 share the same bus.
4) eGPU (I guess?)

What should be isn't always what is and this issue has been pondered multiple times on the Internet. But nobody has come up with cheaper solutions that the above.

DisplayPort and HDMI have fundamental differences so I don't see why using a $38 adapter (again, if it works for the OP) is a big issue. You have to provide power to the adapter but any adapter like this has a chip in it so it looks like you can't get around that. In one article I read, they refer to DisplayPort as the more "malleable" standard and I guess that's why DP->HDMI for lower resolutions can be had with a <$10 adapter, DP->HDMI for higher resolutions is a bit more and HDMI->DP becomes more of an issue.

A DisplayPort connection does not pass audio - only video. You get audio through the USB connection on the main cable. That is the only way the ACD speakers get audio.
DisplayPort, since the start, can carry audio, but it's implementation is considered optional.
 
Last edited:

California

macrumors 68040
Aug 21, 2004
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A DisplayPort connection does not pass audio - only video. You get audio through the USB connection on the main cable. That is the only way the ACD speakers get audio.
Yes, now that I think of it, you are correct for how a 2009 Mac Mini connects to a 24" ACD, but in post 2010 Macbook Pros and 2010 Mac Minis, the mini display port DOES pass audio. I used to connect to a TV on those 2010 macs via a MDP to HDMI adapter, with full sound.

But no audio on the 2009 Mac Mini's mini display port.
[doublepost=1528041536][/doublepost]
It is what it is. We're talking about 2012 technology here. The DisplayPort version used in the 2012 Mini doesn't support multiple monitors on a single DisplayPort port. Thus, your options are:
1) HDMI-to-DisplayPort conversion which, if it works, requires a $38 adapter as discussed in the previous posts.
2) Thunderbolt dock which supports 2 DisplayPort monitors, such as the StarTech ($281):
https://www.amazon.com/Thunderbolt-Compatible-DisplayPort-TB2DOCK4K2DP-StarTech-com/dp/B018M8RF0O
How well this would work with Thunderbolt 1 is a good question.
3) USB3-to-DisplayPort, such as the StarTech ($73).
https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-DisplayPort-External-Adapter-USB32DPPRO/dp/B008CXFM64
I'm pretty sure this will reduce bandwidth available to other USB devices as the USB3 ports on the 2012 share the same bus.
4) eGPU (I guess?)

What should be isn't always what is and this issue has been pondered multiple times on the Internet. But nobody has come up with cheaper solutions that the above.

DisplayPort and HDMI have fundamental differences so I don't see why using a $38 adapter (again, if it works for the OP) is a big issue. You have to provide power to the adapter but any adapter like this has a chip in it so it looks like you can't get around that. In one article I read, they refer to DisplayPort as the more "malleable" standard and I guess that's why DP->HDMI for lower resolutions can be had with a <$10 adapter, DP->HDMI for higher resolutions is a bit more and HDMI->DP becomes more of an issue.


38 bucks for an adapter seems completely reasonable to me...! Thanks for summarizing the info here.

My 2012 Mac Mini drives a 2012 build date 30" Apple Cinema Display via a dual dvi adapter to mini display port... brilliantly... and I should play around and see if it will drive a HD TV via HDMI at the same time.
 

Wie Gehts

macrumors 6502
Mar 22, 2007
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13
I was going to start a thread but this one should be on topic. I get emails from OWC and saw they have a TB3 > 2 mini display ports for running 2 monitors. Frankly I'm getting all confused with what standards work with what now.... TB 1,2 & 3...USB C, D, Effin', G , lol and it seems NOTHING is compatible with anything anymore.

So if I get the gist of this thread, I can't use a TB3 because my late 2012 Mini is what... TB1, TB2? .... and therefore can't use TB to run 2 displays using miniDP cables, which my monitors do have, can't be done, eh?
Right now I have one off the Mini's MDP (aka TB) and the other with HDMI. Thats' about the best I can ask for then, huh?

Maybe it's my imagination, but Apples whole 'plug and play' ethos means having to buy the latest Mac every time you want something to work together now apparently, lol
 

Boyd01

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Feb 21, 2012
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I got an OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock for my 2013 MacBook Air a couple years ago. I was doing more video editing at the time and wanted the extra ports for the peripherals. Could not get it to work properly, maybe it was because my 2013 MBA was Thunderbolt 1 although I read that should not have been an issue. But I tried several different displays connected to the dock and they worked erratically. After messing around for a day I decided this was not going to be an easy solution and returned the dock. Maybe I had a bad thunderbolt cable or some other problem, I didn't do further troubleshooting.In the end I got a 2012 quad Mini to use for video and have been very happy with that since it has all the ports I need.

But here is my understanding of multiple displays via thunderbolt. Only one display is supported on each thunderbolt device, so even if the dock has multiple connectors (such as thunderbolt and HDMI), multiple displays will mirror each other. However, if you connect a separate thunderbolt device such as a disk drive to the dock, the pass-through port on that disk drive should support a second, independent display. So you could connect one screen to the HDMI port on the dock and a second screen to a disk drive that is also plugged into the dock. This has been discussed in several threads in the MacBook Air forum.

My only suggestion is that you choose a vendor with a good return policy if you are going to try to use a new dock with a 2012 Mac Mini (which is thunderbolt 1).
 

Wie Gehts

macrumors 6502
Mar 22, 2007
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Thanks Boyd. I guess I'll just keep where I'm at. I think the whole, 'it just works' thing, went out the window 10 years ago, lol. This whole finding kludgey work arounds for every damn thing now gives me agita after a while, lol
 

mauriziod

macrumors newbie
Oct 30, 2019
2
0
Hey,

I have extra Mac mini 2012 and two 24" Cinema Displays. I am wondering if there is any easy and cheap way to use both of those displays with my Mac mini?

ACD has just one built-in mini-DisplayPort cable and Mac mini has just one TB/mini-DisplayPort plus HDMI port. I thought all my problems would go away if I just buy female mini-DisplayPort to male HDMI adapter and plug other ACD to Mac mini's HDMI port with it, but that didn't work. At all. Why? Isn't HDMI and DisplayPort signal exactly the same?

Mac mini should support 1920x1200 resolution via HDMI port. So at least the resolution should not be a problem.

Here is a picture of that adapter I bought.

I haven't been able tp find an adapter like that (HDMI male to mini-DP female) anywhere, and believe me I've tried. Do you a have a brand name, description of the name, website link, webpage of the store where you bought it?
img.aspx.jpeg
 

Justin Bailey

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 1, 2014
8
0
I haven't been able tp find an adapter like that (HDMI male to mini-DP female) anywhere, and believe me I've tried. Do you a have a brand name, description of the name, website link, webpage of the store where you bought it?
I bought it from eBay. I checked but couldn't find the seller or similar products anymore. When I press 'Find similar' in eBay the search term is 'Gembird Kabel/adapter mini DisplayPort (F) na HDMI (M)'

So the brand name is most likely Gembird. Iirc the seller was from Poland and if you do Google search with that search term you'll find this site which is also Polish. Could be the same seller. I don't speak polish so I have no idea if they still have those or if you even can buy anything from that site.

EDIT: I managed to find the seller from eBay.
 

mauriziod

macrumors newbie
Oct 30, 2019
2
0
I bought it from eBay. I checked but couldn't find the seller or similar products anymore. When I press 'Find similar' in eBay the search term is 'Gembird Kabel/adapter mini DisplayPort (F) na HDMI (M)'

So the brand name is most likely Gembird. Iirc the seller was from Poland and if you do Google search with that search term you'll find this site which is also Polish. Could be the same seller. I don't speak polish so I have no idea if they still have those or if you even can buy anything from that site.

EDIT: I managed to find the seller from eBay.


Thank you. Much appreciated. I should be able to take it from here.
 
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