Mini with two non-TB displays and external storage

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by 7enderbender, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. 7enderbender macrumors 6502a

    7enderbender

    Joined:
    May 11, 2012
    Location:
    North East US
    #1
    Can somebody clarify for me what would be the fastest external storage solution (some raid system) that I could connect to a new i7 Mac Mini while running two non-Apple displays and a FW audio interface?

    Is there any way to daisy chain one of the monitors through a TB adapter via such a TB drive (probably expensive)? Or am I better off doing something like this through the FW port or one of the USB3 ports? What would be the speed difference compared to a 7200rpm internal secondary drive?

    And what is the largest 7200rpm drive currently available and compatible with a Mac Mini (late 2012)?
     
  2. uncleMonty macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    #2
    7enderbender, I spent some time trying to answer part of your question a few weeks ago so I'll share what I learned:

    Yes, you can have two non-TB displays by using the hdmi port for one (max resolution 1920 x 1200) and the TB port (acting as a miniDisplay port) for the other.

    Yes, you can daisychain from a TB external storage if that unit has two Thunderbolt ports. When I phoned Apple tech support to ask this, the person I spoke to said no, that in a daisy chain all devices must be TB. But she was wrong. The problem arises only if you start the chain with an Apple TB display--then you can't add a non-TB display afterwards using the TB connector on the Apple Display, it no longer works as a miniDisplay port equivalent. But it would be fine from an external SSD--the manufacturer of the SSD can confirm it if you need it. It will even work, I think, from an external SSD to an Apple TB display and then to your non-TB display--it's only the very first link in the daisychain that can't be a TB display.

    The issue is "miniDisplay port passthrough" which you can search for. Anandtech did some thorough testing when the first Thunderbolt units appeared in 2011, you can find the discussion in their reviews of some new large external SSDs where they confirm it works, and also in their discussion of the new TB Apple displays.
     
  3. 7enderbender thread starter macrumors 6502a

    7enderbender

    Joined:
    May 11, 2012
    Location:
    North East US
    #3

    Great answer. Exactly what I was trying to figure out. Now it comes down to cost and what is actually faster/better/more stable. But it's good to know that there are options - including this one.
     

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