No optical out and Triple Monitor confirmed NOT working

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Ridley, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Ridley macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    #1
    Hey everyone, I feel like I'm eating crow here. I've been saying a benefit of the 2014 mac mini was the ability to drive three displays. I ordered it through the apple website right when it came out and the chat also told me it would run three display.

    Next the Intel website says the CPU will run three displays:
    http://ark.intel.com/products/83508/Intel-Core-i5-4278U-Processor-3M-Cache-up-to-3_10-GHz

    And lastly the MacBook Pro's with essentially the same ports and chips will run three displays when in clamshell mode.

    BUT, the 2014 mac mini will not. Mine arrived today and I can run two screens with any combination of ports (including both thunderbolt). But as soon as you plug in the third one will go black. I'm fairly sure they have some sort of way to intentionally block three displays for the reasons above.

    I was asked by several people if the headphone out included the toslink optical out. I have that cable run to my desk and can confirm it does not. The 2012 mac mini DOES have this.

    I'm in a tough spot on whether to keep the mac mini or not. I wanted the Iris graphics for light gaming and OS X with at least 1 TB of storage for iPhoto library, movies, etc to offload from my laptop and MBA.

    But now I'm thinking maybe I should get a weaker, and cheaper mac mini (maybe the 2012 one) and with the savings build a cheap PC with a quad core i7 Iris Pro 5200 to run my triple monitor array. Its much more hassle though.

    Outstanding questions I'd like to know before my 2 week return window expires:
    • I got the fusion drive, can I update the HDD to a 2TB laptop drive?
    • Will there be a firmware fix or hack to give proper three screen output on the 2014 mac mini?
     
  2. cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #2
    I never thought 3 displays would work because Apple says on the 2014 Mini tech specs that it supports "up to two" monitors. The 2 Thunderbolt ports run off the same buss so it's not like you're getting increased bandwidth. I doubt a software update will change this capability.

    The optical audio out is superior quality but not many people take advantage of that.

    Not sure the 2012 is the "weaker" option. Both my Mac Pro and Dell XPS 8700 support 3 monitors no problem. The Mini is really not designed for that.
     
  3. Darby67 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Location:
    the corner of Fire and Brimstone
    #3
    Bummer! Interesting regarding the toslink. Makes me think something might be in the works for the Apple TV and that they don't want to have any cross; as always simply opinion.

    I'm not sure of the height/thickness of 2TB 2.5" drives currently nor the requirements in the 2014 Mini. I would not expect any kind of firmware to make 3 monitors available.
     
  4. Ridley thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    #4
    Well if that is the case, why can I run two monitors from the 2 thunderbolt ports? And isn't it the same bus arrangement as the Retina MBPs and those run three monitors when in clamshell mode.

    ----------

    Update:
    I just tried to hook up my triplehead2go but yosemite doesn't have 3840 x 1024 resolution? I hold down the option key when clicking "scaled" in display options for a full listing but its not there! Does anyone know how to add that resolution? It would be greatly appreciated!

    I feel really jaded to have this new apple hardware arrive and feel more disappointment than excitement. I feel like apple is getting stagnant!
     
  5. tuc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    #5
    2014 Mini lacks optical audio inputs/outputs

    It didn't occur to me that the 2014 Mini might not have digital audio inputs/outputs, but you seem to be correct.

    tech specs for the 2012 Mini include:
    • Audio line in minijack (digital/analog)
    • Audio line out/headphone minijack (digital/analog)

    but tech specs for the 2014 Mini include:
    • Audio in port
    • Headphone port

    hmmm
     
  6. cinealta macrumors 6502

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    Dec 9, 2012
    #6
    Most folks listening to MP3s probably never used the audiophile digital optical outputs. Apple probably saved some cost eliminating it.
     
  7. Mcdevidr macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 27, 2013
    #7
    I'm wondering where you could buy an i7 with iris pro? I didn't think those parts were being sold, are they?
     
  8. haravikk macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #8
    But would they really? All the other machines have the combined digital/analogue ports, so I would have thought it'd be cheaper to just use the same port in the Mac Minis as well.

    One of the reasons I thought Apple went for this update was to eliminate the old Mac Mini parts to simplify their supply chain. I also can't imagine that dropping the digital out would save them all that much money at all.

    It's a shame, this Mac Mini is sounding like a worse and worse deal all the time.
     
  9. cinealta, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014

    cinealta macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    #9
    Possibly not enough VRAM. AFAIK Intel 5100 can borrow up to 1 Gb from system RAM but maybe more is not possible? Maybe more VRAM is needed for 3 high-resolution displays? Not sure.
     
  10. BJonson macrumors 6502a

    BJonson

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    #10
    My macbook air alocates 1.5gb
     
  11. mapleleafer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    #11
    Conflicting information: https://discussions.apple.com/message/26952957#26952957

    Does anyone else have a 2014? We need a consensus.
     
  12. squirrrl macrumors 6502a

    squirrrl

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #12
    I do but nothing to plug into it. :(

    Also, no one explained why you can't do 3 monitors... It can't be the TB ports because 2 monitors can be plugged into the TB ports.
     
  13. gtlodger00 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2013
    #13
    FYI, the specs page for the 2014 mini does list digital out still, it's just further down on the page.
     

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  14. mapleleafer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    #14
    Good catch. It's on the "Buy Now" page but not under "Tech Specs".
     
  15. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #15
    So does it or does it not come with optical digital outputs?
     
  16. Crosscreek, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014

    Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    Margarittaville
    #16
  17. mapleleafer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    #17
    "Audio line out / headphone mini-jack (digital/analog)"
     
  18. Crosscreek macrumors 68030

    Crosscreek

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    Nov 19, 2013
    Location:
    Margarittaville
    #18
    See above edit.
     
  19. tuc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    #19
    Interesting. So was it mistakenly copied from the old model's "Buy Now" page, or does the new model still have the feature? I would hope the latter.
     
  20. mapleleafer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    #20
    I bought one of those last January for a pair of wireless headphones that came only with an optical cable whose plug did not fit my iMac's audio out. My new Mini will arrive in a week or so, so I'm glad I'll still be able to get digital audio.
     
  21. mattspace macrumors 6502

    mattspace

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #21
    Probably a hard limit of Intel graphics, since the only machines from Apple which support 3 external displays are those with discreet graphics. Even the Mac Pro can only support 2 screens per thunderbolt bus, one of which has the HDMI port on it.
     
  22. squirrrl macrumors 6502a

    squirrrl

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #22
    Nope... Try again (from Intel's site):


    Which Intel graphics and chipsets support three independent displays?
    Three independent displays are only supported with the following Intel products:

    Intel® Processors:

    4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors with Intel® Iris™ Pro Graphics 5200
    4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors with Intel® Iris™ Graphics 5100
    4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors with Intel® HD Graphics 5000/4600/4400/4200
    3rd Generation Intel® Core™ Processors with Intel® HD Graphics 4000/2500
    Intel® Pentium® Processors 1403 v2/1405 v2/ 2020M/2030M/2117U/2129Y/2127U/ A1018/G2010/G2020/G2020T/G2030/G2030T/G2100T/G2120/G2120T/G2130/G2140 with Intel® HD Graphics
    Intel® Pentium® Processor 3550M/3556U/3560Y with Intel® HD Graphics
    Intel® Pentium® Processor 3558U/3561Y/G3220/G3220T/G3320TE/G3420/G3420T/G3430 with Intel® HD Graphics
    Intel® Celeron® Processors 927UE/1000M/1005M/1007U/1017U/1019Y/1020E/1020M/1037U/1047UE/G1610/G1620/G1620T/G1610T/G1630 with Intel® HD Graphics
    Intel® Celeron® Processor 2957U/2961Y/2981U/G1820/G1820T/G1820TE/G1830 with Intel® HD Graphics
    Intel® Celeron® Processor 2000E/2002E/2950M/2955U/2980U/2955U with Intel® HD Graphics
    Intel® Chipsets:

    SO FAR: The reason is not 1) Thunderbolt from one BUS since you can run 1 display off of each thunderbolt nor is it 2) inability of Iris graphics to run three independent monitors.

    There's got to be some way around this if Apple has screwed us in not allowing this for some reason.
     
  23. Bollockser macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    #23
    They want you to spend 2-3x as much money and buy an iMac or Mac Pro.
    Greed begets greed.

    I want Apple to be the underdog again so they start INNOVATING instead of milking all their lemmings with castrated hardware.
     
  24. BeatCrazy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #24
    Well, they "got" me. Had enough with the gimped 2014 offerings and went with a base nMP at $2.5K. Twice as much as a 2014 mini with comparable BTO features, but a whole lot more powerful, and it should remain viable for 3+ years.
     
  25. Ridley thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 28, 2011
    #25
    It can't be your 2nd option. Intel's site explicitly states that the chip supports three monitors. AND, the macbook pro's with the same CPU/GPU run three monitors in clamshell mode.
     

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