Options for 2 external displays on thunderbolt Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by qdietz, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. qdietz macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2009
    I own a 15 inch 2011 thunderbolt macbook pro and wanted to have 2 external screens connected to my computer and wanted to see what options were available and their price.
    So far I have found the following:

    1. 2 27 inch thunderbolt displays ($2000 + tax): Most elegant and best solution, but very pricey.

    2. maxtor Dualhead2Go Display port edition: about 230$ + 1 more external screen = 450$ (already have 1 27 inch display). Pros: price , cons: shows up as one big display in sys prefs vs 2 independent ones

    3. thunderbolt PCIe expansion + graphics card: Pros: elegant solution, 2 external displays in sys prefs. Cons: only available for preorder: 1000$ + 200 for graphics card + 250 for monitor = 1500$, not really worth it... (http://www.magma.com/thunderbolt.asp)

    Am I missing any options? Right now I am leaning towards the maxtor dualhead2go but anything else that is around 500$ would also suit me.

  2. monsieurpaul macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    My 2 cents:

    You should stay away from the DualHead2Go. The "show up as a big display" is really a big annoyance, especially with an OS which favors full screen. They are some reliability issues as well. I owned one and sent it back. I am using now an USB to DVI adapter (My MBP is pre-Thunderbolt). It works quite well on Mac but much better on PC (especially with USB 3.0).

    Do you plan to use also your MBP screen (and have a total of 3 screens)?
  3. qdietz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2009
    I looked into USB adapters and well it is a bit choppy. I would want to use 2 27 inch displays but not my macbook display simply because it wouldn't be practical due to the size difference.
    I guess there is no solution that is almost as elegant as the 2 27 inch thunderbolt displays...
  4. monsieurpaul macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    I'm using a 2009 MBP in clamshell mode with 2 23" monitors: one is hooked with the mini displayport, the other with the USB DVI adapter. The "choppiness" is noticeable for video or when I activate Mission control for example, but it is not that bad, you just have to keep video on the screen hooked with the mini displayport. I use the other screen for coding, browsing, reading, viewing photos, etc. and I barely notice the choppiness. You'll have to get a USB to DVI with the DL-195 chip for the best result.

    Can't wait for a Thunderbolt docking station though.
  5. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Each of us has our priorities... and for me that is having a lot of pixels. I really have no desire to have an external monitor that is less than 2560 horizontally.

    At the price you mentioned for monitors ($250)... you are probably looking at 1080P monitors, which display 1920X1080. This is almost exactly 1/2 of 2560X1600 monitor. The Thunderbolt display is actually 2560X1440... which is very close.

    Given the choice of having dual 1920X1080... or a single 2560X1440 ATD... I would go with the ATD. For me, having all the pixels on a single screen is a far better option.

    My recommendation is to start with one ATD, and see how that works. I believe that you can also use your 15" MBP as a second display if needed. If you need (or want) a 2nd external display... then buy a second ATD.


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