Question on iMac and multiple displays

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Razorhog, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Razorhog macrumors 65816

    Razorhog

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Location:
    Arkansas
    #1
    I'm considering a top of the line iMac with a Thunderbolt display and a Cinema Display. First question, is this even possible? I'm waiting on the next gen iMac before buying if that makes any difference.
    I still don't really understand how the Thunderbolt display works. Is there a dedicated Thunderbolt port on the back of the computer or is it a Thunderbolt-enabled mini display port?

    ----------

    Looking at the prices, it looks like it would be better to get two Thunderbolt displays, as they are the same price. Can you connect two thunderbolt displays to an iMac ?
     
  2. kitsunestudios macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    #2
    On the 27" iMac, yes: two thunderbolt ports will drive two monitors.

    They can both be Thunderbolt monitors, OR they can both be regular monitors through Mini Displayport.

    Monoprice sells Mini Displayport/Thunderbolt adaptors for dirt-cheap. You can get converters to VGA, DVI, DVI-Dual-Link, standard DisplayPort, or HDMI.

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/search.asp?keyword=thunderbolt&x=0&y=0

    The 21" iMac currently does not. It only supports one monitor, and as far as I can tell, you can't daisy-chain one thunderbolt monitor into another.
     
  3. jj48 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Yes you can. One of the main attractions of thunderbolt technology is that you can daisy-chain devices. I'm no expert but I'm not sure you can daisy chain a cinema display and thunderbolt display. Why not just buy two thunderbolt displays?

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    Correction: You can. Just checked.
     
  4. kitsunestudios macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    #4
    No, you can't.

    You can attach OTHER thunderbolt devices on the daisy-chain (like a RAID or PCI expansion chassis), and you can attach a Mini-displayport monitor at the end of a daisy-chain of OTHER Thunderbolt devices, but each Thunderbolt port only allows one video stream.

    http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/16/apple-thunderbolt-display-with-multiple-monitors/
     
  5. jj48 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    Ok apologies if I got it wrong. How do you connect two TB monitors to a MBP then? I thought there was only a single TB port?

    Also the support document you posted says ALL 2011 iMacs support 2 displays... that means 21" and 27".
     
  6. kitsunestudios macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    #6
    You know, I think you actually might be right. Reading through this is confusing as hell.

    So, it looks like you can have two thunderbolt monitors daisy-chained on a 21" iMac. The second monitor could also be a Mini Displayport monitor AS LONG as there's another device between the TB monitor and the Mini Displayport (like a RAID drive)

    21" iMac->Thunderbolt Display->Thunderbolt Display
    OR
    21"iMac->Thunderbolt Display->Other Thunderbolt Device->MiniDisplayport

    On the 27" drive, you can either daisy-chain them as above, or plug one display into each port, allowing you both a Minidisplayport AND a Tunderbolt drive.

    Damn this hurts my brain....
     
  7. Razorhog thread starter macrumors 65816

    Razorhog

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Location:
    Arkansas
    #7
    Mine too, lol. I'm nowhere closer to understanding but I'll get there.
     
  8. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #8
    It's actually pretty simple.

    The 27" iMac has two thunderbolt ports so you can connect your displays like this:

    iMac --> (thunderbolt cable) --> Apple Thunderbolt Display --> ATD
    or
    iMac --> ATD
    --> ATD (via the second port)

    The 21" iMac can do this:
    iMac --> (thunderbolt cable) --> Apple Thunderbolt Display --> ATD

    The complications come in if you're trying to connect another non-Thunderbolt display at the end of the chain. Basically the ATD cannot drive a non-TB display so you would need to put in another TB device in between. I won't go into the technical details of why this is, but if you're interested, then read Anandtech's review of the ATD.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4832/the-apple-thunderbolt-display-review/8

    So let's say you wanted to connect an ATD and an ACD to your iMac using one TB port.

    iMac --> ATD --> Some other TB device like the Pegasus --> ACD

    The difference is that the iMac, Pegasus and other TB devices have a different port than the ATD. So your iMac can drive a non-TB monitor. Therefore, this is perfectly fine

    iMac --> ACD (this is also valid for all other 2011 Apple computers with TB ports)

    Makes sense?
     
  9. sparky2013 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    #9
    there is another way to do it using a HMDI splitter box .http://www.tripplite.com/en/products/model.cfm?txtModelID=4666
     
  10. Rob.G macrumors 6502

    Rob.G

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    #10
    Thanks everybody! That's good news.

    Silly question... what is ATD? Is that just short for Apple Thunderbolt Display?

    I figured Monoprice would have such a gadget. Thanks for the link on that.

    Now to come up with the cash for the iMac, and figure out how to build a custom mount setup to hold the iMac display, the TB and the Dell display. :)

    Rob
     

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