questions about adding 2 external displays to MBP Retina

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Macinthelou, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. Macinthelou macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Forgive my lack of knowledge on this, but if I want to hook up two external displays to a MBP retina, and my monitors DO NOT have HDMI, what are my options? I am choosing between a monitor that has VGA and DVI only vs a monitor that has VGI, DVI, and DisplayPort (not mini-DisplayPort).

  2. defektion macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2010
    You'll need converters.

    Check out Monoprice you can usually buy these adapters for like $5-$10 bucks.

  3. Zeov macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2011
    theres adapters for all those :)

    get the monitor you want and buy the correct mini display adapter.
  4. Aksta macrumors regular

    May 3, 2011
    Surrey, UK
    Personally I would go for the one with the display port because AFAIK it is the only one that can be attached with one cable without the need for adapters.
  5. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    You can get a mini display port to display port connector, and that will go into the thunderbolt port.
  6. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    If you want each of those monitors connected to your computer, you likely need one displayport to mini-displayport cable and one mini-displayport to dvi adapter.
  7. Macinthelou thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Thanks to all for the replies. To clarify, I'm thinking about buying two identical monitors, both of which would be plugged into my MBP Retina. Also, I need to use one of the TB ports for an ethernet adapter. Now I am left with one TB port, as well as the HDMI port.

    So, if my two external monitors only have VGA and DVI, how do I make that work? Is DVI compatible with HDMI?

    Alternatively, if I get two external monitors that have VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort, how do I make that work?

    Thanks again!!!
  8. Stetrain, Aug 4, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012

    Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    If you aren't going to use any of Apple's Thunderbolt displays which support daisy chaining, then you are going go need to use one Thunderbolt port for your Ethernet adapter. That leaves you with 1x Mini-Displayport and 1x HDMI output.

    I think that Mini-Displayport to Displayport is probably the best connection to use from the Mini-Displayport:

    For the HDMI port you could use this HDMI-to-DVI cable:

    If you buy two of Apple's Thunderbolt displays you can just hook them up like this:

    [Thunderbolt Port]--->[TB Display #1]--->[TB Display #2]

    Then you just plug in one cable to dock your MBP. The TB display has gigabit ethernet built in as well, so you wouldn't need an additional adapter. Expensive way to go but probably the sweetest solution :)

    Edit: Another option would be:

    [Thunderbolt Port]--->[TB Display]--->[TB Device]-->[Mini-Displayport to Displayport/VGA/DVI monitor]

    Where [TB Device] is a non-display Thunderbolt device with two Thunderbolt ports, like a hard drive.
  9. Thors.Hammer macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    The cables Stetrain mentions are probably the cheapest route.

    I use for VGA since unfortunately VGA is still a requirement at many locations with projectors. I also have This cable allows my to easily swap an existing DisplayPort cable between the rMBP and a ThinkPad dock.
  10. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    one via mini-displayport and one via hdmi
  11. Macinthelou, Aug 5, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012

    Macinthelou thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Thanks again for the helpful info!

    Last scenario - if my two external monitors only have VGA and DVI, I assume I can do:

    1) TB -> DVI adapter
    2) HDMI -> DVI adapter


    This is more of a monitor question, but is there any practical difference in monitor quality if I use DVI vs DisplayPort, assuming both are connected via TB adapters?

    Also, is there a difference between hooking up a monitor directly via HDMI vs DVI into the HDMI port with an adapter?
  12. StefanYFC macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Correct, DVI is HDMI just without the sound. Shouldnt be aproblem to find an HDMI to DVI cable. Then just get both monitors with the Display Port option. One monitor having a cable thats DVI to HDMI and the other being Mini Display to Display or Mini to Mini + mini to regular adapter.
  13. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    make sure to get an active adapter for the mini-dp (aka TB) to DVI adapter. Otherwise, you won't be able to use the retina screen too.

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