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Other World Computing posted this picture on their blog showing a MacBook Pro with Retina Display hooked up to a pair of iMacs serving as Thunderbolt displays and a third monitor via HDMI. This setup powers four screens with a total of 15,680,000 pixels.

The writer of the post, OWC Mike, seemed impressed with the performance of the MacBook Pro:
Moving images and media didn't create any lag and we were able to play video on all four displays simultaneously.
Apple officially supports hooking three monitors into the Retina MacBook Pro, noting in the Thunderbolt ports FAQ in its Support Knowledge Base:
MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012) can support an HDMI-compatible device on its HDMI port while also using two Thunderbolt displays.
This makes the Retina MacBook Pro the first Mac -- other than a tower-based workstation like the Mac Pro -- to natively power four displays simultaneously.

Article Link: Retina MacBook Pro Can Run Three External Displays Simultaneously
 

KnightWRX

macrumors Pentium
Jan 28, 2009
15,046
4
Quebec, Canada
Display output bandwidth was the last great obstacle to pushing pixels. VRAM amounts and GPU power to push out frame buffers have been sufficient for years. Thunderbolt x 2 + HDMI gives plenty of output bandwidth for displays. DP 1.2 would be even better, especially 2 seperate ports.
 

ToomeyND

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2011
523
334
Adding three extra displays, including two ACDs, increased the number of pixels powered by the rMBP by 6%. ;)
 

Xian Zhu Xuande

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2008
903
81
I thought Thunderbolt was supposed to be powerful enough to support up to 10 monitors...
Thunderbolt can do things that the actual computer may not be able to do. In the case of monitors, while Thunderbolt can support 10 monitors, the hardware capabilities of a given computer may not be able to.
 

bigcat318

macrumors 6502
Dec 25, 2007
365
95
I can do this with my Dell laptop at work as well. Granted when I tested it they monitors were smaller (27, 19, 19). But I streamed 4 different March madness games at once.
 

bwillwall

macrumors 6502a
Dec 24, 2009
883
523
Thats awesome :D but those are iMac's not thunderbolt displays? How did they do that?
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,353
5,562
Very interesting... but I prefer to keep all my things together on a single, large screen.

Is it possible to shut off the main display (even close the lid?) and rely on an external screen, keyboard, and trackpad, instead?

Thus I'm using all the internal components of the rMBP, but using entirely external I/O?

(The idea is I'd like to replace my iMac and MBA setup... the rMBP replaces my MBA, and I just buy a new screen to replace the iMac's.)
 

Nostromo

macrumors 65816
Dec 26, 2009
1,358
2
Deep Space
This shows the huge potential of the retina MBP. The HDMI input was just a great idea! No more adapters!

(Too bad you can't just fold up the three displays and put it into your pocket just like the retina MBP ;) )

And no delay on simultaneous video playback on all monitors - very good!
 
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mgsarch

macrumors regular
Jan 19, 2008
155
0
Very interesting... but I prefer to keep all my things together on a single, large screen.

Is it possible to shut off the main display (even close the lid?) and rely on an external screen, keyboard, and trackpad, instead?

Thus I'm using all the internal components of the rMBP, but using entirely external I/O?

Does "entirely external I/O" imply booting from external source too? I assume you just mean using the MBP in a docked fashion. This was always a fine scenarior with MacBook Pros (maybe all macbooks). Haven't seen anything to suggest it's changed.

There have even been third party docks in the past.
 
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