Retnia MBP with THREE monitors – dual 30" 2560*1600 ACD monitors and MBP @ 1920*1200!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Redgr, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Redgr macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2012
    Out of curiosity I wondered if the Retina MBP could power two 30" Apple Cinema Displays. Turns out it is no problem! Each connects to one of the Thunderbolt ports using the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapters. Not only can it drive the two 30"s at their native 2560*1600, but it also runs the Mac Book Pro at 1920*1200 no problem!

    This is a awesome computer, the best I have ever had. Because I travel a lot, I may even consider ditching my aging MacPro tower all together and only using this. It is all running very smoothly.

    Sorry for the poor photo, but it gives you a idea. Ignore the Mac Pro below - it is completely powered off!

    Attached Files:

  2. eron macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    Just to verify:
    A dual link adaptor requires a USB port isn't it? So you would require a USB hub for both 30" ACDs? Unless you maximise both the USB ports...

    Can you try plugging another monitor through the HDMI? Preferably a 1200p or higher res.
  3. shurcooL macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    That's cool. Do you notice any extra lag in scrolling webpages or anything with so many pixels being pushed at once?

    I imagine the next refresh in a year might switch back to ATI for graphics, and then we'll be able to run 3 external monitors (if not more via Thunderbolt daisy-chaining) thanks to Eyefinity. The rMBP has 3 video outputs after all.
  4. Redgr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2012
    Yep, it does require the USB ports as well. Unplug them and you lose the monitor connection to that monitor. I plugged them in either side of the MBP. I would like to know if a USB hub would work instead. Kind of surprised how much I'm liking using it even with Photoshop and After Effects.
  5. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    To add to that, in "Looks like 1920x1200" mode your MBP is actually running at 3840x2400 (2x version of 1920x1200) and then downscaling to 2880x1800.

    Now, do you have a TV and an HDMI cable? Would be cool to see if it could drive three external displays plus the internal one.
  6. Redgr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2012
    3 monitors maxed out (and still great)

    Right you about it running @ 3840x1200ii With all three connected, I'm now playing X-Plane on the center 30" monitor at a great frame rate. No low frame rate warnings at all. So then I fired up the WWDC keynote speech full screen on the MBP. Still no problem. Lastly I opened the Dark Knight Rises trailer in 1080p on the second 30" all while barrel rolling a 747 with a still decent frame rate with no LFR warnings!

    I might be okay with this video card:)

    Sorry for another poor quality photo, but hopefully better than nothing.

    Might have to find my copy of Portal 2 now . . .

    Attached Files:

  7. kingy04 macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2010
    thx for sharing redgr, i hope that windows tinted.. nice hardware ;)
  8. shurcooL macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    "Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on up to two external displays, at millions of colours"

  9. Penooker macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2010
    I have a 24" and 27" Dell. One connects via DP, and the other via DP to DVI. Works just fine.
  10. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009

  11. Exponent macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley
    USB just needed for power?

    Perhaps is the USB connection just there to provide power to the Dual-link DVI adaptor? If so, you could then just use some cheap USB power adaptor bricks,and not tie up valuable USB ports on your RMBP.

    I'm in the same boat, although in my case it would be a 30" and a 22" monitor driven by my (on order) RMBP. The only thing I don't like about this is that it ties up both ThunderBolt ports, making it impossible to use the (also on-order) TB-to-Giga-bit Ethernet adaptor. Maybe I should look for a USB3 version of that instead....


    Oh, hold it - I could use just one TB to Dual-Link DVI adaptor for the 30", and then use the HDMI port (with a DVI adaptor on the cable) for the 22".

    That leaves a TB port available for the gigabit ethernet. Golden! Now I just need the RMBP to actually show up ...
  12. dreamtenstudios macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2010
    Couldn't imagine why you'd ever need that much desktop space, but tis awesome nonetheless :)
  13. LeGacY X macrumors member

    LeGacY X

    Jul 26, 2008
    VA, USA
    That's quite a workspace, I was wondering how many monitor's this video card would drive. :eek:
  14. shurcooL, Jun 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012

    shurcooL macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    Wow. Holy ****. Thanks for the heads up!
  15. Ljohnson72 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2008
    Denver, Co
    Awesome setup! The 30" ACD is still one of my favorite monitors ever and I still use mine along with a 27" Thunderbolt Display.
  16. shurcooL macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011
    Is that a 1080p HDTV in the background?

    Can you please try plugging it in to the rMBP, for a total of four displays, including the built-in Retina one. :D

    According to Stetrain's post it should work.
  17. Redgr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2012
    I would like to try adding the HDMI to the equation. Ordered a long HDMI cable from Amazon to give it a try in a few days. I'll post what I find here.
  18. ThunderApple macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    Crazy setup! What stand are you using for the RMBP? :O It looks cool. Can you link me to where I can get it by any chance?
  19. WilliamG macrumors G3

    Mar 29, 2008
    Very nice setup. Goes nicely with your BMW. ;)
  20. dylin macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2010
  21. eron macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
  22. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    Do you not find it a bit annoying switching between looking at a high density display to a less crisp one?


    That is what we call a window XD
  23. Ozy macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2006
    Goodyear, AZ
    Does the dual link adapter's USB port pass through USB3 ok? I don't mind consuming a port for powering the adapter, but if it screws up USB3, I will definitely need to hunt for a different solution to power the adapter.

    I'm also curious if you see if the HDMI port supports at least 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 at the same time the two 30's are on. I'm actually not sure if you put an HDMI to DVI cable on it if you could power anything higher than 1920x1200 out of it. I'd love to know for sure.
  24. Rizzm macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2012
    Rain Design mStand

    I use it as well. It's fantastic! Your probably can't tell by the picture, but there's a lip in the front that was designed to be flush with the surface of the inside of the MBP. With the Retina version, it will stick up above the surface slightly. I'd say non-issue, especially if you're using external mouse and keyboard.
  25. shurcooL macrumors 6502a

    Jan 24, 2011

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