running monitors/thunderbolt off mac mini 2012

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by barryhill, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. barryhill macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2015

    I want to buy a late 2012 mac mini to take advantage of quad core, 16 ram fitting SDD discs etc. which I can't do on my new 2014. Wish I had look more into limitations of the new mac mini 2014.

    The 2012 has 4 usb 3, 1 thunderbolt, 1 hdmi, ethernet, audio in/out, so effectively I lose a thunderbolt port.

    On my current set up, I use one thunderbolt port for an external thunderbolt hard drive, giving me faster access speeds than USB3 for music storeage. My other thunderbolt is for my first display. I have a second display on the hdmi

    If I buy the late 2012 mac mini, I can connect one display into the hdmi, but if I use the single thunderbolt for my external hard drive, where can I connect my second display? Is it possible to run two displays off a single hdmi port? I am looking for an 'extended desktop' so I can run music apps side by side on two screens.

    There is nowhere else to connect the second display? Or can it run off usb 3?

    Any thoughts?

  2. svendobbelaere macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2012
    Does your external hard drive have 2 thunderbolt ports for pass-through / daisy-chaining? If it does, connect that to the thunderbolt port, and connect the monitor with the mini display port / thunderbolt port to the hard drive. I think that would work?

    I know on my promise RAID, when I plugged in a mini display port to HDMI adapter, the monitor would work.

    I solved that issue with my 2012 Mac Mini by running dual thunderbolt displays. Only issues I've got is that if I also connect a thunderbolt hard drive, audio from the thunderbolt display becomes garbled. And sometimes the thunderbolt display loses the USB ports.
  3. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009

    Assuming your external Thunderbolt hard drive has 2 Thunderbolt ports...

    Mac Mini -> TB Hard Drive -> Monitor (you can use an MDP to HDMI, DVI, or VGA)
    Mac Mini -> HDMI Monitor

    If your Thunderbolt Hard drive does NOT have a second Thunderbolt port = $%@# out of luck
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "On my current set up, I use one thunderbolt port for an external thunderbolt hard drive, giving me faster access speeds than USB3 for music storeage."

    What are you -doing- with the stored music?
    Just playing it back?

    If you're only "storing" music, the "faster access speeds" don't make sense (to me, at least). USB3 would work fine for this.

    My suggestion:
    - Move the music files to a USB3 drive
    - Connect one display to HDMI
    - Connect the second display to thunderbolt.

    I think you'll discover this works just fine.
  5. barryhill thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2015
    Many thanks for this. Sound thinking ... I am new to this mac mini game and still appreciating all the capabilities of various ports and drives.

    Will give this a go.

    And sorry for double posting this question. I forgot I had asked it here.



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