Running Two external Monitors (non apple) from a MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by janitorC7, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. janitorC7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2006
    North Hollywood, CA
    Hey Guys,

    I know I have seen threads about this before. But, nothing has ever seem to come to a resolution.

    Has anybody had succcess running two (non apple - in this case dell) monitors off of a MBA (latest editions). I have a Cable Matters HDMI adaptor (which kinda does the trick but with some problems). But, what I would really want to do is daisy chain by Dell Monitors together...

    So, any success from the crowd? Any of the thunderbolt adaptors allow you to plug in two different monitors (and not be mirroring them).

    Appreciate everybody's input

  2. TjeuV macrumors 6502

    Dec 14, 2011
    This (Apple support page) is with regard to Apple thunderbolt displays. You can run two of those. So I would say you'll be fine powering two if they're not of super high resolution.
  3. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    Think getting a thunderbolt dock is your easiest option.
  4. Significant1 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2014
    Displayport support Daisy chaining, but it is unclear if osx does through displayport (the thunderbolt port is also a mini displayport)
  5. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Note that, with Thunderbolt, you can only drive one display per thunderbolt device so some of these solutions won't work.

    Thunderbolt carries two DisplayPort signals, but each Thunderbolt peripheral controller chip can only extract one of those. The peripheral can use that signal to do one of the following:

    a. drive a built-in display (e.g. the Apple Thunderbolt display)
    b. drive a HDMI or DVI port (most Thunderbolt docks)
    c. Support a DisplayPort device connected to the Thunderbolt-through port (any TB peripheral with a 'through' port)

    So, even though a dock might have HDMI and a Thunderbolt-through connector you can't drive a HDMI display and a DisplayPort display at the same time. Likewise, you can't daisy-chain a third-party display directly to a Thunderbolt display.

    You can chain two Thunderbolt displays together - because they both have a TB controller.

    In theory, if you start with either a TB display or a TB Dock with a display connected to its HDMI, you could add another Thunderbolt device (say, a disc drive) with two TB ports and connect that to a displayPort device. I'd look for confirmation that your particular combo works before spending that much money, though!

    I guess that, unless you actually need one of the more expensive (usually multi-drive) TB hard drives that has two TB ports, the most economical combination would be Mac ----> TB Dock with HDMI ---> TB Display with a cheaper third-party display connected to the dock's HDMI.

    The other alternative is this:

    ...but its somewhat pricey (although cheaper than buying multiple thunderbolt devices) and I don't think I'd buy it given some of the reviews on Amazon.
  6. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    I never realised I couldn't drive a hdmi monitor and a 2nd display using the thunderbolt port. Will have to test this out. Thanks for the heads up.
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Sad but true. See the very last entry on this page:
  8. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    You can buy a usb to hdmi adapter and a tb to hdmi adapter.

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7 October 21, 2015