Thunderbolt v.s. Mini Displayport

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by brianlhp, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. brianlhp macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2011
    Hong Kong
    So, I got a mid-2011 MBP with a thunderbolt port. I want to buy a thunderbolt to HDMI cable, but I found that some post said that: Thunderbolt=Mini Displayport. And I also found that the port is also the same. But i got another question. If they're the same, will the Mini Displayport's speed equals to the thunderbolt one?? :confused: Thunderbolt can have a really high speed transfer, can the Mini Displayport also do that??:confused:
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Thunderbolt is for data and video & audio signal transfer, Mini DisplayPort is only for video & audio signal transfer, but it is still fast (found info).

    To learn more about Thunderbolt (TB) and its compatibility with Mini DisplayPort (MDP):
  3. pgiguere1, Aug 16, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012

    pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    To simplify it, we could say that:

    - A Thunderbolt port is also a mini DisplayPort.
    - A mini DisplayPort is not necessarily a Thunderbolt port.

    If you know your Mac has a Thunderbolt port, you can use any cable/accessory that is for mini DisplayPort.

    If you have a mini DisplayPort that you know isn't a Thunderbolt port, you can use mini DisplayPort cables/accessories but not Thunderbolt cables/accessories.

    To answer your question, your Mac has a Thunderbolt port which means you can use a mini DisplayPort accessory like a mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. There aren't HDMI adapters that works only with Thunderbolt ports but not regular mini DisplayPort, that's why they don't call them Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters.

    Mini DisplayPort is designed for audio and video signal, but not data. Stuff that use data transfer like external drives, hubs, FireWire/Ethernet adapters and such are all Thunderbolt-only and won't work with a regular (non-Thunderbolt) mini DisplayPort.
  4. hvgotcodes macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2011
  5. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Speed is the same because it is the same. TB is DP 1.1a which is as fast as HDMI 1.3.

    The only benefit of Thunderbolt is that it can also piggy back PCIe and in theory loads of other protocols. And Apple only supports daisy chaining on Thunderbolt. Display Port 1.2 would support that too but Apple is still using DP 1.1.
    Display Port is only for well Displays. Also it can directly drive a display which in theory would make it possible to make cheaper external displays.

    For what kind of resolutions it can handle see
    Basically two 1080p Displays at full colors and framerates 8.6GBit/s
    DP 1.2 is double that (17.xx GBIt/s).
    Thunderbolts is either 10 or 20 GBit/s depending on the controller.
    If you don't insist on 60 hz refresh rate you can drive quite a lot of pixels even at 8.6Gb/s. I suppose that is how the MBA does it when you attach two TDB.
  6. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
  7. hvgotcodes macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2011
    Yep. I can't find any cheap thunderbolt devices, or some sort of adapter that takes one TB port and makes x ports. I'm surprised those dont exist.
  8. Hidendra macrumors member

    May 19, 2008
    FWIW I use 2x mini display port -> DVI cables from Monoprice on my rMBP and it works perfectly for 2 external monitors.

    I'd go with the mono price one if shipping isn't a problem (if it is, I'm sure you need some other cables right !? excellent fillers to offset shipping)

    While the $3 one from Amazon is cheaper do take into account the fact it's shipped from Hong Kong, expect it to take a while
  9. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Those don't exist because it doesn't work that well.
    USB can fan out. One to many like a hub.
    TB can only work in series. It has to be a chain. Multiple ports are only possible at the source (notebook) or with an insane amount of trouble.,3205.html
  10. brianlhp thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2011
    Hong Kong
    The Amazon one is shipped from HK!? So, that's GREAT!!!! cuz I live in HK:D:D
  11. vjcinajr macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2014
    I assume this means on the new (late 2013) Mac Pro, I can connect a (non-Apple) Display that has a mini-Display Port directly to the Mac Pro Thunderbolt 2 port using a mini-display port cable, eliminating the need for a more expensive Thunderbolt cable? Correct?
  12. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra

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