Want to connect 3 DVI monitors in portrait mode to Mini

dscoob

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 1, 2010
6
0
I am switching from Windows to Mac and am thinking of getting the current Mini with an i7 2.6. (Hopefully the new Mini will arrive soon!) I want to attach my 3 DVI monitors in portrait mode. They are all HP LP2065 monitors, currently hooked up to a Windows desktop with 2 video cards, with each monitor in portrait mode 1200 x 1600. I want to have the same monitor setup on a Mac. I like having a separate instance of Chrome on each monitor, and Word or other apps open on different monitors.

Connecting 2 monitors using the Mini’s HDMI and Thunderport port will be no problem using adapters. The challenge is the third monitor.

I have searched the forums and know about the USB to DVI adapters (DisplayLink) and the Matrox DualHead2Go. But neither option seems ideal. People using DisplayLink say there is lag, displaying video and moving windows around is slow, and it takes up CPU cycles when doing anything intensive on that monitor. I was hoping to avoid some of those issues by getting an adapter with the latest generation DisplayLink chip (DL-3X00) and USB 3.0, but I’m not sure if that will help much.

I’m not gaming or doing video editing or any graphic intensive apps on the 3rd monitor, just web browsing, word processing and audio production. I don’t want to buy a new monitor now because I’d rather wait until there are reasonably priced retina displays in the next few years.

1. Is there any reason to get the Matrox instead of a USB DisplayLink adapter?

2. Is anyone using a DisplayLink adapter with the latest generation chip and USB 3.0 and still experiencing any of the problems mentioned above?

3. For the third monitor, I guess I could buy a Thunderbolt PCIE expansion box and buy a video card, but that seems like an expensive solution around $500. Any thoughts on that, or any other solutions?

4. Will the problems with DisplayLink be tolerable since I am not doing anything graphics intensive?

4. If I want to run 3 monitors in portrait mode with no performances difference between the 3 monitors (no lag, etc.), do I need to get a Mac Pro instead of a Mini?

Thanks!

Helpful links:
USB DisplayLink adapters: http://www.displaylink.com/shop/adapters
Latest DisplayLink version: http://www.displaylink.com/pdf/DL-3x00_Product_Brief.pdf
HP LP2065 monitor specs: http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/12377_na/12377_na.PDF
Matrox DualHead2Go and TripleHead2Go: http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/
 
Last edited:

blanka

macrumors 68000
Jul 30, 2012
1,549
3
I think the usb solution is fine for your third screen. You also can have similar screen estate by swapping 2 HPs for a 30 inch 1600x2560 monitor.
 

SBA

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2008
85
8
I would check out reviews of the USB adapters before buying them. I tried one about a year ago and hated the input lag on it.

I do have a Matrox DualHead2Go box attached to a Macbook Air and it's a decent solution. My only gripe is that it essentially stretches out your display across the 2 monitors, rather than give you 2 separate, independent displays. This might be a better solution for you, but again, I'd advise you to thoroughly research those USB adapters first.
 

barkmonster

macrumors 68020
Dec 3, 2001
2,123
12
Lancashire
I wouldn't touch a USB adapter at all compared with the DVI/Displayport systems from Matrox. You're trading GPU hardware with a direct connection for a low throughput, high CPU overhead compromise.

If you intend running 3 screens in portrait mode, use a HDMI to DVI-D adapter for one display via the HDMI port, then one of the Matrox adapters for your additional 2 displays. Yes, it's effectively just sending a 2400 x 1600 signal split over 2 displays but it achieves the solution.

----------

I think the usb solution is fine for your third screen. You also can have similar screen estate by swapping 2 HPs for a 30 inch 1600x2560 monitor.
They wouldn't because that would be like having 2 portrait monitors sitting on top of each other, not side by side and the USB issue isn't a theory, see this post:

I would check out reviews of the USB adapters before buying them. I tried one about a year ago and hated the input lag on it.

I do have a Matrox DualHead2Go box attached to a Macbook Air and it's a decent solution. My only gripe is that it essentially stretches out your display across the 2 monitors, rather than give you 2 separate, independent displays. This might be a better solution for you, but again, I'd advise you to thoroughly research those USB adapters first.
 

Acorn

macrumors 68030
Jan 2, 2009
2,554
282
macrumors
usb display adapters are bad but still usable. basically run one screen through the thunderbolt port using a display port to dvi connector. the second screen run through the hdmi connector then the third through the usb display adapter. you can do all the normal things game / movies ect on two of the three screens. just keep the third screen for non video intense stuff like email, text messages, websites or even reference images. all which do fine on a usb display adapter.
 
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