Thunderbolt MacBook Pro Supports Dual External Displays by Daisy Chain

Jul 15, 2011 - 16 Comments

MacBook Pro with Dual Thunderbolt Displays

Thunderbolt MacBook Pro hardware will support dual external displays daisy-chained by compatible Thunderbolt hardware, according to an image that popped up on Apple’s website. This suggests the possibility that upcoming MacBook Air refresh may support the same feature.

This image comes from a recent post on MacRumors, where they noted that Apple accidentally leaked a new Thunderbolt LED display by posting images to Apple.com prior to an official launch. That is obviously a blunder on Apple’s part, but I found the daisy-chaining of Thunderbolt displays much more interesting than the fact that a new Cinema Display is coming out soon. MacRumors also points out that with current MBP models, only the 15″ and 17″ would support this ability, but hopefully refreshed MacBook Air’s will too.


Before Thunderbolt, MacBook Pro users who wanted to hook up dual displays had to use third party adapters that would either split the video channel or tie up a USB port, here’s an image of such a setup from a past post:
Dual Displays on a MacBook Pro

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac, News

16 Comments

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  1. Arman says:

    I think the MacBook Air will get Intel 3000 GPU, so they would also not support this just for the same reason the 13″ Pro does not.

  2. Lee says:

    hasn’t this been known for a while? I thought this has always been possible…

  3. […] all but confirmed that a Thunderbolt-enabled Cinema Display will be with us shortly, and as a new report indicates, it turns out that both the new 2011 MacBook Pros as well as the new 2011 […]

  4. Dan says:

    Can the iMac 27/21.5 inch do this aswell?

  5. NickA says:

    I don’t get it…one of the monitors will be plugged into the mini display port and the other into thunderbolt? Or are both of them using thunderbolt? And if so, then can we technically hook up three screens?

  6. Chris says:

    NickA,
    It’s called a Daisy chain. Macbook Pro -> Display 1 -> Display 2. The displays will have two Thunderbolt ports.

  7. Jorge says:

    I have a question about your set up, would I be able to add a mini display port monitor the end of that daisy chain? Ex: MBP>tb display1> tb display 2 >mdp display

  8. Steve says:

    The displays will NOT have two Thunderbolt ports. Apple displays have a cord coming out of them. And then one Thunderbolt port to continue the daisy chain. Maximum two displays on the chain. Second display will only work with Macs with a discrete graphics chip.

  9. Steve says:

    MBP>tb display1> tb display 2 >mdp display
    I’m guessing no. Only 2 displays.

    Do all MBP have discrete graphics chip? I believe NO Macbook Air do. And only ONE of the mac minis.

    That still leaves the question…
    MBP>tb display1> >mdp display

  10. […] exciting features of the new MacBook Pro 15″ and 17″ and iMac series is that you can use dual external displays by daisy chaining them via the Thunderbolt port. Unfortunately, this ability is lost on the 2011 MacBook Air, due to […]

  11. Larry says:

    Hi,

    So if I have the 17″ mbp with thunderbolt input would it be possible to chain a third monitor? To me it seems doable.

  12. R. J. says:

    I was just getting read to make this leap of Apple faith, and was glad to see what you were able to share. Many Thanks from Minneapolis by a wedding photographer!

  13. punker says:

    With a view like that, why would you want two monitors?

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