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27" Thunderbolt to DVI-D Monitor?

30468 Views 25 Replies Latest reply: Nov 8, 2013 4:57 AM by realgeekgoddess RSS
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actionpics Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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Jun 11, 2012 6:02 PM

I have a 27" Thunderbolt Apple monitor hooked up to a MBP. I would like to hook up a Dell monitor that has a DVI-D input. I would like to hook up this second monitor using a mini display port to DVI-D converter coming from the Apple 27" Thunderbolt port. Will this work? I have it hooked up that way at the moment, but the Dell monitor isn't being recognized (it is just black).

27" Thunderbolt display, Mac OS X (10.7.4)
  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)
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    Jun 11, 2012 6:40 PM (in response to actionpics)

    You can only attach a TB device to a TB source.  No adapters are available.


    Confusing Mini DisplayPort with Thunderbolt


    Thus you cannot connect that TB monitor up to your Dell.


    Note to keep the terminology correct, your Dell has a DVI video output, not input.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)
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    Jun 11, 2012 6:43 PM (in response to actionpics)

    Read the article I linked to.  You can connect a displayport device to a TB source.  Your MBP is the TB/mini-displayport source so that is why you displayport monitor works.  That is opposite of what I stated above.  This stuff is not bi-directional.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 11, 2012 7:44 PM (in response to actionpics)

    Whether it works or not you are still viewing this in the wrong direction.  These are all a TB computer output to some other device (TB or mini-displayport or possibly to an appropriate mini-displayport adapter).  The root of the chain is always the TB-equipt computer.  You asked basically whether a non-TB-equipt computer, i.e., your Dell, could output to a TB device.  The answer is sill no.


    TB devices can be chained.  And even those have some restorictions and limitations.


    Thunderbolt ports and displays: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

    Displays: Mini DisplayPort display must be last in a Thunderbolt chain


    What you may of heard was you could daisy chain a TB external drive to a TB display which is connected to a TB computer.  I think there are may be problems connecting a display to the TB external drive DVI or otherwise).  But even here the direction is from a TB computer output to the chain to the devices.


    If I cannot convience you by now about this then hook it up to your Dell for yourself and view the black screen.  Nothing is going to be damaged.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)
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    Jun 12, 2012 3:26 AM (in response to actionpics)

    You originally said you wanted to hook a apple 27" TB display to a Dell and I said that can't be done.


    As for the daisy chaining, MBP-->TB display-->DVI display there are some limitations of chaining displays to MBP as a function of model.  That FAQ link I gave earlier has a table showing the limitations.


    Also, you never said what the resolution of that DVI monitor was.  If it is greater than 1920 x 1200 then you need a dual link DVI adapter rather than a simple single link adapter. 


    If the DVI monitor is less than 1920 x 1200 then I don't know why it wouldn't work except for possible limitations of TB itself.  Maybe only a mini-displayport monitor can be chained to a TB display (if so that applies to any sized DVI monitor -- single or dual linked).


    Note, if it is a single link DVI then if you want to add a second monitor you might consider the following:


    Newer Technology USB to DVI / HDMI / VGA HD Video Display Adapter


    In other words connect it via USB.  I have no idea what the video perfomance is pumping a video signal through a usb2 port.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)
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    Jun 13, 2012 11:05 AM (in response to actionpics)

    Why do I think the guy is just lucky?  And based on the number of posts here with problems with goflex externals (their software at least) he may end up regretting paying for what may amount to being a $189 video adapter.  But it's interesting it works at all.  Wonder if the USB is also passed through.

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 13, 2012 12:18 PM (in response to actionpics)

    Well if there are, since ML is still not publically released, and under NDA, no one can say here one way or another.

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