• 4

I have the VGA and HDMI adapters for my Macbook Pro 2011, but can only connect one display at a time - neither adapter has a female Thunderbolt connector to act as a passthrough.

My understanding is that I can use two Apple Thunderbolt displays by daisy chaining them and have three displays - the native notebook display, and two Thunderbolt displays - at once.

  • Is there a way to connect two non-Thunderbolt displays to the laptop, via a splitter, or some sort of Thunderbolt cable or adapter?

  • If I buy one Thunderbolt display, can I then use the VGA or HDMI Thunderbolt adapter daisy-chained off that display to drive a non-Thunderbolt display and have three monitors that way?

This question from July 2011 came to the conclusion that there wasn't a display splitter available yet and it seems there still isn't as far as I can search.

My feeling is that it's going to be an expensive device when or if it appears - probably more along the lines of a Thunderbolt-connected video upgrade (because Thunderbolt allows PCIe bus extension it may be a chassis allowing use of an off-the-shelf video card with dual outputs) rather than a simple adapter like the current DVI or HDMI adapters. Expect more products like this to appear.

This is one potential way to get two displays - if the software issues are solved, the product page says it does not currently work pending support from Apple - but I don't know what it might cost!

  • 1
Reply Report

I searched hard to find something that will enable me to use 2 displays from my 2012 MacBook Pro without sacrificing on a USB port (by using an external graphics card)

My search ended here.

Basically this beauty enables me to plugin into the thunderbolt port (which also take Mini display ports) and connect 2 x 24 inch monitors using HDMI AND also use my MacBook Pro display.

So in total I have 3 displays all running at the same time.

What this adapter does is create an external display spanned across 2 monitors, which I have no problem with as i can resize my application windows accordingly. And plus you get lovely HDMI resolution. Hope that helps.

  • 1
Reply Report

The Apple mini-DisplayPort to VGA or HDMI adapter terminates the Thunderbolt chain where it is connected, so until Apple released new MacBook Pro with two Thunderbolt ports (similar to the iMac that has two ports) then you will only get one video signal from the device through the Thunderbolt port.

You may find an inexpensive USB to VGA solution to get around this limitation. Initially they were slower, but the newer ones are getting much faster and the software much better. You can then put the most important content on the Thunderbolt port and have the secondary display served over USB.

Should a Thunderbolt adapter come about that drives two displays, I'll update the answer, but nothing has been released (or even rumored) even though it's clearly something the protocol could support.

I like this knowledge base article for the clear deprecation of which Macs support two Thunderbolt displays and which ones only support one.

  • 4
Reply Report