Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?

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Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?

Steve McCabe
Good morning, everyone

I’m hoping someone can possibly offer some advice on how to solve a multiple-monitor problem. I have a new 13” MacBook Pro with touchbar; it’s a fine piece of kit that I’m very, very pleased with, and of its time, the best Apple laptop I’ve had since my Trusty Pismo from late in the last millennium.

I also have on my desk a middle-aged iMac and an LCD Cinema Display, and I’d like to run both off the MacBook Pro as external monitors. The iMac works like a champ — I have a Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt cable running from the iMac to a Thunderbolt-to-USB-C adapter, and when I connect the two devices and press Apple-F2 on the iMac’s keyboard, I get a second monitor. Splendid.

Yesterday I got from Amazon a DisplayPort (full-sized, not mini — that’s what the Cinema Display uses) to USB-C adapter, and tried hooking the Cinema Display up to the MBP. If it’s the only external monitor, then it works perfectly. But if I try to use both devices as external monitors at the same time, giving me a huge desktop, then the iMac continues to work beautifully, but the Cinema Display flickers on and off rapidly, making it utterly and aggressively unusable.

While I don’t *need* a second external monitor for my MBP, I have the hardware and would like to press it into service. Does anyone happen to know why I’m having this issue, and what I can do to resolve it?

With thanks in advance
Steve


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Re: Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?

David Tuma
I’ve had external monitor probs with my new 13” MBP.  I think you can only run 1 monitor.  Couldn’t run a 5k without a lot of flickering.  4k seems to be ok.  The Cinema display wouldn’t work for me.
That’s my recent experience.  commiserating but no help.
David

On Jun 15, 2017, at 4:01 PM, Steve McCabe <[hidden email]> wrote:

Good morning, everyone

I’m hoping someone can possibly offer some advice on how to solve a multiple-monitor problem. I have a new 13” MacBook Pro with touchbar; it’s a fine piece of kit that I’m very, very pleased with, and of its time, the best Apple laptop I’ve had since my Trusty Pismo from late in the last millennium.

I also have on my desk a middle-aged iMac and an LCD Cinema Display, and I’d like to run both off the MacBook Pro as external monitors. The iMac works like a champ — I have a Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt cable running from the iMac to a Thunderbolt-to-USB-C adapter, and when I connect the two devices and press Apple-F2 on the iMac’s keyboard, I get a second monitor. Splendid.

Yesterday I got from Amazon a DisplayPort (full-sized, not mini — that’s what the Cinema Display uses) to USB-C adapter, and tried hooking the Cinema Display up to the MBP. If it’s the only external monitor, then it works perfectly. But if I try to use both devices as external monitors at the same time, giving me a huge desktop, then the iMac continues to work beautifully, but the Cinema Display flickers on and off rapidly, making it utterly and aggressively unusable.

While I don’t *need* a second external monitor for my MBP, I have the hardware and would like to press it into service. Does anyone happen to know why I’m having this issue, and what I can do to resolve it?

With thanks in advance
Steve


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Re: Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?

Curtis Wilcox
In reply to this post by Steve McCabe
On Jun 15, 2017, at 4:01 PM, Steve McCabe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I also have on my desk a middle-aged iMac and an LCD Cinema Display, and I’d like to run both off the MacBook Pro as external monitors. The iMac works like a champ — I have a Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt cable running from the iMac to a Thunderbolt-to-USB-C adapter, and when I connect the two devices and press Apple-F2 on the iMac’s keyboard, I get a second monitor. Splendid.


If I recall correctly, your iMac must be a 27" model because smaller ones don't support Target Display Mode (i.e. working as a monitor for another computer). The adapter is a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter (Apple mentions USB-C in the name because the relationship between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C is super-confusing).


> Yesterday I got from Amazon a DisplayPort (full-sized, not mini — that’s what the Cinema Display uses) to USB-C adapter


None of the Apple Cinema displays used full-size DisplayPort. The LED models used Mini DisplayPort and most of the earlier ones used DVI (couple used the weird Apple Display Connector). I'm guessing you have one of the DVI models but which one, the 30" or a smaller one?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Cinema_Display

This image shows Mini DisplayPort next to full-size DisplayPort
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/G/02/aplusautomation/vendorimages/38489777-456e-4a29-9b46-59b1ffd1f467.jpg._CB317654858_.jpg

> , and tried hooking the Cinema Display up to the MBP. If it’s the only external monitor, then it works perfectly. But if I try to use both devices as external monitors at the same time, giving me a huge desktop, then the iMac continues to work beautifully, but the Cinema Display flickers on and off rapidly, making it utterly and aggressively unusable.


You might be reaching the limits of the 13" MacBook Pro's integrated graphics, 2560x1600 built-in, 2560x1440 iMac, plus whichever resolution the Cinema Display has. Does the flickering get better or go away if you set the iMac to use scaled graphics, e.g. 1280x800?

Which exact DVI adapter did you order? If the problem isn't the limits of the integrated graphics, maybe a different adapter would work better. I *think* all DVI adapters will be USB-C, not Thunderbolt 3 (you can't use a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter to use a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter, Apple explicitly says that doesn't work).




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Re: Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?

Steve McCabe
I’ve not had chance to revisit this for a while, but I’d be grateful for any further wisdom, please…

On 16/06/2017, at 11:18 AM, Curtis Wilcox <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Jun 15, 2017, at 4:01 PM, Steve McCabe <[hidden email]> wrote:

I also have on my desk a middle-aged iMac and an LCD Cinema Display, and I’d like to run both off the MacBook Pro as external monitors. The iMac works like a champ — I have a Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt cable running from the iMac to a Thunderbolt-to-USB-C adapter, and when I connect the two devices and press Apple-F2 on the iMac’s keyboard, I get a second monitor. Splendid. 


If I recall correctly, your iMac must be a 27" model because smaller ones don't support Target Display Mode (i.e. working as a monitor for another computer). The adapter is a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter (Apple mentions USB-C in the name because the relationship between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C is super-confusing).

According to the iMac itself, it’s an iMac (21.5 inch, Late 2012) machine. 

Apologies for the misleading description of the adapter — yes, I agree, the various cables and ports and protocols and their interrelationships is starting to give me a headache. 

Yesterday I got from Amazon a DisplayPort (full-sized, not mini — that’s what the Cinema Display uses) to USB-C adapter


None of the Apple Cinema displays used full-size DisplayPort. The LED models used Mini DisplayPort and most of the earlier ones used DVI (couple used the weird Apple Display Connector). I'm guessing you have one of the DVI models but which one, the 30" or a smaller one? 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Cinema_Display

Curtis is quite right, and I spoke out of turn — it’s an Apple Cinema Display to Thunderbolt 3 (or possibly USB-C; see above) adapter. 


, and tried hooking the Cinema Display up to the MBP. If it’s the only external monitor, then it works perfectly. But if I try to use both devices as external monitors at the same time, giving me a huge desktop, then the iMac continues to work beautifully, but the Cinema Display flickers on and off rapidly, making it utterly and aggressively unusable. 


You might be reaching the limits of the 13" MacBook Pro's integrated graphics, 2560x1600 built-in, 2560x1440 iMac, plus whichever resolution the Cinema Display has. Does the flickering get better or go away if you set the iMac to use scaled graphics, e.g. 1280x800?

According to the Apple website, my MacBook Pro 13” "Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display at millions of colors and:
• One display with 5120-by-2880 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors
• Up to two displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz at millions of colors
• Up to two displays with 3840-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors.” 

So I think I’m within what it can support. I have tried reducing the screen resolution on the Cinema Display, but the flickering remains. 

Any suggestions? 

Thanks
Steve




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Re: Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?

Curtis Wilcox
On Aug 7, 2017, at 12:15 AM, Steve McCabe <[hidden email]> wrote:

I’ve not had chance to revisit this for a while, but I’d be grateful for any further wisdom, please…

On 16/06/2017, at 11:18 AM, Curtis Wilcox <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Jun 15, 2017, at 4:01 PM, Steve McCabe <[hidden email]> wrote:

I also have on my desk a middle-aged iMac and an LCD Cinema Display, and I’d like to run both off the MacBook Pro as external monitors. The iMac works like a champ — I have a Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt cable running from the iMac to a Thunderbolt-to-USB-C adapter, and when I connect the two devices and press Apple-F2 on the iMac’s keyboard, I get a second monitor. Splendid. 


If I recall correctly, your iMac must be a 27" model because smaller ones don't support Target Display Mode (i.e. working as a monitor for another computer). The adapter is a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter (Apple mentions USB-C in the name because the relationship between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C is super-confusing).

According to the iMac itself, it’s an iMac (21.5 inch, Late 2012) machine. 


Okay, I guess iMac (Mid 2011-Mid 2014) models of all sizes can be used as displays over Thunderbolt.


Yesterday I got from Amazon a DisplayPort (full-sized, not mini — that’s what the Cinema Display uses) to USB-C adapter


None of the Apple Cinema displays used full-size DisplayPort. The LED models used Mini DisplayPort and most of the earlier ones used DVI (couple used the weird Apple Display Connector). I'm guessing you have one of the DVI models but which one, the 30" or a smaller one? 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Cinema_Display

Curtis is quite right, and I spoke out of turn — it’s an Apple Cinema Display to Thunderbolt 3 (or possibly USB-C; see above) adapter. 


Can you provide a link to the Amazon page for the adapter you bought? 

, and tried hooking the Cinema Display up to the MBP. If it’s the only external monitor, then it works perfectly. But if I try to use both devices as external monitors at the same time, giving me a huge desktop, then the iMac continues to work beautifully, but the Cinema Display flickers on and off rapidly, making it utterly and aggressively unusable. 


You might be reaching the limits of the 13" MacBook Pro's integrated graphics, 2560x1600 built-in, 2560x1440 iMac, plus whichever resolution the Cinema Display has. Does the flickering get better or go away if you set the iMac to use scaled graphics, e.g. 1280x800?

According to the Apple website, my MacBook Pro 13” "Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display at millions of colors and:
• One display with 5120-by-2880 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors
• Up to two displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz at millions of colors
• Up to two displays with 3840-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors.” 

So I think I’m within what it can support. I have tried reducing the screen resolution on the Cinema Display, but the flickering remains. 

Any suggestions? 


With both the iMac in Display Mode and the Cinema Display attached, please run System Information.app, go to the Graphics/Displays section, copy all the text in the main window and paste it in your reply email. That will provide more information about the state of things.




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Re: Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?

"John Turner the Bear😎"
When I ordered my new iMac the support person said that I could use both the monitor that comes with it and my LCD Cinema display with no problems.
 
Bear
 
 
Sent: Monday, August 07, 2017 at 7:28 AM
From: "Curtis Wilcox" <[hidden email]>
To: "TidBITS Talk" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?
On Aug 7, 2017, at 12:15 AM, Steve McCabe <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I’ve not had chance to revisit this for a while, but I’d be grateful for any further wisdom, please…
 
On 16/06/2017, at 11:18 AM, Curtis Wilcox <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
On Jun 15, 2017, at 4:01 PM, Steve McCabe <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I also have on my desk a middle-aged iMac and an LCD Cinema Display, and I’d like to run both off the MacBook Pro as external monitors. The iMac works like a champ — I have a Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt cable running from the iMac to a Thunderbolt-to-USB-C adapter, and when I connect the two devices and press Apple-F2 on the iMac’s keyboard, I get a second monitor. Splendid. 


If I recall correctly, your iMac must be a 27" model because smaller ones don't support Target Display Mode (i.e. working as a monitor for another computer). The adapter is a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter (Apple mentions USB-C in the name because the relationship between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C is super-confusing).
 
According to the iMac itself, it’s an iMac (21.5 inch, Late 2012) machine. 
 
 
Okay, I guess iMac (Mid 2011-Mid 2014) models of all sizes can be used as displays over Thunderbolt.
 
 
Yesterday I got from Amazon a DisplayPort (full-sized, not mini — that’s what the Cinema Display uses) to USB-C adapter


None of the Apple Cinema displays used full-size DisplayPort. The LED models used Mini DisplayPort and most of the earlier ones used DVI (couple used the weird Apple Display Connector). I'm guessing you have one of the DVI models but which one, the 30" or a smaller one? 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Cinema_Display
 
Curtis is quite right, and I spoke out of turn — it’s an Apple Cinema Display to Thunderbolt 3 (or possibly USB-C; see above) adapter. 
 
 
Can you provide a link to the Amazon page for the adapter you bought? 
 
, and tried hooking the Cinema Display up to the MBP. If it’s the only external monitor, then it works perfectly. But if I try to use both devices as external monitors at the same time, giving me a huge desktop, then the iMac continues to work beautifully, but the Cinema Display flickers on and off rapidly, making it utterly and aggressively unusable. 


You might be reaching the limits of the 13" MacBook Pro's integrated graphics, 2560x1600 built-in, 2560x1440 iMac, plus whichever resolution the Cinema Display has. Does the flickering get better or go away if you set the iMac to use scaled graphics, e.g. 1280x800?
According to the Apple website, my MacBook Pro 13” "Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display at millions of colors and:
• One display with 5120-by-2880 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors
• Up to two displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz at millions of colors
• Up to two displays with 3840-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz at over a billion colors.” 
 
So I think I’m within what it can support. I have tried reducing the screen resolution on the Cinema Display, but the flickering remains. 
 
Any suggestions? 
 
With both the iMac in Display Mode and the Cinema Display attached, please run System Information.app, go to the Graphics/Displays section, copy all the text in the main window and paste it in your reply email. That will provide more information about the state of things.
 
____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________ Post only when you have something substantive to contribute. Be polite and constructive, and comment on posts, not people. Quote sparingly, if at all. We all read the previous message. Start threads with a new message to [hidden email]. Read archives at: http://tidbits.com/pipermail/tidbits-talk/ Unsubscribe at: http://tidbits.com/mailman/options/tidbits-talk ____Mailing List Manners: http://tidbits.com/series/1141 ____



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Re: Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?

Steve McCabe
In reply to this post by Curtis Wilcox


With both the iMac in Display Mode and the Cinema Display attached, please run System Information.app, go to the Graphics/Displays section, copy all the text in the main window and paste it in your reply email. That will provide more information about the state of things.

Thanks for taking another swing at this one. Here’s all three monitors’ information:

Color LCD:
  Display Type: Built-In Retina LCD
  Resolution: 2560 x 1600 Retina
  Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
  Main Display: Yes
  Mirror: Off
  Online: Yes
  Rotation: Supported
  Automatically Adjust Brightness: No
  Connection Type: DisplayPort
Cinema Display:
  Display Type: LCD
  Resolution: 1680 x 1050
  Pixel Depth: 30-Bit Color (ARGB2101010)
  Mirror: Off
  Online: Yes
  Rotation: Supported
  Automatically Adjust Brightness: No
  Connection Type: DVI or HDMI
  Adapter Firmware Version:  e.1d
iMac:
  Display Type: LCD
  Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  Pixel Depth: 30-Bit Color (ARGB2101010)
  Mirror: Off
  Online: Yes
  Rotation: Supported
  Automatically Adjust Brightness: No
  Connection Type: DisplayPort

Can you provide a link to the Amazon page for the adapter you bought?

Oh, isn’t that special? I’ve just looked it up, and here it is: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012B58JRM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and found this heading: "Cable Matters USB-C to DVI Adapter in Black (Incompatible with Apple Cinema Displays).” I hope you’ll all believe me when I say that this has *definitely* been updated since I bought this piece of kit. 

Oh, well — I guess that answers my question. I’ll not be getting this adapter to work with my existing hardware. If anyone happens to know how I can connect a Cinema Display with an Apple Display Connector to my MacBook Pro, I’d be most pleased. I have, btw, tried using an ADC-to-Thunderbolt adapter daisy-chained to  Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt 3, but to no avail. 

Thanks!

Steve



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Re: Two external monitors with MacBook Pro?

Curtis Wilcox
1680x1050 indicates it's a 20" Apple Cinema Display, is it really the earlier model with a plastic frame and the Apple Display Connector (ADC)? I assumed you had an aluminum frame model with DVI because A) I didn't recall was a modified version of DVI and B) looking at the rounded ends of the ADC connector, I'd assume you physically couldn't insert it in a female DVI port.


I was hoping the System Information would include the refresh rate, wondering if the flicker you describe is from the frequency being too low (60Hz is typical and good, some people can live with 30Hz, some can't). Apparently you sometimes have to dig deeper to get the refresh rate. I'm sure SwitchResX could show what refresh rate each display is using.


Apple has stated that the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter cannot be used with Mini DisplayPort video adapters (the Thunderbolt standard adopted the Mini DisplayPort port but the video adapters remained Mini DisplayPort). It can be used with a powered dock, I have a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter connected to an OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock and then a Monoprice Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter connecting the dock to a Dell monitor. 

I haven't looked at all the Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C dock options but they're probably all more expensive than giving up on the Cinema Display and getting a new monitor.  The Wirecutter likes the Asus VS239H-P as a "budget" monitor; it even comes with a DVI cable so with your Cable Matters adapter, you'd be good to go.

On Aug 8, 2017, at 2:42 AM, Steve McCabe <[hidden email]> wrote:



With both the iMac in Display Mode and the Cinema Display attached, please run System Information.app, go to the Graphics/Displays section, copy all the text in the main window and paste it in your reply email. That will provide more information about the state of things.

Thanks for taking another swing at this one. Here’s all three monitors’ information:

Color LCD:
  Display Type: Built-In Retina LCD
  Resolution: 2560 x 1600 Retina
  Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
  Main Display: Yes
  Mirror: Off
  Online: Yes
  Rotation: Supported
  Automatically Adjust Brightness: No
  Connection Type: DisplayPort
Cinema Display:
  Display Type: LCD
  Resolution: 1680 x 1050
  Pixel Depth: 30-Bit Color (ARGB2101010)
  Mirror: Off
  Online: Yes
  Rotation: Supported
  Automatically Adjust Brightness: No
  Connection Type: DVI or HDMI
  Adapter Firmware Version:  e.1d
iMac:
  Display Type: LCD
  Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  Pixel Depth: 30-Bit Color (ARGB2101010)
  Mirror: Off
  Online: Yes
  Rotation: Supported
  Automatically Adjust Brightness: No
  Connection Type: DisplayPort

Can you provide a link to the Amazon page for the adapter you bought?

Oh, isn’t that special? I’ve just looked it up, and here it is: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012B58JRM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and found this heading: "Cable Matters USB-C to DVI Adapter in Black (Incompatible with Apple Cinema Displays).” I hope you’ll all believe me when I say that this has *definitely* been updated since I bought this piece of kit. 

Oh, well — I guess that answers my question. I’ll not be getting this adapter to work with my existing hardware. If anyone happens to know how I can connect a Cinema Display with an Apple Display Connector to my MacBook Pro, I’d be most pleased. I have, btw, tried using an ADC-to-Thunderbolt adapter daisy-chained to  Thunderbolt-to-Thunderbolt 3, but to no avail. 




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