Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've read through the "Questions with similar titles", and I don't see anything that directly answers my question.

Which current MacBook models (of any product line) support (directly or indirectly) attaching dual DVI monitors, for a total of three screens?

The monitors are third-party (Acer). By "directly or indirectly", I'm acknowledging that I'll likely have to buy additional cables.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You only have two options, and they're both supported by all current MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models:

  1. Use a DVI splitter to spread a single DVI output across multiple monitors (which will look like a single external monitor to the OS). The maximum resolution for an external monitor on all MacBook Pro or Air models is 2560 x 1600, so your maximum for the split displays will be 1280 x 1600 each (or maybe 2560 x 800).
  2. Use a USB graphics adaptor for the third monitor, which will thus not have hardware graphic acceleration.
share|improve this answer
Does Thunderbolt not allow you to daisy-chain displays? – jtbandes Aug 10 '11 at 6:50
As far as I know, you can daisy-chain up to seven Thunderbolt devices, but only one of them can be a display. – Mike Scott Aug 10 '11 at 6:52
@mike - not true. Thunderbolt displays can be daisy chain-able, as long as both the video card and the Thunderbolt controller support it. Apple's forthcoming Thunderbolt Display is daisy chain-able on 2011 MBPs, but not MBAs, which have a less capable Thunderbolt controller. – mmc Aug 10 '11 at 18:24
@MikeScott - any example of such a DVI splitter? – Vlad Jan 24 '12 at 8:55
@Vlad – I've not used any, but you can find plenty by Googling for "DVI splitter". – Mike Scott Jan 24 '12 at 11:54

Any current MacBook Air or MacBook Pro will work. The first DVI monitor is simple; just get a Mini-Display Port to DVI cable. The second one will require a USB to DVI adapter, like the IOGEAR USB 2.0 External DVI Video Card. The combination of these will allow you to use the two Acer monitors via DVI and the internal MacBook screen.

share|improve this answer
Have you had any experience with that IOGear USB to DVI device? – GreenKiwi Aug 30 '11 at 17:20

As per Mike Scott's answer (specifically, point 2), an example of a USB graphics adaptor can be found here.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.