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I need to buy a new laptop (Mac) for work and the top priority for me is having at least two displays.

Unfortunately, due to budget limitations I cannot buy Apple Thunderbolt Displays. Now, and correct me if I’m wrong, the Apple Thunderbolt Display currently seems to be the only Thunderbolt display out there.

Is it possible, using MBP or MacBook Air, to use two external displays that do not s use Thunderbolt?Without using additional hardware (like the Matrox multiplexer used elsewhere – this doesn’t work, and the DisplayLink USB to DVI adapter drivers don’t work yet on OS X Lion).

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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've been using a DisplayLink USB to DVI adapter on Lion since the day Lion shipped, and I haven't had any trouble with it. Actually, it's been better than with Snow Leopard because the new beta driver doesn't crash like the SL driver did.

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This seems to be the only real viable solution and it works pretty well. –  Konrad Rudolph Sep 14 '12 at 14:48

No - you need at least an USB to whatever input your third display (the second external display) accepts.


I suppose some would say you could use another computer and use some sort of virtual screen / VNC software to have the system make a virtual screen and send that data over the network to the other computer to push to the third display.

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USB to display seems to be generally hacky, and DisplayLink says that their drivers don’t work on Lion yet, so this is unfortunately not an alternative. –  Konrad Rudolph Nov 17 '11 at 14:20
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My solution to this was to get an iMac. –  Diago Nov 17 '11 at 16:29
    
The USB solution is certainly inferior to a real display hooked to any GPU even if it's year old, but if you truly need the real estate more than the $1k it is almost free in comparison to the second proper monitor. –  bmike Nov 17 '11 at 17:18

There are issues with specific older models of Mac (particularly those with nVidia graphics), but I've been using a DisplayLink adapter with Lion for several months without problem. My secondary display is even rotated 90 degrees.

Beta drivers are available here and known issues are described here.

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Check out ScreenRecycler. You'll need another computer, but even an old junker will work.

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Hmm, to be honest this seems like a too clunky hack for my purpose (I have only limited control over the hardware setup) but perhaps other people can benefit from this approach. –  Konrad Rudolph Nov 17 '11 at 15:40

Depending on your definition of "additional hardware", the ZOTAC Mini-DisplayPort to Dual HDMI Adaptor might be a viable solution. It's more like a cable/adaptor than the Matrox box, and it has a price tag around $50. I have not seen this gadget in action first-hand, but a friend of mine has one, and he is very happy with it.

Google tells me that several stores carries the ZT-MDP2HD, including Newegg.

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I bought the adapter. Unfortunately, it now turns out that the adapter currently doesn’t work on OS X at all. In practice this means that I can either mirror my display (wow) or stretch it – but only up to measly resolutions which don’t do my 24" displays justice, and appear stretched. –  Konrad Rudolph Feb 1 '12 at 10:44
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… Which is supremely weird given the fact that (according to Wikipedia) Mini DisplayPorts appear in almost no other hardware. –  Konrad Rudolph Feb 1 '12 at 10:53
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More details: despite what Zotac’s page implies there don’t seem to be any drivers for this piece of hardware, and as such the system recognises this system as one screen with a maximum total resolution of 1920×1200 which is just patently ridiculous for two 24" screens (each of my displays has this resolution so I need twice that). This product simply doesn’t work as promised. –  Konrad Rudolph Sep 3 '12 at 9:03

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