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Usually I connect my MacBook Air 11" to a secondary display via the Thunderbolt port.

What do I need to connect it to two external monitors?

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Can't you connect another monitor to the first one? I thought that was one of the advantages to Thunderbolt: the immense daisy-chaining capability. –  timothymh Feb 23 '12 at 15:04
    
@timothymh Electrically, you can connect far more displays on the bus than the graphics card is willing to drive. The rest of the ports like USB and ethernet will work, just that the Mid 2012 Air can drive two externals and the older Air one external. –  bmike Oct 15 '12 at 21:27
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4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

As has been mentioned, you couldn't daisy-chain multiple Thunderbolt displays on pre-2012 Airs. Two possible add-ons that'll allow you to connect an additional external display:

I've used the latter and they work pretty well for non-intensive applications.

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You can daisy chain like this now with the latest MacBook Air. –  ing0 Nov 12 '13 at 2:09
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Your Air supports the internal display as well as only one ThunderBolt external display. As commented below, the Mid 2012 Air can run two ThunderBolt displays. Physically you can daisy chain as many Thunderbolt Displays as you have money, but the first limitation you will run into is the graphics card.

The official Apple knowledge base article lists the capabilities of all ThunderBolt macs in one place:

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Note though that Mid 2012 MacBook Airs now support two external displays –  Robin Jul 25 '12 at 20:29
    
Awesome. Since there's only one thunderbolt port, how do you connect 2 monitors to it? –  Jonas Stawski Oct 15 '12 at 21:14
    
@JonasStawski Plug one monitor into the other's open thunderbolt port. That second monitor goes to the mac. That's how daisy chaining works generally and here specifically. –  bmike Oct 15 '12 at 21:29
    
how about if I want to have two DVI monitors? Is it doable without any other hardware? I have a 2012 MBA –  Jonas Stawski Oct 15 '12 at 22:02
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DVI doesn't daisy chain, but I believe you could use one Thunderbolt display and a second DVI monitor with a TB->DVI adapter but that's not two DVI. That setup would need a USB or other splitter. –  bmike Oct 16 '12 at 0:27
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First generation MacBook Airs could only drive a single display. And the current generation, Thunderbolt-equipped, MacBook Airs do not support more than one external display via the Thunderbolt port. The graphics chip used in these Macs isn't up to the task of driving extremely high resolution display combinations.

Reference:

Unfortunately, this ability is lost on the 2011 MacBook Air, due to the weaker Intel HD 3000 graphics chip and a stripped down Thunderbolt controller.

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Did any MacBook Air drive both the internal display and more than one external display at the same time? What ability was lost in the 2011 Air? –  bmike Feb 23 '12 at 18:44
    
@bmike, no that was never the case. That quote looks odd. The sentence preceeding it was talking about the 2011 MBPro's ability to drive two displays. The "lost" comparison was to the updated Pro, not any past version of the Air. –  Ian C. Feb 23 '12 at 18:46
    
I don't believe that the Intel 3000 chip isn't "capable" of driving more than one screen in terms of GPU power. It's probably more a question of architecture. I was able to drive two screens including 3D support with a 1999 NVIDIA Geforce graphics card, and three with a Matrox card. This was fourteen years ago, which is eons in terms of semiconductor performance. –  Jens Nov 5 '13 at 10:06
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What about the Sonnet Thunderbolt expansion products? These appear to be just the ticket: grab a couple of PCIe video cards, throw them in this box and voila: as much real estate as you can afford. Anyone have any actual experience with this approach?

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/echoexpresschassis.html

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