Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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 have a MacBook Pro (13") from Early 2011 and want to use 2 external monitors (And not the actual display). I've seen the Matrox, but that appears to make one BIG display out of 2 monitors, so I can't really have 2 desktops.

Is there any way for me to have 2 external displays and have them recognized by the OS?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you want a cheaper alternative to running two Thunderbolt Displays, you can add a second monitor (in addition to one off the mini-Displayport) try a USB Displaylink adapter, like this one from OWC (there are other brands, any one using the Displaylink technology should work).

The performance won't be as good, but as long as you're not doing anything involving lots of 3D, it should be acceptable.

share|improve this answer
I used to use the Matrox, but I moved away from it in favor of a USB connector. But in Mavericks, the USB-to-DVI connector I got (EVGA UV Plus+) seems to stress the CPU to the point of the laptop going to sleep due to heat. If one has some cash to drop, it seems like Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock could make two monitors possible. And some newer MBPs come with two Thunderbolt ports. – wizonesolutions Feb 24 '14 at 10:37
Previous comment's wrong; the Thunderbolt Express still only provides 1 Thunderbolt port. – wizonesolutions Feb 25 '14 at 19:11

Any 2011 MacBook Pro model will support Thunderbolt. You can daisy-chain 2 Thunderbolt displays. You can also connect one mini DisplayPort monitor to the end of a Thunderbolt chain and connect your Mac to your Thunderbolt Display.

A non-Thunderbolt solution if you don't have a Thunderbolt Mac: a DisplayLink-style USB to DVI display adapter.

share|improve this answer
FAQ 20: Mini DisplayPort Monitors or Monitors connecting with Mini DisplayPort adapters will not function when connected through a Thunderbolt Display. They must be connected directly to the Thunderbolt port on the computer or to a non-display device as indicated above. – gabedwrds Aug 31 '12 at 4:07

You can always try the Matrox DualHead2Go Digital ME. I use the Mini DisplayPort version and it works well except it can get quite fussy when I try to resume from sleep. Of course, I'm using it with the MBP lid closed; it doesn't seem to have this problem when the lid is open.

One other note: the device makes both monitors appear to the Mac as being a single, giant monitor. However, I haven't really had any issue with this myself.

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.