It seems the new Mac Mini uses both HDMI and Thunderbolt, but bandwidth limitations of Thunderbolt may prevent using 3 daisy-chained Thunderbolt high resolution monitors such as the newly released Apple Thunderbolt 27" Display, limiting you to two instead of three.

If this correct:
1. What occurs to the 3rd monitor in a triple daisy-chain? Black screen? Reduced available resolution up to the bandwidth limit of Thunderbolt?
2. Are there HDMI to mini-displayport adapters for connecting the HDMI output of the Mini to the Thunderbolt input of an Apple Thunderbolt 27" Display? Would that even work?

  • "Are there HDMI to mini-displayport adapters for connecting the HDMI output of the Mini to the Thunderbolt input of an Apple Thunderbolt 27" Display?" For that part, see apple.stackexchange.com/questions/17960/…
    – Thilo
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 7:07
  • Apparently Sonnet is going to introduce an external PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode) chassis for Thunderbolt called Echo Express that could work as an eGPU solution, slotting in a normal PCIe video card. Then it would be a matter of chasing down a Mac compatible quad display output video card... Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 7:13
  • From this MacWorld article: macworld.com/article/158145/2011/02/… On a desktop Mac, the Thunderbolt port would support two high-resolution displays. You can connect a Mini DisplayPort-enabled display directly, or a DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, or VGA display using an adapter. With that said you might be limited by the number of pixels your graphics card is able to push. I'm not sure what happens when you connect 3 displays. Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 1:44
  • 1
    It appears the new Mac Mini comes with a HDMI to DVI adapter, but the HDMI port is restricted to 1080p. Apple appears to now offer in their store a partial solution through a Kanex brand single link DVI to mini DisplayPort converter [store.apple.com/us/product/H5236ZM/… which at least will work with a Thunderbolt display in DisplayPort only mode, but at reduced resolution (the limiter being the HDMI output). It still isn't obvious if using two thunderbolt displays will lock out the HDMI port though at the hardware or driver level though. Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 7:43

3 Answers 3


If you get the Mac Mini with the AMD graphics it can support three monitors.

From MacRumors

Mac mini (Mid 2011): Two Thunderbolt displays. Mac mini with AMD graphics can support a HDMI compatible device on its HDMI port when using two Thunderbolt displays.


The limitation is not in the Thunderbolt, but in your graphic card.

I believe the third display will have a black screen if you don't have enough power from your graphic card.

  • Power as in energy or power as in graphical UMMPHH?
    – Alexander
    Commented Aug 5, 2011 at 3:55
  • 1
    yes as in graphical, not electrical. Commented Aug 5, 2011 at 5:40
  • It has far more then the graphical oomph to power 3 monitors in idle, since the mac mini can handle quite a selection of games with 1 or 2 monitors
    – Alexander
    Commented Aug 6, 2011 at 18:19
  • Eventually you run out of VRAM.
    – tadman
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 17:23

Apple recently posted a knowledge base article on this subject.

The bottom line is there is no currently available Mac that can power more than two thunderbolt displays. You may be able to use third-party hardware extensions to increase this number.

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