Is there a native Thunderbolt to DisplayPort or DVI cable?

I understand that Thunderbolt is downwards-compatible to Mini DisplayPort, however I'm looking for an adapter cable using the Thunderbolt port in a native fashion;

Background: I want to run two displays off a Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock 2, however it doesn't allow the Thunderbolt port to run in Display Port mode and using the HDMI port at the same time..

So I'm looking into some kind of adapter from (native) Thunderbolt to a non-Thunderbolt display without using the Mini DisplayPort compatibility mode..

Any hints much appreciated!!

4 Answers 4


I took a look at Belkin's website on this particular product and they clearly state that it "Supports dual displays & 4K cinema resolution."

enter image description here

Now, there is no "Thunderbolt" to DVI/HDMI because Thunderbolt is an extension of PCIe. So, in a very basic sense, this would be like trying to plug your monitor in directly to the logic board and not go through the video adapter; it cannot happen.

However, Thunderbolt "multiplexes" the DisplayPort signal on that single cable. You are going to get both. Now, if you use a a Thunderbolt compatible cable, you can daisy chain additional TB devices off your monitor, albeit at a reduced data transfer rate. This is why monitors are the last in the chain. If you use a non-TB cable, you will only get display and no TB signal.


It was really bugging me that this didn't work because I was close to reccomending this product for a friend and I wanted to do my due diligence. I found this on their support site:

Belkin FAQ

So, basically, in order for you to get dual displays, you need a native Thunderbolt Display like these.

If you do go that route, remember you will need a Thunderbolt/Thunderbolt 2 cable

  • Well, both appear to be using the Mini DisplayPort which on the Thunderbolt Express Dock apparently disables the HDMI port - so that won't work I'm afraid
    – cacau
    Jul 8, 2015 at 12:57
  • Ah, ok - thanks for the additional explanation. Makes more sense now.
    – cacau
    Jul 8, 2015 at 13:19
  • Found some new relevant info. See my edit above.
    – Allan
    Jul 8, 2015 at 13:29
  • Cheers - No keen to buy a pricy Thunderbolt display, though..
    – cacau
    Jul 9, 2015 at 5:37

Unfortunately I don't think what you want is possible unless one of your displays is a Thunderbolt display. See, for example, this FAQ on the Caldigit site (I'm guessing that most third party docks use similar technology internally, hence the link) as well as this quote from the product page:

Note about dual displays: At least one display has to be Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 technology-ready. For displays that are not Thunderbolt technology-ready, the Thunderbolt port is backwards compatible with Mini DisplayPort. The dock supports either HDMI or Mini DisplayPort, but not both. The dock supports only one display at 4K cinema resolution.

That said, I think it's primarily because there aren't any Thunderbolt to HDMI/DisplayPort adapters available (at least, I've not found one). I'm guessing that because Thunderbolt is plug compatible with Mini-DP that no-one has felt the need to make one.

A possible workaround is something like the Zotac Mini DP to Dual HDMI Cable.

See also this thread discussing the same question.

  • @cacau Hmm, I just spotted this. It claims to allow connecting a PC top Apple’s Cinema Display. That isn't a supported combination, so I wonder if it contains sufficient magic to be hooked up to a Thunderbolt cable and then a monitor via DP. Perhaps worth trying as the price isn't too high.
    – mjturner
    Jul 8, 2015 at 13:49
  • Then again - if Thunderbolt doesn't 'really' provide a video signal and the port just carries DP signals as well I can't imagine that would work either. Could check with the vendor, though - thanks!
    – cacau
    Jul 9, 2015 at 5:38

It is possible to do what you request - but it is not going to be using a simple cable.

You can connect a Thunderbolt-to-PCIe chassis to the dock and add an ordinary graphics card (GPU) to that chassis. That way you can add extra displays to the dock by using the Thunderbolt PCIe signal instead of the displayport-signal.

Unfortunately, it's going to be more bulky and costly than a simple cable.

For Thunderbolt-to-PCIe chassis you could use for example the 269$ AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe Box, or the 299$ OWC Mercury Helios. You would need to add on an ordinary graphics card to that price.

  • Wow, thanks for the info.. didn't find that solution yet. However, I gave up in the meantime an won't use two external displays with my Macbook until upgrading to a newer machine..
    – cacau
    Jan 4, 2016 at 10:19

I have an Apple Thunderbolt Display (ATD) plugged into Mac Pro 2013, Belkin TB2 dock plugged into ATD and Apple Cinema Display plugged into Belkin's second TB port. It works just fine, but sometimes the screens order is changed (it is a common problem and pain for all multidisplayers on New Pac Pro) and sometimes ACD doesn't switch on, so I have to re-plug the power to Belkin and everything goes just fine.

  • It certainly works when using Thunderbolt displays, however I was looking for a DisplayPort or DVI solution
    – cacau
    Jan 4, 2016 at 10:20

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