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I've always understood that my Mac Mini is limited to one QHD (2560 x 1440/1600) monitor via DisplayPort and one HD monitor (1900x1200) via HDMI... from Wikipedia:

Like the 2009 version, a Mini DisplayPort (which allows for a VGA connection, via a non-included cable) is included. A HDMI port, which Apple describes as being HDMI 1.4 compliant, replaces the Mini-DVI port on the prior models as one of the main video connection methods. The HDMI port supports up to 1080p on HDMI connections and 8 channel 24-bit audio at 192 kHz, Dolby Surround 5.1 and stereo output. With the included HDMI to DVI adapter, for those currently using a DVI interface, the HDMI port will work with resolutions up to 1920 × 1200 pixels, while the Mini DisplayPort can concurrently support a resolution up to 2560 × 1600 pixels

However this link suggests I can run two QHD monitors via the thunderbolt port and a splitter:

Thunderbolt digital video output

  • Native Mini DisplayPort output
  • DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (sold separately)
  • VGA output using Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter (sold separately)
  • Dual-link DVI output using Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (sold separately)

HDMI video output

  • Support for 1080p resolution at up to 60Hz
  • DVI output using HDMI to DVI Adapter (sold separately)

There is a lot of talk of DVI here, but my monitor only supports [Mini]DisplayPort and HDMI.

Am I right to read this that my Mac will support two QHD monitors but only by splitting from the DP/thunderbolt port leaving HDMI-out unused? In which case can I get a Thunderbolt->dual DP or DP->Dual DP adapter or do I have to get a DVI splitter and two DVI->DP adapters?!

  • @Allan typo for QHD (fixed) – Mr. Boy Feb 16 '18 at 16:19
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Am I right to read this that my Mac will support two QHD monitors but only by splitting from the DP/thunderbolt port leaving HDMI-out unused? In which case can I get a Thunderbolt->dual DP or DP->Dual DP adapter or do I have to get a DVI splitter and two DVI->DP adapters?!

There's no such thing as a Thunderbolt "splitter."

You are confusing the term dual-link DVI with dual DVI. Dual-link DVI refers to the number of data channels (double) that is available for more bandwidth meaning higher resolution. It's not a "second connection" and you cannot "split" the signals. Dual DVI is two DVI ports for multiple monitors. The Mac mini does not nor support dual DVI

Multiple Monitors on a Mac mini

The Mac mini will natively support two monitors:

  • Thunderbolt/DisplayPort - Quad HD (2560x1600)
  • HDMI Port - Full HD (1080p)

To get another display or dual QHD displays, you need an additional adapter and for the Mac mini, that means USB:

This will give you another USB adapter, but be aware that you are now offloading all of the graphics processing onto the USB bus and ultimately on the CPU. In other words, this is not something for performance, but rather convenience. The Mac mini wasn't designed for this type of setup.

  • I think I follow all that; for the avoidance of doubt does it therefore follow that a)only one monitor can plug into the Thunderbolt digital output b)I cannot do better than one HD monitor (1900x1200) and one QHD (2560x1600) with this model of Mac? – Mr. Boy Feb 16 '18 at 16:22
  • You've provided a workaround but you haven't actually answered my questions... can you incorporate that with your adapter idea into your asnwer? – Mr. Boy Feb 16 '18 at 16:44
  • @Mr.Boy: Allan's answer is incomplete. It most definitely is technically feasible for a 2012 Mac mini to drive two displays, each at a resolution of 2560x1440 (1440p/QHD) or 2560x1600 (WQXGA), without any use of USB-to-video solutions. – jdmc Dec 10 '18 at 17:28
  • In a nutshell, the Thunderbolt 1 bus carries two independent 10-Gbps channels, each of which has sufficient bandwidth to carry a DisplayPort High Bit Rate (HBR) datastream, which can accommodate 2560x1600 resolution at 24 bits per pixel and 75 Hz refresh rate. Actually setting this up is unfortunately not as easy or straightforward as it should be, but it can be done. I'm working on a more detailed answer which I intend to post here soon. – jdmc Dec 10 '18 at 17:28

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