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I have an Early 2015 13" MacBook Air with Intel HD Graphics 6000 1536 MB. I'm trying to figure out what its capabilities are in terms of connecting two external monitors.

First, if I just used the two external monitors and did not use the MacBook Air's built-in monitor, what is the maximum resolution I could run both external monitors at simultaneously? For example, could they both do 1080p resolution, or perhaps higher? And does it matter whether I use the built-in monitor? (I've scoured the internet looking for information about this but haven't found anything so far!)

Second, is there a device I can use just for connecting two external monitors via DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort to the MacBook Air's Thunderbolt 2 port, other than an expensive general purpose Thunderbolt 2 dock like one of these? I should add that I'm not interested in using devices that connect to a USB 3 port and use a DisplayLink driver.

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Just for posterity I'll answer my own question:

After doing quite a bit of searching around, I eventually figured out that the easiest and cheapest way to accomplish this would be to use the StarTech brand Thunderbolt 2 Dual-Monitor Docking Station. Even with a MacBook Air, you can still plug in two external monitors simultaneously. I found reports that it works as advertised. Note that I have not purchased one and tried it myself, though.

  • Hi! I have the same setup, looking to connect a Cinema display and a Thunderbolt display to an early 2015 13" MacBook Air. Did you ever try this out? Thanks! – Don Jan 28 at 16:17
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The MacBook Air (Early 2015) can natively support a single external display with a resolution up to 3840x2160.

From the Technical Specifications:

Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 3840 by 2160 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors.

To get a second external monitor, you will need a USB to DVI or HDMI or VGA adapter.

I should add that I'm not interested in using devices that connect to a USB 3 port and use a DisplayLink driver.

You have to. The integrated graphics chipset only supports a single external monitor so you need another adapter to support an additional monitor; there's no getting around this.

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    The Apple technical specifications frequently don't include all the capabilities of a device, though. For example, it is (allegedly) possible to connect two external monitors to a Macbook Air via its thunderbolt 2 port by daisy-chaining thunderbolt 2 devices (meaning you need either two thunderbolt 2 docks or one of the monitors needs to be a thunderbolt monitor). But I don't know what the limitations of such a setup are, or if there's a less expensive way to accomplish it! However if the MacBook Air can support a single 4K monitor, it can surely handle two 1080p monitors. – GuyGizmo May 18 '18 at 19:24
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    However if the MacBook Air can support a single 4K monitor, it can surely handle two 1080p monitors. That's not the way it works. It comes down to bandwidth (display port channels) supplied and the MBA simply doesn't have the bandwidth to daisy chain two monitors. It can support one external monitor, period. – Allan May 18 '18 at 19:27
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    I've always found a few reports by users saying they were able to get two external displays working via Thunderbolt daisy-chaining. – GuyGizmo May 18 '18 at 19:42
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    That's a 2012 article (6 years out of date). Daisy chaining is supposed to be supported but it isn't. See: apple.stackexchange.com/a/259308/119271 where uses have tested and reported back that it doesn't work. – Allan May 18 '18 at 19:48
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    So if your research shows yes, then go do it... – Solar Mike May 18 '18 at 20:28
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Sharing this in case anyone finds it useful. You can get 2 thunderbolt displays, plug the thunderbolt end from one of them into the other thunderbolt display's port, then plug that display's thunderbolt end into the MacBook Air's thunderbolt 2 port.

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