We're looking at buying new MacBooks for our dev team, and I have a concern about the way Thunderbolt is used in a chain for multiple displays. We're even willing to purchase new, Thunderbolt-capable monitors, but one thing I regularly do is rotate one of my monitors 90°. My understanding is that OOTB Apple displays do not rotate on their stands. I already have a DVI capable ViewSonic monitor that rotates very well, so if I get a Thunderbolt-to-DVI adapter, can I use that as the last device in the Thunderbolt chain?

(Alternatively, if there is a reasonable approach to rotating an Apple display I would love to hear it.)


Yes to both questions: you can plug in a mini DisplayPort adapter at the end, and mini DisplayPort doesn't care about rotation: OS X handles that.

  • 1
    As an addendum, you can do any arbitrary rotation in the Displays section of System Preferences. For "internal" displays (on a MacBook, iMac, etc.) the Rotation prefs are hidden, but all external displays can be rotated. – Christian L Jan 14 '12 at 4:23
  • And thanks for the edit; I must have been thinking about the "end" being the seventh item (the maximum number of TB devices that can be hooked up), not the actual end of the chain. – CajunLuke Jan 15 '12 at 5:44

I'm not sure about your first question about using a non-thunderbolt device at the end of a thunderbolt chain. However, you can get an Apple thunderbolt display and also purchase the apple VESA mount kit and mount it on one of these types of monitor stands. I believe this would solve your problem and convert you to an all-Apple ecosystem.

Hope this helps!


Thundbolt displays have an option to swap out the base "foot" with a standard 10cm^2 VESA that you can put onto any monitor mount such as a wall mount, multiple scene mount, etc. which could allow for rotation should the mount support it.

VESA Mount Adapter Kit for iMac and LED Cinema or Apple Thunderbolt Display


Check out the i360 by Rain Design for a decent-looking solution for rotating an Apple Thunderbolt Display.

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