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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.)

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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.

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    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
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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!

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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

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

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