My setup is a 30" Cinema Display (2560x1600, DVI) from around 2007, and a 17-inch, Early 2011 Macbook Pro. I'm wondering if I can add a second external monitor via a USB adaptor or any other solution. Ideally another monitor of the same size and resolution.

  • You want to add another 30" to your MacBook Pro? – Michiel Jun 4 '12 at 13:22
  • Yep, updated the question to clarify. – mahemoff Jun 4 '12 at 13:26
  • Apple didn't released a MacBook Pro in 2012, so you might want to update this information as well :) – Michiel Jun 4 '12 at 13:26
  • Sorry, my bad. Updated now based on About This Mac info. – mahemoff Jun 4 '12 at 13:28
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    A couple people mentioned Thunderbolt, but there's not much hardware out there yet. The 17" is the only current Mac to include an ExpressCard slot... maybe check if there's an ExpressCard video adapter that will work with Mac (and I'm not sure there is). I guess it depends on where the bottleneck is - if it's VRAM, that seems like it would work, but if the CPU simply can't handle that much screen real estate, I guess you'll have to give up and use a lower resolution. – username Jun 4 '12 at 14:56

Yes, you can add another monitor if you use a USB video adaptor. No, there are no USB video adaptors that support dual link DVI monitors such as the 30" Cinema Display.

Many USB video adaptors will support 1920x1200, some a little bit higher.

However, you will find the USB video to be slow and annoying if you are used to high performance video.

I suggest you consider using two Apple Thunderbolt displays which are a bit smaller and a bit lower resolution at 2560-by-1440, but you can connect two of them, and you'll actually find as good as your cinema display is, technology has improved noticeably since its release, and the thunderbolt displays are absolutely stunning.

You might be able to connect one thunderbolt display, then attach the thunderbolt-DVI adaptor to that display and attach your cinema display.

To that end, you might find some of the information in this question useful:

How to connect two non-Thunderbolt displays to the Macbook Pro 2011 via Thunderbolt?


If you take a look at the Apple support pages, there is stated:

Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors

So I don't think you'll be able to hook up two 30" screens (2560x1600) to your MacBook Pro.

But if you set your resolutions to something smaller, you can buy some 3th party hardware to support dual screen modus...
Here is an overview of the available resolutions and the product you can buy (Matrox).

  • But I believe it's possible to do so if you use a USB adaptor. I'm just not sure if I can do it with my own particular setup (as they mightn't work with the old Cinema display). – mahemoff Jun 4 '12 at 13:30

I found a couple of ways that you might be able to connect multiple displays to your macbook pro. USB 2.0 to DVI Display Adapter, & Air Display. I don't know if either of these things will work but let me know!

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