I have a MacBook Pro (13") from Early 2011 and want to use 2 external monitors (And not the actual display). I've seen the Matrox, but that appears to make one BIG display out of 2 monitors, so I can't really have 2 desktops.

Is there any way for me to have 2 external displays and have them recognized by the OS?


If you want a cheaper alternative to running two Thunderbolt Displays, you can add a second monitor (in addition to one off the mini-Displayport) try a USB Displaylink adapter, like this one from OWC (there are other brands, any one using the Displaylink technology should work).

The performance won't be as good, but as long as you're not doing anything involving lots of 3D, it should be acceptable.

  • I used to use the Matrox, but I moved away from it in favor of a USB connector. But in Mavericks, the USB-to-DVI connector I got (EVGA UV Plus+) seems to stress the CPU to the point of the laptop going to sleep due to heat. If one has some cash to drop, it seems like Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock could make two monitors possible. And some newer MBPs come with two Thunderbolt ports. Feb 24 '14 at 10:37
  • Previous comment's wrong; the Thunderbolt Express still only provides 1 Thunderbolt port. Feb 25 '14 at 19:11

Any 2011 MacBook Pro model will support Thunderbolt. You can daisy-chain 2 Thunderbolt displays. You can also connect one mini DisplayPort monitor to the end of a Thunderbolt chain and connect your Mac to your Thunderbolt Display.

A non-Thunderbolt solution if you don't have a Thunderbolt Mac: a DisplayLink-style USB to DVI display adapter.

  • FAQ 20: Mini DisplayPort Monitors or Monitors connecting with Mini DisplayPort adapters will not function when connected through a Thunderbolt Display. They must be connected directly to the Thunderbolt port on the computer or to a non-display device as indicated above.
    – gabedwrds
    Aug 31 '12 at 4:07

You can always try the Matrox DualHead2Go Digital ME. I use the Mini DisplayPort version and it works well except it can get quite fussy when I try to resume from sleep. Of course, I'm using it with the MBP lid closed; it doesn't seem to have this problem when the lid is open.

One other note: the device makes both monitors appear to the Mac as being a single, giant monitor. However, I haven't really had any issue with this myself.


There is a way to connect two non-Thunderbolt monitors to a Macbook Pro (Early 2011). You just have to daisy chain two Thunderbolt docks together, where at least one of the docks has an HDMI out.

This is because each Thunderbolt device can demultiplex only one DisplayPort signal from the Thunderbolt signal. So to get two DisplayPort signals out of the Thunderbolt signal, you need two Thunderbolt devices.


I have an Elgato Thunderbolt 2 Dock and a Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock. My Macbook Pro is connected with a Thunderbolt cable to the Elgato dock. My first monitor is connected to the Elgato dock via the HDMI port. The Belkin dock is then daisy chained to the first dock using another Thunderbolt cable. I then use a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable to connect the Belkin dock to the second monitor. When this is all connected up, the laptop's display shuts off and the two external monitors work normally.

It's not a cheap setup, but second-hand Thunderbolt docks are a lot cheaper than they used to be. Hopefully this helps anyone else like me who is stubbornly refusing to upgrade their 8 year old laptop!


It seems I fell into the vicar's tale (http://www.belkin.com/us/p/P-F4U085/) and bought this Belkin Thunderbolt™ 2 Express Dock HD.

It's page states "Imagine connecting two displays to your laptop. Now imagine one of those displays boasting an eye-popping 4K cinema resolution. With the Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD, you can make the display setup of your dreams a reality." but I cant tell if it's a MacOS issue or not as "notebook" includes WindoZe notes.

If I plug a thunderbolt adapter to it, HDMI port stops ;/

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    Jun 19 '18 at 15:38

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