I currently have a mid-2012 MacbookPro that is connected to a 27" Thunderbolt display. I also have a 17" Samsung Syncmaster that only has VGA & DVI port on it. So I bought the MiniDisplay-to-DVI converter and tried hooking it up to the TBD's thunderbolt port.

It didn't work. The TB port doesn't recognize the monitor at all. When hooking the monitor up directly to the MBP, it seems to work fine. Are there compatibility issues when using the MiniDisplay-to-DVI converter?

3 Answers 3


I would just like to chime in here and note that it is possible to get that DVI display to daisy-chain, but the caveat is that you have to put another Thunderbolt device in between the Thunderbolt display and the Mini DisplayPort->DVI converter.

Apple's notes one other caveat about the Thunderbolt display: older Mini DisplayPort displays won't light up if they're hooked directly into the Thunderbolt port on the newer LCD. Macworld's testing found that Mini DisplayPort LCDs can be added to a Thunderbolt chain and work as normal by hooking them into another Thunderbolt peripheral.

See: http://www.tuaw.com/2011/09/18/thunderbolt-display-daisy-chaining-spec-cleared-up/

  • Also, for Macbooks with 2 Thunderbolt ports, it works fine to plug one monitor into each. I just set that up now with a late 2013 MBP and it's working perfectly as a triple screen rig. 27" Thunderbolt display and a separate 30" Cinema display connected via DVI-Mini DisplayPort adaptor (and USB).
    – mahemoff
    Nov 9, 2013 at 10:25
  • This is correct. I use a Belkin Thunderbolt Express dock to connect my Wacom Cintiq using a MiniDisplay connector, and still connect the Thunderbolt display to the Mac. Before I used an USB video card for outputting the DVI signal, which is a worse solution.
    – acseven
    Sep 12, 2014 at 21:14
  • I tired connecting a Thunderbolt disk drive (with two Thunderbolt ports) between the two displays, didn't work.
    – xApple
    Nov 6, 2016 at 22:15

The Mini DisplayPort to DVI converter will only work when plugged directly into the MacBook Pro. You cannot plug it into a Thunderbolt Display for the purpose of daisy chaining. See this support article for details. Your only option of powering two displays via Thunderbolt alone is to purchase two Thunderbolt Displays.

Do you have a Retina MacBook Pro? If so connect the Syncmaster via the laptop's HDMI port. It should work (in theory) using an HDMI to DVI cable.


Indeed you can run 2 physically connected non TB displays plus a TB display from a retina with adapters. I have one TB to DVI and a HDMI to DVI that hang 2 24" Samsungs off the MBP with the additional TB port being used by a TB display. In addition I use my iPad as a 4th monitor with the Air Display app.

  • 2
    I might just not be reading well right now, but this doesn't seem to answer the question.
    – dwightk
    Mar 14, 2014 at 21:02

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