Getting That Second Non-Thunderbolt Monitor to Work on your MacBook Pro

April 8th, 2012 25 Comments »

The Problem

So, you know you want a second monitor on your MacBook Pro, you already have the beautiful 27” Thunderbolt monitor working, but when you daisy chain from that first Thunderbolt monitor to your own DisplayPort monitor it does not work (or at least very well).  In my case, it would come up 1 out of 10 times correctly, and the other times, it would come up in some kind of funky power saving mode. So, since I’m pretty new to the apple world, I decided to call for Mac Support team and explain my dilemma.  I got a very nice person who did some research and came back and told me that a Thunderbolt port is not meant to work with DisplayPort, just other Thunderbolt ports.  This means I can buy another 27” $1000 Thunderbolt monitor from apple, but my HDMI $150 monitor with the $10 DisplayPort to HDMI adapter will just not work.  Here is the article she sent me to: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4744?viewlocale=en_US There is a huge thread about this issue already in the apple forums that you can read here titled “ThunderBolt + External Monitor = Mounds of Who”. https://discussions.apple.com/message/13180670#13180670

A Solution

While I was at a local Apple Store yesterday, I noticed they had a new Seagate adapter call the GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter that had two DisplayPort Connectors on it.  Someplace in the above thread I think I read that if you put a device between your real ThunderBolt monitor and your DisplayPort monitor that things will work as expected.  So, I put down my $189 for this  GoFlex adapter and it worked!!!

It’s hard to find online, but it was at the store. I now have two monitors working on my desktop with this cool little device, and when I purchase a Seagate GoFlex drive, I’ll be able to  have fast external storage as well.  Very cool

Other Points

I’m guessing any ThunderBolt device with two ports will do the job.  This one just seemed like it was almost affortable so I bought it.  BTW, don’t forget the $50 cable (like I did).  This dock does not come with anything but a power cord.