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Apple's new MacBook Pro with Retina Display can power 3 external monitors

post #1 of 34
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With its two Thunderbolt ports and an integrated HDMI port, Apple's new Retina Display-equipped 15-inch MacBook Pro can power up to three external monitors for an impressive total of four screens.

Other World Computing put the new flagship professional-level laptop through its paces by hooking it up to two iMacs in display mode via Thunderbolt and an LG monitor via HDMI while setting the machine's own display settings to "Best for Retina."

Even with all four displays active, the new MacBook Pro did not appear to have any performance issues. "Moving images and media didn?t create any lag and we were able to play video on all four displays simultaneously," OWC wrote in a blog post about the experiment.

Counting the full resolution of the MacBook Pro's display, OWC's four-screen setup shows the laptop powering a whopping 14.86 million pixels.



Apple's own technical specifications for the MacBook Pro with Retina Display only detail support for two external displays at 2,560 by 1,600 pixels, plus the built-in display. The laptop's graphics are powered by NVIDIA's GeForce GT 650M GPU and Intel's integrated HD Graphics 4000.

The new MacBook Pro has received gushing reviews, with most noting the $2,200 price as the only major downside.

In addition to the Retina Display, the new MacBook Pro features a thinner form factor, SSD storage, USB 3.0 and Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors. A recent teardown of the laptop's display called Apple's design, which removed a layer of glass, an "engineering marvel."

MacBook Pro
post #2 of 34

Impressive!

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post #3 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's new Retina Display-equipped 15-inch MacBook Pro can power up to three external monitors
Actually, it can push video to 3 external monitors.
It does not power them.
Edited by Chris_CA - 6/21/12 at 5:59am
post #4 of 34

Is it simply mirrored or can you have the desktop extend to all 4 displays? I'm guessing it's the latter, but I wanted to make sure as it sounds too good to be true.

post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIA View Post

Is it simply mirrored or can you have the desktop extend to all 4 displays? I'm guessing it's the latter, but I wanted to make sure as it sounds too good to be true.

As the folders aren't showing up on any of the externals… Latter.

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post #6 of 34

Yikes, is the uniformity of these new retina panels really as bad as in the picture? There's a clear red->green shift from top to bottom. Approximately 50% of the 10 or so Cinema/Thunderbolt displays I've used have similar issues (either vertically or horizontally, it's par for the course with IPS LCDs) but it seems especially bad here. Guess I'll have to head over to the Apple store and pull up lagom's tests on them.

post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluevoid View Post

Yikes, is the uniformity of these new retina panels really as bad as in the picture? There's a clear red->green shift from top to bottom. Approximately 50% of the 10 or so Cinema/Thunderbolt displays I've used have similar issues (either vertically or horizontally, it's par for the course with IPS LCDs) but it seems especially bad here. Guess I'll have to head over to the Apple store and pull up lagom's tests on them.

I don't have this problem with my late 2009 27" iMac. Still, it's the only large display that I've spent time on. Were those 10 displays all later model, Thunderbolt models?

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post #8 of 34

While the MS world is all a twitter over the surface, Apple quietly goes about shifting the goal posts yet again. Oh - and about the surface, why oh why would one build in a stand that prevents equal functionality under all modes of orientation that any proper tablet would surely be capable of supporting? Unless of course the whole thing is a ruse!

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post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Actually, it can drive video to 3 external monitors.
It does not power them.

I doubt that anyone here will have missed that slip! What I'd like to do is use first gen iPads as external displays. This would be exquisitely cool.  However, I guess that the data transfer rate through the dock connector just wouldn't cut it.

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post #10 of 34

The is an app for that, its call "air display"

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post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissionGrey View Post

The is an app for that, its call "air display"

Thanks for pointing that out. Have you seen the reviews? Don't know if buyers were expecting too much, however, better to give it a miss for now.

 

All the best.

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post #12 of 34
Confirmed. However, when Apple finally allows 'Full Screen' to actually work on ONE screen at a time, that's when I'll sit up and take notice. I have three screens running right now on my iMac, but 'full screen' literally blanks two out. Denim guys, just denim.

Every time I see a keynote, I wonder "that's what I thought a Mac could do."

Really, I like the new features. Seriously!

But two or three screens... Denim my friends. That's all. Just denim...

Full screen is useless if you use more than one screen. Why can't it 'full screen' on each monitor?

Anyway, my big draw back. I'm sure I'm a 'special case!'. I've been told as much!
post #13 of 34

now racing games can be even more realistic

post #14 of 34
Meaning to use three different apps 'full screen' at the same time. My last post might have seemed a little ambiguois. My bad!
post #15 of 34
Pfft. I used to have a Macintosh IIcx with five (count 'em) FIVE monitors attached to it. NuBus slots rocked.

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post #16 of 34

It's the perfect notebook for VJ's. Wow.

post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vadania View Post
....
Full screen is useless if you use more than one screen. Why can't it 'full screen' on each monitor?
Anyway, my big draw back. I'm sure I'm a 'special case!'. I've been told as much!

Don't worry, mate. Search for mac full screen mode dual monitors on google and you'll see that you're not the only one.

There are even some tricks there to kind of make use of the blank screens. Check it out.

post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Pfft. I used to have a Macintosh IIcx with five (count 'em) FIVE monitors attached to it. NuBus slots rocked.

Errrr. Didn't the cx and ci each have only 3 nubus slots?


Edited by Rothgarr - 6/21/12 at 4:27am
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

...Oh - and about the surface, why oh why would one build in a stand that prevents equal functionality under all modes of orientation that any proper tablet would surely be capable of supporting? Unless of course the whole thing is a ruse!

 

And that's why (for example) on Nokia phones, kickstands came and went; they tend to only be good in one orientation and usually, the chosen orientation is landscape. You have to admit, though, that if you always use landscape orientation, the idea of the kickstand + the keyboard cover is a nice one (albeit a logical evolution from some 3rd party iPad cases). I wonder if the keyboard is any good?

post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vadania View Post

Confirmed. However, when Apple finally allows 'Full Screen' to actually work on ONE screen at a time, that's when I'll sit up and take notice. I have three screens running right now on my iMac, but 'full screen' literally blanks two out. Denim guys, just denim.
Every time I see a keynote, I wonder "that's what I thought a Mac could do."
Really, I like the new features. Seriously!
But two or three screens... Denim my friends. That's all. Just denim...
Full screen is useless if you use more than one screen. Why can't it 'full screen' on each monitor?
Anyway, my big draw back. I'm sure I'm a 'special case!'. I've been told as much!

Why am I suddenly reminded of "Cinerama"?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinerama

 

(No, not the punnily-named Xinerama!)

post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Actually, it can drive video to 3 external monitors.
It does not power them.

 

Semantics make the world go 'round. 

 

My car is powered by a 2.0L Turbo Charger Engine. No wait.. my car is powered by fossil fuels. No wait.. my car is powered by a series of precisely timed tiny explosions. No wait.. my car is powered by the transfer of torque from the power train to the wheels. No wait...

 

I work with POWER Systems (http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/?lnk=mhpr) which gets confusing when talking about power - need to be careful when using the term "power" depending on whether you are referring to the system type, or the POWER processor or the electrical consumption. Even when a customer wants to know what the power requirements of a system are they could mean the plug types required or they could mean the amount of current drawn or they could mean the watts required (or VA) from the UPS to which it will be attached. 

 

Did anyone else notice the Flashback Malware Removal item not that Software Update screenshot? is that part of 10.8?

post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Pfft. I used to have a Macintosh IIcx with five (count 'em) FIVE monitors attached to it. NuBus slots rocked.

Those were the days!  I still have my Quadra 700!  Still, these days are better! :)

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post #23 of 34

Thanks BlueVoid for the tip on Lagom.

  • Yikes, is the uniformity of these new retina panels really as bad as in the picture? There's a clear red->green shift from top to bottom. Approximately 50% of the 10 or so Cinema/Thunderbolt displays I've used have similar issues (either vertically or horizontally, it's par for the course with IPS LCDs) but it seems especially bad here. Guess I'll have to head over to the Apple store and pull up lagom's tests on them.
     

Thanks for the Lagom website.  I'm coming to the end of my 3-year Applecare on my 27" iMac (we ordered the day after they were announced in Nov 2009).  The LCD has some vague grey-ish areas near the top-center.  About the area of a deck of cards, spread out over a curved area.

 

The appearance is as if it needs to be cleaned in those splotchy areas, but of course cleaning doesn't help.

 

As if the brightness is 50% in those hazy regions.  Most notable when showing white or grey of course.

 

I'm not sure if they'd show under the bright lights of a genius-bar setting after lugging the 30 lb thing in.  I know Apple has great service but I'm nervous about them not SEEING the issue, and not wanting to respond to it.

 

Perhaps some of the test-images at Lagom can be photographed or something.  My previous attempts to take iPhone pix of an LCD with a fuzzy area weren't exactly definitive.

 

Thanks!

post #24 of 34

Is the non-retina one still limited to two? I guess the TB controller limit would stop it from using all the displays the GPU can.

 

Just fyi though my three year old laptop can run three 1920x1080 displays (counting its own) and run separate videos at native on all of them, just a Core 2 Duo/4570.  Yes Retina has more pixels, but video playback is independant of screen resolution, and they have an extra display but it's been three years. And the 650m has native four display support on any platform. So it's good to know Apple didn't limit this in some way, but it's not crazy impressive.

 

Also I still hate how Lion handles multiple monitors...I hear that's improved in ML?

post #25 of 34

Couldn't they have taken a picture of the Display properties page?

13" MBP 2.53GHz C2D, 21.5" Alu iMac 3.06GHz C2D, 24" Alu iMac 2.8GHz C2D, 15" MBP 2.2GHz i7 (work)
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13" MBP 2.53GHz C2D, 21.5" Alu iMac 3.06GHz C2D, 24" Alu iMac 2.8GHz C2D, 15" MBP 2.2GHz i7 (work)
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post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post

LL


What good is having 4 monitors if they all show the same image?

Edit:  The external monitors don't seem to show all the screen elements, but only show the wallpaper.  WTF?

And why are the colors different on the different monitors?  Are they miscalibrated?

It probably works the same way that external monitors have always worked on Mac OS. You can move individual apps and windows to the other monitors. So you could put Photoshop on one monitor, Safari on another, etc.
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post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

I don't have this problem with my late 2009 27" iMac. Still, it's the only large display that I've spent time on. Were those 10 displays all later model, Thunderbolt models?

 

It shouldn't matter; the 27" iMacs, LED Cinema Displays and Thunderbolt Displays all use the same LG panel. Unfortunately LCD technology is still pretty variable in terms of yeild/quality control. Still, it's pretty damn impressive that we're getting super-thin IPS panels on notebooks, regardless of resolution. Apple really is the only one pushing hardware forward in this regard. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aelegg View Post

Thanks BlueVoid for the tip on Lagom.

Thanks for the Lagom website.  I'm coming to the end of my 3-year Applecare on my 27" iMac (we ordered the day after they were announced in Nov 2009).  The LCD has some vague grey-ish areas near the top-center.  About the area of a deck of cards, spread out over a curved area.

 

The appearance is as if it needs to be cleaned in those splotchy areas, but of course cleaning doesn't help.

 

Hmmm, without seeing it, what you describe sounds like some imperfections in the light spreader layer behind the panel itself. Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if they were there the whole time. LCD test images are going to reveal imperfections that aren't normally noticeable (especially grey patterns, which will make any vertical or horizontal color shifts really easy to spot) so it comes down to whether the problem is noticeable in normal use. If you can make the "genius" see the issue, and tell him/her that you notice it with normal use, they're typically pretty good about making you happy. They may be a bit more strict with iMacs vs. just displays, though.

post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySwitched26 View Post

What good is having 4 monitors if they all show the same image?

Edit:  The external monitors don't seem to show all the screen elements, but only show the wallpaper.    And are the images on the external monitors stretched vertically?  WTF?

Look for more than half a second, Conrad, and you'll see that it's extending the display. Apparently you've never heard of this concept. You see, you plug in a second monitor… and it gives you more desktop space.

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Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Pfft. I used to have a Macintosh IIcx with five (count 'em) FIVE monitors attached to it. NuBus slots rocked.

 

Clearly the IIcx was the best notebook Apple ever made. lol.gif

 

-kpluck

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post #30 of 34

I have a Retina MacBook Pro, a Samsung TV, two 27" iMacs, one Thunderbolt and one pre-Thunderbolt.

 

Before I rush out to buy a bunch of incredibly overpriced cables, can I replicate this experiment including the MiniDisplayPort display or do both iMacs need to be Thunderbolt?

 

D

post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by aelegg View Post

Thanks BlueVoid for the tip on Lagom.

Thanks for the Lagom website.  I'm coming to the end of my 3-year Applecare on my 27" iMac (we ordered the day after they were announced in Nov 2009).  The LCD has some vague grey-ish areas near the top-center.  About the area of a deck of cards, spread out over a curved area.

 

The appearance is as if it needs to be cleaned in those splotchy areas, but of course cleaning doesn't help.

 

As if the brightness is 50% in those hazy regions.  Most notable when showing white or grey of course.

 

I'm not sure if they'd show under the bright lights of a genius-bar setting after lugging the 30 lb thing in.  I know Apple has great service but I'm nervous about them not SEEING the issue, and not wanting to respond to it.

 

Perhaps some of the test-images at Lagom can be photographed or something.  My previous attempts to take iPhone pix of an LCD with a fuzzy area weren't exactly definitive.

 

Thanks!

I had the monitor on my 27" iMac replaced for free even after my warranty had expired due to the exact same problem.  Its a known issue with the early 27" LCD panels.  Take it in, they'll put a new LCD panel in for free.

post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluevoid View Post

 

It shouldn't matter; the 27" iMacs, LED Cinema Displays and Thunderbolt Displays all use the same LG panel. Unfortunately LCD technology is still pretty variable in terms of yeild/quality control. Still, it's pretty damn impressive that we're getting super-thin IPS panels on notebooks, regardless of resolution. Apple really is the only one pushing hardware forward in this regard. 

 

That's not actually true. You're just not paying attention. 1920x1080 displays have become far more common in notebooks over the past year, and adoption of IPS displays has increased, especially among ultrabooks. This preceded the rMBP. IPS panels were quite expensive a few years ago, but Apple didn't use them in notebooks at that time either. Now 1920x1080 isn't the same as what Apple put out recently, but it's higher than they were two or three years ago. In Apple's case they can reliably move bleeding edge technology, but this doesn't mean the others are just running in place.

post #33 of 34

According to Anandtech even just driving it's own display it struggles to scroll web pages at 30fps...With two, three or four monitors I can only imagine that would be much worse. 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6023/the-nextgen-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review/8

post #34 of 34

Just got my rMBP and tried it with two external monitors.  Everything works great on it and I don't know why people are saying the scrolling is slow - it is perfectly smooth to me even with two monitors plugged in.  One note is that you have to be running on the discrete Nvidia card to drive the external monitors.  It automatically switches for you, but if you force it to use the Intel integrated card, it will only support the internal screen.  You can get control over which graphics card using gfxCardStatus.

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