Apple clarifies Thunderbolt Display will not daisy chain Cinema Display

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has posted a support document describing compatibility between recent Macs and multiple Thunderbolt Displays, and also notes that previous DisplayPort screens will not work when attached to the Thunderbolt port of its new display.



Thunderbolt-equipped Macs can support one or two Thunderbolt Displays, depending on the Thunderbolt chip in the system.



Apple notes that MacBook Airs support one external Thunderbolt Display in addition to their built in screen, while MacBook Pros, iMacs and the Mac mini can all support two Thunderbolt Displays.



With two external displays, the lowest end 13 inch MacBook Pro will lose the ability to drive its built in screen, while the highest end Mac mini with discrete AMD graphics can support two Thunderbolt Displays in addition to a third screen attached to its HDMI port.



However, users with an existing Mini DisplayPort external monitor will not be able to daisy chain the screen from the back of the new Thunderbolt Display, despite it being physically compatible with the port. Apple notes that "Mini DisplayPort displays will not light up if connected to the Thunderbolt port on an Apple Thunderbolt Display."



Existing Mini DisplayPort screens, such as Apple's LED Cinema Display, have never previously supported daisy chaining multiple screens to a single Mini DisplayPort interface, but the screens are supposed to work at the end of a Thunderbolt chain if there are no other displays in the chain.



Having any other screen in the Thunderbolt chain will kill ability of previous, non-Thunderbolt displays from being able to receive the DisplayPort signal, negating their forward compatibility with the new Thunderbolt standard.



The new Thunderbolt Display just began shipping to users yesterday after Apple released firmware updates for its new Thunderbolt-equipped Macs to solve remaining issues with working with the new screens.





In addition to serving as an external screen with stereo speakers, a FaceTime camera and a Magsafe power supply for powering a connected notebook, the new Thunderbolt Display also incorporates the features of a docking station, supplying connected Thunderbolt Macs with Gigabit Ethernet, three additional USB 2.0 ports, Firewire 800 and an additional Thunderbolt port.



Apple recommends that users connect storages devices to the display's Thunderbolt port rather than connecting the display further down the chain.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,460member
    Well at least that was nice and clear. It was a bit confusing before. I wonder if third party TB port hubs (when they finally become available) may alter this inability to use an older screen in the chain.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    Starting to sound like the SCSI cha-cha all over again :o
  • Reply 3 of 28
    I attended a small tech symposium last week that Apple spoke at. Small room, maybe 50 people. They were doing pretty much the same demo I saw at NAB this year. Anyhow, they wanted to show off the Pegasus Promise RAID (thunderbolt). During setup I saw they had mad issues connecting to the projector AND the promise RAID.



    It was Thunderbolt out of the MacBook Pro, to Thunderbolt in on the Promise RAID, and Thunderbolt out, to a MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter. Needless to say, the projector didn't come on.
  • Reply 4 of 28
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I don't get why a monitor with mDP wouldn't work off a TB port.
  • Reply 5 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I don't get why a monitor with mDP wouldn't work off a TB port.



    Sounds like a job for the Thunderbolt Display Firmware Updater utility!
  • Reply 6 of 28
    Here is an interesting tidbit. The new high-end Mac mini (with the AMD graphics card) can run 3 thunderbolt displays. Now, if only Apple would make antiglare displays.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    Here is an interesting tidbit. The new high-end Mac mini (with the AMD graphics card) can run 3 thunderbolt displays. Now, if only Apple would make antiglare displays.



    I don't totally understand the migration toward glossy myself. It reduces the manufacturing cost "slightly" but it doesn't make sense to do something so drastic just for that. Antiglare coatings are pretty standard on most displays. I just looked at the non thunderbolt version on the Apple site and the biggest complaint by far seems to be the reflectivity. I can't understand the decision on going glossy with the entire line as a standard option. As mentioned it's a minor saving to Apple but not so much if it impacts sales.
  • Reply 8 of 28
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,460member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gm7Cadd9 View Post


    I attended a small tech symposium last week that Apple spoke at. Small room, maybe 50 people. They were doing pretty much the same demo I saw at NAB this year. Anyhow, they wanted to show off the Pegasus Promise RAID (thunderbolt). During setup I saw they had mad issues connecting to the projector AND the promise RAID.



    It was Thunderbolt out of the MacBook Pro, to Thunderbolt in on the Promise RAID, and Thunderbolt out, to a MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter. Needless to say, the projector didn't come on.



    I can see multiple TB ports on the actual Mac being needed for pros.
  • Reply 9 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmm View Post


    I don't totally understand the migration toward glossy myself. It reduces the manufacturing cost "slightly" but it doesn't make sense to do something so drastic just for that. Antiglare coatings are pretty standard on most displays. I just looked at the non thunderbolt version on the Apple site and the biggest complaint by far seems to be the reflectivity. I can't understand the decision on going glossy with the entire line as a standard option. As mentioned it's a minor saving to Apple but not so much if it impacts sales.



    I work on matte by choice, but for non work I don't hate all glossy screens. But the uber mondo mirror ones are dealbreakers. I need a welding mask.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    A 27" iMac, with two 27" displays next to it. A true badass triple-head system! If only it were all matte. The new Mac minis are tempting, but the power/price ratio of the iMac is still so much better than the mini, that it really holds you back. But the gloss holds you back from the iMac. And the price holds you back from the Mac Pro. Which is why I haven't upgraded my desktop in years.
  • Reply 11 of 28
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Is it really true that you can't run a VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, or HDMI monitor connected to the Apple Thunderbolt Display using an adapter?



    This reminds me of another Apple tech article:



    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4279



    which is also full of "gotchas". What is the reason for all these "gotchas" for something as simple as connecting a monitor? Technical issues which Apple failed to consider? Is it Apple cutting corners and trying to be cheap?



    Isn't Thunderbolt supposed to support up to 2 DisplayPort monitors in a chain? And doesn't DisplayPort 1.2 support daisy chaining of more than 2 monitors, thus exceeding Thunderbolt's capabilities?



    It seems like Thunderbolt's so-called "one port to rule them all" involves compromising the full capabilities of the other connections, like DisplayPort.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    I may have missed some key piece of marketing or something but I don't follow... Why did anyone think they'd be able to chain a mDP monitor off a Thunderbolt display in the first place? When the Thunderbolt Macs were first released, I remember reading that the ports on those machines supported both Thunderbolt and mDP displays but I don't remember reading anywhere that they'd magically add that dual-purpose capability to any downstream device.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    Here is an interesting tidbit. The new high-end Mac mini (with the AMD graphics card) can run 3 thunderbolt displays.



    Are you sure? It has the same hardware as the iMacs, and Apple's support site says it can run two Thunderbolt displays and a third display using HDMI.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by StigsHero View Post


    I may have missed some key piece of marketing or something but I don't follow... Why did anyone think they'd be able to chain a mDP monitor off a Thunderbolt display in the first place? When the Thunderbolt Macs were first released, I remember reading that the ports on those machines supported both Thunderbolt and mDP displays but I don't remember reading anywhere that they'd magically add that dual-purpose capability to any downstream device.



    I guess the assumption was that it could go Computer -> *random Thunderbolt device(s)* -> Mini DisplayPort display. Instead it appears it is Computer -> *random Thunderbolt device(s) that is not a display* -> Mini DisplayPort display.



    Which doesn't really make sense to me because I've not seen a technological explanation as to why.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Haggar View Post


    Is it really true that you can't run a VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, or HDMI monitor connected to the Apple Thunderbolt Display using an adapter?



    This reminds me of another Apple tech article:



    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4279



    which is also full of "gotchas". What is the reason for all these "gotchas" for something as simple as connecting a monitor? Technical issues which Apple failed to consider? Is it Apple cutting corners and trying to be cheap?



    Isn't Thunderbolt supposed to support up to 2 DisplayPort monitors in a chain? And doesn't DisplayPort 1.2 support daisy chaining of more than 2 monitors, thus exceeding Thunderbolt's capabilities?



    It seems like Thunderbolt's so-called "one port to rule them all" involves compromising the full capabilities of the other connections, like DisplayPort.



    I have my 27" iMac TB port connected an old Apple Cinema (ADC) display.

    Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter --> ADC to DVI adapter --> Apple Cinema Display



    It works fine.
  • Reply 15 of 28
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by techno View Post


    I have my 27" iMac TB port connected an old Apple Cinema (ADC) display.

    Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter --> ADC to DVI adapter --> Apple Cinema Display



    It works fine.



    That is not the configuration being discussed.
  • Reply 16 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    Here is an interesting tidbit. ... Now, if only Apple would make antiglare displays.



    Thank you. Another one here



    What I don't get is an anti-glare/privacy layer add ons such as 3M's are available to purchase should one small minority desires it
  • Reply 17 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post


    Thank you. Another one here



    What I don't get is an anti-glare/privacy layer add ons such as 3M's are available to purchase should one small minority desires it



    If you'd used one of these products, you wouldn't suggest for a moment that they produce a result on par with a factory-made anti-glare panel. That said, I picked up a 17" MacBook Pro on my work's dime and ordered it with the anti-glare option after having used my aluminum MacBook for two years and it wasn't as good as remembered. Once you get used to the crazy-good contrast and color saturation of the glossy screens, there's no going back... regardless of how much you miss the ability to read in a wide variety of lighting conditions.
  • Reply 18 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cesco View Post


    Starting to sound like the SCSI cha-cha all over again :o



    It sure does. Wonder when terminators are going to appear.
  • Reply 19 of 28
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by l008com View Post


    A 27" iMac, with two 27" displays next to it. A true badass triple-head system! If only it were all matte. The new Mac minis are tempting, but the power/price ratio of the iMac is still so much better than the mini, that it really holds you back. But the gloss holds you back from the iMac. And the price holds you back from the Mac Pro. Which is why I haven't upgraded my desktop in years.



    Same here.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    Quote:

    Having any other screen in the Thunderbolt chain will kill ability of previous, non-Thunderbolt displays from being able to receive the DisplayPort signal, negating their forward compatibility with the new Thunderbolt standard.



    Does that mean one could still connect the Dell 27-inch to the new Mac Mini's Thunderbolt port but using the Display Port to Mini Display Port adapter?
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