New MBP support 3 external displays?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited March 2015

Talked to an Apple senior support guy for a long time today on an unrelated issue and in the lulls got his input on my overdue need for a whole new system. Old one is a 2009 iMac w 2.93 GHz Intel 2 Core, 8 GB RAM.

 

Main need is for a little more speed and power to manage my stock trading activities and its multiple data feeds for charts and such. I use a Parallels virtual PC environment to run my trading platform. I don’t do video editing or other power-hog activities, nor do I need hi-res displays. And 16 GB memory is more than enough.

 

He argued strenuously that the 2015 new 13-inch MBP had all the zip I need and that, although its processors are nominally slower (2.7, 2.9) than my current iMac, any MBP will actually be faster and noticibly better overall. He also convinced me that using it with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and either of my G-drive external HDs to add some storage would work fine. If he is right, one issue remains:

 

What I want to do is power three Dell U2412M monitors (1920x1200 res, 36-bit color), which have DVI & DisplayPort but no HDMI. Specs say the MBP will support two displays, but there’s discussion on various forums that with adapters and maybe daisy-chaining, a MBP can do the three without overheating or other problems. It sure would be a dream solution, for a many reasons.

 

So, three questions:

Is he right that the 13” MBPs have much greater speed and power than my iMac?

Can it be made to support my three monitors?

And, if so, what adapters or other config would it take?

 

Many thanks for any expertise you can share.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,431moderator
    Talked to an Apple senior support guy for a long time today on an unrelated issue and in the lulls got his input on my overdue need for a whole new system. Old one is a 2009 iMac w 2.93 GHz Intel 2 Core, 8 GB RAM.

    Main need is for a little more speed and power to manage my stock trading activities and its multiple data feeds for charts and such. I use a Parallels virtual PC environment to run my trading platform. I don’t do video editing or other power-hog activities, nor do I need hi-res displays. And 16 GB memory is more than enough.

    He argued strenuously that the 2015 new 13-inch MBP had all the zip I need and that, although its processors are nominally slower (2.7, 2.9) than my current iMac, any MBP will actually be faster and noticibly better overall. He also convinced me that using it with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and either of my G-drive external HDs to add some storage would work fine. If he is right, one issue remains:

    What I want to do is power three Dell U2412M monitors (1920x1200 res, 36-bit color), which have DVI & DisplayPort but no HDMI. Specs say the MBP will support two displays, but there’s discussion on various forums that with adapters and maybe daisy-chaining, a MBP can do the three without overheating or other problems. It sure would be a dream solution, for a many reasons.

    So, three questions:
    Is he right that the 13” MBPs have much greater speed and power than my iMac?
    Can it be made to support my three monitors?
    And, if so, what adapters or other config would it take?

    Many thanks for any expertise you can share.

    Apple sells an HDMI to DVI adaptor so that should give you a 3rd display:

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MJVU2AM/A/apple-hdmi-to-dvi-adapter

    Mini-displayport can be split but the following isn't Mac compatible:

    http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-DisplayPort-Triple-Multi-Monitor/dp/B00JLRBC7S

    For CPU performance, you can check here, the lowest MBP 2015 is 6934 on multi-core 64-bit, your iMac is 3110 so the MBP is over 2x faster:

    http://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

    For graphics, it's an NVidia GT 120 vs Intel Iris 6100. It's hard to compare them because they are so far apart. It looks like the 120 is 1/3 the speed of a 650M and the 6100 looks to be a bit over 1/2 so a slight upgrade in graphics.

    The SSD and memory are big upgrades for responsiveness. Old hard drives were under 50MB/s, the new MBP is over 1000MB/s so much faster loading times for everything, little dock bouncing for apps, just click and open and no need to power down the laptop even when taking it in a bag, just shut the lid.
  • Reply 2 of 3

    Marvin, thank you so much. Some avenues to information is exactly what I needed. I will talk to apple about their adapter, also to OWC, whom I trust, about this one http://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/VIDU2DVIA/ .

     

    I think if I can see the comparative performance info, such as at the link you provided, I'll be able to reassure myself that a laptop isn't going to make the whole shebang underpowered, which is the most important issue of all, along with color. I now have the iMac side-by-side with the two Dell displays, and the color differences warm>cool, similar to US vs Japan TVs, do bother me, and they don't seem to be adjustable to match.

     

    I'm in the final phase of a major work deadline. For that I will be dark for a few days, but I'll report back, both with what I learn and what I decide.



    Really grateful for my expanding knowledge! Thank you.

  • Reply 3 of 3
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,431moderator
    I will talk to apple about their adapter, also to OWC, whom I trust, about this one http://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/VIDU2DVIA/ .

    You have to be careful with USB video output because it usually isn't hardware accelerated. Kensington has a USB 3 adaptor here:

    http://www.kensington.com/us/us/4491/k33974am/usb-3-0-multi-display-adapter

    Not being hardware accelerated means 3D graphics don't work on it and refreshes use CPU power and can lag. Display outputs are connected to the graphics card, USB isn't. The newer USB C on the latest 12" Macbook changes this as it puts displayport out the USB port. For other machines, you'd only use USB as a last resort like you needed a screen to display email and had no video ports left.
    I think if I can see the comparative performance info, such as at the link you provided, I'll be able to reassure myself that a laptop isn't going to make the whole shebang underpowered, which is the most important issue of all, along with color.

    Apple offers a return period so you can buy it and if it doesn't suit, just return it but computers have moved on quite a bit in 6 years so you should be confident that it'll outperform the old machine.

    One thing to keep in mind is that Intel's next CPU update is also coming this year. This Broadwell refresh is late so Intel will have chips available for Apple to update the MBP again around August. They might not update it right away but they tend to keep the laptop line refreshed with the latest chips. They might push the update further out into October-December to leave a bit of space.

    Skylake has some neat features like wireless charging. It's not clear what form that will take but it looks like they'll allow to you buy a charging mat and you'd just sit a laptop on it to charge without plugging in. They might switch to USB C too, which makes it a bit more future-proof.
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