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What Do you Call 6 Displays and a 2013 Mac Pro? Fun!

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 | Author:

Well those 6 Thunderbolt ports on the back of the new Mac Pro were just staring me in the face to try ‘em all out. Since the new Mac Pro can do three 4k monitors, I thought it should be able to handle six 27″ displays. Yup, it sure did. All six 27″ 2560 x 1440 displays ran at full resolution. Five Dells, one Apple cinema display, all connected via mini DisplayPort.

Pretty cool. And there’s a little HDMI port left over as well. Hmmm…

We also have a Mac Pro 2013 Unboxing Gallery and a Mac Pro 2013 Tear Down Gallery


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    1. Bill Lewis says:

      Hey a quick question, were these via Mini Display Port to DVI adapters or DP (Display Port) to DP (mini of full) on the monitor side?

      Seems (from Apple Support) you can only use 2 DP to DVI adapters on the New Mac Pro? Can you great folks at OWC confirm this for me (us)?

      From Apple http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5918?viewlocale=sv_en

      It would be a real bummer if you cannot hook up more than two DVI displays at one time IMHO!

      • OWC Jarrod says:

        All the monitors were connected pure without adapters with most being displayport to mini displayport cables, and the Apple Display has an attached cable that goes out to mini display port.

        As for your second question, it seems to depend on the type of adapter you’re using with the DVI monitors. Apple mentions in the article you linked to that you need active MDP to DVI adapters to run 6 DVI based monitors. Passive adapters will only allow for two DVI monitors to be attached.

    2. Jim says:

      Too bad you didn’t have enough money left for longer cords.

      • Moe Better 11 says:

        You should really make that a wide, wide, wide – display setup … and show the monitors end to end… for better effect you could show what all those monitor’s due.

        I hope someone advances Apple’s multi monitor support – since both Apple and Microsoft dont seem to understand how to support this…. yet I digress – Long Live Mac OS X 10.6.8!!!!

        • angerthosenear says:

          Microsoft supports multi monitors really well in Windows 8/8.1. I haven’t used a Mac with multiscreens so I’m not sure how much flexibility they have.

          Didn’t know if you saw my comment:

          6 monitors hooked up. Each with independent wallpaper, monitor specific taskbar, and overall really zippy. It handles anything I throw at it. Even with CPU and RAM (i7-2620M and 16GB @ 1333) at neigh 100% usage it doesn’t falter. Very impressed by the performance improvement over Win7.

          While my setup isn’t impressive due to some OLD 2002 LCDs, it works.

          I’m not dissing the amazing ability of the MacPro here, the fact it can drive 3 4K displays is amazing. I’d just rather see a full computer setup to be fully used by someone than “hey look it can run this.. yay…” (like this post showing 6 screens hooked up in a horrible/unusable layout).

          @OWC people. What do you plan to do with this setup? Having that hardware at your fingertips is superb. Would love to work on that :D

    3. angerthosenear says:

      That layout doesn’t look very usable.

      And you can hook up 6 screen via a laptop externally too. Yes, this is all driven off the laptop.

      Accepting donations for new monitors ;-;

    4. Robert Aldridge says:

      So from what I read you can’t daisy chain more than one 2560 x 1440 or 2560 x 1600 Thunderbolt display to a single Thunderbolt port, as in the display has to connect to the end of the chain. Apple specifically states this. So you can only have seven high resolution displays connected to the Mac Pro, six on the end of the chain for each of the six Thunderbolt ports, and one on the HDMI port. As for 4K displays, Apple specifically states that the Mac Pro is only capable of driving three 4K displays simultaneously. They know more than three won’t work, they tried it I guess. I’m sure someone will try connecting more that three 4K displays simultaneously to a Mac Pro, for anyone that can afford to buy four or more 4K displays to be able to perform such a test.

    5. Jeff D says:

      If you can succeed at daisy chaining two monitors on one TB port, why does Apple say you are limited to only three 4K displays? A 4K display @ 30 Hz needs the same bandwidth as a 2.5K display @ 60Hz. It would be awesome to test the theory – see if you could run 12 2.5K monitors (at least in theory) by trying to run two per port….

      • Kevin G says:

        AMD’s graphics cards have a limit of six display buffers per GPU. It appears that all the video outputs are driven by a single graphics card. I would expect that a MST hub will still work on the new Mac Pro but you’d still be limited to a maximum of 6 displays.

        One thing not clarified yet by Apple is if the limited of three 4K displays is due to the currently generation of 4k displays using MST internally. The 32″ Sharp and Asus monitors have one physical panel but their internal display logic makes them appear as two 1920 x 2160 panels. Thus driving three of those 4K displays would require six 1920 x 2160 display buffers.

      • Eric says:

        There are three Thunderbolt 2 controllers, and each can run two HD monitors, or one 4K monitor. The HDMI port is required for the third 4K display.

        If you need more than that, you can afford a second Mac Pro.

    6. MacRat says:

      No 4K display on the HDMI port?

      • Charles says:

        MacBook Pro (Retina, Late 2013) and Mac Pro (Late 2013) computers can use 4K Ultra HD TVs with OS X or Windows (using Boot Camp). 4K Ultra HD TVs using these specifications are supported via the HDMI port:

        3840-by-2160 resolution at 30Hz
        4096-by-2160 resolution at 24Hz (mirroring is not supported at this resolution)

        More info are from this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6008

      • MacRat says:

        Note that with Tunderbolt displays, you can run the 6 screens from 3 of the Tunderbolt ports by daisy chaining them in pairs.

        This will leave you with 3 Thunderbolt ports free for data connections.

        • Psycologist says:

          Each Thunderbolt controller supports up to 2 (2560 by 1600) monitors, the Mac Pro (and retina MacBook Pros) have two thunderbolt ports per controller…

    7. Mike D says:

      Ok, now you are just sooooo rubbing it in. ;)

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