can i connect a macbook pro 2011 to two dell monitors using a docking station and thunder bolt adapter?
I have a macbook pro 2011 that I am trying to connect to two dell monitors. I am using a docking a station as well. Currently I have both monitors connect to the docking station that supports both mac and windows, the usb ss from the docking station to my thunderbolt adapter to thunderbolt port on my macbook. When everything is plugged in the screens say to press any key or move the mouse to get the display to work. When doing so neither monitors work. Please help. Thanks.
1 Answer from the Community
According to "MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2011) - Technical Specifications", there is only one Thunderbolt port and it supports only one display. This is also stated in Apple support document HT204154 "About Thunderbolt ports and displays", where it says only one Thunderbolt display is supported.
You did not state what model of docking station you have. USB SS does not fully describe a USB connection. Is it a USB-C connector with DisplayPort alt mode? Is it Thunderbolt? Is it USB-A? It must be a Thunderbolt docking station. A USB-C dock will not work as they are not Thunderbolt, and the MacBook Pro's USB-A ports are not USB-C which means they cannot directly support video (with DisplayPort alt mode).
A Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter cannot pass DisplayPort directly. This means it won't convert DisplayPort of the MacBook Pro to USB-C DisplayPort alt mode. The adapter can convert Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt 3 including DisplayPort streams over Thunderbolt.
To connect two Dell monitors, I would connect one to a Thunderbolt 2 dock or Thunderbolt 3 dock. I would connect another to a DisplayLink adapter connected to one of the Thunderbolt dock's USB 3.0 ports because video will probably be better that way instead of using one of the MacBook Pro's USB 2.0 ports. Video using a DisplayLink adapter is not suitable for movies but may function well enough for other non-graphics intensive tasks. Read more about DisplayLink adapters at plugable.com. There may be issues with DisplayLink drivers on macOS.
macOS doesn't support MST except maybe for AMD graphics. This means that multiple DisplayPort signals cannot be transmitted over a single DisplayPort cable to multiple displays. Thunderbolt can transmit up to two DisplayPort signals over Thunderbolt but only if the Thunderbolt controller chip has two DisplayPort inputs from the graphics chip connected (the 2011 MacBook Pro apparently does not have two DisplayPort connections to the Thunderbolt controller chip).
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