Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?

Posted by Loren Miller 
Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
December 09, 2018 12:37PM
Hi, Folks-

So I'm looking at upgrading my 10-year old tower to a 5-year-old mini-tower. Just to stay behind the times.

On the Late 2013 Mac Pro I see 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports (mini-display port-compatible) and 1 HDMI port.

I would like a typical dual-monitor setup on the desk-- either HDMI or DVI, HD resolution fine.

I would like a 27" 4K LG UW650 which is *mostly* color-calibratable, for the HDMI port.

But the literature states if you plug into the HDMI port, one of the T2 ports will cut out.

Has anyone solved this to their satisfaction? Adapters?

Best, as always.
Loren
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
December 09, 2018 06:20PM
hi Loren,

sorry I've no experience here...
but could you not get by with 5 thunderbolt ports?
also i'll ad that a little blackmagic mini monitor would get you nice broadcast pics to your LG
(at the expense of a thunderbolt port)
oh, hang on its 4k... well I imagine they've some 4k solution if that's what you need.


cheers,
nick

PS:
"Just to stay behind the times" - ha!
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
December 09, 2018 10:44PM
Hi, Nick!

Thanks for logging in on this. I assume I can use a couple of those Thunderbolt ports with a miniDisplayPort to DVI or HDMI cable adapter. In fact, I would probably have to use a third for the client monitor. I do have my heart set on a 27" LG or NEC floating over the work screens, although I've looked at things like Atoms and other small scale solutions. If I use the HDMI port- as you say, "Thunderbolt #7"-- the signal to one of the workscreens is cut out.

It seems brain dead. Thus, my call for wisdom here.

Thank you as always. How are you enjoying summer?

Best, as always.
Loren S. Miller
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
December 12, 2018 08:25AM
Well, I got some wisdom, from Apple's own support docs and a visit to the Store.

You're limited to two displays on each Thunderbolt bus, 0, 1, and 2. Must have two displays, it's expected by clients, no matter if it's FCPX, Premiere Pro, or Avid.

1 & 2 only have two T2 ports each. What gets weird is Bus 0 which sports three ports-- one of those is the HDMI.

Somebody correct me here-- HDMI is better for color than DVI? Got to have a color-accurate client monitor. They expect that too.

Easy to forget the limitations and plug all three displays into Bus 0-- it's the handy bottom group--and suddenly the bus is overloaded, and automatically cuts one of the displays out.

Clients don't expect that.

They say the solution is to get a couple MiniDisplayPort-to-DVI adapters for two older displays (or MiniDisplayPort-to-HDMI for newer ones- around US $30 each ) driven by Bus 1 or 2, and leave the HDMI alone on its bus 0.

Then you still have two T2 ports for RAIDS, etc. And they say, you can daisy up to 6 devices per chain. But obviously not displays.

Now that I understand this, I pass it on, and of course, I will test it very soon, just in time for a ProRes422 HQ 2K indie feature coming to my workstation for color and dustbusting, which I like doing when I don't edit.

Best, as always.
Loren
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
December 15, 2018 11:45AM
Update:

New machine installed. MiniDisplayPort-to-DVI adapters work fine.

But the minute I plug in the LG UK650 4K, it either doesn't respond, or lights up (nice!) but cuts out one of my work screen duo. No matter what other busses they're plugged into.

No matter how I plug in the HDMI- either alone on its own Thunderbolt 0 bus or into the bus through a MDPort adapter, it's two up only.

And that is not what Apple advertises when they say "Connect up to 6 monitors."

Following up with the company.

- L
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
December 20, 2018 09:49PM
The company is still thrashing over this.

But I got onto Amazon and picked up a Cable Matters ACTIVE MiniDisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter, a cheap thing, US $17.00. "Boosts port power." Why not?

So I unplugged the Dumdum bullet, hooked in the 27" 4K to the new adapter into one of the Bus 0 T2 ports, replugged, and watched it light up the two work monitors, and then above them... something going on up there...

Holy crap, it works!!

And I never knew you could, in the Arrangement panel of your Displays pref, actually stack your third display centered over your two working displays!

And the mouse will track from either lower display up to the big boy. It's all one three-eyed monster here.

It seems on the 2013 Mac Pro, any third monitor may need a special boost. On this display, it's not a dual link thing, nor a USB powered thing, it just needs...an active adapter, which "improves compatibility with MiniDP computers and docking stations," according to the info slip.

I hope others have the same inexpensive luck.

Now I have to tell Apple how it works.

Happy holidays!!

Best, as always,
Loren
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
January 05, 2019 02:25AM
Okay everything's been functioning well for a week or so.

Adding a little clarity, here's my plug plan for three monitors, 2 HD Acer 21", one 4K LG 27", #27UK650.

HD screen 1 - female DVI to MDPort which goes into one port on Bus 2 (top row)
HD screen 2 - female DVI to MDPort which goes into one port on Bus 1 (middle row)
4K LG screen - ACTIVE female HDMI to MDPort which goes into one port on Bus 0 (bottom row)

The Mac's HDMI port is NOT used at all.

Apple Tech got back to me to confirm the active adapter was the engineers' recommendation.

And two LaCie 3 TB Thunderbolts plug into the unused ports on Bus 1 & 2 without issue.
And I still have a port free for my shaver!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Hope it helps someone else.

Now of course we wait for the Modular Mac system to show up and obsolete this. )-:
(Prediction-- it'll be a form factor spin off from the Minis.)

Best, as always.
Loren
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
January 07, 2019 03:08PM
hi Loren

"Apple Tech got back to me to confirm the active adapter was the engineers' recommendation. "
after you told them? lol

i still reckon a black magic box could be useful, especially if you have any interlaced footage.
costs more than $17, though smiling smiley


cheers, and happy new year
nick
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
January 07, 2019 06:04PM
Yes, that was the sequence. It was pretty ironic.

But in a way, good to hear.

BMD Teranex! Yeah, about a grand more. I keep drooling.

Best, as always.
Loren
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
January 11, 2019 07:26AM
Do you think it's worth the extra cost? Even though a grand is a lot of dinero...
Re: Who's doing three displays from a 2013 Mac Pro?
January 14, 2019 09:50AM
Could be of use

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