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

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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  • does that setup allow you to stream 6 distinct video streams or only the same video stream running on each of the 6 computers?

  • I have 8 (seven 24″ 4K displays, and one rotated 30″ 2560×1600) on the 2012 5,1 Mac Pro (has a pair of flashed GTX 960s in it). Too bad that it seems you can’t do that with the new one.

    • +1 (well, +10 really, read on…)

      very cool btw to have 6 out of the box, and props for the pic and pimpin out the rig, so please allow me to digress & vent at apples design department: the trashcan form factor is not what professionals need, and thunderbolt cables to your expansion chassis have sketchy cable retention – your entire protools rig or video processing cards or in my case an RME RayDat is hanging off a single cable with no solid cable locking mechanism (say what you want about thumb-screws, but my displays never glitch out because my DVI connectors loosen up over the long term), thunderbolt should at least lock like a full size display port connector does if your entire PCIe bus is hanging off of it. And oh yeah, $$$$ for a good expansion chassis (startech – I am looking at you – give us something a step up from your current chassis with 4 PCIe slots at a good price please, and make them chainable).

      so –
      mid 2010 5,1 here with:
      GTX 680 flashed for mac efi
      a pair of evga stock (not mac flashed) GT730s
      (was hoping for 3 displays per gpu on the 730s like the PC but it seems the mac driver will only light up 2 ports, but they are single slot and slot powered) – only issue is you have to sometimes pull the cards after an update to get the latest nvidia driver or you get stuck in a boot loop.

      so – that’s eight displays from 3 cards plus a spare slot for a card or a more securely connected expansion chassis, 4k support, display port, hdmi, and dvi for thousands less than a trashcan with 6 displays, picked up some hex core xeons on ebay for a couple hundred and it can outperform many stock trashcan macs. I love apple’s OS and support for multi channel audio and midi that runs circles around windows, quicktime, stability on so on, but the trashcan is a classic case of over-design for the sake of style.

      But if I had one I’d definitely grab an atdec hex stand and light all 6 of those puppies up!

      For now my 5,1 is lighting up 10 screens (oh yeah I slapped a matrox dvi triple head on the 680 which lets you hang 3 displays off of one connector), so that’s 10 screens 12 cores, 64gb ram , and way less wallet drain!

      Apple! – Bring back a professional enclosure for a professional computer!!!! Just because you can cram it all in a small cylinder doesn’t mean you should.

  • I have a new MacPro 4Core, 32GB RAM, stock video cards. I want to connect 3 HDMI TVs.. I have 1 going to bus 1, one going to bus 2 and the other set to HDMI Bus 0 … I can only get 2 going at the same time. I do not have any DVI there a way I can do this??
    Thanks so much, Gayle

    • Hello Gayle,

      Thank you so much for reaching out! We would love to further assist you and get some more information! Please email and we will be happy to further assist you!

  • I have an interesting update to this thread. I’m using a MacPro and OSX 10.11. I haven’t read anything in any other forums about this so I’m assuming it’s an OSX El Capitan bug. When I plug in my 6 Dual-Link DVI adapters using the MacPro’s USB ports for power, my system was hanging. It would hang for 5 seconds, then “unhang” for 5 seconds and repeat. By chance I plugged all of the USB cables from the Dual-Link adapters into one of those 6x USB power supplies and the hang disappeared. As a test I plugged one of the USB cables back into the MacPro and the hang issue reappeared…. It SEEMS to me that if you connect the Dual-Link DVI’s USB plugs to the MacPro you’re running the displays off you will experience this issue.

  • Hi
    Thank you for the info,
    Is it possible to connect also projectors (not hd) and LED tv’s (HD) to these ports and have them all work…?

  • Please help me I’m planing on buying a Mac Pro but I want to run 3 4k uhd tvs for my displays but apples configurations are very confusing.
    I know I can run one screen through hdmi and that’s it any other displays need to be thunderbolt or thunderbolt to mini display but the tvs don’t have mini display so can I run the other two with a thunderbolt to mini display port adapter followed with a mini display port to hdmi cable.

      • According to the specs you cannot run 3 4k monitors over HDMI even with adapters. You can only run 3 with 2 DP and 1 HDMI, but 2 if you’re running MD to HDMI and the other direct HDMI.

  • I just got a Mac Pro, late 2013. I have three monitors working presently – and (predictably) desire four: Mini #2 to VGA then to Viewsonic 2453 series monitor; Mini #5 to HDMI to Acer monitor; and HDMI to ACER HDMI monitor. Is adding a fourth monitor as simple as a passive mini-port to VGA connection (also to a Viewsonic, as above) using #Mini 3 or Mini #4? Is dual Mini port needed? These appear to require more resolution than I have on a monitor in order to work correctly.

    should be edited to say that if you want to use more than two DVI and/or VGA monitors, you need to use Active adapters on the additional DVI/VGA monitors.

    Here’s how I connected four monitors to my Mac Pro:

    1) 22″ BenQ – connected using: Passive adapter of mini display port to DVI (white)

    2) 22″ BenQ – connected using: Passive adapter of mini display port to VGA (blue)

    3) 30″ Dell 3011 – connected using: Mini display port to Dell’s Display Port (cable from monoprice)

    4) 24″ Dell – connected using: Active adapter of mini display port (+USB) to DVI (white)

  • hihi! i’m trying to do something similar: use six monitors to play a 11520×1080 video…. but before i go and buy a bunch of stuff — do you have any idea if this works with an extended desktop?

    • What software are you (planning to) using (I do this for a living) if you are going to play a single file that is
      that large it can be done. Options are many.

      • thanks for the re: bill! it is a single file, that is rendered at 11520×1080. i was hoping that quicktime (with “displays have separate spaces” deselected) would magically understand what i was trying to do, but to no avail, so now i’m looking around at other softwares….looked at MSAQT, but that only worked across 4 monitors (not surprisng, since he built it for a totally different setup) and am trying to see if VLC will do it ATM.

    • The use of 6 monitors is possible and with the specifications from Apple there are no restrictions being able to just use mirroring mode. This set up and the use of an extended desktop would be possible in both 10.9 (Mavericks) and 10.10 (Yosemite). Apple Support Document.

  • What situations possibly justify the D500 or D700 over the D300 graphics in new Mac Pro’s? My use is as a day trading station, 5 days a week. Delays at market opening or market close can be costly! Currently am using a Mac book pro 2.9 ghz 16 GB 512 SSD with three USB 3 graphics adapters. Am able to drive 2560 x 1440 on the mini-display port plus the 13″ MBP screen natively. Then two Unitek USB external display adapters drive two other 2560 by 1440 monoprice screens. Whenever I try a third 2560 by 1440, does not work; however, if fifth screen is 1920 by 1080, that works. But… can be rather slow for some tasks; also, for starting up in the morning or restarting during trading day. So, would like to go to six screens this fall. Wondering if basic Mac Pro best; or, if should go with D500 or D700 graphics; or, if a used Mac Pro with multiple graphics cards would do the job as well and as reliably. More than six screens, if no performance delays, would be even better! Lots of screens to scan at critical times. Also, would 4 core basic cpu at faster clock speed be best, or are 6, 8 or more cores better for this application, even if at slower ghz speeds?

    • I know your post is almost a year old, but I thought I should reply. I’m running MetaTrader 4 on Wine+WineSkin, for FOREX trading. There is no advantage to the D500 or D700, if you are using the machine exclusively for trading.

      I have 4×21.5 inch and 1×27 inch Asus displays attached to my 4 core 2013 Mac Pro, with D300 cards. It works beautifully. I would recommend faster clock speed, so go with the 4 core machine.

      • Oh, and make sure you use ACTIVE adapters, if using more than 2 displays.

  • Now that they have come out with mavericks 10.9.3 let’s see you hook up those six monitors. Mine ran fine, then upgraded,and now can only use two. Sad commentary since it was supposed to be an improvement!

    • I am running one dell monitor and two projectors with 10.9.5 — when I plug in a another projector it will not be recognized… and when I unplug one of the other projectors the one that did not appear pops up leading me to believe that 3 monitors max? any thoughts?

  • Good day Guys and Girls,

    Just got my hands on the New Mac Pro, wanting to hook up 5 x 40″ F5500 Series 5 Smart FHD LED TV’s from Samsung.
    i went and got my self 5 thunderbolt/mini display port to HDMI adapters and connected them all 2 on bus 1, 2 on bus 2 and 1 on bus zero for future use of the HDMI port. however i only get display at anyone time coming thru on 2 displays, no matter how i play with the configirations (same bus different bus bus 0, 1, 2) still only 2 dsplays. any advice.

    adapters = Griffin Technology “mini displayport to HDMI&DVI
    HDMI Cables to Displays

    • James you will need at least 4 active DUAL LINK display adapters for that to work. Apple has them and a few others. Don’t use the HDMI port at all only TB ports.



    • The type of adapter determines how many displays can be connected. If you’re using single-link adapter, you’ll be able to connect two displays. If you want to add more displays (up to six), you’ll need dual-link adapters, such as Apple’s Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter. For more information on this, check out this Apple Support Document.

  • 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

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

    • 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.

    • 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!!!!

      • 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

        • Do not even get me started on the Windows 8.0/8.1 – yikes.

          I like my ’09/ Mac Pro Tower – it is only a quad Xeon 2.93 w/ 16GB ECC RAM and a 240GB SSD for boot/apps – it is damn fast – hyper threaded – FWIW and it runs 1085 for now (maybe I’ll go to 1093 – Apple seems to have fixed some things and multi monitor support is much better – if what I read & hear is true.

          Apple really dropped the ball with “full screen” apps – which is actually “all screens app” … which sucks and blows at the same time – luckily not all apps adhere to Apple’s insanity. Also, WTF is up with shiny monitor displays – this went out with the big honking glass CRTs in the late 90s early 00s … and anti GLARE screens. Now you gotta pay extra to get a proper matte finish. Yikes again!

          • Did you actually try Windows 8 in a serious sense? I know you are a fan of Macs it appears, but if you try it seriously you would see it is a very solid OS, with the recent patches it is all running very fluid. Plus, it is a bit faster than Win7, especially when multitasking. I And I know a little bit of what I’m talking about:
            (No, they all don’t match, but it’s not necessary for what I do)

            I run a 4770K delidded cooler on die @ 4.5 GHz
            16 GB @ 2400 MHz
            Samsung 840 EVO 120GB boot drive
            Samsung 830 mSATA 64GB dump drive
            Toshiba 1TB 7200rpm data drive

            It boots before my monitor turns on and warm up.

            I see a lot of matte finish displays. Not sure what you are talking about.

  • 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 ;-;

    • It would seem those are driving off a “PCIe” box that is connected (possibly) via cardbus slow/port from a laptop … you could do very similar via thunderbolt 1 or 2 port on just about any equipped Mac .. 10 to 20Gbps full duplex is not shabby.

      Also there are even USB 2 “graphics- compressors” that can ‘drive’ displays under 1080 or so … but I think the limit is 4 monitors (and 4 USB devices) on a Mac… and it is not all that good for full screen 1080 video – but it is useful for many other things.

  • 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.

  • 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….

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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:

    • 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.

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