Daisy-chaining Thunderbolt Drives and Mini DisplayPort Displays

I had a heck of a time getting a straight answer on a pretty simple question:

Can you attach a non-Thunderbolt display1 to a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac if the display is daisy-chained through another Thunderbolt device (like the Promise Pegasus drives)?

The answer is yes.

You plug the Pegasus drive into your Mac via Thunderbolt, then you plug your Mini DisplayPort connector into the Pegasus drive. I’m currently powering a Dell display connected with a DVI cable to a Mini DisplayPort adapter I got from Monoprice – works like a champ.

The only (obvious) limitation is that the display then terminates the Thunderbolt chain as it doesn’t have a Thunderbolt port. In other words, you have to put it at the end of the chain.

Related, the 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pros can each power two of the new 27″ Thunderbolt Cinema Displays, while the MacBook Airs can only power one each (not enough graphics oomph).

  1. A display besides the newest Apple 27″ Thunderbolt Cinema Display. [back]