2015 MBP 13" support three displays?

Joined
Mar 28, 2015
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Talked to an Apple senior support guy for a long time today on an unrelated issue and in the lulls got his input on my overdue need for a whole new system. Old one is a 2009 iMac w 2.93 GHz Intel 2 Core, 8 GB RAM.

Main need is for a little more speed and power to manage my stock trading activities and its multiple data feeds for charts and such. I use a Parallels virtual PC environment to run my trading platform. I don’t do video editing or other power-hog activities, nor do I need hi-res displays. And 16 GB memory is more than enough.

He argued strenuously that the 2015 new 13-inch MBP had all the zip I need and that, although its processors are nominally slower (2.7, 2.9) than my current iMac, any MBP will actually be faster and noticibly better overall. He also convinced me that using it with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and either of my G-drive external HDs would work fine. If he is right, one issue remains:

What I want to do is power three Dell U2412M monitors (1920x1200 res, 36-bit color), which have DVI & DisplayPort but no HCMI. Specs say the MBP will support two, but there’s some discussion on various forums that with adapters and maybe daisy-chaining, a MBP can do the three without overheating or other problems. It sure would be a dream solution, for a many reasons.

So, three questions:
Is he right that the 13” MBPs have much greater speed and power than my iMac?
Can it be made to support my three monitors?
And, if so, what adapters or other config would it take?

Many thanks for any expertise you can share.
 

bobtomay

,
Retired Staff
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
26,561
Reaction score
677
Points
113
Location
Texas, where else?
Your Mac's Specs
15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
If what you have is the '09 24" iMac, he is indeed correct.
If what you have is the 2010 27" iMac, that would be false.

The '09 model 2.93 Ghz chip benchmarks at 2238.

The 2015 13" MBP 2.7 Ghz sits at 4635.
No benchmarks posted yet for the 2.9Ghz, but with Turbo Boost only increasing from 3.1 to 3.3 Ghz between the 2 chips, I would guess that will put the 2.9 i5 sitting around a 4900 benchmark.

There was a big jump in capability between the Core 2 Duo chips and the iSeries chips introduced in 2010.
Clock speed (Ghz) means nothing unless you're comparing the same line of chips.
A lowly 1.6 Ghz i5 will demolish the Core 2 Duo 2.93 Ghz in that '09 iMac.

No benchmarks yet on the Intel Iris 6100 graphics, and while it is still not equal to a dedicated GPU, my best guess is that it is going to benchmark somewhere 3.5 and possibly as much as 4.5 times faster than the nVidia GT 120.

Add to that a PCIe connected SSD in the MBP and the '09 iMac and the latest MBP are easily a generation apart and are not in the same league.

"Can" you run 3 external monitors - maybe. Can't really help you since I have never personally attempted to connect 3 monitors to a computer, except to say, that's asking quite a bit out of a notebook running an integrated video card. Apple says 2 displays. OWC has tested running 3 on the 15" model - probably with the dedicated GPU - and everymac only has one user on a 2012 15" retina display model reporting this result. Whether that result would change or everymac change their recommendation on the 2015 models - likely not - there just is not enough cooling provided to run 3 displays. If your prioirty is running 3 displays, would have to recommend you should be looking ath the $1500 21.5" or the $1800 27" iMac as your starting point. (The 2.9 Ghz i5 in the new 21.5" model is 3 times faster than the 2.93 Ghz chip you have now with a benchmark sitting at 6752.)
 
Last edited:
OP
M
Joined
Mar 28, 2015
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Thank you so much, esp for the processor info. I do have the 09 iMac w the Core 2 Duo processor.

Cost is not a dealbreaker issue... tho I was happy to learn I don't have to buy the Mac Pro at $3-4k. My interest in the 13" is that it would solve a number of issues for me, if I can resolve the pesky display issue. I know an iMac would do it all, but the color differences between it (warm) and to Dells (cool), much like US vs Japan TVs, are bothersome when they're side by side. I've never been able to adjust them to match.

There's such a lot of conflicting info out there with regard to the three displays. Some say they're doing it without heat issues, while others say they can't make it work at all. It also concerns me that the small HDs on MBP mean I would have to use one of my external G-Drives, currently used for backups only, as a working drive. Historically that has meant performance slowdown, but newer technology may have solved that problem.

I don't really understand what 'dedicated GPU' means as it applies to multiple displays, but I'll try to do learn a bit.

Thank again.
 

Slydude

Well-known member
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Messages
17,649
Reaction score
1,103
Points
113
Location
North Louisiana, USA
Your Mac's Specs
M1 MacMini 16 GB - Ventura, iPhone 14 Pro Max, 2015 iMac 16 GB Monterey
@bobtomay Would something like this reduce the potential heat issue or is all the graphics work still being done by the gpu? I can't quite tell from the description?

I used a product similar to this for a while to attach a monitor to my MB Pro via the USB port. It worked pretty well and did not seem to push my gpu. I think the processing was done in the little box. At one point I had the laptop screen, an external monitor connected to the Mac video port and a second monitor connected to a product similar to this all going at once.

@mydearwatson I can't speak for the Matrox support team but if the NewerTech gadgets look like an option give OWC a call. I've been buying from them off and on for years. On the few occasions I have had to call with a pre-sales question their people have been top notch.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

bobtomay

,
Retired Staff
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
26,561
Reaction score
677
Points
113
Location
Texas, where else?
Your Mac's Specs
15" MBP '06 2.33 C2D 4GB 10.7; 13" MBA '14 1.8 i7 8GB 10.11; 21" iMac '13 2.9 i5 8GB 10.11; 6S
Either of those may work very well. Matrox has not updated the Macs supported page for about 3 years now. They are clearly showing support for the Intel HD 3000 and 4000 with 3 monitors, albeit at a lower resolution of 1360 x 768 ea. What it actually does is create a single display of 4080 x 768 and then provides the ability to run a single app across all 3 displays or a single app per display. There are some pretty good reviews for it at Amazon.

At the price difference between those products, I would give OWC a call and talk to them. I'd likely give it a try before spending the $300 plus Matrox wants unless the NewerTech device requires a separate adapter for each display. They're not really clear on that, but sure looks like the case based on the pics of the adapter.
 

Slydude

Well-known member
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Messages
17,649
Reaction score
1,103
Points
113
Location
North Louisiana, USA
Your Mac's Specs
M1 MacMini 16 GB - Ventura, iPhone 14 Pro Max, 2015 iMac 16 GB Monterey
At the price difference between those products, I would give OWC a call and talk to them. I'd likely give it a try before spending the $300 plus Matrox wants unless the NewerTech device requires a separate adapter for each display. They're not really clear on that, but sure looks like the case based on the pics of the adapter.

I think you do need a separate device for each monitor. I certainly took this quote from the specs page that way.
Connect one extra monitor per adapter to your desktop or laptop's USB port!

Thanks for the info about the Matrox gear. I noticed that I didn't see anything past 2013 listed but figured I was overlooking something. They had a couple of other video related gizmos that looked interesting to me. In the unlikely event my budget lets me start those projects I'll take a long look at support before buying.
 
OP
M
Joined
Mar 28, 2015
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Thanks to you both. And wow. These are devices I didn't know exist, and without question I will call OWC--one of the great Mac go-to resources.

I'm in the final phase of a major work deadline. For that I will be dark for a few days, but I'll report back, both with what I learn and what I decide.

Really grateful for my expanding knowledge!
 

Shop Amazon


Shop for your Apple, Mac, iPhone and other computer products on Amazon.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.
Top