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5 Full HD output on MBP

5 Full HD output on MBP  


New Member
Joined: 1 year ago

Hi everyone,
For a theatre show I'm asked to display 5 Full HF resolutions on 5 video projectors at 25 FPS from a recent MacBook Pro.
I will be able to use only 2 TB3 ports, the 2 others will be needed for others peripherals.
The projectors will be connected through HD-SDI with HDMI/Displayport > HDSDI convertors (Blackmagic or Decimator).

The easiest way would have been to get a Datapath but too much expensive.
The MacBook Pro still has to be purchased so I can head towards 2018, 17 or 16 versions.

I've pass through a bunch of builds you already made but did not notice any with that much screens connected.

Do you have any suggestions to make ?
Thanx a lot for your help,

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts

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Prominent Member
Joined: 2 years ago

You can only connect four displays to a MacBook Pro. Two on the left side and two on the right side. For each side, you can connect a display directly to a each Thunderbolt port but then you won't have any free Thunderbolt ports. So you'll need a Thunderbolt device on each side to connect two displays to a single Thunderbolt port of the MacBook Pro. The simplest device is a Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort adapter. Less simple devices (Thunderbolt mini dock) include USB and Ethernet ports. Full sized Thunderbolt docks have more USB ports, requires there own power supply and can charge the MacBook Pro.

To get 5 displays you need an eGPU. Many examples are listed on this website. Nvidia GPUs only support 4 displays (and aren't supported by Apple but there are work arounds described on this website). So you'll want an AMD card. Go to PC Part Picker or any store with parametric search capability and look for cards with 5 or more ports. Pick one that is known to be compatible with macOS eGPU support.
State of External GPU in macOS – High Sierra 10.13.4 Update
Use an external graphics processor with your Mac

Cards with 6 ports might be expensive. Another option is to have three or four displays from an eGPU, and one or two from a Thunderbolt port of the MacBook Pro.

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case

itsage liked
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago

As @joevt3 explained, you’d need an eGPU to achieve 5 monitor outputs from the TB3 MacBook Pro. The most straight-forward and plug-and-play solution is a WX 9100 + Sonnet Breakaway 650. It will work right away with the MBP in macOS and provides 6 monitor outputs. The cost is nearly $2,000 though and is a waste for your intended use.

My recommendation is to get either a Sonnet Breakaway Puck 570 or Gigabyte RX 580 Gaming Box. These eGPUs provide 4 monitor outputs each. The fifth one can be powered by the internal graphics card of the MBP via a USB-C to DisplayPort/HDMI adapter. This solution should be right around $500.

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New Member
Joined: 1 year ago

Thanx a lot guys !

This is exactly what I thought, get a egpu to get 4 outputs and use a second TB3 port for the fifth output needed.

I was just wondering if all outputs (more often 4) from most of egpu were usable at the same time ? But you seem to tell me so, so great news !
My last doubt was about latency, if you have any feedback from problem of latency when displaying multiple video outputs , I’ll be interested…

I'll certainly follow your gear recommendation Theitsage. What OSX would you recommend ?

Pending: Add my system information and expected eGPU configuration to my signature to give context to my posts