50,000,000 pixels: Apple’s Mac Pro powers six 4K displays (with video)

“Video producer Adam Matthews wanted to double the number of 4K monitors hooked up to his Mac Pro, so he built an external GPU to do it,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac. “He used a Sonnet Thunderbolt chassis with an AMD 7970 GPU – before discovering that the machine could actually drive all six monitors without it.”

Lovejoy reports, “When Matthews tried connecting the monitors using only the twin graphics cards built into the Mac Pro, just to see what would happen, he found he was still able to get 60Hz on each, suggesting that Apple has been conservative in its claims.”

Read more in the full article here.

Apple’s website states:
• You can connect up to six of the following properly-configured displays to your Mac Pro (Late 2013).
• Six Apple Thunderbolt Displays (27-inch), Apple LED Cinema Displays (27-inch), or third-party Mini DisplayPort displays.
• Three 4K displays: two connected via Mini DisplayPort and one connected via HDMI.
• One 4K Ultra HD TV or 4K display using HDMI and four Apple Thunderbolt Displays (27-inch), Apple LED Cinema Displays (27-inch), or third-party Mini DisplayPort displays.
• Two HDMI (HD or 4K) devices: one connected via HDMI and one connected via Mini DisplayPort with an HDMI adapter.
• Six DVI displays. This configuration requires an active DVI adapter.

MacDailyNews Take: Wow!

How we’re getting along with only 1/3rd the amount of displays per workstation (27-inch iMac + 27-inch monitor) as Adam is beyond us!


  1. I can only assume Apple said only 3 4K monitors because when you start working with visual programs..like photoshop, maya, fcpx, gaming……it probably starts to cause problems.

      1. He said, it was not because of El Capitan…. He simply said that Apple was being overly conservative. The best thing though, was show that you could connect even more than 6, when using an external GPU. As AMD and nVidia produce ever more powerful cards, the options are almost endless. This is really a showcase of how powerful Apple’s Mac Pro Thunderbolt bus really is. Many feared that eliminating internal card slots, (this is a Woz speciality), then it would limit or ruin the Pro line. Hardly the case, as it is shown.

        Very good stuff, watch the video if you haven’t already.

        1. Gollum, what makes you think he knows what he’s talking about on the software support side? Often the hardware can do things the software doesn’t support. I can think of many things that meet that criteria in the past where the hardware exceeded the functionality of the software that supported it. Graphics is, in fact one of those areas. Cards could drive monitors, but the software could not. We had to wait for the software to catch up to the next update to take advantage of what had been engineered into the hardware. I really think this is one of those cases.

          1. You are right. But he said he tried it, and it worked. It may not have been supportable or stable. But I’m just going by his word, as so few people would be in a place to actually do it. It is wonderful none the less.

  2. Yeah, fellas, it’s great iff’n ya’ll want still pitchers on each screen.
    But don’t go tryin’ no hi-falutin’ graphics on any one of ’em without
    first unhookin’ two or three of them there six monitors.

    1. Nvm i just saw the part where he said it was all plugged into his mac pro not the e-gpu. Its still stupid you cant expand the mac pro in any smart way though.

    2. In your estimation 6 screens is “stupid”? What about those of us who are running 8 screens, sometimes more? I run 8×27 inch monitors 5-6 days per week here and I’d pull my hair out having to go down to 4x. Going to 2-3x would cause suicidal thoughts! If you need 6+ screens expandability is not stupid.

    1. Me too – that was hilarious.
      I have a feeling he’ll want to use the extra card if he does any serious GPU tasks, but it’s still pretty impressive to run all those pixels with the built in cards.
      I love my pros here – between those and the 5k iMacs, my office is super quiet, we have plenty of render power, and tons of leg room now. Will be interesting to see Apple’s new monitors as well. Been an expensive couple of years 🙂

  3. I am connected to two 80″ LCD TV screens, with my Mac Pro – it does me well. Don’t care for 4K quality at the moment, just Realestate space to work on my projects.

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