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Will displays connected to onboard Thunderbolt port benefit from PCIe GPU?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 20, 2013 9:36:18 AM

Hi everyone,

I have a question. It sounds a bit noob, though.

Say I had a GPU on one of my PCIe slot, but my display(s) are not connected to the GPU out ports, instead, they're connected to the Thunderbolt out port on the mobo.

Will the system receive performance benefit from the GPU?

Thanks in advance.
March 20, 2013 11:06:18 AM

No. Why do you ask? What are you trying to accomplish?
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March 20, 2013 12:39:04 PM

COLGeek said:
No. Why do you ask? What are you trying to accomplish?


I'm thinking to build a Windows computer for gaming, photography, graphic and web designing, and a bit of filmmaking. I have two Apple Thunderbolt Displays on my Mac system already. Since Thunderbolt is getting its way to Windows platform, I'm thinking to build a more powerful PC (especially on the graphic part) and use it with the existed Apple Thunderbolt Displays. Thus, saving a few hundreds with the monitor, and also saving space on my desk.

My current setup is Asus Maximus V Extreme, i7-3770K, Samsung 840 Pro SSD, Seagate 2TB HHD, Corsair Dominator Platinum 8GB <x4>, and nVidia GTX 690.
GTX 690 do not have Thunderbolt port. So in order to use my Apple TB display, I'm forced to use the mobo's Thunderbolt port to connect it to the Apple TB Display.

So, in order to benefit from the GTX 690, I must connect my monitor to one of those ports behind the GTX 690? Connecting monitor to TB port on the Asus Maximus V will only use the graphic power from Intel HD 4000 in i7-3770K and ignore the existent of the GTX 690 in the PCIe slot?
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March 20, 2013 12:52:21 PM

since thunderbolt is basically just DisplayPort combined with pcie-data and the connector is identical with miniDP, so one can plug in a standard DP monitor into a Thunderbolt output and get an image (fact, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_%28interface%2...), I wonder if you could just connect your monitors into a miniDisplayPort output on a graphics card. gtx690 should have one...
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March 20, 2013 2:09:29 PM

Kari said:
I wonder if you could just connect your monitors into a miniDisplayPort output on a graphics card. gtx690 should have one...


Hello Kari,

No, despite MiniDisplay Port monitor will work just like you connected it to a MiniDisplay Port when you connect it to a Thunderbolt port (because the two ports are identical), Thunderbolt Display will not work if connected to a MiniDisplay Port. That's why Apple still selling their Cinema Display with MiniDisplay Port.
Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X5Lw_BIMHE
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March 20, 2013 3:10:45 PM

zenism said:
Kari said:
I wonder if you could just connect your monitors into a miniDisplayPort output on a graphics card. gtx690 should have one...


Hello Kari,

No, despite MiniDisplay Port monitor will work just like you connected it to a MiniDisplay Port when you connect it to a Thunderbolt port (because the two ports are identical), Thunderbolt Display will not work if connected to a MiniDisplay Port. That's why Apple still selling their Cinema Display with MiniDisplay Port.
Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X5Lw_BIMHE

well thats just dumb.

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March 20, 2013 5:23:35 PM

zenism said:
COLGeek said:
No. Why do you ask? What are you trying to accomplish?


I'm thinking to build a Windows computer for gaming, photography, graphic and web designing, and a bit of filmmaking. I have two Apple Thunderbolt Displays on my Mac system already. Since Thunderbolt is getting its way to Windows platform, I'm thinking to build a more powerful PC (especially on the graphic part) and use it with the existed Apple Thunderbolt Displays. Thus, saving a few hundreds with the monitor, and also saving space on my desk.

My current setup is Asus Maximus V Extreme, i7-3770K, Samsung 840 Pro SSD, Seagate 2TB HHD, Corsair Dominator Platinum 8GB <x4>, and nVidia GTX 690.
GTX 690 do not have Thunderbolt port. So in order to use my Apple TB display, I'm forced to use the mobo's Thunderbolt port to connect it to the Apple TB Display.

So, in order to benefit from the GTX 690, I must connect my monitor to one of those ports behind the GTX 690? Connecting monitor to TB port on the Asus Maximus V will only use the graphic power from Intel HD 4000 in i7-3770K and ignore the existent of the GTX 690 in the PCIe slot?

That is correct. Remember, PC based Thunderbolt is only supported on systems with integrated graphics. Using the HD4000 on your proposed system would not take advantage of the processing power of the discrete GPU.

You could always sell the Cinema Displays and use the funds to resource your new build.
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March 20, 2013 6:04:36 PM

Why not, wouldn't the Lucid Virtu route the display thru the TB like it would over the HDMI or DP?
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March 20, 2013 6:11:56 PM

Virtu might work, but then there is still a compatibility issue connecting to the TB displays.
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March 21, 2013 10:11:04 AM

Thanks everyone.

I guess I'm out of luck. To benefit from the GTX 690 or any discrete graphic card, I need to buy one more monitor which has HDMI or DVI-connection and connect to it. Connecting a TB display to the Thunderbolt port on the mobo and the graphic will only driven by Intel HD graphic in the CPU and ignore the discrete graphic card in the PCIe slot.

If only there are graphic cards which feature Thunderbolt Ports. It sounds unlikely, though. A graphic card which also carry data along with the video signal?? hmmm… Maybe in the next 5 years. lol.
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April 10, 2013 4:13:11 AM

I don't understand what you mean about TB compatibility COLgeek; isn't this precisely the application that Lucid Virtu is designed for?
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April 10, 2013 4:57:21 AM

Yes, but the issue seems to be with the Apple TB displays themselves from the info scattered about the 'Net on the subject.
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July 22, 2013 2:32:40 PM

Hey guys.. I have a similar question..and I think it was answered above... To use the Apple Thunderbolt Display you need to plug into the TB port and the Onboard Graphics will drive it. I have a new Haswell Board the ASROCK Extreme 9 A/C with two TB ports.

I just bought a new Gigabyte GTX 770 Card .

It is my understanding that the only way to use that card in this configuration is by using the LUCID product which will then take over the graphic resources and use the firepower of the GTX card out to the Thunderbolt monitor.

My question is "Is this the only way to do this without buying a non Thunderbolt Monitor"?
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