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2017 iMac 5K: Connecting a Display Done Easily with OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock + Reader Comments

Mac wish listall 15" Apple MacBook Pro 2017 modelsMPG gets credit if you buy through those links.
MPG tested a fully-loaded 2017 MacBook Pro with 1TB SSD.
Suggested accessories include the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock, the 1TB Envoy Pro EX.

The 2017 iMac 5K utilizes Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports. These are not directly compatible with most displays (if any as of mid 2017), such as my workhorse NEC PA302W wide gamut professional display.

The Apple Thunderbolt 3 Male to Thunderbolt 2 Female Adapter is non-functional for connecting a display; it only passes data signals, not video. Thus to connect my NECPA3o2W wide gamut display, no adapter that Apple offers will work.

Enter the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock. Not only does it provide a Mini DisplayPort port for connecting the display, it provides a host of other ports as well, adding five USB-A ports in addition to the 4 USB-A ports on the iMac 5K itself.

See also 2016 MacBook Pro TESTED: 10-Bit Color With External Display in which I note that the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock also works—using the Apple adapter to adapt the 2016 MacBook Pro to the Thunderbolt 2 Dock.

See also Reader Question: Connecting a Dual-Link DVI-D Display to new Macs with Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C.

iMac 5K using OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock to connect via Mini DisplayPort to NEC PA302W wide gamut display
2017 MacBook Pro using OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock to connect via Mini DisplayPort to NEC PA302W wide gamut display

Seen above, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock neatly solves the display connectivity issue with its Mini DisplayPort port, charges the MacBook Pro, and provides gigabit ethernet and other ports, as shown.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock port layout

Sean T writes:

After trying unsuccessfully to hook my MacBool Pro 2016 to my NEC 271W monitor via a TB3 to TB2 adaptor and mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, I went to bed and woke up thinking…”I think Lloyd has encountered and solved this problem already”.. Sure enough, a check of your site showed your recent comments about solving that problem via an OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock. After a wait of 2 months, my TB-3 Dock will ship next week, so that will solve that problem - Thanks!!!

However, I am also struggling with connecting my (older) NEC 3090WQXi monitor which only has Dual-Link-DVI connectors. I tried a number of cables/adaptors (all claimed to be Dual-Link DVI and capable of 2560 resolution) via a high speed HDMI cable to an SIIG (B&H) 3 port adaptor for USB-C. The max resolution that I can get from these cables is 1920X1080, from a monitor that is native 2560X1600 and works great from my Diglloyd PhotoCheesegrater (5,1). All of the adaptors use an HDMI cable, and unfortunately, the OWC TB3 dock has no HDMI port.

Any advice on getting the old NEC 30in. DVI monitor to work from my MacPro 2016 Laptop?

MPG: the only solution I know of for dual link DVI hookup is to buy the messy Apple zzzz, which connects to a Mini DisplayPort port. The problem with that is that Sean would need another Thunderbolt 3 Dock in order to get that additional Mini DisplayPort.

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