I have a mid-2011 21.5" iMac with a Thunderbolt port. Can I use this port to have the iMac act as a external monitor for my Windows 7 laptop that has a DisplayPort video output?

The MacOS Help Center topic "Use another Mac as a display" only describes the ability to use the iMac as an external display for another Mac and doesn't say if it would work for a Windows PC:

If you have an iMac with Thunderbolt, any other Mac with Thunderbolt can use it as a display.

Also, the Apple support site states the following:

iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011) and iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011) support Target Display Mode via Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable (2 m) when the source is another Thunderbolt-equipped computer.

Specifically the laptop is a Dell Latitude E6500, which is not a "Thunderbolt-equipped computer" -- so I'm essentially looking to see if there is a known solution for converting the DisplayPort output of the laptop into an iMac-compatible Thunderbolt format.

  • -1 Question does not show any research effort. It looks like the Mac contains the information in its help already. From the Mac's manual (PDF): "[To learn about] External displays [See] Help Center and search for “display port” or “target display mode.”" – Daniel Beck May 11 '12 at 5:49
  • @DanielBeck Edited with some information that I had looked at before posting. Sorry for not including it originally. – Holistic Developer May 11 '12 at 16:18
  • I just realized that there is also the Apple StackExchange site, and I found a very helpful answer over there. – Holistic Developer May 13 '12 at 20:31

From here, emphasis mine:

Products Affected iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011), iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011)

The iMac (Mid 2011) has Thunderbolt ports that support:

  • [...]
  • The Thunderbolt port does not accept input for Target Display Mode via a Mini DisplayPort cable.

From here:

If you have an iMac with Thunderbolt, any other Mac with Thunderbolt can use it as a display. The iMac will play both the video and audio from the other Mac.

If you have a 27-inch iMac with a Mini DisplayPort, any other Mac with a Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt port can use it as a display. Make sure you have a Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable.

Since you have a Thunderbolt Mac, you cannot use it as a display for DisplayPort output.

| improve this answer | |
  • Does not directly answer the question as I am not trying to use a Mini DisplayPort cable here. – Holistic Developer May 11 '12 at 16:20
  • @HolisticDeveloper From here: * Use only Thunderbolt cables with Thunderbolt devices, and only Mini DisplayPort extension cables with Mini DisplayPort devices. If you use the wrong cable, the device won’t work even though the cable’s connectors fit your device and your Mac. Please also see my edit. – Daniel Beck May 11 '12 at 16:45

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