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View Full Version : Can you uses a standard PC monitor with a Power Mac?


absurdio
Mar 3, 2005, 11:05 PM
The release of the mac mini and the emphasis on the fact that you can use it with the keyboard, monitor, and mouse you already have has made me wonder: can you do that with any other setup? Because while power macs ain't cheap, they'd certainly seem a lot cheaper if I didn't have to fork over another billion for an apple cinema display. If the connection is different and a standard PC monitor wouldn't work, is there an adapter? Obviously any keyboard and mouse will work; I'm not worried about that. But if anyone knows about the monitor thing, I'd sure like to know the answer. Thanks.
-nx

CanadaRAM
Mar 3, 2005, 11:22 PM
You can use a standard PC (SVGA) monitor with any Mac.

It has to be a multiple-sync monitor (that is, newer than 10 years old approx.) or it won't work with blue G3's and newer. Fixed frequency monitors including old Apple ones don't work with machines newer than the Beige G3.

The oldest Macs have a two-row DB 15 video jack that you need a "MacSync" adaptor for to convert to the three-row 15-pin VGA jack.

Many Macs shipped with a VGA connector standard

Some newer Macs have only DVI and/or ADC jacks, and these shipped with adaptors to 15-pin VGA. Adaptors can also be bought separately

Thanks
Trevor
CanadaRAM.com

freiheit
Mar 3, 2005, 11:26 PM
Absolutely you can use any standard monitor with a PowerMac. I had a 19" CRT and now have a 17" LCD -- both with standard PC-style VGA connectors, and my PowerMac is fine with them. In fact, I use a KVM (keyboard-video-mouse) switch so I can use my PC keyboard, my PC mouse and my monitor with both my PowerMac and my PC. Works great and is a good in-between step for anyone switching from a PC -- you can still keep your PC _AND_ have a Mac.

The one thing to keep an eye on is the type of video connector your monitor has and what the particular model of Mac has. Some monitors use standard old VGA connectors. Some newer LCDs use th DVI-I connector. Newer Macs (G5 PowerMacs) I think come with DVI-I and you need a DVI-to-VGA converter in order to hook up a VGA monitor. If your current monitor already has DVI-I, then you're in luck! Some Macs (Mac mini for instance) come with the DVI-to-VGA converter, so there's no extra cost, but a good converter alone shouldn't cost more than $15-30. You have both VGA and DVI in the PC world, the difference is most PC video cards include one of each connector.

absurdio
Mar 8, 2005, 01:00 AM
thanks, guys. that's good to hear. It means if i ever do decide to go that route, it'll only set me back $4-5k rather than 7-8. *sigh*.

Why is the mac mini so special, then? i mean if you can use your standard keyboard, monitor, and mouse with any mac box, what's the big deal about mac mini? it seems like its defining features are its being already limited and impossible to expand. Am I missing something?

CanadaRAM
Mar 8, 2005, 01:26 AM
Well its defining feature would be that it is US$499. Partially this is done by not including the keyboard and mouse, which has been included with every Mac since sometime last century. You don't buy a Mini to expand it. You buy a Mini because it does what it does well, is cheap enough to buy as a 2nd (or 3rd) machine, and comes with a damngood software suite in iLife 05.

oingoboingo
Mar 8, 2005, 01:49 AM
Why is the mac mini so special, then? i mean if you can use your standard keyboard, monitor, and mouse with any mac box, what's the big deal about mac mini? it seems like its defining features are its being already limited and impossible to expand. Am I missing something?

The big deal about the Mac mini is:

1) It's very small
2) It's very quiet
3) It's loaded with very good software
4) It's cheap

...and

5) There's nothing in the PC world which can address those 4 points simultaneously as well as the Mac mini can.

BTW, any of Apple's machines can use a bog-standard USB keyboard or USB mouse. iBook, PowerBook, eMac, iMac, PowerMac, Mac mini. They can all be used with a standard monitor too. There is a lingering misconception that Apple's hardware is incompatible with most standard 'PC' peripherals. This may have been true many years ago, but today standard keyboards, mice, joysticks, monitors, RAM, optical drives, hard drives, and various PCI and PCMCIA cards can all be used.