Apple Cinema Display with MBA + Gaming PC

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by palebluedot, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. palebluedot macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2008
    So I am thinking of leaving behind my Early 08 MacBook Pro for an Apple Cinema Display with a MacBook Air + custom built gaming PC. Does anyone have any advice or ideas on how one could drive a gaming PC and MacBook Air through the same ACD.

    I assume a KVM would be best but it seems like there isn't one great choice on the market (i.e. bad resolutions, etc.) Is there some semi-elegant solution to do this?

    Ideally you'd be able to use the iSight on the ACD for the MacBook Air too, but I assume that is impossible with a KVM? :(

    Any help or ideas would be GREATLY appreciated. I searched to see if this topic existed and nothing came up, apologies if it is a repeat.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Why not get e.g. Dell U2711 instead? It uses the same panel but has multiple inputs so you wouldn't have to buy a KVM switch or something similar.
  3. rumz macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2006
    Are there any video card vendors offering video cards with mini displayport connections?

    Edit: it seems that there are. You might check to see if anyone's tested the Cinema Display on those cards just in case, but if it does, then you could just get a mini displayport KVM...
  4. dagamer34 macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Yep, I did this about a month ago. Atlona makes a great MiniDisplayPort KVM which works at max resolution of 2560x1440, all you need to do is push a button. It does everything you need it to, passing video, audio, iSight, and the 3 USB 2.0 ports. It's been fully tested at Apple's hardware compatibility labs:

    As for the video card, the Radeon HD 6950, 6970 and 6990 have 2 MiniDisplayPort ports which you can use to connect to a 27" Apple Cinema Display without any issue at full resolution (2560x1440). Here's an example of one:

    One thing I would recommend when you get your MBA is to leave it open when using the Cinema Display. While it's possible to run with the laptop closed, OS X is rather finicky about waking up from a USB keyboard and turning on the external display and requires you to actually disconnect it. Everything works perfectly with the screen open though, as when you switch to your gaming PC, the screen contents of the ACD switch over to the MBA's screen.

    Do wait for the MBA refresh with Sandy Bridge CPUs in the coming month or so.

    And here's a look at my setup:

    And the specs of my gaming PC: Intel Core i7 2600K, 8GB DDR3 RAM, MSI P67A-GD80, Corsair Obsidian 650D case, ATI Radeon HD 6950 2GB, 120GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD, 27" Apple Cinema Display, Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

    PM me with any more questions.
  5. Ashok0, Jun 13, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011

    Ashok0 macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    I RMAed my DELL U3011. The 3H anti-glare coating makes text look very glittery, I have ZEROS problems with my ACD27". I hooked it up to the DisplayPort connector on my nVidia GeForce GTX 570 and it works GREAT for PC gaming. I can see my BIOS screen and all of POST when I turn my computer on. I also used the Atlona AT-MDP21 Mini DisplayPort KVM Switch to switch the ACD27" between my PC and my old VGA XBOX360 and it worked pretty nice.

    I imagine it would also work with the MacBook Air.
  6. palebluedot thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2008
    Thanks for the input y'all. I have my gaming PC on the way and getting an MBA. I'm still debating whether or not the ACD is worth it at the hefty price. If I got an ACD is it possible to use a KVM with it and have a display port connection from the MBA but an HDMI/DVI connection from the PC? The GPU I got does not have display port (it's nvidia) but has DVI and HDMI ports.
  7. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    Because Dells quality control on the Ultrasharp line is pretty poor these days and their service is horrendous as usual?
  8. palebluedot thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2008
    Wait how did you hook it up to displayport? I don't think NVidia cards use Displayport? That's the main thing keeping me from getting an ACD, the fact I have an Nvidia card with no displayport. That and the fact the Windows drivers for the Apple monitor are pretty crappy and don't remember backlight settings.
  9. Ashok0 macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2010
    I bought the eVGA GTX 570, it has DisplayPort. Works perfect with the ACD27". Backlight settings are saved. Doesn't matter if I reboot or turn my PC off.
  10. FeaRThiS macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2011
    great thread I have had a pretty bad week so far had 2 hd tvs blow on me :( I use them for monitors as I have hdmi on my gpu. I am now using my ipad as my pc screen :eek: I dont have a mac but at the begining of next year will be buying a mac pro so since I need a screen its nice to know I can get a acd swap out my gpu and use it on my pc for now until I get the mac pro. Now I just have to wait for the new acd to come out just hope it is this week like the rumors say.
  11. ian1285 macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2011
    Hi dagamer34 you have the best set up. This is actually my dream set-up. I'm also planning to buy the new 2011 macbook pro 2.4 + 27 inch apple cinema display next week. I was supposed to buy the iMac + macbook pro because I also like gaming but upon seeing this thread I decided that I might as well have the same set-up you have. :) get the best of both worlds. After I get this mbp + ACD, I will save up for that gaming rig :) do you have a yahoo messenger or can I have ur email? I have a few questions regarding the videocard that I will buy. I'm looking for cheap alternatives for HD6990 and GTX 590 it's $650 here in the Philippines. Can you recommend any other videocards that works perfectly fine with the 27 inch apple cinema display? Thanks in advance.
  12. Josh Kahane macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2006
    Suffolk, UK
    I want to achieve this as well. Use a 27" cinema display as my iMacs secondary display but also switch to use it as my PC monitor as well.

    There seems to be limited options to achieve this, the Atlona switch being one, but it's discontinued! What are youg us thoughts on this? Should I grab one anyway considering how few choices I have in terms of switch solutions available?

    I also found a new product called the Kanex SnapX. Looks to do the job but there is so little information available (as its new I think) and unsure if it will work as intended.
  13. tomviolence macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2012
    This is a nice setup. I want to do more or less the same, but with a 24 inch LED Cinema Display. I have it working with my Early 2011 Macbook Pro, but I also would want it to work with a game pc I'm about to build.

    Had the MSI Radeon 6950 Twin Razr recommended to me, and was wondering if not only the display would work well with it (connected through the Mini-Displayport that is on the GPU), but if the usb ports on the display could be made to work too. Would it be as simple as hooking up the usb plug from the monitor to a random usb port on the PC?

    Any advice well appreciated here. Thanks.

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