Connect Macbook Pro to 2 external monitors - Help needed

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by PaperMan20, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. PaperMan20 macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2012

    I have a Macbook pro 13" late 2011 model.

    What I intend to do is connect this to 2 external monitors (if possible).

    I am thinking about purchasing 2 of these dell monitors to use with the macbook

    What I need help is with, whether it would be possible to connect 2 of these monitors

    & what is the best method to use when connecting them (HDMI or VGA?). I do not know alot about this stuff so I would appriciate any help. i.e the adapters that may be needed.

    If you have any other suggestions that would also be good.

  2. 8CoreWhore macrumors 68020


    Jan 17, 2008
    Big D
    Essentially, you need an "external graphics card" to drive the second monitor. It would plug into the USB port and it would have to have a Mac OS X driver.

    I don't know if this is the best solution, but it seems to be pretty good unless for demanding applications.

    Better to go with HDMI than VGA.

    : )
  3. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    I think you want this:

    I have a co-worker with one (or something similar).
    It is a small black box. You can connect 2 monitors to 1 side of the box, and the other side connects to the Thunderbolt/Mini-Display port on your mac.

    The Mac thinks it is 1 big monitor, so the image is divided across the 2 screens.

    I don't know how much it costs.
  4. PaperMan20 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2012
    Thanks for the info. I came across this earlier aswell and will look into this. Seems like a good option and isn't too expensive. I will be using the 2nd monitor for web browsing or word documents. Nothing to demanding.


    Thank you for helping me. This looks good but is a little expensive. In the UK these are around £200 so I might give the first option a try. If not I will look into this. Thanks again
  5. willcapellaro macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2011
    This is the Diamond BVU-195 I think. I had one, I stopped using it after Mountain Lion upgrade made it stop working, but I haven't checked if it's supported now.

    It worked well, but yeah it's noticeably laggy especially with cursor reaction time.

    That might be fine for you but I had issues with it. Doing video work, graphic intensive, or high responsive clicking. But it's totally fine for an extra monitor for spreadsheets, email, desktop, etc.

    You'll eventually find yourself wanting a rMBP that can power multiple displays natively.
  6. PaperMan20 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2012
    Yeah I think I will give this a go. Not to expensive and I'm only looking to use the second monitor to do some web browsing or create word documents.

    Will these adapters be fine to use via HDMI. I'm located in the UK so I need to purchase the adapter from here.
  7. willcapellaro macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2011
    You mean via a DVI to HDMI convertor? I don't see why it would be a problem. As far as I know it just pins translating to pins.

    I am going to be trying out a USB 3.0 to VGA convertor soon. The company is j5 and this might be what you're looking for for HDMI. They also have 2.0 versions of both But I'm interested in avoiding lag so 3.0 is my test.

    Trust me when I say that lag very possibly will be unacceptable to you.

    Respond/quote to this message in a week if you want to hear the results.
  8. PaperMan20 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2012
    Really the lag would be very noticeable. I might give the DualHead2Go a try then. That will work with my macbook pro without lag right?

    Also does anyone know the difference between the SE and ME versions of the DualHead2Go.

    Let me know how that adapter works for you aswell, I will be interested to know how it is.

  9. willcapellaro macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2011
    Will do. I forget are you USB 3.0 or 2.0?

    DualHead - I know there are some limitations and workaround with Matrox products and I'm steering clear. Not lag, but something about limited monitor compatibility (displayport only or something like that) and something where the two monitors are treated as one monitor (so dock, menu would span across both). Supposedly they include software will keep applications from spanning across the extended desktop, but not worth my time to have to mess with things like that.
  10. PaperMan20 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2012
    USB 2.0. My Macbook doesn't have 3.0 built in.

    From the videos the DualHead2Go seems to work well. The only thing is there are 3 different models and I'm not sure which will be best for the screens I buy. In the UK the DualHead2Go's are harder to find so I don't want to purchase one and then have to return it.
  11. willcapellaro macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2011
    I hear you. Hmm... if they look like they will work for you... then here's my 2cents:

    Map out your inputs and outputs... I forget your setup. But you need to consider what ports your connecting to and what you're connecting from.

    DualHead2Go Digital needs VGA output, you're not compatible. But maybe with adapter.

    You're trying to go from a mac displayport to two DVI monitors?... looks like DualHead2Go Digital ME might be right for you.

    Digital SE looks like it's PC only

    Probably steer clear from DualHead2Go DP Edition - notables are that it's mainly for connecting to Displayport displays (The Apple Cinema displays before they became the Thunderbolt display). But has adapters for DVI and VGA.

    Make sure the total resolution will suffice for your intended setup.

    FYI, I am sending back my j5 adapter unopened. I also don't have USB 3.0 so my test plan was to go to Apple store and test out on their devices. Even if it tested well I would have to buy a machine and give it a further test for the two weeks before I decide to keep or return.

    That's a lot of work. And I have soured on the whole idea, as I've learned how CPU intensive the USB 3.0 bus is, and it requires good drivers that are OS supported to keep the CPU usage down. Basically having the monitor on with no activity would still bog down the CPU.

    I don't need my machine to have an excuse for poor performance. So I'm going to hold off for ahwhile and then buy a new machine with 2+ monitor ports. Either a mini, imac, or rMBP. Not worth an incremental upgrade and risking reliance on 3rd party support.

    Best of luck.
  12. PaperMan20 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 28, 2012
    Thanks for all the advice. I appreciate it a lot.

    I too have gone off the idea of having 2 external monitors. It's too much hassle trying to make sure it's all going to work well and having good performance.

    For now I have decided to purchase just 1 external monitor that I can connect via HDMI. Just by using a mini displayport to HDMI adapter. For the time being this will do me good.

    In a few months if I do still want another monitor I can go for the DualHead2Go but like you said, I may also just purchase a retina macbook pro insead.

    Thanks again for all the info. Much appreciated.
  13. HBinswanger macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2011
    My set up, which I'm using right now to type this, is just what you want. I have as 13" MacBook Pro (March 2009) with two external monitors set up as an extended desktop (Mac treats the 2 1280 x 1024 monitors ass one monitor at 2560 x 1024).

    To get this you need:
    Matrox DualHead2Go, DP Edition
    and a bunch of cables and adapters:
    input to the Matrox has to be male displayport, so you need cables and adapters to mate it with the Mac's mini-displayport (or whatever port is has for outputting to an external display.

    For outputting to the monitors, the Matrox needs 2 male displayport cables. And you need to be able to connect the other end of those cables to your monitors. I have old VGA monitors, so for the output of the Matrox, I bought two short cables that are male displayport on one end and female VGA on the other.

    All these cables/adapters exist, and you can order off the web.

    BTW, I've used both analog and digital Matrox DualHead2Go, and both work well. Customer support is very good, too.

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