Connecting dual screens to mini

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by skerfoot, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. skerfoot macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2010
    I'm looking to connect dual screens to a mini (current). It's for my wife, and she doesn't have room for 2 of the 27-inch thunderbolt displays, so I'm looking at something smaller - likely ths Dell ultrasharp 24" screens.

    I'm trying to figure out how to connect the screens. My options on the Dells are:
    1 Digital Visual Interface connectors (DVI-D) with HDCP
    1 DisplayPort(DP)
    1 Video Graphics Array (VGA)

    The mini has HDMI and thunderbolt, but only one of each. Am I really going to have to get a thunderbolt to DVI adaptor and an HDI to DVI adaptor and use these different types of connection? Is it going to be hard to match the screens (color profile etc) with the two different types of connection?

    I'm sure I'm not the only one to do this. Anybody out there with some experience?

  2. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    I have a Mini and a Dell 24" monitor. The Thunderbolt port will plug right into the Displayport on the Dell with a standard Displayport cable. For the second monitor, you're going to need that HDMI to DVI adapter you mention.

    Since both are digital signals that the two (same) Dell monitors are processing, I would expect color balance matching will be no problem.
  3. borostef macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2012
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I have two monitors hooked up to my Mini, and have had no problems with the setup. The only problem I have is that one of the monitors has the IPS panel and the other one doesn't so you can really see the difference in picture quality... But that will not be the issue for you if you get two same monitors...
  4. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    My Mini came with an HDMI to DVI adapter in the box and I use that to connect to a 24" Dell U2412. I've tried the same connection with an Apple miniDP to DVI port from the Mini's Thunderbolt port and it works perfectly. Unfortunately I don't have a second 2412M to try out at the same time since I am still trying to decide on 2 x 24" or to upgrade to 27", but I can confirm that this works with a 24" ACD connected via the TB and the Dell connected via HDMI to DVI.
  5. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    HDMI to DVI adapter comes in the box. Use that for one screen.
    For the second screen buy a mini displayport to display port cable. they are cheap and work great.
    I use a mini displayport to display port cable to connect a 2010 mini to a 30" dell. Since the apple dual link dvi adapter is a pile of **** and none of them work properly with most third party screens i used one of the MDP to DP cables. Its cost me 6.67€, runs the full 2560 x 1600 resolution, failed after 5 months, so i bought a new one.
  6. skerfoot thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2010
    Thanks for the replies.

    I looked around a bit and only found a couple of sources for the mini display port to display port cable:

    I'm glad to hear that it doesn't cause obvious problems to use both types of connections. I thought that thunderbolt was supposed to start showing up on non-apple devices? Doesn't seem to have happened, but it would make things like this a lot easier.

  7. Panther Al macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2011
    I currently have the '11 Mini where I currently use two Dell 2421 monitors by using the included HDMI to DVI adaptor and the MDP to DVI adaptor, and havn't had a single issue whatsoever. So its not a big problem to hook up two screens.

    Now if only I could do three..
  8. namelessme macrumors member

    Mar 9, 2012
    If you aren't going to go over 1920x1200 on either screen, you may wish to go for the mini display to dvi, just so your options are open monitor-wise. A lot of monitors don't have display ports. Of course it's best to simply get whatever adapters you want after you decide on the specific monitor.

    I have dual monitors hooked up, a NEC 2490 and NEC 1990, both on DVI. You can get the mini display to dvi adpater on eBay for <$10 (mine was a like new/return for like $7, shipped). Just make sure it's mini display port to DVI, not the older mini DVI... go by parts numbers if unsure.

    Whatever you do, don't bother with VGA... it's the worst option. Ideally get identical monitors, like you plan. The Dell 2412 wasn't for me, but both monitors should look the same at least, or close to the same (besides factory variations). As a test I hooked up my NEC 2490 using both of my adapters at the same time (it has three inputs), and switched between them -- I couldn't see any difference at all regarding the digital signals. Which makes sense, seeing as they are digital.
  9. DrakkenWar macrumors 6502


    Nov 7, 2010
    San Antonio,Texas

    The 2011 minis are just fine to push two monitors for most anything you want to throw at them. The VGA comment is defiantly something to consider.

    As I have a pos AOC connected via a VGA adapter and a SMS22A350H Samsung display via HDMI, I can see a serious difference between the two. While everything works well, the differences between the two is enough to annoy me a bit.

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