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macstatic

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,869
136
Norway
We've just bought a 2.5GHz i5 late-2012 Mac mini but are a little puzzled by the myriads of cable and/or adapter solutions for attaching to a monitor.

We're considering an NEC 24" display with a resolution of 1920x1200 which has DVI-D and Displayport connectors (both cables are included).
On the Mac (according to Apple's info on its rear ports and technical specs) I need to use either the HDMI or Thunderbolt connector, but I'm a little confused and have some questions....

1) I know about Apple's (costly) HDMI to DVI adapter and suppose it could be used with the display's DVI-D cable, but information from the two pages linked above is conflicting: one says "Support for 1080p resolution at up to 60Hz" (which I assume would mean rescaling the monitor's output and thereby make things slightly fuzzy) while the other says "Use extended desktop or video mirroring mode up to 1920 by 1200 pixels through this port." so what's correct?

2) If I can use either port (and NOT get a reduced quality display output), is there any difference between the two ports?

3) what would be the cheapest option (if I can choose between either output), with the included cables?
Unless Apple has some special hardware circuitry built into those adapters I suppose "compatible" (and just as well working) adapters are available on eBay etc.
 

treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
1,849
411
Honolulu HI
The specs you linked says the monitor has a HDMI port so I would use that (or am I missing something in the specs?). The official Apple tech specs does not explicitly mention 1920x1200 but it if you look on the web, people don't have a problem doing that when using a straight-through cable (no adapters).
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/specs/mac-mini-core-i5-2.5-late-2012-specs.html

You can't use the Displayport cable included with the monitor as the Mini has a Mini-Displayport/Thunderbolt port. You can get a MDP-DP adapter, but it looks like MDP-DP cables aren't that much more expensive, so I would go with the cable (avoid adapters if possible) if you want to go that route.

There is no quality difference between the HDMI and Mini-Displayport for a 1920x1200 monitor. For higher-resolution monitors, you'd use MDP.

The 2012 Mini's originally came with a HDMI-DVI adapter but if you bought it used, the seller may not have included that. But there's probably a lot of those floating around as many owners didn't have a use for it. But there'd no reason to spend extra money to go the DVI route.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
6,901
3,714
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I have used my ancient Apple 23" Cinema HD display at 1920x1200 on both a base 2012 and quad 2012 Mini with no problems. It has an DVI-D connector and just used the HDMI to DVI adapter that was originally included with the 2012 mini's. The same monitor works fine on my MacBook Air with a MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter.

But if your monitor has HDMI, I think that should work with an HDMI cable.
 

macstatic

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,869
136
Norway
Treekram: you're quite right about the display having a HDMI connector! I mistakingly linked to the NEC EA245WMi while the one I've been considering is the E245WMi (around US$ 150 cheaper than the former). I had downloaded the manual where I read the specs, and which the web page confirms as well: there's no HDMI connector on that display, unfortunately.

My wife didn't get a HDMI to DVI adapter with her Mac mini (I didn't even know it was needed or supposed to come with the computer so I didn't ask the seller, and now it's too late). I see that at least here, the DisplayPort to Mini Displayport cables, Displayport to Mini Displayport adapters and HDMI to DVI adapters don't differ that much in price.

Thanks to both of you for commenting.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G5
Jul 30, 2003
12,733
3,986
Delaware
I would get a DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable. I choose not to use adapters, if possible. That makes life simpler for me, and one less connection to deal with.
 

treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
1,849
411
Honolulu HI
If you are going to use the speakers on the monitor, I think you don't want to use DVI - but I'm not familiar with all the DVI variations and permutations. If this is going to be the single monitor you plan to use for the foreseeable future and don't plan on using any Thunderbolt devices, you should be fine with using the Mini-Displayport for your monitor.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
26,085
10,872
Simple answer:
You want a "minidisplayport to displayport" cable.

The "minidisplayport" end goes into the thunderbolt port.
The other end goes to the displayport on the monitor.

That's about all there is to it...
 

macstatic

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 21, 2005
1,869
136
Norway
We went for the Mini Displayport to Displayport cable as you (Fishrrman) suggested. Works great!

Silly question perhaps, but would it be possible to use a Mini Displayport to Mini Displayport cable instead?
The reason I ask is twofold:

1) we bought a Dell U2415 instead of the NEC mentioned earlier. It's got HDMI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort connections.

2) we want to use the two monitors with both a PC and the Mac Mini.
I've been told that for a 2nd monitor (for the Mac Mini) we need to use the HDMI connector.
So.... (in theory at least) I think I've figured out a solution which doesn't involve an expensive KVR switch, but instead we just select the appropriate input for each display (using the Dell U2415 On-Screen-Display menu) so we don't ever have to disconnect any cables:

dual_display.png


The reason I'm asking if a Mini-DP to Mini-DP cable could be used with the Mac (from the Thunderbolt connector) is because it would be easier to remember which inputs correspond to each computer. In the above setup we would set up both monitors for their DP inputs when using the PC, and when using the Mac we'd go HDMI for one of the monitors and Mini-DP for the other -"Mini" being the operative word, as in "Mac Mini" ;)

Would this work?
 
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