Dual 30" monitors

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by J273, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. J273 macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2007
    Im currently running dual 30" dells on my windows box but would love to use these OSX

    Im currently using a 2007 macbook pro ...Is there anyway of running dual 30" monitors from a mbp?..either the current one ive got or the newer models?

    I cant afford a Mac pro which i believe is the only way to run dual 30" monitors.

    Ive looked at the matrox dual head but i dont thik it supports the 2560 x 1600 res.

    Any ideas guys if this is possible without a mac pro?

  2. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Take a look here: http://www.villagetronic.com

    Pretty sure you need ViDock 2 (out of their current products) to drive a 30" display. I don't see that it says OS X is supported. Probably best to contact them and ask.

    The original ViDock GFX does support OS X. You'd need a Mac Radeon 2600XT too. Apple don't seem to have the on the US store but there are other places to get them. You are looking at $400-$500.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    The above post is semi wrong. A MBP will drive a 30" Dell monitor. To drive two you need dual link DVI capability in your MBP's gpu.

    I drove a 30" ACD for quite a while with a 15" PB rev d. At native resolution.
  4. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    I should have been clearer, from ViDock's products only the ViDock 2 (or older ViDock GFX) will drive a 30" display, they have other products that will let you use more than 1 external display but only support DVI.
  5. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    No, you already need a dual link DVI port to drive ONE 30" display - it won't work at fully resolution on single link DVI adapters. (You will actually only have a quarter of the possible resolution on a single link DVI port).
  6. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    Misunderstanding - yes Two 30 Inch on Macbook Pro 2007

    It appears that there are some misunderstandings here. Some people think that the question is running two (dual) 30 inch monitors, from the one dual-link DVI port on the Macbook Pro 2007. Nope. What the poster wanted to know was how to make two 30 inch displays (dual 30-inchers) work with the 2007 Macbook.

    What is true is that you need a dual-link DVI connection for each of the 30 inch monitors - i.e. two dual-link DVI ports (you can count that as four DVI ports in total, if you like).

    The Macbook Pro 2007 has one dual-link DVI port, which will run one of the 30 inch monitors all by itself. So what next? How can you add a second dual-link port for a second 30 inch monitor?

    As other posters pointed out, the magic is the ExpressCard/34 slot on the side of the MacbookPro, in tandem with the dual-link DVI of the Macbook itself. You can plug an extra-30-inch monitor card into that ExpressCard/34 slot, giving you a second dual-link DVI port.

    How it works:
    1) Apple Cinema Display 30" #1: use dual-link DVI output of the Macbook Pro 2007
    2) Apple Cinema Display 30" #2: use dual-link DVI output of the VillageTronic card, plugged into ExpressCard/34 slot on the side of the Macbook Pro 2007

    Here are the tech specs of the Macbook Pro 2007 (showing the ExpressCard/34 slot):

    Talk to Villagetronic - they will confirm this setup and happily sell you a card.

    Now, on to the next thing - the 2009 Macbook Pro. Now, with the very latest hardware ... you are up the creek without a paddle.

    On the 2009 Macbook Pro, the mini displayport will allow you to connect a dual-link DVI adapter. And then ... you're out in the cold, the very wintry, bone-chilling cold. The ExpressCard/34 slot is gone, gone, gone.

    In theory, you could use a USB monitor adapter, such as the Kensington Dual Monitor Adapter, the Tritton SEE2 Xtreme, the EVGA UV16+, or the OWC USB to DVI/etc adapter. Problems: None of those will support a dual-link output, and none of them support more than 1600x1200 / 1680 x 1050. Moreover, none of them support Quartz graphics, kiboshing much of your OS X graphics. If you plan to display text-only on the second monitor, you could run a 19 or 20 incher.

    Sigh. So the 2009 Macbook Pro is one giant step for humankind backwards, in terms of multiple monitor support. If anyone can see a way round this, let me know - I want a new Macbook and I'd like two 30-inch displays!

    2007 Macbook Pro - get the Villagetronic, enjoy two 30-inch Cinema Displays

    2009 Macbook Pro - learn to live with one 30-inch Display. In terms of the respect you got from the design "upgrade", you have been demoted from Fleet Admiral to Supply Ship Refueler, Class III. Maybe check out the new Mimo 7-inch USB display as a second monitor ... you could park your cursor there so it doesn't distract you ...
  7. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    hmm there is a device that lets you connect two displays and "tricks" the computer into thinking it is one big display. i cant remember the name of it, ill give it a think.
  8. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    display extender

    Yes, there are display extenders - but unfortunately none of them will cover the space of two 30 inch monitors: (2560 x 2) x 1600 = 5120 x 1600.
  9. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    do you know which one im talking about?? im not certain if it can do it or not...
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007

    Matrox provides a DP (Display Port-the new MBP expansion slot for monitors) that supports two monitors up to 1920x1080 each.. thats a big compromise in space..

  11. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    mini displayport - 2@1920x1080, or 2@1920x1200?

    Did you see any hard and fast specs on which of the two it is - what will the mini displayport on the Macbook Pro truly support in terms of two monitors?

    I've read conflicting reports on whether a new Macbook Pro can even support two 24" Cinema Displays - which are 1920 x 1200 each (not 1920 x 1080). Some reports say yes, some no, and some say "very flaky indeed". The latter worries me.

    If it doesn't work, count me severely disappointed. I very, very much wanted to run 2 x 30 inch Cinema Displays, and if the answer is that the maximum is 1 x 24" Cinema Display, I am pretty darn sad.

    In fact, if that's truly the case, I'll likely stick with my two 10-year-old maxxed-out re-chipped modified Sawtooths, running 2 x 20" monitors each.

    Going back to one decent monitor is __not_an_option___. Sigh.
  12. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    Definitive Answer from Apple Engineer = 1@24" Cinema

    Just got off the phone with a very friendly Apple engineer.

    Answer: 2009 Macbook Pro, you can attach a single 24" Cinema Display or a single 30" Cinema Display, and that's it.

    Between the two of us, we decided that a some future date, some magical display-adapter company will invent a displayport splitter, and then in theory, you could plug in two 24" displays. Or not ... next problem - the displayport chip on the graphics card of the Macbook Pro, to my knowledge, cannot address enough pixels for 2 24" monitors (2@1920x1200). So no go, even in the future? Someone could check the graphics cards ...

    The engineer told me that basically nobody asks for multiple monitors on a Macbook Pro, not to Apple on the phone anyways. That said, both he and I are running multiple monitors and hate going backwards. Yeesh!

    I'm in touch with creative people giving demos, who really need 2@24" for photo retouching at home, and then need to give four demos a day to clients. You can set up the MBP no problem. Mac Pro - not so amusing to carry around. And too noisy, for my money.

    You can use one of the USB display adapters I mentioned in previous posts - and put e.g. a 20" display at 1680 x 1050 beside your 24" Cinema. It won't run Quartz graphics, so the second small monitor should be for text only.

    Bottom line:
    1) Want to run two 30" monitor on a Macbook Pro? Get an older pre-2009 Macbook Pro, one that does NOT have a minidisplayport, and get an ExpressCard adapter from Villagetronic.
    2) Happy to be limited to a single 24" monitor or a single 30" monitor, like the good child that you are? Get a new Macbook Pro.

    Final answer - multiple 30" or multiple 24" on a new Macbook Pro?
    Definitely: no.

    Enjoy your day. Sigh.
  13. J273 thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2007
    Ok thanks all.

    That's good then....so i can get a dual link adapter which connects to the express card slot which will allow me to connect dual 30" monitors.
  14. TK2K macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2006
    There are USB options and other external solutions you can use like that, but fur duel link it's difficult.
  15. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    Or not? Matrox DualHead2Go?

    Looked at the link you gave:


    for the DualHead2Go. It promises support for 2 @ 1920x1200.

    However, that doesn't mean that the MBP video card will address that many pixels.

    If Apple customer service is a 9/10, Matrox is a 0.5/10. Call at your peril.

    After getting transferred 59 times and jumping through 37 phone system hoops, finally they left me 3 times on "infinite hold".

    The have a configuration application you can run .... Windows only, of course.

    If anyone can get past the big middle finger from Matrox, let us know!
  16. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    After research - details

    It truly appears that you can forget 2@24" Cinema displays on a new Macbook Pro. Sad.

    From discussion which already took place on Apple forums:"&cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk&client=firefox-a

    The bottom line is that the Martrox DualHead2Go will not support 2@24" displays:
    "The Matrox Support only told me that the new MacBook Pro with Mini Display Port is not supported."

    Here is the Matrox compatibility page, also stating specifically "no":

    Here is a misleading snazzy review, extolling the connection of 2 24" displays to a Macbook Pro via mini displayport. Only problem is ... they're Dell displays with a maximum vertical resolution of 1050, not 1200. So still no 2@24" Cinemas:"&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&client=firefox-a

    Furthermore, even if you limit yourself to third-party 24" displays with a maximum vertical of 1050 pixels, your laptop screen can't be used at the same time - you have to shut the lid or everything goes haywire.

    The same question has been posed before (no progress then though):

    An approximate claim of success - but not specifically the new MBP and 2@24" Cinema, and no real believable proof:

    Technical problem: mini displayport spec does support daisy-chaining. However, the Apple implementation of displayport does not support this feature:

    Ultimate problem - bandwidth. It appears that the bandwidth of displayport in its current version isn't capable of more than roughly 4.2 million pixels at 32 bits at 60 Hz. Here is a white paper on the specs:

    30" Cinema display is about 4.1 mpixels, 2@Dell24" is 4.2 mpixels, and 2@24"AppleCinema is 4.6+mpixels.

    What about 16 bits/pixel? I don't know.

    So from a technical point of view, it looks impossible.

    The problem is that Apple eliminated a high-bandwidth port out of the machine.

    USB 3.0, when it comes in, might solve that, with a new chip.

    Sigh. Too bad.

    I want a new computer, and so do my creative friends. Only possibilities with a current-generation Macbook Pro:

    1) MBP + single 30" display. Live with it. It's not LED, so the flickering may tire you out.
    2) MBP + single 24" display. Not a solution for me. Claustrophobia.
    3) MBP + two 24" third-party LED displays, with maximum vertical resolution of 1050 pixels, and a Matrox Dual Head. Best to triple-check that your config will definitely work.

    I will go for option #3, but since none of them are appealing, my old maxxed-out machines can keep me warm for another year to two (leaving aside that my eyes are very, very tired and yearn for two 24" Cinemas!).

  17. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    J273 - tell us how it goes, and ...

    ... be sure to phone Villagetronic to confirm that this setup will work for you with a 2007 MBP.

    I did call them with this exact question 1 year ago, and they said "yes" (to a second 30" Cinema), but as an engineer I wanted to know "yes, exactly how", as in, did they test it? I never got a satisfactory answer.

    From all appearances it will work - a MBP 2007 + Villagetronic + 2@30" Cinemas.

    Villagetronic had a brief flirtation with the Mac, but their new stance, if I recall, is "Windows uber alles", and their new products have dropped the Mac.

    Do us a favour and let us know, or PM me! I'm considering getting a 2007-era MBP just so I can have my new LED monitors ...
  18. fyoucher macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2009
    Ummm. Actually, it says it is supported for 2x24"ACD :D. See the chart for the Display Port (DP) version (which will be out in a few days).



    NOTEBOOK MODEL: MacBook Pro (Late 2008)
    GPU Family: NVidia GeForce 9600M/9400M
    Video Output: Mini DisplayPort1
    DualHead: 3840x1200 (2x 1920x1200)
  19. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    wow this has been a rollercoaster of "yays" and "boo's". thanks so much for following this up matrix and others (i see you have basically doubled your post count in the last day baha!).
  20. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    Matrox DP version might actually work?

    fyoucher - good call - I revisited the matrox page:


    and it specifically lists the MBP (late 2008) with 9600M/9400M nVidia graphics, and 2 x 1920 x 1200. Due out in a few days, you say?

    Sounds good. I'd like to see someone prove that this setup works in a non-wonky way (can you keep your MBP screen open? Do you have to set everything to the resolution of your laptop screen to have it work nicely?).

    I consulted the equivalent chart buried in Matrox's website and got misdirected. So maybe 2 @ 24" Cinemas! If so, yay!

    Of course, still no possibility of 2 @ 30", unless you use a 2007 MBP.

    Hope to hear someone try this out!! thanks all, for now
  21. skiffx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 5, 2008
    Has anyone opted for the villagetronic solution with vidock? Is vidock noisy?
  22. GoWest macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2009
    What about TripleHead2Go?

    I actually have 3 Dell 1600x1200 (4:3 aspect) that I would love to use with a 2009 MBP, and initially thought that the Matrox TripleHead2Go was the "way to go," so to speak, but it lists my MBP as "not supported." I have pinged Matrox to find out what the deal is, but no answers.

    I know I would have to use a MDP to Dual-Link DVI adapter, which I already have, but has anyone asked this question or attempted to figure out why Matrox lists the new MBP as "not supported" on the DVI-based TripleHead?
  23. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    2x24" on current MBP: Answer changed from "No" to "Yes"

    The Displayport-based Matrox "DUALHEAD2GO DP EDITION" is actually shipping as of now, September 2009, and I see that they promise to do 2x24" on a current Macbook with Displayport, with DP connectors both out and in.

    Before it was unclear, and we'd get to 2x24", but not 1920x1200 (the current apple cinema 24" display) - instead 1920 x 1080. Back then were the "analog" and digital" Dualhead2go products (which won't work), and the DP version was promised but not released. Now it's available.

    At what refresh rate, I don't know. But I'm heading in the direction of ordering one. Roughly $215-$240.

    No (real) reviews out yet - those that come up on google are actually not for the DP product, but instead the earlier products.

    My plan is to get the 13" Macbook Pro and hope to connect two 24" cinema displays (having given up on 2@30"). It's ok giving up on 30" because the 24" monitors have the vastly better LED backlight.

    I'm wishing us all luck, making this work ... !

    (Sad that the new whizz-bang 10Gbps optical USB of the future that Apple and Intel just jointly launched STILL won't support 2@30" monitors! sigh)
  24. wolcy macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2009
    Did it work?

    Have you received the DP and does it work as desired? I have a MacBook Pro and want to do the same thing.

  25. matrix01 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2002
    Dual 24" - Matrox card

    Thanks for your post - no, I haven't ordered my new Macbook Pro yet, to try out the 2 x 24" cinema + Matrox DP setup. I'm tearing my hair out trying to figure out when Apple will update the MBPs, most likely with the new Core i7 Arrandale processors (32 nm). Apple tends to get first crack at new Intel processors, and Arrandale has been in production by Intel for a month already.

    But I am chomping at the bit. I really do need that new setup.

    As an aside, I wonder if the polycarbonate Macbooks could also handle 2 x 24" cinemas with the Matrox DP box. Matrox's page says no, but I don't see the difference in video card specs between the polycarbonate Macbook and the low-end Macbook Pros. One or the other is wrong.

    If I knew that the new MBPs wouldn't update until after Xmas, then I'd order tomorrow, sigh.

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