Early 2011 MBP cannot drive HP ZR2740w via DisplayPort, please help

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by bollweevil, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. bollweevil macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2008
    I have an Early 2011 MacBook Pro with a Thunderbolt port. I just bought an HP ZR2740w 27" LCD monitor, 2560x1440 pixel resolution. This monitor uses the same IPS panel as the Apple Cinema Display. The monitor came with a DisplayPort cable. I had to buy a separate MiniDisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter.

    Setup 1: This works. My father's Mid 2009 MacBook Pro with MiniDisplayPort (not Thunderbolt, they didn't have Thunderbolt yet) --> MiniDP to DP adapter --> DP cable that came with monitor --> Monitor. This works, the MacBook auto-detects the monitor and drives it at full resolution. Clearly, the adapter, cable, and monitor all work. It looks beautiful.

    Setup 2: Exactly the same, except remove my father's MacBook Pro and put in MY MacBook Pro, which is Early 2011 model. This does not work. When I plug in the monitor, the MacBook Pro goes dark for a moment, but no image ever appears on the monitor.

    Why does my father's machine work and not mine?

    How can I get my MacBook Pro to drive this monitor? I really don't want to use the dual-link DVI adapter, it is big and ugly and expensive.

    My father's machine (works):
    OS X 10.8
    Mid 2009 model MacBook Pro

    My machine (doesn't work):
    Thunderbolt (should be backwards compatible with MiniDP, though)
    OS X 10.7
    Early 2011 model MacBook Pro

    Do I need to buy a different adapter for my MacBook? Or a different cable? Do I need to install drivers?

    Thank you in advance for any help.
  2. AKDigital macrumors newbie


    May 8, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    Technically you need a Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter. This adapter includes USB power to drive the connection.

    I'm surprised to hear that it would work on a 2009 MBP with MDP connection.

    Your most reliable and best route would be to use a Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter. Some people have had problems with these adapters, but I run two out of my Mac Pro and they have worked great. Unfortunately they are expensive...~$100.
  3. bollweevil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2008
    I am sure that a MiniDP to dual-link DVI adapter would work, but I really should not need it. Thunderbolt is backwards compatible with Mini DisplayPort, and Mini DisplayPort is the same as DisplayPort except for the plug shape. This monitor has a DisplayPort input, my MacBook has a (mini) DisplayPort output, it should "just work".

    Also of note, the (mini) DisplayPort is how the 27" Apple Cinema Display works, and the Apple Cinema Display is very similar to the HP ZR2740w that I bought. They use the same IPS panel. They ship with different cables is the only difference - the Apple Cinema Display ships with a miniDP cable and the HP ships with a non-mini DP, but I should be able to just use the mini-to-nonmini adapter. Likewise, you can use the opposite adapter on an Apple Cinema Display and run it off of a Dell with a DisplayPort.

    More data: My Late 2008 model MacBook Pro ALSO successfully drives the display via the miniDP-to-DP adapter.
  4. bollweevil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2008
    Thunderbolt doesn't work, Mini DisplayPort does

    I wanted to test a hypothesis, so I borrowed a friend's MacBook Air, also with Thunderbolt as the display out. The MacBook Air also cannot drive the display. The MacBook Air and the Early 2011 MacBook Pro (my laptop) have the same exact behavior:

    Insert plug -> laptop screen goes dark for a moment, comes back. The HP remains totally dark and off, as if nothing is connected.

    Remove plug -> laptop screen goes dark for a moment, comes back.

    The MacBook Air and Pro can detect that they are connected to something, but the monitor shows nothing.

    Summary of findings:

    Works: Late 2008 MacBook Pro with Mini DisplayPort output

    Works: Mid 2009 MacBook Pro with Mini DisplayPort output

    Fails: Early 2011 MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt output

    Fails: MacBook Air with Thunderbolt output

    Plan of action:

    1. I have a Monoprice.com Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable in the mail. I paid for 2-day delivery because I am dying to see if this fixes it. Note: This is, in theory, the same as the adapter and cable that I am using that does not work. However, I think my adapter is sketchy, Microcenter only had two of them and there is very little written on the packaging, and it is a brand I never heard of.

    2. Call HP on the phone. I paid a lot of money for this monitor, and it is not fulfilling its main purpose.

    3. Go to the Apple Genius Bar, and/or call Apple tech support on the phone, and/or use their website or something?

    4. I know a dual-link DVI adapter would work, but I don't want to go that route. I would need a dual-link DVI KVM switch, if I did that, because the monitor only has one DVI input. I would also need to buy two more dual-link DVI cables (think about the geometry of a KVM switch and you will realize that two computers need three cables). The price adds up. And the adapter is ugly and big, because it has the USB cord as well as the Thunderbolt cord.

    Especially obnoxious: The KVM switch will probably have four USB cables dangling off it for the mice and keyboards, which I am not using.

    The dual-link DVI adapter will definitely work, but it is a lot of money and a lot of cables on my desk.

    I think I might return the monitor if I can't get the Thunderbolt-to-DisplayPort working.

    5. If I return the HP, then I would go to Microcenter in person and bring my MacBook Pro, and I would try plugging it into the Dell U2711. The Dell is $200 more, and Dell displays generally have better reviews than HP. If it works, then I buy the Dell monitor. If it doesn't work, then I really scratch my chin, because Thunderbolt is supposed to be backwards compatible with DisplayPort.

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