Help Running 2 External monitors on Unibody MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Dogboy83, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Dogboy83 macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2009

    I'm looking to run two extra screens off of my unibody 15" MBP while still using the screen on the notebook itself for intensive video-editing between FCP and the adobe series. I understand the maximum resolution the mini-dvi port can handle is 1920x1200--no problem.

    Now, does the maximum resolution change at all if I am running two external monitors (one using the mini DVI port and the other using a USB port via VGA/DVI adaptor to USB).

    Can the graphics card handle running three screens at once along with FCP,After Effects, and Illustrator?

    Can the USB port also push 1920x1200? Or does the USB port on the MBP (I understand each adapter can have different capacities) have a different limit? Or is that 1920x1200 limit the maximum a sole mini-DVI cord can push?

    You might just say, hey buy a 30" ACD and use the usb/mini-dvi ports to run that at an even GREATER resolution. But alas, I cannot afford to do that yet. So... Anyone have any advice before I try this?

  2. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Sorry to blow up your dreams but the DVI/VGA adapter is not the solution you're looking for. Infact, it doesn't exist.


    The USB plug is there to power the adapter.

    UNLESS you mean one of the other solutions. But i've never used any of them, and would bet they won't work on OS X.
  3. Dogboy83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2009
    Well, thankfully, you didn't. What we have here is a failure to communicate. I'm talking about this:

    Because I can only run one through the Mini-DVI port, I'd have to run the other through USB, since AFAIK, no DVI splitter really works yet--all the reviews I've seen are pitiful, so I want to run them separate.
  4. JohnBuer macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2009
    Interesting. USB to DVI. Good call. Didnt know about this one. [​IMG]

  5. bay2sacto macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2008
    I think what you're looking for is either the Matrox DualHead2Go or Triplehead2Go. The dualHead allows up to 2 external displays and the triplehead allows for up to 3. More information can be found on Matrox's site here and here. You'll need the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter as well. Their website has info on the max resolution of each display each supports.

    Also with usb 2 DVI adapters your performance will not be the same as the mini display port. Depending on what else is on the bus you could see some lag or stuttering of video. Its a shame there's no firewire 800 2 DVI/HDMI. I just read a review of one (although it was different from the one in your link) which found just that. The usb2 bus just can't handle the extra bandwidth. Can't remember where now. It was eiter macworld or ars or one of the like.
  6. neilhart macrumors 6502


    Oct 11, 2007
    SF Bay Area - Fremont
    If you find a solution that works, please post it.

    I have tried the Matrox Digital A2D with my Unibody 15" MBP and it will not drive two external 1600 x 1200 displays.

  7. bay2sacto macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2008
    Here's a DualHead2Go spec list I found on Matrox's site. Note the analog version max resolution is significantly lower. Also Matrox states resolution is dependent on the monitor. I also see they have updated the compatible systems list for the new MBP and it shows the max resolution as much lower than the older 8600 GT in the previous MBP. 2048x768 (2x 1024x768) 9400/9600 GPU vs 3840x1200 (2x 1920x1200) 8600 GPU.

    That just doesn't make sense. Maybe that is for the 9400 integrated GPU? I have never used one of these but have read good reviews of it.

    Supported resolutions1
    Resolution Refresh Rates
    1600 x 600 (2x 800 x 600) 60, 75, 85Hz
    2048 x 768 (2x 1024 x 768) 60, 75, 85Hz
    2560 x 720 (2x 1280 x 720) 60Hz
    2560 x 768 (2x 1280 x 768) 60Hz
    2560 x 800 (2x 1280 x 800) 60Hz
    2560 x 960 (2x 1280 x 960) 60Hz
    2560 x 1024 (2x 1280 x 1024) 60, 75Hz
    2720 x 768 (2x 1360 x 768) 60Hz
    2880 x 900 (2x 1440 x 900) 60Hz
    3200 x 1200 (2x 1600 x 1200)2 60Hz
    3360 x 1050 (2x 1680 x 1050) 60Hz
    3840 x 1080 (2x 1920 x 1080) 60Hz
    3840 x 1200 (2x 1920 x 1200)2 58Hz

    1 GPU dependent, please run the compatibility tool.
    2 Resolution available only with compatible digital panels.

    Note: Systems operating under Mac OS® X must download the GXM Control Panel to access all DualHead resolutions.
  8. dmayle macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2009
    I just wanted to let you know that I am using the TripleHead2Go Digital with the mini-DisplayPort to DualLink-DVI adapter to get two external screens at 1600x1200 each (3200x1200 total), so it's possible. Matrox doesn't support it, but it works...
  9. fil3333 macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2009
    was thinking about running two external monitors as well.
    does there exist any express card with dvi or hdmi out or at least vga which will work with an unibody mbp?
  10. Savva macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2009
    Solution Found


    I was running Matrox DualHead2Go Digital edition on my MacBook Pro 17" Core Duo, connecting 2 external 1680x1050 monitors (3360x1050 total resolution). Worked great!

    I receive my new unibody MacBook Pro 17" couple of days ago and sadly realized that mini display port to dvi/vga will not support such resolution.

    Using the link above, I have search for similar products (usb2dvi) that work for macs. I came across this site:

    So I went to Micro Center, picked on up and have been using it happily for the past 15 minutes :)

    Hope this helps!
  11. Mastersonics macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2004
    I just found out about this Matrox unit so I need some help from you guys....

    My setup is different than most of you guys because it's a Music Related Setup

    I have a cover band and would like to use a nicer setup to show the lyrics.
    Instead of the normal 3" binder with printed lyrics, music stand and light...

    I would like to use [2] Headrest 7" LCD's
    so I could show the lyrics Karaoke style in the LCD's synced
    to my backup tracks with Logic (the software I use)

    I use a killer app from Griffin called iKaraoke
    which makes a quicktime movie of the lyrics and shows it like a Karaoke.

    I just import a movie to Logic and sync the lyrics to the back up tracks
    a beautiful and simple thing.

    My questions
    since most of the 7" LCD on Ebay are analog (yellow input type)

    1. Which DualHead2go I will need to get for this?
    I think the analog is the one I need but not sure because of the mini
    display port on my 15" 2.53Ghz Unibody Macbook Pro.

    2. I will need at least a 25' cable from the Matrox to each of the 7" LCD's

    3. Any adapters I will need?

    What you guys recommend for this setup?

    thanks for your help
  12. Mastersonics macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2004
    hi again

    I just spoke to the Matrox Customer Service and he told me
    the only problem is that I need a long VGA cable (20ft or more)
    from the output of the Dualhead2go to the 7" LCD's and
    that he don't know if that setup will work ok or not.

    There's another option which are the MIMO USB LCD's?

    anyone care to help with this?

    any other solutions?

  13. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020


    Mar 11, 2009
    To your left or right
    wow this is some really great info. is it possible to run 2 24" ACD's?
  14. neilhart macrumors 6502


    Oct 11, 2007
    SF Bay Area - Fremont
    Matrox and USB to DVI

    Using Classic 15" and 17" MBP's with the Matrox A2D Digital I was able to drive two LCD screens at 1600 x 1200. Then found that it would not drive them from the Unibody MBP. If you look hard enough in the Matrox web site you will find that support on the 15" UMBP stops at 1680 x 1050.

    Any way my solution is the use the eVGA USB to DVI device UV16 (note there is a UV12 that stops at 1280 x 1024). So one LCD is by Apple MDP to DVI the second is USB to DVI both at 32bit 1600 x 1200. I run the UMBP open so I have three screens to spread on onto (and with Spaces it gets crazy).

  15. stevko macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2009
    Matrox Triplehead2Go + Mini-DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter Does Not Work

    Hi everyone;
    I bought a Matrox Triplehead2Go Digital, and tried to attach it to a 17" Macbook Pro Unibody (2009). I was able to get, at one point, two screens up, but only at a 640 x 480 resolution at best.
    Next, I purchased a Mini-DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter and attempted to attach the adapter to the Triplehead, and no such luck.

    Note that on Matrox explicitly states that this is not something they support:

    (see the Mac Laptop listing at the bottom). The Dualhead2Go is supported, but only at 1024*768, making it worse than a single monitor, IMHO.

    On the recommendation of another site, I went out and got a Tritton See2Extreme:

    This is basically a USB-to-DVI, which has a slow refresh rate but will support 1920*1200, making it much more useful. Note, this is NOT a good solution for things which need to refresh quickly (video viewing, gaming, etc.) and it doesn't support 3D technologies either. But, at about $110, it's a much better solution than the Matrox right now for Unibody. Hopefully Matrox will fix up this problem at some point, but for right now, I'm returning the Matrox & the Dual-Link adapter and keeping the Tritton.
  16. isianto macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2007
    What about display link. I read it somewhere, it's supposed to support up to 6 monitor using usb connector. and for the pc the software is embedded on the monitor, but for a mac, you need to download it. Hope it helps
  17. monologues macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2009
    Analogue Triplehead2Go with a unibody MBP?

    I'm tempted to buy the triplehead2go for my unibody MBP which has a minidisplay port... now. My question is, as for compatibility issues...

    Connecting a minidisplayport adapter to VGA (from apple) and then using the analogue triplehead2go (with 3 VGA ports), would it allow me to run three external projectors alt. screens? Has anyone tested this?

    The MBP has a Geforce 9400M and 9600GT card and according to Matrox both are supported for a number of resolutions, question is, will it work even though the interface is different (through the adapter)?

    Thank you for your help.
  18. theow macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2009
    I had two triplehead2go analogue editions which worked fine with my previous macbook pro (2007/2008 model).

    Trying to use them with my unibody macbook pro (9400m only) gives me a max resolution of 3 x 800 by 600 - not the 3 x 1024 by 768 that I need.

    I feel this could be a limit of the miniDP to VGA adapter that apple provides as it was limiting max resolution on single displays also. So it could be that a 3rd party miniDP to VGA adapter will do the job. Or it could be a limit of the 9400m (though check the max resolutions 1280 by 800 + 3072 by 768 is still within the limit of the max resolution).

    I guess your best option is the TH2Go DP edition at $300 - but then you need to plunk down the extra dough for the miniDP to DP adapter and the DP to VGA adapters.

    Hope that helps!
  19. dalseide macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2009
    Does anyone know the reason why TripleHead2Go Digital Edition don't support the unibody mac(mini-DisplayPort).
    Is it a phsyichal problem or a firmware problem. If it's a firmware problem then it might get supported later on (and I wouldn't feel so irritated for buying one).
  20. monologues macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2009
    As far as I know it might be a graphic card issue with compatibility problem. Which Mac are you using exactly?
  21. dalseide macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2009
    I'm using the late 2008 Macbook Pro 15" with Nvidia 9600M GT.
  22. monologues macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2009
    Which is basically the same Mac I'm using. Matrox says something like this..

    "I would suggest the TH2Go Display Port Edition to you - according to our compatibility sheet this is also the only edition compatible to your MacBook (info to be found under :

    The following resolutions can be supported but as you can see in the list above, your graphics card supports max 1280x1024 per display in the triple mode.

    You could then use adaptors to run VGA displays but neither the TH2Go Display Port Edition nor the adapors are yet available for purchase. They should be end of August - Mid of September."
  23. fogelface macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2007
    17" MBP 2.66 PLUS two 23" HD Cinema Displays?

    I have tried the Tritton See2 Xtreme. And even though they use the APPLE displays I have RIGHT ON THE PACKAGE...they don't support them. W>>>T>>>F??? Yes, right on the package.

    I need to use my MBP plus the two Apple 23" Displays at their optimal 1920X1200 Res. If possible, I want the displays to be independent, not a split screen. Am I asking for too much?

    Anyone figure that one out?

  24. Niiro13 macrumors 68000

    Feb 12, 2008
    Yes, but you'd need a ton of hardware. Atlona sells the only female Mini Displayport to DVI box (which requires the power adapter they supply). Then you'd have to get an external video card. The USB to DVIs aren't enough as they only support up to 1680x1050 (which I also heard the latency wasn't that good). The only option I remember are the Magmas, which are almost as expensive as a 24" Apple LED Cinema Display. Not to mention the unibody isn't fully supported so there might be bugs as well as the fact you'll need to purchase an actual video card as the Magma doesn't come with one, I think. ViDock2 supports generations 2 and 4 of the unibody.

    It's a lot of hassle, but this will allow you to use the two monitors as actual separate monitors unlike the Matrox which sees the monitors as one large monitor.

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