MacBook Air Dual Screen

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by washo, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. washo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    Colchester, UK
    #1
    Hi,

    I have 2 MacBook Air's (2012 and 2013) that both need simple dual screen setups (2x 17" monitor with VGA and DVI ports).

    Can anyone suggest a dual screen setup that will definitely work (as cheap as possible!). Reading some links in the forum I am now totally confused as to what will work. Apologies for probably repeating what has already been asked but new to Macs.

    1 screen connected via Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
    2 screen to use?
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    Since you already have two 17" displays with VGA and DVI input, all you need are two MDP to DVI adapters from Apple or MonoPrice.

    Once you have them, you connect the small end to the Thunderbolt port of your Mac and use the DVI part of the adapter to connect the DVI cables you hopefully have (if not, buy two) to that part.

    The following guide might be for TVs, but can be applied for displays too.

     
  3. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #3
    Only issue with that is the MBA only has one thunderbolt port. ;)

    The only two ways I can think of around it would be the Matrox DualHead2Go or running one display off the Thunderbolt port, the second using a USB DisplayLink adaptor (which have pretty shockingly bad drivers and performance).
     
  4. washo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 24, 2012
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    #4
    That is why I am asking, so confused :)
     
  5. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #5
    That will drive two monitors, but they are treated as one big desktop. Might work for some purposes but not really the same as two separate screens.
     
  6. washo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 24, 2012
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    Colchester, UK
    #6
    I am only used to a Windows dual screen setup with multiple screens extended. Is this the same thing?

    Also, is this fine for both the 2012 and 2013 MacBook Air's?
     
  7. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #7
    If you used two 1920x1080 monitors, then that card would treat them like one big 3840x1080 monitor and the menu bar would span across both screens. So you could drag windows to either monitor, but it wouldn't work with a program like Final Cut Pro that wants one screen for the canvas and the other for the timeline for example.

    Another option is to get an Apple TV and use Airplay, which will allow you to use it as an external monitor. You would want to use gigabit ethernet to connect the Apple TV for the best performance. There will still be a bit of a lag (latency) though. However, it may not be any worse than the USB monitor adapters. A refurb AppleTV is only $75 though.

    Sorry, never used multiple monitors on Windows. But really, the bottom line is that that MBA is not a very good choice if you want more than one external screen.
     
  8. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #8
    The approved way is to buy a pair of Thunderbolt displays. That doesn't come cheap though, considering each one costs as much as the MacBook Air.

    Recycling a pair of old 17" TFT's most likely wouldn't have crossed Apples mind.
     
  9. washo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 24, 2012
    Location:
    Colchester, UK
    #9
    Just as an update to anyone else in the same boat...

    I have installed the Matrox DualHead2Go Digital ME box on 3 MacBook Air's now and all work very well. A good workaround.

    Points to note:
    Screen res is reduced but this is normal.
    Some windows open across the 2 screens but again is normal and can be simply resized by dragging.
    The Mac becomes a 3rd screen (which I did not realise at the time).
    Good software lets you stipulate if you want Mac or external screens as primary for toolbar etc.

    One thing I could not work out was how to configure things so if the MacBook Air lid was closed, the 2 external screens stay on (needed to save space).

    I am sure this is simple so if anyone has any experience, I would be grateful to know how this is achieved.

    Thanks
     
  10. MagicBoy, Sep 5, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014

    MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #10
    It's called Clamshell mode. You need AC power and an external keyboard and mouse connected. Just shut the lid and the Mac goes to sleep. Press a key on the external keyboard and the Mac should wake up using only the external display.

    Apple blurb here : http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3131
     
  11. washo thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 24, 2012
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    Colchester, UK
    #11
    Thanks MagicBoy, I was just adding an update.
    Discovered that they were not using plugged in power, which is needed obviously to keep monitors going.
     
  12. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #12
    Yep, been there done that.

    "Grrr why isn't it working. Ah ****** magsafe fell out again!" :D
     

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