MacBook Pro's one mini DVI port

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Furball55, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Furball55 macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2010
    I have a MacBookPro. When in my office I hook it up to my Mac 24" monitor, which uses the one Mini DVI port that I have. I have just bought a Wacom Cintiq, which has a DVI single link connection. I do have the Mini DisplayPort to DVI adaptor which allows me to use the cintiq with my MBP.
    Problem is, there is only one mini DVI port and I now have two peripherals that are competing for that one mini DVI port.
    Does anyone have any ideas on how I can use my 24" monitor at the same time as I use the tablet?
    Please speak laymen's English. I know how to use the end products, but not educated on all the terminology.
    Thank you. :eek:
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    the mini display port is output only on the MBP. Since the cintiq is used for input, it won't work.
  3. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    The cintiq does not use its DVI port for input signals to the computer. It has an additional USB port for that.

    Without the USB port, the tablet is pretty much just a display.

    However, there is no way to get two separate signals out of you MBP unless you have a book with an Express card slot. In this case an external graphics card would do the job.
  4. Furball55 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2010
    Wacom and 24"

    Thanks for the responses, but pardon my ignorance. I just want to confirm what you folks have been telling me here. I understand the DVI is output only and without the USB connection, it would only be a monitor.
    My problem is the Mini DVI "output" port is where the monitor portion of the tablet plugs into as well as the 24" monitor I wish to use.
    The wacom has a USB input cord as well as an Mini-DVI plug. So my problem with running both the 24" monitor and the wacom at the same time, is the competition for the one mini DVI port on my PBM.
    I might have an express card slot, so would that enable me to get a mini-DVI port to insert there?
    Again, I am not the smartest bulb in this part of the technical end of the spectrum. I would appreciate any other comments you have.
    I hope I made my problem possibly a little clearer here. And thinking this over, maybe its not a major problem, since most of my viewing will be on the tablet.
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Your problem was absolutely clear after the first post.
    Again, there is absolutely no way to run two separate displays (the case that you intend to use a Cintiq and a normal display doesn't make a difference) out of the MacBook Pro's display port.

    The only option you have (besides buying a desktop computer) is to buy an external graphics card that connects via express card.

    This is the only card I could think of. Afaik it works well with OS X (saw a video once on youtube or so), but please ask the guys from villagetronic if it works with the newest release of OS X before you buy it.
    Of course your MBP has to have an express card slot.
  6. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    No. Your MacBook Pro can drive its internal display and exactly one external display. You will have to choose which to use at any particular time. That is, unless you buy a splitter such as described below.

    From your original description, I believe you have a recent MacBook Pro (2009 model, unibody construction, all glass front with black around the bezel...) with the Mini DisplayPort, not DVI. DisplayPort is a rectangular port on the left of your MacBook nestled between the FireWire 800 and USB ports. On that computer, the longer slot next to the USB ports is an SD card reader, not an express card slot.

    I can't speak for any of the "splitters" on the market, but they are out there. Look at for example. This basically tells your Mac that there is a single 3840x1200 screen, which the Matrox device then splits into two 1920x1200 outputs (I believe you can support lower-res screens as well, but both the Cinema Display and the Cintiq would get the same resolution sent to them). You'd want the "DP Edition", and would need a MiniDisplayPort-to-DVI adapter for the Cintiq. You can find other splitters by searching for "DisplayPort Splitter" in Google.
  7. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Unibody MacBook Pros came with both express card and SD card slot. With the most recent MBPs Apple unfortunately replaced the express card with an SD card slot, that's correct.

    If the OP has the most recent book, he is screwed, cause your proposed Matrox does not work in this case.

    The Matrox is as you said a splitter. It splits the original signal into two single ones, increases the resolution and fits that image on two displays.
    For OS X, the display is still one single display, that's why you see your menubar on both screens.

    This does not work with a 24" and a 12" Cintiq as both would at least require the same resolution, which they don't have.

    Other 'splitters' do the same, most of them just copy the original signal and shows it on separate screens, they simply clone it.

    Again, the only possible solution is a separate dedicated graphics card.
  8. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    USB -> DVI adapter do indeed work, but don't expect the performance to be anywhere near a graphics card!
    It's like connecting your display to a 10 year old card.

    I had one of these myself connected to a 1280x1024 display (on OS X of course) and they are really slow. Video playback is not possible and even window dragging is pretty choppy.
    Really nothing you can use on a graphics display like the Wacom is.

    Why they are so slow is quite obvious. You're forcing a 3.96Gb/s signal (in case of single link DVI, which is what the Cintiq uses) trough a 0.48Gb/s (USB) adapter.
  9. mdgolom macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2006
    I don't believe this is actually true. I have a 24" iMac with 2 external monitors. I have a 20" Dell attached to the MiniDisplay port and a 19" Dell as the third monitor using a UDB -> DVI/HDMI adaptor.

    There are other vendor's that sell USB->DVI adaptors as well (Other World Computing). I tested the Monoprice version on my MBP 13" with Snow Leopard and my iMac with Leopard.

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