MBP dual external monitor config

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by whitehexagon, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. whitehexagon macrumors regular

    whitehexagon

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    #1
    Just to give some feedback on my dual external monitor setup challenge.

    It's finally working! I ended up going direct to matrox support to get some advice on the dual head2go options. I know some people here had mentioned the device, and it sounded like a good solution. My task was to get 2x samsung 214T monitors running from my SR 2.4 MBP.

    I was a bit confused at first because the dual digital head2go has a VGA input! Not what you'd expect for a product called 'digital edition'. I really wanted something that was digital all the way. So after some emails with Matrox I was assured the triple head2go was the correct solution. This box will run two monitors (ports 1&3 !) in a dual link DVI mode. Plus the box has DVI input. Sounded perfect, if not a bit too expensive!

    Anyway the box arrived, didn't work, spent 5+ hours with trying to solve the problem, eventually being told by Matrox support that although the box work for Macs, it need to be configured via Windows!!!! Crazy I know. I've only just manged to get rid of all my windows hardware, so it was quite annoying to be told that a product claiming mac support, requires windows to configure it. Someone at Matrox is obviously too lazy to port the software to OSX. Make sure you shout at them if you buy :)

    Anyway the good news is that after tracking down a friends windows box (btw Parallels didn't work in this case for me) I managed to get the thing configured for my 2 monitors.

    The even better news is that besides the nice 2 x 1600x1200 monitors, the internal display is still functional! Although having a 'T' shaped desktop is taking a while to get used to. And it took me a while to work out how to drag the menu bars back to the MBP in the display preferences.

    Anyway, just wanted to share that info in case anyone is still considering this solution.

    Cheers
    Peter
     
  2. uraniumwilly macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    #2
    Thanks for posting the feedback.

    I purchased the digital head2go for my Macbook Pro and 2 23" Apple monitors. It wouldn't work at first... wouldn't set the correct refresh rate. Then while trying random settings I selected "show displays in menu bar" and suddenly I could choose the proper setting and everything has been fine.

    I'm happy with the unit but I have two more irritations:

    1) Before purchasing, I read a few reviews (Macbook). I found no mention of the need to buy the VGA adapter;

    2) The mass of cables, adapter space, Matrox unit, etc. that spreads out over one's desk is not a small consideration. I have to buy a laptop-elevation unit and configure the mess.

    So the price continues to climb, and price was a major consideration when purchasing.
     
  3. Scottyk9 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #3
    Would be great to see this - can you post a photo?
     
  4. Architect4122 macrumors regular

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    Mar 2, 2007
    #4
    I second a photo....I'm drooling reading about it.
     
  5. whitehexagon thread starter macrumors regular

    whitehexagon

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    #5
    Finally I got around to the requested picture!

    [​IMG]
     
  6. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    Nunya, Business TX
    #6
    Does Display Preferences pick all three screens up?
     
  7. DannyBres macrumors 65816

    DannyBres

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    i thinks its just 2 screens the mbp screen and 1 3200x1200 screen :)

    I wish i cud do this with my macbook :(
     
  8. compuguy1088 macrumors 6502a

    compuguy1088

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    #8
    That is a nice setup!
     
  9. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #9
    You can do this with your MacBook. However, you are limited to two 1024x768 screens on the older GMA950 MacBook. The newer X3100 (aka Santa Rosa) MacBook's support up to two 1280x1024 screens on the DualHead2Go Analog Edition, or two 1920x1200 screens on the DualHead2Go Digital Edition, or up to three 1280x1024 screens on the TripleHead2Go. (See Matrox Graphics - Support. They show the Santa Rosa's GM965 chipset supporting what I list, although they don't say it for the MacBook specifically, likely they just haven't updated the Mac section yet.)

    Also, while the DualHead2Go Digital Edition has a digital connection to the monitors, but analog to the computer; the TripleHead2Go Digital Edition uses a digital (DVI) connection to the computer as well as to the monitors.

    And, yes, with eight of these bad boys, you could run 16 23" Apple Cinema Displays off a single Mac Pro. 4 video cards, each one with two video outputs, each video output running to a "DualHead2Go Digital Edition". Because, ironically, the fact that it uses a VGA connection means it can get more bandwidth than a single-link DVI, so you don't need dual-link DVI if you use the VGA connector to the computer. Although if you want to use the DVI connection to the computer, you do need dual-link DVI. So you could theoretically have 24 1280x1024 monitors... (Four GeForce cards, each running a TripleHead2Go over VGA, so each of the eight video outputs driving three 1280x1024 monitors.) Hrm, that could be a grid of 6 by 4 monitors, 7680x4096 in an extra-wide 15:8 ratio (Almost 2:1, so wider than HD, but not quite as wide as many of the wide ratios used in movies.) If you used 19" LCDs, you would get the equivalent of a 101" screen (not including bezels) with a total of 31.4 million pixels.
     
  10. DannyBres macrumors 65816

    DannyBres

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    UK
    #10
    so you think i could run 2 x 1360 x 768 from my 2.2 sr macbook?
     
  11. itsallinurhead macrumors 6502

    itsallinurhead

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    Apr 23, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #11
    How good does this run? Choppy? Slow? How does the "flurry" screensaver look? choppy?
     
  12. whitehexagon thread starter macrumors regular

    whitehexagon

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    #12
    As far as I know the screens run at full frame rate. ie. no slow down what so ever. Or at least none that I've noticed.

    The only thing that's annoying me now is the really short cable that comes with the unit. est. 60cm which means the box has to sit on the desktop close to the MBP. shame.
     
  13. itsallinurhead macrumors 6502

    itsallinurhead

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #13
    Sorry, one more question. Were you able to get your dock on just one screen?

    Is it easy to unplug and just take your laptop with you? Does OS X sort everything out or do you have a change a bunch of settings before it starts working?
     
  14. itsallinurhead macrumors 6502

    itsallinurhead

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    Apr 23, 2007
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    Southern California
    #14
    and one more questions...


    What happens when you use frontrow?
     
  15. whitehexagon thread starter macrumors regular

    whitehexagon

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    #15
    well thats at least 3 questions ;)

    the dock I drag from the MBP to the two monitors, but then it spans both screens. Although I actually use it on the side anyway now. Remember the two monitors are just a single screen as far as osx is concerned. But having the dock & menu bar across two monitors was a bit yucky, and of course dialogs popup on the border which was not nice. So now I keep the dock and menu on the MBP. Plus it's along way to drag the mouse! In fact the single menu bar approach of OSX really doesn't work well once you have more than 1 screen imo!

    Unplugging is easy, OSX just relocates all the open windows onto the MBP. Attaching again is not always so smooth. Seems I need to disconnect the H2G from the USB supply, then plug usb, then monitor, in that order. Otherwise it doesn't seem to detect the box correctly.

    And front row I don't use, so I can't answer. Hope the above helps anyway.

    Peter
     
  16. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    Cascadia
    #16
    Front row would be split across the two screens if it's the only monitor, otherwise it would be only on the monitor that has the menu bar. So if you have the menu bar on the notebook's internal display, it will only show on the internal display. If you have the menu bar on the external display(s), then yes, it will be stretched.

    Remember, the Matrox Dual/TripleHead2Go DEVICE appears as one single monitor, with a resolution of 2x or 3x the width of the individual monitor resolutions, and the normal height. So if you use three 1280x1024 monitors, your Mac will see a single 3840x1024 monitor. If you use two 1920x1200 monitors, your Mac will see a single 3840x1200 monitor. (Note that the GMA950 MacBook and the Mac mini cannot handle three monitors, but the Santa Rosa MacBook, and all other Intel Macs can.)
     
  17. Slip macrumors 6502a

    Slip

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wiltshire, England
    #17
    Sorry for resurrecting this thread, though its more worthwhile than starting a new one. Anyway, Im interested in buying a 20" external display (1680 x 1050) for my MacBook in my sig and was wondering whether I'd be able to use the two displays at once, so I could drag windows from one screen to another etc or say keep all the IM windows on the small MB screen. If I was using the two displays simultaneously then what's the highest resolution the external can go up to? How well does Spaces play with two screens, can you assign one space to one of the screens?
    OK, I think that's it for now :)
     
  18. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #18
    Yes you can do that with your macbook. It's called Extended Desktop.
     
  19. Slip macrumors 6502a

    Slip

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wiltshire, England
    #19
    Lovely, and will run at the full 1680 x 1050 no?
    Thanks (Y)
     
  20. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    Feb 2, 2007
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    Ontario Canada
    #20
    Of Course it will. ;)
     
  21. Slip macrumors 6502a

    Slip

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    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Wiltshire, England
    #21
    Champion, bring on the January sales
    Thanks Techguy172 :)
     
  22. Zillion macrumors regular

    Zillion

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #22
    I am sry to bring this thread alive again, but it doesnt make sense to make a new one, since so much info is here already.

    I am considering to buy a MacBook Pro however I need to design a lot and want to keep working with my 2 22-inch Iiyama monitors, which I have now connected to a PC.

    I understand from this thread that OS X sees the 2 external monitors as 1 display, for example 2560x1024 (2x 1280x1024). But how easy is to get applications as a browser or Photoshop to use fullscreen on one of the external monitors. Do I allways need to resize the windows manually?

    2nd question, do you feel it works intuitive or isnt it really a good replacement for a dual-monitor desktop setup.

    Thx.
     
  23. benlangdon macrumors 65832

    benlangdon

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    #23
    well to second not opening a new thread ill ask here

    ok when you do full screen it, it is only on one display. well at least on mine. i have a mbp.

    but my question is simple yet i have gone to the store and the phone help and they have no idea.

    How the hell do you make the backround 1 large image. ie not the same image on 2 screens i mean 1 image that would be big enough to cover both screens.


    come on please help. i have asked everywhere
     
  24. whitehexagon thread starter macrumors regular

    whitehexagon

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    #24
    I find that the built in Tiger backgrounds fill the entire display (2xmonitors), maybe they are stretched by tiger automatically? And you can have a different bg on the MBP still. Haven't tried any custom backgrounds, but maybe you could just make a really wide custom image.

    I've been using dual monitor set-ups on PC for quite a while, and I have to say that although this mac solution is not perfect, it's very intuitive. I plug the monitors in, drag some windows onto the top display and hit the green plus. And the big advantage here is that the MBP display still functions, and that really feels like a lot of screen real estat!

    for example I use eclipse a lot. I plug in the H2G and then drag the eclipse window onto the upper monitors, then I hit the green plus. this expands eclipse to 3200x1200, very nice indeed. Assuming I was using this setup previously then eclipse remembers the size of all the internal windows. So hitting the plus means that the divider between code view and console is just where the two bezels meet. If I've been using eclipse on the road then I've probably reorganized the views and it take a little fiddling to get them lined up again.

    For other apps I just tend to drag them onto individual screen since full size to 3200 doesn't add much to most app I have.

    I plan to install Leopard this weekend so I'm interested to see how Spaces will work with this , more distraction from my game writing :)
     
  25. benlangdon macrumors 65832

    benlangdon

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    #25
    let me fully explain.
    i am running leapord.
    i have my macbook pro.
    i have another monitor.
    i put them right next to each other.
    i go to backround and screensaver.
    two diffrent background choosers come up.
    one in each screen.
    so this makes it only possible to run 1 picture here and 1 picture there.
    i want to have one picture for the both screens.
    not the same picture twice.

    yes spaces is the ****. 4 screens is a little much i just use two and with my dual monitors i dont even have enough programs to run to fully utilize my screens :p
     

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