Monitor mini displayport to displayport question

msdarkroom

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Original poster
Jul 5, 2012
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Looking at getting an external monitor for my MacBook Pro (late 2011).
The NEC and Eizo displays normally do not have a mini displayport. Does using a mini displayport to displayport adapter cause a loss in image quality displayed on the external monitor?

Thanks.
 

msdarkroom

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Original poster
Jul 5, 2012
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Thanks for the reply.

Confused now...
HDMI causes a loss, isn't that a digital signal?
 

thekev

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Aug 5, 2010
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Hopefully I can clear some things up. The thunderbolt cable won't work for either of these. Mini displayport and thunderbolt do not fully support displayport 1.2 protocols. Eizo has started to include mini displayport. I know it's on the CG275w. I'm not sure of any others, but expect to see it on more going forward. With those they'd include a mini displayport cable. Otherwise call them and ask to order a PM200 cable or look at their compatibility matrix at the link. The cable is $35 + tax and shipping and negates the use of an adapter. It's just a straight displayport to mini displayport cable with shielding at each end. If you turn the external display on and off, it should be recognized automatically (returns to single screen mode when turned off). Some of the adapters do not work properly. Monoprice and some others also have cables. Reviews are mixed, and I'm not sure whether or not to suggest them. A couple reviews suggested that pins controlling power are incorrect. In the case of NEC, there are random complaints with unknown cables too. I would just suggest google in this case as you turn up a lot of random information where others have tested. What matters is whether their software will work correctly when using the adapter. Most of the time it's fine.

Back to what I said about displayport 1.2. With some Eizo and NEC displays, 10 bit displayport is supported on a per application basis. It will not work on any Mac. The last one that worked was a mac pro with a Quadro 4800 on Leopard. It's unlikely to come back unless such a feature becomes 100% mainstream. On the PC end, it's only supported by a handful of cards, but if you're paying that much for a display, grabbing a Firepro or whatever isn't that big of a deal.

Where does HDMI cause a loss? Lower resolution?

Anyway, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort are the same, MDP is just a smaller specced version of DP.
This isn't 100% correct. There are some things that are not supported. Displayport 1.2 and thunderbolt have approximately the same raw bandwidth. Displayport is something like 21Gb/s with part of it absorbed by coding overhead giving you roughly 16. The 10 noted by thunderbolt is splitting off a portion of the bandwidth. Displayport 1.2 is not supported, and there are some things that will not work to date on anything using thunderbolt. The cables are also not backward compatible, although you never suggested that. For most people they may as well be identical, but I bring up these things because it shouldn't be taken literally.
 

msdarkroom

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Original poster
Jul 5, 2012
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Thank you both for the replies.

Are you saying the thunderbolt port won't work for either of the monitors? I don't have a TB cable, so I'm a bit confused regarding that comment.

I am trying to make sure that I don't get a monitor that can't be used to it's potential because of a thunderbolt or mini displayport limitation on my MBP. It is a late 2011 model. I want to make sure I am going to get the full gamut/range of colors advertised by the specs...roughly 98% of AdobeRGB.

Here are the two I am looking at:

NEC
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/689879-REG/NEC_PA241W_BK_SV_MultiSync_PA241W_BK_SV_24_1_Widescreen.html

EIZO
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/651901-REG/Eizo_CG243W_BK_ColorEdge_CG243W_24_1_Widescreen.html


I checked the link for the mini displayport to displayport and am pretty confused. The NEC site also has a PDF file about compatibility issues with some 3rd party MDP to DP devices.

As for applications using 10-bit color depth, I would be using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Thanks again for the help.

-MS
 
Nov 28, 2010
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Hopefully I can clear some things up. The thunderbolt cable won't work for either of these. Mini displayport and thunderbolt do not fully support displayport 1.2 protocols. Eizo has started to include mini displayport. I know it's on the CG275w. I'm not sure of any others, but expect to see it on more going forward. With those they'd include a mini displayport cable. Otherwise call them and ask to order a PM200 cable or look at their compatibility matrix at the link. The cable is $35 + tax and shipping and negates the use of an adapter. It's just a straight displayport to mini displayport cable with shielding at each end. If you turn the external display on and off, it should be recognized automatically (returns to single screen mode when turned off). Some of the adapters do not work properly. Monoprice and some others also have cables. Reviews are mixed, and I'm not sure whether or not to suggest them. A couple reviews suggested that pins controlling power are incorrect. In the case of NEC, there are random complaints with unknown cables too. I would just suggest google in this case as you turn up a lot of random information where others have tested. What matters is whether their software will work correctly when using the adapter. Most of the time it's fine.

Back to what I said about displayport 1.2. With some Eizo and NEC displays, 10 bit displayport is supported on a per application basis. It will not work on any Mac. The last one that worked was a mac pro with a Quadro 4800 on Leopard. It's unlikely to come back unless such a feature becomes 100% mainstream. On the PC end, it's only supported by a handful of cards, but if you're paying that much for a display, grabbing a Firepro or whatever isn't that big of a deal.



This isn't 100% correct. There are some things that are not supported. Displayport 1.2 and thunderbolt have approximately the same raw bandwidth. Displayport is something like 21Gb/s with part of it absorbed by coding overhead giving you roughly 16. The 10 noted by thunderbolt is splitting off a portion of the bandwidth. Displayport 1.2 is not supported, and there are some things that will not work to date on anything using thunderbolt. The cables are also not backward compatible, although you never suggested that. For most people they may as well be identical, but I bring up these things because it shouldn't be taken literally.
Thanks for that additional info, I just looked it up, it seems, DisplayPort 1.2 is supported, but only at 5.4 Gb/s per lane (four lanes) if using DP, but 10 Gb/s if using TB.
http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/thunderbolt/thunderbolt-technology-brief.html
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
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thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
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Thank you both for the replies.

Are you saying the thunderbolt port won't work for either of the monitors? I don't have a TB cable, so I'm a bit confused regarding that comment.

I am trying to make sure that I don't get a monitor that can't be used to it's potential because of a thunderbolt or mini displayport limitation on my MBP. It is a late 2011 model. I want to make sure I am going to get the full gamut/range of colors advertised by the specs...roughly 98% of AdobeRGB.

Here are the two I am looking at:

NEC
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/689879-REG/NEC_PA241W_BK_SV_MultiSync_PA241W_BK_SV_24_1_Widescreen.html

EIZO
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/651901-REG/Eizo_CG243W_BK_ColorEdge_CG243W_24_1_Widescreen.html


I checked the link for the mini displayport to displayport and am pretty confused. The NEC site also has a PDF file about compatibility issues with some 3rd party MDP to DP devices.

As for applications using 10-bit color depth, I would be using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Thanks again for the help.

-MS
I missed this. The TB cable comment was just to say not to use that one. It was a general statement, as many people have tried them. You're correct in that mini displayport is very specific, and some of the dongles out there do not function perfectly. In the case of NEC, I'd probably ask them regarding recommended solution. You can buy one and see if it works. Photoshop supports 10 bit color depth under windows with specific graphics cards. It is not supported on Macs even under bootcamp. The net gain from having such a thing would be that you might gain some better shadow detail, which is always welcome. Both of these are used widely on Macs. You will get the full gamut. The bit depth thing merely refers to a set number of values mapped within a given gamut. For proper calibration, you have to buy NEC's software separately or bundled with the display. Just check to see which comes out cheaper overall. Eizo includes Colornavigator. The CG243w would require a compatible colorimeter. With the CG245w, one is built in.

I use one of these.

NEC has a kit with the colorimeter + software. It is an oem colorimeter that will only work with NEC software. The colorimeters themselves only last a few years before drifting to the point of uselessness, so I don't think it's that bad of a compromise. They used to retail the software separately. The last time they did that it was $99. A few years ago it was $179 for the software alone. As for the oemed colorimeter, it's the same filter hardware. They likely tweak the firmware or drivers for their displays. These things are too cheap to budget for custom hardware units. Eizo builds lookup tables for off the shelf devices with color navigator. Eizo also comes with a display hood standard. NEC does not. I just wanted to give you the full details.

As for the 10 bit color thing, it would be really nice to have on Macs, yet Macs + Eizo are typically the top choice combination for anything related to print media, graphic design, etc. I actually really liked the CG211 displays, but they're no longer manufactured.
 

msdarkroom

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 5, 2012
40
0
I missed this. The TB cable comment was just to say not to use that one. It was a general statement, as many people have tried them. You're correct in that mini displayport is very specific, and some of the dongles out there do not function perfectly. In the case of NEC, I'd probably ask them regarding recommended solution. You can buy one and see if it works. Photoshop supports 10 bit color depth under windows with specific graphics cards. It is not supported on Macs even under bootcamp. The net gain from having such a thing would be that you might gain some better shadow detail, which is always welcome. Both of these are used widely on Macs. You will get the full gamut. The bit depth thing merely refers to a set number of values mapped within a given gamut. For proper calibration, you have to buy NEC's software separately or bundled with the display. Just check to see which comes out cheaper overall. Eizo includes Colornavigator. The CG243w would require a compatible colorimeter. With the CG245w, one is built in.

I use one of these.

NEC has a kit with the colorimeter + software. It is an oem colorimeter that will only work with NEC software. The colorimeters themselves only last a few years before drifting to the point of uselessness, so I don't think it's that bad of a compromise. They used to retail the software separately. The last time they did that it was $99. A few years ago it was $179 for the software alone. As for the oemed colorimeter, it's the same filter hardware. They likely tweak the firmware or drivers for their displays. These things are too cheap to budget for custom hardware units. Eizo builds lookup tables for off the shelf devices with color navigator. Eizo also comes with a display hood standard. NEC does not. I just wanted to give you the full details.

As for the 10 bit color thing, it would be really nice to have on Macs, yet Macs + Eizo are typically the top choice combination for anything related to print media, graphic design, etc. I actually really liked the CG211 displays, but they're no longer manufactured.

Thanks for all of the good information. I appreciate it.

I'm leaning towards the EIZO CG243W right now. I have an old Spyder3 that I would guess has drifted by now, so I will most likely grab the X-Rite as well.
I can't seem to find the PM200 anywhere. Any ideas where to buy that?

Also, when using the provided calibration software to actually calibrate the hardware inside the monitor, does this still allow a separate profile to be used on my MBP? I used to have a 24-inch ACD and it was calibrated, along with my MBP, with the Spyder3 and both profiles saved as an apple profile, which I assume are software not hardware settings. I'd hate to get a nice new display, either the Eizo or NEC, and find out that I can't use the new display with it's hardware profile at the same time as the MBP software profile. I'm sure I made this as confusing as possible...

Thanks again for all of the help. Hopefully I'll be out of questions soon. :)
 
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terraphantm

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Jun 27, 2009
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You guys sure these computers don't support 10-bit color? I got the option for "1 billion colors" on a display (that I've since returned for other reasons). I think I was hooked up over HDMI if that makes a difference.
 

msdarkroom

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Original poster
Jul 5, 2012
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You guys sure these computers don't support 10-bit color? I got the option for "1 billion colors" on a display (that I've since returned for other reasons). I think I was hooked up over HDMI if that makes a difference.
I don't think either of the monitors linked above have an HDMI option.

The specs for the CG243 show DVI and DisplayPort as the input methods. It then says that with DVI you get 16.7 million colors, but with DisplayPort you get 1 billion.
 

terraphantm

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Jun 27, 2009
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I don't think either of the monitors linked above have an HDMI option.

The specs for the CG243 show DVI and DisplayPort as the input methods. It then says that with DVI you get 16.7 million colors, but with DisplayPort you get 1 billion.
Well right - but my point is I did see the option for 1 billion colors in the display settings. So that's contrary to the statements of OSX not being capable of supporting 10-bit
 

msdarkroom

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Original poster
Jul 5, 2012
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I see what you are saying now. Good point.


I think I'm going to call EIZO tomorrow and ask them to clarify some things. I'm still confused about the actual cable I will need and want to verify that my MBP can use a software calibrated profile at the same time as the EIZO uses a hardware calibrated profile. I know they can both use the software calibrated profiles but that kind of defeats the point.
Unless of course I have no idea what I'm talking about, which is very possible.
 

msdarkroom

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Original poster
Jul 5, 2012
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B&H says any mac with Thunderbolt can output 10-bits. I don't know if that is correct or not.

Still not sure about using two profiles - one from the macbook and the other internally on the monitor.
 
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