New MacPro Purchase and Multi Display Dilemma

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by NicKZ123, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. NicKZ123 macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2010

    I am about to make my first Mac purchase and here is what I am eyeing


    One 3.33GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon “Westmere”
    8GB (4x2GB)
    1TB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive
    Two ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
    One 18x SuperDrive

    I am going with the higher speed six core as opposed to the lower speed dual quad and forfeiting the ablility to upgrade to two processors. By the time I am done with the computer i feel there will be no point to upgrade. Open to suggestions on the specs.

    My bigger dilemma is the multi-display connections via the dual ATI Radeon HD 5770s. I obviously want to have the ability to connect up to six displays. Each card has a DVI-d dual link and two mini-displayport links. In order to connect three monitors via dvi-d, you have to buy two minidisplay port to dual-link dvi adaptors which cost around $70-$100 each. Despite the fact that I m going to be spending thousands on this setup, this still pisses me off beyond belief. This means for my 6 monitor setup, you are forced into spending hundreds on stupid adaptors. This adaptor probably cost $2 to make in some sweatshop. Using regular displayport to dvi-d adaptors (which cost are $10) limits you to two monitors per each card. Your other options for 3 monitors on each card are one monitor on dvi-d port and two monitors with mini displayport connections from Apple, which are a ripoff as well. I was wondering if anyone has tried connecting one monitor via the dvi-d port and two other monitors using vga. Also, I was wondering if anyone has tried connecting one monitor via dvi-d, and two monitors using mini displayport to displayport connections (there are a few resonable ones from HP and NEC). It really isnt the money, its the fact i feel i am getting pigeonholed into Apples ******** scheme. If i cant use one monitor via dvi-d connector and two via minidisplayport to vga adaptors for each card, i may just set it up using all vga. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
  2. r00ky macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2010
    Your specs are good to. I recently unpacked the same setup minus the dual graphics card.

    I don't see too big of a dilemma honestly. There are a lot of good monitors that support mDP right now that will integrate seemlessly to your setup.
  3. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    Seriously, does nobody actually read these forums before posting anymore?

    You do not need the Apple Dual-Link to DVI Adapter. I repeat, you do not need them.

    What you do need is an active MiniDisplayPort to DVI adapter. There are many non-Apple variants around, all within 10 seconds on Google. This will save you lots of money, and lots of complaining.
  4. NicKZ123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2010
    Thank you for both of your replies. Peskaa I am just reiterating what is stated on the expanded info about the graphics cards when it comes to using 3 dvi displays on one graphics card. Apologies for not seeing other posts I am a newbie. Per the website...

    Dual-display and triple-display modes
    Both ATI Radeon HD cards each have two Mini DisplayPort outputs and one dual-link DVI output for a total of three video ports. All three ports are available for simultaneous use, depending upon the type of connection, and support multiple displays in two modes. Extended desktop mode allows you to work on three displays at once for increased desktop real estate and enhanced productivity. Video mirroring mode is useful when presenting to groups — the same image that you see on your local display also appears on a projector or auxiliary display. Simply attach multiple monitors and Mac OS X will recognize all the displays. Use the Displays system preference to configure your monitors in either extended desktop or video mirroring mode.

    Note: If you are using more than one Mini DisplayPort to Single-Link DVI adapter, only two displays are supported across the three ports. To connect up to two Mini DisplayPort displays and up to a 30-inch DVI display simultaneously, use the ports without any adapters. To connect two DVI displays, use the dual-link DVI port and the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter or the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (sold separately). To connect three DVI displays at once, you must use two Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapters (sold separately). To connect up to three VGA displays simultaneously, use the Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter and DVI to VGA adapters (sold separately).
  5. r00ky macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2010
    Do you have your monitors already purchased?
  6. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    Many of the better monitors released in the last two years use Display Port, so you're not pigeonholed at all.  says only to use  adapters because that's all they're willing to guarantee - unlike say, NEC or Eizo, they won't recommend you use another company's cabling.

    Don't take advice in a vacuum. Do a little poking around, and you'll find (for example) that you can get decent quality IPS monitors that use Display Port for ~$200. Or use another method to adapt other monitors.

    Honestly, I'd rather  just included Mini Display Ports if the alternative was including something as irritating as a VGA port. At least they actually move onto new technology, unlike many stubborn holdouts in this industry.

    Now, if only they would fix their software support to include a 10-bit color pipeline...
  7. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    You can save some money by getting the bare minimum (3X1GB) memory from Apple and then upgrading yourself from OWC.

    You'll save enough $375 off the cost of the MAC and can buy 2X4GB for $161.

    Use the $214 to buy some cheap adapters (or PM me and we can talk about my 5% finder's fee :D)

    You'll have an awesome machine.

    Good luck!!!
  8. r00ky macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2010
    Agreed. Some big names make some great 22-24" monitors that use Displayport. And going from, dP to mDP is a much cheaper alternative, with 4 out of 6 ports you have coming being mDP.
  9. NicKZ123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2010
    thanks for your responses

    @rooky - no i havent purchased the monitors but i have a stand that will vertically stack two up to 24'' i am thinking this monitor

    no displayport or mini-displayport on it,

    I already have a 23 inch lg with hdmi and dvi-d i bot last year, and an older dell 19 inch vga which i m gong to be using as well. will be starting with 4 hooked up.

    here is an NEC that has displayport, and is eIPS, a better monitor but for $100 more. it has speakers on it which i dont need, but may be a better option and i could get two aftermarket minidisplay port to display port adapters.

    @minfridge1138 - thx i agree, can put that money towards the NECs.

    if anyone has other monitor recommendations id love to hear them. want to spend less than $300 per
  10. timbloom macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2002
    Not everybody has the time/patience to read through massive amounts of forum posts before posting. Especially with such a bizarre issue that apple has with those connectors. Be kind to the newbie.
  11. r00ky macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2010

    Take a look at some offerings from Dell (2410 and 2311?). They have display port connections. A company named CinemaView makes a 24in monitor that looks like an Apple Cinema Display, and uses Mini-Displayport. Samsung has some offerings, NEC does as well. I'm unaware of their pricing though...
  12. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    I STRONGLY advice against such a setup! For a vertical two display setup you certainly don't want to use TN panels. Their vertical viewing angles are ridiculously bad (well, the horizontal are as well but not as bad) so your viewing experience won't be nice.
    Go with some sort of IPS or PVA, depending on your budget.
  13. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    3 minutes of Google searching = problem solved:

    Here is the relevant support document:

    The restriction is entirely ATI's doing, so their support document is the relevant one.
  14. rdav, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011

    rdav macrumors 6502


    Mar 16, 2007
    ATI Radeon HD 5770 ~ More than Two Video Cards?

    Does any one know if there are any restrictions on using more than two of the ATI Radeon HD 5770 video cards in the Mac Pro 2010 models, or would all the slots be taken by the first two (due to their heat-sink profile)? Also, read about "a maximum of 24 dynamically allocated PCI-E lanes", does that limit the number of video cards that can be used? And could the third video card be a NVIDIA GT120?
  15. schulmaster macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2010
    The 5,1 MacPro features double-wide PCI lanes, so GPU's with cooler only use one functional AND one physical slot each. However, it is the auxiliary power connectors prohibiting you from more than two HD5770s since each one uses 1 of your available 2 6-pin aux cables.
  16. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    It's the physical availability of slots as well. You can't put more than two double-wide cards in there because there are only 5 available slots. The first (and only the first!) PCIe slot is double-wide, so you're not blocking another slot. That doesn't apply for all other slots, though.

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