Newbie Apple Cinema Display questions

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by GStreakT, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. GStreakT macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2007
    I'm thinking of buying an external display and currently I have 2 laptops, a MacBook (3 years old, and it's useless for displays anyway) and a Santa Rosa MacBook Pro (bought in late 2007). But would I need anything extra to connect the display to the MBP? I know my MBP also came with a VGA connector (or something like that) and of course the display will have it's own set of cables. I hope that the connecting thing that comes with the MBP is meant to connect to external displays, unless it's for projectors. I was looking this up and people have been using high tech terms of other cables and adapters, so I hope I won't have to invest in more cables, and I'm a little confused.

    The display in question is a 20" Apple Cinema Display and I think it's ideal to buy before I go blind by modeling in Maya on a 15 inch screen. Yeah, even 15 inches isn't good enough. I'm an Animations and Video Game Development student, so my tools for life are giong to be anything Adobe and anything Autodesk and it's hit me that I might actually need some real estate screen space. The display I will be buying is used but only as of 5 months and I think the owner wants to get rid of it. I'm getting it at a price of 300$ although I might haggle a little.

    I don't plan on buying a brand new display and seeing that I'm getting a considerably discount on the 20", I'm not looking at other options, but is the 20" a good size for a MacBook Pro? As in, is it flexible to use it as an extended desktop?

    Also, do I have to invest in a keyboard too? This seems kind of stupid, but I thought of using the MBP's keyboard so I could save on the aluminum keyboard. I guess it's doable but it means I would have to train myself to not look at the laptop screen which seems kinds of pointless in having a display. It would also mean that the MacBook Pro wouldn't ever be able to put to sleep.

    I also have an external mouse, but it's a cordless optical which means I only have a USB stick I connect to the machine. But with the display, would I connect USB to the display or the MBP?

    Those are all the questions I can think of right now. I apologize for how retarded I sound. This is my first exposure to an external display and I want to know what goes where before I commit to buying it.

    Thanks much for your answers (and patience) :)

    P.S.- Does the display also work on Windows (under bootcamp on a mac), or are some features compromised?
  2. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Please don't bump threads. We don't do that here.

    Now to your question. If you don't need color accuracy (if you have to ask about it, you probably don't need it) then the Apple Cinema Displays are the way to roll. But if not, any 3rd party display with a DVI connection (fits on the right side of your MBP) will do. I would personally choose a display that is 1920x1200 just for the extra screen real estate. I would run both the MBP display + external display together for more space. And yes, you can plug in any peripheral that is not high-power (think external USB hard drives and the like) into the Apple Cinema Display. A mouse and/or keyboard is fine.

    Oh, and one last thing. The DVI to VGA cable that was included with your MBP is mainly for projectors, which are still VGA. Most displays nowadays have both VGA and DVI for compatibility. Use DVI for a clearer picture and bigger resolution. Just plug the DVI cable from the display to the left side port on your MBP. Wait for a few seconds for OS X to recognize the display, calibrate it if you wish, and make it the primary display. To do that, just go to System Preferences, Displays, and the Arrangement tab. Drag the white bar from the smaller blue box to the bigger one. That should make your 20" display the primary one (has the dock, menu bar).

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