Running dual monitors on Macbook Pro?

zrheath

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 2, 2012
6
0
Hey guys, new to the forum. I just recently got my first Macbook Pro 13" and I love it, but I just can't justify 13" of screen when i am sitting at my desk. To solve this problem, I just ordered two of these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009266

So now I am stuck figuring out how to connect them to my macbook. I have seen it done a lot of ways, and frankly I am lost on all of them. So can anyone tell me the best/most affordable way to do this? I would like to just have my macbook closed and run the two monitors only.

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
 

zrheath

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 2, 2012
6
0

Hey man, thanks for your reply. Like I said, i have seen it done a lot of different ways. But this is my first mac and the explanations i found on google are foreign to me. Frankly, I couldn't even tell you how to hook up the FIRST monitor. This is my first mac, so i am not sure what all of the ports on the side are, and what adapters I will need to use them with a non-apple monitor.

The monitors I have ordered each have a DVI and a VGA port.
 
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SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Jun 16, 2007
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Monitor 1: Thunderbolt to DVI
Monitor 2: USB-to-DVI/VGA adapter.

Mind you, you won't get the best performance with monitor 2.
 
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zrheath

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 2, 2012
6
0
Alright, I have done some research and found that the only output on the macbook pro is "Mini Display" port, which I'm sure I am the only user on here that did not know that!

Anyways, I see I can hook one monitor through that using a mini-to-DVI or mini-to-VGA adaptor, but for the second monitor, is it better to go with some sort of VGA/DVI splitter, or an adapter that allows you to plug a second monitor into the USB port?

Has anyone done this type of setup?

Thanks!!

----------

Monitor 1: Thunderbolt to DVI
Monitor 2: USB-to-DVI/VGA adapter.

Mind you, you won't get the best performance with monitor 2.

Is the second monitor lagged because it is ran through the USB port? Is there any better way to connect the second monitor, such as a DVI splitter or some sort?

I don't want anyone to do my research for me, I am just new to this type of technology and want to make the best decision before spending the cash.
 
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zrheath

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 2, 2012
6
0
Forget USB adaptors. They really do suck.

Try a Matrox DualHead2Go box.
I have come across this product a couple times so far.. can you tell me which box I would need? That option is obviously at the high end of the pricing options on how to do this.
 
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MagicBoy

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2006
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Manchester, UK
Depends on the inputs of your monitor. There's a configuration thing on their website IIRC.

We've used the older VGA port version successfully at work.
 
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zrheath

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 2, 2012
6
0
Depends on the inputs of your monitor. There's a configuration thing on their website IIRC.

We've used the older VGA port version successfully at work.
Yea, I looked and I am completely lost, haha. The monitors have both DVI and VGA ports.
 
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zrheath

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 2, 2012
6
0
Thanks man, that helps a lot. It really does seem like the best way to go. It's a steep price tag, but it comes with the USB and Thunderbolt cables. So I am thinking once I bought the USB-to-DVI adaptor, along with Thunderbold-to-DVI adaptor, I would probably be around the same price.

Before I go ordering this, Can anyone tell me what is so bad about the USB-to-DVI adaptor?
 
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MagicBoy

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2006
3,882
898
Manchester, UK
High CPU usage is the main problem with USB display link adaptors.

They're an interesting use of USB technology, but USB was never really designed for that purpose. It installs as a separate graphics adaptor and the CPU picks up the processing load for it, The more frequently moving images, the higher the overhead. The USB connected display gets none of the benefits of the graphics chip in your Mac.

We trialled some USB port replicators for the Windows machines at work. Even non-technical users picked up on the poor performance and laggy screen drawing with them.
 
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SDAVE

macrumors 68040
Jun 16, 2007
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443
Nowhere
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Is the second monitor lagged because it is ran through the USB port? Is there any better way to connect the second monitor, such as a DVI splitter or some sort?

I don't want anyone to do my research for me, I am just new to this type of technology and want to make the best decision before spending the cash.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIVZI1cFiAw

Some guy is using the USB adapter, hence he has lag.

Unfortunately there is no splitter and you have to get a device like the Matrox.

To make life much easier, do you really need dual monitors? Can you invest in a used 27" Thunderbolt or a Dell/etc display? One that has a Display port.

Also remember, your 13" MBP does not have a discreet GPU, so there's another issue regarding performance. Even running one monitor you might get lag at 1920x1080. It's using the CPU as well as your actual RAM (shared RAM).
 
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BiggAW

macrumors 68030
Jun 19, 2010
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Connecticut
I just found this thread, and I am thinking of doing triple monitors in my future setup, either triple 23" Dell Ultrasharps, or a 24" Dell Ultrasharp with 23" Ultrasharp wings. My original thought was my 23" Ultrasharp in the center with 17" wings, but I realized by the time I hooked them up, I was better off going all widescreen.

Is it possible to still have one single main display with the Matrox device, or does the menu bar span across both displays? That would be an ideal way to have two of my three monitors set up so that I would be able to keep video running smoothly on the wing that attached to that thing. However, it would obviously limit me to triple 23's, and not a 24 winged by 23's.

For the other option, are the USB displaylink adapters able to handle smooth playback of 1080p video? If they can, there's probably no reason to pursue the Matrox DH2G. I don't mind if it uses some CPU power, I have a quad i7 that doesn't have much to do.

Either that, or I could do twin 23" monitors with one 23" winged to the right, plus the MBP's internal display effectively winged to the left and 6-8" back/left like I have it now (to avoid a space fight with my mouse) to avoid USB adapters completely, but I'm not sure I'd like a setup that's not symmetrical... Also, the MBP's internal display is kind of useless for documents or finder windows at that distance, as it is 16x10 in a 15" screen, where the main monitor is 19x10 in a 23". Thoughts?
 
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BiggAW

macrumors 68030
Jun 19, 2010
2,542
171
Connecticut
Actually, I answered my own question:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orhB2gWgKF0

It looks like I would be fine running a 23/24/23 or a 3x23 or 3x24 setup with the two wings running off of displaylink, since it's CPU dependent, and I have an i7 quad. I may splurge for the 3x24 setup, that would be pretty sick, and I can reuse my existing 23 elsewhere.
 
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