Setting up 3 monitors on my MacPro. Cables or new card

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Phil Guam, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Phil Guam macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2011
    Apple says that I must use two Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapters which go to the mini DisplayPorts with the third Dual-Link DVI port connected directly to the display. I haven't tried this or purchased the Dual-Link DVI Adapters because of all of the negative reviews that I've seen. Here's my question should I invest nearly $200 in 2 of these adapters or should I consider a 2nd graphics card... or any other ideas.
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Are your monitors over 1920x1200 resolution? If so, you will need some sort of dual-link adapter. If not, you only need standard DVI adapters, which are much cheaper.
  3. bluesteel, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

    bluesteel macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2007
  4. Phil Guam thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2011
    My monitor resolution do I need duel link for only those of high resolution?

    My monitors are different sizes and resolutions. Not sure if all need the duel link. Seems that Apple is suggesting that at least two monitors need the duel link to use three monitors at a time. Here are my current monitors:
    Apple Studio Display Resolution: 1280 x 1024 21" (will get a higher rez monitor shortly)
    Monitors NEC PA271W Resolution: 2560 x 1440 27"
    Wacom Cintiq 12WX 12" Resolution: 1280 x 800 (used for drawing)
  5. bluesteel macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2007
    what graphics card do you currently have installed?
  6. Phil Guam thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2011
    My graphics card

    My graphics card is:
    ATI Radeon HD 5770
  7. Zobec macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    I am not sure if this helps, I searched and found this past thread a while back. This thread helped me in understanding what is needed if one wanted to connect 3 monitors. From what I have understood to connect 3 monitors to the graphics card one needs to have active adapters. Regardless of size and resolution the adapters need to be active. Also if the screen is large with high resolution you might need different connections like the Apple dual link or something else.
  8. Fgirl macrumors member

    i use several of the apple active adaptors with the long names that always confuse me, and ive not ever had a problem with one ever. i use two 5770's with 4 adaptors to run 6 30" acd. i also have a mbAir with one of the adaptors to run an external 30" acd, no problems there either. i recall seeing the adaptors on ebay for like half price, 45 usd or so.

    regarding your question, a second graphics card (5770) would still require one adaptor for the third monitor, as only the first monitor on each card does not require an adaptor.

    i would recommend just the one graphics card and the two adaptors, due only to my experience that when i move video (ie:an itunes movie) from one card to the next it gets jerky. not sure why it does it, but i have enough displays so that i can move video around as i need to and still stay on the same card. if you only had 3 displays on 2 cards you limit yourself abit, assuming that your setup would also see jerky video when moved from card to card. i'm not familiar with your setup, and i'm no pro, but this is just my experience, with apple displays and 5770's.

    there may be advantages to multiple cards, and jerky video may not matter to you. i just restart the video on the other card and it's fine.
  9. bluesteel, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011

    bluesteel macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2007
    i'd be careful buying a "used" Apple mini displayport to dual-link dvi adapter on ebay. what happened with the adapters is the firmware was updated several times. a lot of people would start having problems with their adapters, and then the firmware would get updated by apple. customers would call apple about problems they were having with the adapter, and apple would send out an entirely new adapapter with the updated firmware (there is no way for an individual to update it), but would let customers keep the old adapter too. i still have three old adapters. and so what you have on eBay is a lot of used adapters with old firmware that can cause problems.

    i would just be careful. it would probably be a good idea to call apple and see what firmware the adapter is at, and then confirm that with the ebay seller to make sure your not about to buy a problematic adapter with older firmware.
  10. sboerup macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2009
    You can buy the Apple Dual Link adapters for like $60 on eBay, it's what I did.

    If you want 3 displays from one 5770/5870, you MUST use active-link adapters, not passive. It won't work.
  11. MacClaudius macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Setting up 3 monitors on my MacPro.

    Hello there.

    A slight twist perhaps to the existing thread, or maybe not!

    I have a Mac Pro (Mid) 2010 6 core, with a ATI Radeon 5770, and currently run 2 displays -(an HP f1723 1280x1024 @ 60hz via Apple minidisplayport to VGA adaptor & a ScyncMaster P2050 1600 x 900 @ 60hz via the DVI port)

    I want to add a third screen - an Iilyama Pro Lite 24" 1920 x 1080 (which has HDMI, DVI-d, & VGA connections)

    The Apple webb site on Supported display configurations for the Mid 2010 Mac Pro is confusing & worrying me.

    Does anyone think they know if I can connect these three screens at the same time & if so how best it can be done? As all three screens are less than 1920 x 1200 I assume I can get away with passive link adaptors (and don't need a new card), but can I mix them with the VGA? And which connection should I use for the Iilyama?
    Your opinions would be much appreciated.

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