Resolved [solution] Apple Cinema Display: connect to Mac over 7.5m, how?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jimthing, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. jimthing, Dec 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015

    jimthing macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK
    I need my Mac Mini 2012 to be 7.5m (25 ft) away from Apple Cinema Display (Cinema NOT Thunderbolt version) on my desk. The Mac Mini's HDMI is already in use, so cannot use that. NOTE: I only need to extend the Mini DisplayPort connection here on the display, not the USB/MagSafe parts of the ACD's built-in cable.

    How can I achieve this (hopefully reasonably cost-effectively) given Apple's displays have built-in connection cables?

    I wondered if I could do this...

    - 1st:
    Use a 4K mDP-to-HDMI (mDP MALE-HDMI FEMALE) adaptors, two of which Apple are selling (Moshi or Belkin):

    - 2nd:
    Then use a 7.5m HDMI cable (MALE-MALE) of some kind (do I need a specific type that can handle above the normal 1080p of most HDMI cables, or will any of those "high speed" HDMI cables work?).
    HDMI cables are generally cheap and readily available from researching, but there seems to be several "Gbps" speed options an Amazon, without specifying which version of HDMI they do (eg. 1.4 vs the new 2.0)?

    - 3rd:
    Then use a HDMI-to-mDP (HDMI FEMALE-mDP FEMALE) adaptor – as the built-in ACD mDP cable is male here remember, hence I need a female-female adaptor or cable. Are these available, and if so where?

    The issue I have is, HDMI is currently supposed to only do upto HD 1080p, and not upto the ACD's 1440p, do you need a certain type of HDMI cable?

    Mini DisplayPort cables only tend to go up to 3m (10 ft) maximum, so the only other solution is to use a standard DisplayPort cable (I've seen so-called "active" 7.5m/10m ones available) in the middle instead with adaptors??? Again, I'd need a female-female one for that as well (DP FEMALE-mDP FEMALE)...?!

    Someone PLEASE HELP, there must be a way of doing this, I'm completely stuck?
  2. dyt1983, Dec 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    May 6, 2014
    edit: To remove personally identifying info not relevant to the conversation.
  3. jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK
    But what about signal strength on 3x3m mDP? And do they come m-f anyway?
  4. jimthing, Jan 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015

    jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK
    [solution(s) !]

    See my detailed review post here:

    Repeated in edited form below:

    Mac (mDP/Thunderbolt port) to 27" Apple Cinema Display (mDP) -- SOLUTION!! (using additional adaptors)
    This review is from: Startech 10m Active DisplayPort to DisplayPort Cable (Electronics)

    As per the title, trying to connect Mac to Cinema display over a 10m distance. How, I asked myself, given the Apple display's have built-in short cables?

    First I tried this passive InLine 10m DP-DP (m-m) cable:

    Did NOT work! Likely because only PASSIVE, hence had to return to Amazon accordingly.

    Then I swapped the InLine passive 10m cable, for this ACTIVE Startech 10m DP-DP (m-m) cable [~£60], which works just fine (though cost nearly double unfortunately!).
    All in, the cables cost me nearly £100 to get the Mac to Cinema Display -- that'll teach me to use Apple display's with their built-in cables!!

    The set-up that worked for me, to get a Thunderbolt port (on my Mac Mini, 2012) to 27" Apple Cinema Display across a 10m distance, I used these cable set-up:

    Mac Mini 2012 Thunderbolt port (f)

    Startech mDP-DP (m-f) adaptor [~£10]

    THIS Startech Active 10m DP CABLE (m-m) [~£60]

    Circuit Assembly DP-mDP adaptor (f-f) [~£30: £10+20 shipping -- I had to IMPORT from Circuit Assembly's US website!!]
    (tip: make sure you only select the FEDEX shipping option at the shipping estimator stage, NOT the more expensive options later-on at final check-out, they have a minor bug there!)

    27" Apple CINEMA Display**

    (**nb: NOT the 27" Apple Thunderbolt Display, which this may or may not also work for, though obviously not allow usage of the ports on the back of its display.)

    Just one star knocked off for the price, which seems to fluctuate massively between £30-90 (e.g. 2 weeks before xmas 2014 it was £30, then a week before when I needed it and went to buy it had doubled to £60!).

    Anyone else reading this, please be aware that my set-up above that happened to work for me offers no guarantee of similar success for you, as general conditions of your set-up and more annoyingly the massive undocumented nature of the tolerances of these specialist long DP/mDP cables(!) can mean trial and error only is your solution. So your milage may vary, but hope this may help.

    Just remember you can always return cables on Amazon that don't work on trial, so keep trying various ones. Good luck!

    Additional Comment:

    Should add a few other info tips I noticed...

    (1) I've read from other users elsewhere that *fully uncoiling* any long DP or MiniDP cables may help them work. So make sure to give that a try too.

    (2) Should add that the US company Circuit Assembly are half great here, as they seem to be the only ones making a DP-MiniDP *FEMALE-FEMALE* adaptor, so you're unlikely to find others on Amazon or elsewhere for this exact purpose.

    (3) Additionally, while Circuit Assembly are half great to offer that adaptor above, they also make and sell TWO cables that can connect Apple CINEMA Displays over a longer distance (one with their adaptor above, one *optionally* with/without their adaptor above - thus dropping the need for the first MiniDP-DP Startech adaptor).
    However they work-out to be *very* expensive IMO for what they are (approaching optical cable prices for the same job for the second one), especially by the time shipping is added (which CA's options seem rather pricey too), then you'll have import VAT+duties to add-on as well on receipt...

    (a) Their first one is a *fat* PASSIVE cable, called the "LONG HAUL 24 AWG MINI DISPLAYPORT EXTENSION CABLE 25 FOOT 35 FOOT," which for 35ft (~10m) cable & adaptor (they offer either a 6-inch (~15cm) or 3-ft (~90cm) ones at roughly the same price) costs all-in:


    ~£80 cable+adaptor.
    ~£40 "FedEx (International Priority)" UK shipping.
    ~£30 likely ~35% VAT+duties on import (@ ~£80 products price).

    So already pretty expensive:

    (b) Their second one is a newer *thinner* ACTIVE cable (MiniDP-DP + the DP-MiniDP female-female adaptor) [which is as thin as this ACTIVE Startech DP-DP cable here on Amazon], called the "Q ACTIVE LONG REACH MINI DISPLAYPORT | THUNDERBOLT TO DISPLAYPORT MALE ADAPTER CABLE 10 METER", which for 10m cable & adaptor together costs:


    ~£110 cable+adaptor.
    ~£30 "FedEx (International Priority)" UK shipping.
    ~£40 likely ~35% VAT+duties on import (@ ~£110 products price).

    So EVEN MORE THAN the first one -- 20% more in fact!:

    Hence my option of using a cheaper (~£100 all-in) setup to do the same job...
    Startech MiniDP-DP adaptor >to> THIS long ACTIVE Startech *standard DP* 10m cable (rather than either of the expensive-to-import cables only Circuit Assembly offer via import!) >to> CA's cheaper DP-MiniDP female-female adaptor (because it's cheap enough when purchased separately, at ~£10, not to have import duties to pay).

    This also gives me a future option, that should I decide to upgrade to a different *standard DP* only display in future, I can then use one or both of the first two Startech pieces used here, without having to buy another long DP cable, as I'd already have one from this setup. A win-win solution on reasonably expensive cabling costs.

    Hope this helps others with the many conundrums faced due to Apple's rather short-sighted built-in display cabling options. Somewhat confusing & complicated to ascertain a solution, but what isn't in the tech world these days, lol! ;-|

    One extra final comment:

    A last option is to buy a long OPTICAL Thunderbolt cable, and run it to a 2-Thunderbolt port device near the display, then plug said display into that device. However, that's a super expensive option if you don't already have any of the parts.

    For example, the 10m optical cable, such as Corning's one, alone costs £250: /
    (I have one of these Corning cables on another setup to store reasonably loud 2x Pegasus R6's in a separate room away from my Mac – STRONGLY RECOMMENDED even at that price for such a job; they work perfectly, are ultra-thin, and ultra-lightweight !!)

    But then even a simply dock will cost you another £200 minimum, never mind something like the cheapest 2-Thunderbolt ported external HDD, which costs more like £300+


    Yes, a long and detailed explanation, but surely gives the full lowdown on what options I found.

  5. jimthing thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK

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