Which Graphics card/s for 2 Cinema Displays?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by scouser75, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. scouser75 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    #1
    Guys, I've decided to get 2 Apple Cinema Displays with my new 2.26 8 Core :D

    Thing is I was advised by the dude at the Apple store that if I wanted to run 2 screens I should go for 2 NVIDIA GEForce GT120 512mb.

    I asked if I should rather go for the ATI Radeon HD4870 512mb. But he insisted that the 2 NVIDIA's are a much better option.

    Any opinions or advice please?
     
  2. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    The first question is which Cinema you mean.

    If you're going with the 30", just buy the miniDP - DualLink DVI adapter. You don't need two graphic cards.

    Two 24" Cinemas require two graphic cards. You can go with two GT120s, two 4780s, or of course with one 120 and a 4780.
    There are a lot of people here that run both the ATI and the Nvidia, so it's completely up to you.
     
  3. scouser75 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    #3
    Whoops! Sorry guys. My fault. Forgot to mention I meant 2 24" Cinema Displays.

    Transporteur thanks for the reply. I'm guessing that it won't make a big difference which ever 2 I go for?

    PS I was down your neck of the woods a couple of weeks ago. Could have popped in for a cuppa :D
     
  4. rwdds macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Location:
    Philly
    #4
    Note that the 4870 will run 2 cinema displays with the correct adaptor. I personally have dual 23" Cinema Displays side by side... it is an awesome screen set up. (Dual 24's would be better). The 4870 takes up both power supply connectors, so a 2nd card is not an option, generally. I've heard of a discrete connection using the p. supply from one of the open optical bays, but no confirmation.
     
  5. diazj3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #5
    WAIT!!! I just ordered a MacPro QuadCore with the 4870... and after reading lots of threads here, and talking to the Apple sales rep, I was under the impression that ONE graphics card was enough to run TWO displays of up to 30" each - one connected to the DVI and another to the MiniDisplayPort with an adapter, in either mirror or extended mode...

    Can someone verify this? or should I order a 2nd card?

    thanks.
     
  6. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #6
    He is refering to the LED Cinema Displays that only work with minidisplay port. So you need one graphics card per LED Cinema Display you want to run.
     
  7. diazj3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #7
    I see (because of the MDP propietary connector?)... but, ¿is it possible to run one 24" Apple LED Cinema display off the MDP AND a second display (not ACD LED) of up to 30" off the DVI connector?

    Or do the Apple Cinema Displays require for some reason other than the MiniDisplay Port one graphics card for it alone?

    thanks,
     
  8. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #8
    The reason you can't run two apple LED's is they only have a MDP connector. The 4870 has one MDP and one DVI, so you can only run one off of it through the MDP connector natively.

    What you hook up to the other dvi is up to you. A 30" will be fine.

    The only way to hook two apple LED's to an apple card with DVI and MDP is to buy a 200 dollar or so adaptor that was recently released that goes from DVI to MDP. Check the mac pro setup thread in this section, there is a link to two of them. Haven't heard any reviews
     
  9. MacProCpo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    #9
    Actually, you can run two 4870s, I do (both flashed PC cards, but the power connections are the same as the Apple card) . One card is powered by the MB 8 pin plugs (using the 6-pin to 8 pin cables you have to order from ATI). The other is power by the extra molex connection, using a y cable and two molex to 6-pin cables (which comes with the PC cards), provided in the optical bay. Check the "4870" thread, there are a couple of pics of the set up. If you have problems, I can take some pics of my MP.
     
  10. GeneralAntilles macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #10
    A second card is not an option if it requires power input beyond what's available from the bus.* However, the GeForce GT 120 only requires about 50 watts (the bus can provide 75 watts per slot), so there'll be no issue running it in conjunction with a Radeon HD 4870.

    Sure, this will work, but that Mini DisplayPort to dual-link DVI adaptor will run you $99 plus tax and is very unreliable according to the reviews on apple.com. You'd be better off picking up a GeForce GT 120 from someplace like J&R and dropping it in the second 16x PCIe slot. Thus avoiding the sales tax and the crappy dual-link adaptor, and getting a dedicated graphics card for your second display for only a few dollars more.


    *Running additional power off the optical drive bay or an empty hard drive slot is certainly an option, if not a particular clean or desirable one.
     
  11. GeneralAntilles macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #11
    Or just install up to three GeForce GT 120s in the empty PCIe slots. . . .
     
  12. diazj3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #12
    Thanks General... sorry- I'm new to MacPro. I'm still a bit confused about the dual-link adapter: why would this be necessary? can't I use a simple standard MDP to DVI adapter? (btw- I'm not planning to purchase the old 30" Apple Cinema LCD Display- too expensive/old tech). I have one of these adapters left from my past iMac, and it worked OK with a 24" HP DVI display.

    When I ordered the MacPro, the Apple Sales rep told me a 4870 would be enough, since I don't game too much, or do any pro video editing. What do you think? Should I order the extra GT120 card, or should I wait to see if the 4870 card can run both a) Apple 24" LED + b) 24"-30" 3rd party display?

    Thanks for your help
     
  13. GeneralAntilles macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #13
    If you're connecting to a 30" display then you'll need the dual-link DVI adaptor (which is $99 and very unreliable). The single-link DVI adaptor you have from your iMac is only capable of out putting up to 1980x1200 (the 30" is 2560x1600). Your original post had me under the impressing that you were planning on connecting two 30" displays.

    If, however, you're connecting a 24" Cinema display, then the single-link DVI adaptor you have from your iMac will work just fine.

    The 4870 will run your setup just fine, although you may wish to consider purchasing a GT 120 if you ever want to use more than two displays. ;)
     
  14. diazj3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #14
    Ok, ... so, let me see if I understand correctly- ¿the card won't support a 30" display when combined with another display, because of the resolution... so it needs either a second graphics card or a dual-link MDP adapter...? or is it because the MiniDisplayPort capabilities?

    I still don't understand what causes this issue... is it present only when there's an Apple Display involved (eg. 24"LED)... What if NONE of the displays are Apple? would the card then support a 30" display(s) in any combination- for example a 30" to the DVI and a 24" to the MiniDisplayPort (none of them being Apple)?

    Again, sorry for so many questions, and thanks for your knowledge - I can't find any info about this in the support pages... (damn minidisplay port!)
     
  15. GeneralAntilles macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #15
    One 30" display in combination with any other smaller display will work fine, however two 30" displays will require you to purchase a dual-link DVI apdator for the Mini DisplayPort port.

    Which is fine, but the dual-link DVI adaptor (which is distinct from the single-link DVI adaptor you already own) is both expensive and unreliable. So, my point is that if you'd like to use two 30" displays then you'd be better off buying a second graphics card than the expensive, unreliable adaptor.

    So, here's the overview. Apple's new graphics cards ship with two ports: a dual-link DVI port and a Mini DisplayPort. So, without any adaptors, you can run a new 24" Apple Studio Display and a 30" LCD. With the relatively inexpensive single-link DVI (this is what you have from your iMac) or VGA adaptors you could substitute a non-Apple display of up to 1920x1200 resolution.

    But here's where the trouble starts to crop up. If you want to run two of anything with a resolution higher than 1920x1200 (say, dual 30"s or a 30" and a Samsung 2343bwx) then you'll need to use Apple's ridiculously overpriced and horribly unreliable dual-link DVI adaptor. Which means you're probably better off getting a second graphics card instead of the adaptor.
     
  16. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #16
    Meant to say with one card. Will change.
     
  17. diazj3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #17
    Thank you for your input, GeneralAntilles. I'll consider this, as I'll try to understand this MiniDisplayPort BS Apple is making clients put up with- I guess they do it to force them into buying their overpriced displays - or at least an adapter. I think that's inadmissible when it comes to a Pro computer such as the MacPro.

    Anyone here knows if/when they will be fixing the ridiculously short cable issue in the Apple 24" LED display?

    Cheers!
     
  18. kellen macrumors 68020

    kellen

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #18
    There are extenders available. Monoprice.com has them. link
     
  19. diazj3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #19
    Totally great!... thanks kellen! problem solved.
     
  20. Big Boss Man macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    #20
    Are there any rumors on when we will see a single graphics card with two mini display port connections? That is one of the main things keeping me from pulling the trigger on a MacPro.
     
  21. GeneralAntilles macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    #21
    I don't see this happening soon. Sounds like a compatibility nightmare. Have you considered just dropping a second graphics card in there instead? Apple never released any dual-ADC cards so unless the Mini DisplayPort gets some real traction in the market. . . .
     
  22. Big Boss Man macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    #22
    I would need the slots for other cards. I will probably just have to use a non-Apple monitor with the LED ACD.
     

Share This Page