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Is there are any way to connect MBA with thunderbold to DVI monitor?

2374 Views 22 Replies Latest reply: Sep 23, 2013 1:20 AM by Annihlator RSS
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Kindermix Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 28, 2011 8:23 AM

Hey guys, a few month ago i bought MBA late 2011, and i would like to connect it in my office to a old screen with DVI, is it possible to make somehow, without damaging both, notebook and display?

i mean is there are any risk to damage something with connection, and is there are any adapters, like Thunderbolt-DIV? I saw few MiniDisplay Port to DVI, but i think minidisplay port, it's not thunderbold, right?


Thank you.

MacBook Air, Mac OS X (10.7.1)
  • captfred Level 7 Level 7 (26,225 points)

    Yes, you can connect it using a MiniDisplay Port to DVI adapter and a DVI cable.  You plug the MiniDisplay port adapter into the Thunderbolt port.  That configuration is supported.




  • captfred Level 7 Level 7 (26,225 points)

    You can "hot connect" the MBA to the Display, no need to turn either off.


    Yes, you can close the display for "clamshell mode" if you have an external mouse and keyboard.  Here's the full skinny.




  • thauxley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Gosh, I wish this were true for me. I have a new MacBook Air 13" and a Minidisplay Port to DVI adpater. Unfortunately, this comptuer won't recognise my DVI monitor, a 20" ViewSonic. Is this perhaps a possible driver issue with OS X Lion?

  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,190 points)

    i would like to connect it in my office to a old screen with DVI, is it possible to make somehow, without damaging both, notebook and display?


    What resolution is the display?  If it is greater than 1920 x 1200 you will need a dual link DVI adapter as opposed to a single link adapter.


    And you can't damage anything.  This stuff either works or it doesn't.

  • thauxley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have not yet found a solution to this problem because one thing I want to try, buying a new shorter cable, I can't do yet because the stores aren't open.


    But here's something for those of us who can't get this thing working to try: use a shorter DVI cable, one that is not more than 3 m (9.8 ft) long.


    In doing quick research, I noticed that the official maximum allowable length of a Thunderbolt cable is 3m (118 inches). DVI cables, however, can be MUCH longer. Official DVI specs say 5m (16 ft). I just measured my own DVI cable and it's 4 m (13.3 ft), so it is longer than is allowed for Thunderbolt specs. In reality, there are MUCH longer DVI cables in existance since many graphics card and monitor manufacturers produce devices that output much stronger signal.


    Considering that the MacBook Air is a small device, I'm going to assume that it can only put out up-to-spec signals for Thunderbolt port. I would assume that means don't use a cable length longer than 3 m (9.8 ft). I'm off to Radio Shack this morning when it opens and see if I can get a shorter DVI cable to work with the MBA and monitor.

  • thauxley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Well, I got a 6 ft (1.8 m) long DVI cable and that didn't help to detect my monitor. It could be the Minidisplay to DVI adapter. I'm not sure. Will have to go to Apple Store with all the equipment tomorrow to see if they can figure it out.

  • Macaby Level 3 Level 3 (910 points)

    Are you using the Apple minidisplay to DVI adapter?  There have been reports of some OEM adapters not working properly.  A few years ago I had this problem with an adapter that I bought from

  • thauxley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, I am using the Apple minidisplay to DVI adapter, the one picked out by the Apple Store employee just a few days ago when I told him I wanted the new MacBook Air to connect to my existing external DVI monitor.

  • thauxley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Okay, so no dice. Even at the Apple Store Genuis Bar, we were unable to get the MacBook Air's Thunderbolt to recognise the DVI monitor. However, my MacBook Air could use the same monitor's VGA port and recognise it, so that's good. We did try the same MacBook Air on an Apple DVI monitor and that worked.


    Basically, the monitor, Mac, cables, and adapters all work.


    The tech support person suggested that it could possibly be that the Thunderbolt port does not provide enough of a DVI signal to this particular mointor of mine. So, I've opted to go the VGA route. It's not a big problem, for me. But, I can imagine where if someone else who doesn't have a monitor that takes both DVI and VGA, how irksome it would be to have a laptop that doesn't work with a monitor that is working perfectly well.

  • Macaby Level 3 Level 3 (910 points)

    Does the DVI port on your set work with any other devices? I've got a set that the s-video doesn't work on.  I don't think any set sold about the last 3 years or more even has a DVI option. 

  • thauxley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, the DVI port of my external monitor does work with my original MacBook Air. It also worked with the computer that the Apple Store Genuis tested it on. So, it's not the ports, not the computer, not the external monitor either. Seems to me a case of "voodoo eletronics".


    BTW--is DVI phased out technology now? What has supplanted it?

  • Macaby Level 3 Level 3 (910 points)

    thauxley wrote:



    BTW--is DVI phased out technology now? What has supplanted it?

    Obviously, HDMI.  From what I've read, there is no or very little difference re video between HMDI and DVI. However, HDMI also provides the sound track which DVI ignores.  Huge difference listening to the tinny laptop speakers or have to provide a 3.5mm plug from the headset jack to a jack on the TV or maybe on a amp.


    And of course, the same sound problem with VGA video.


    Another minor DVI problem is the form factor (size of the plug).  My TV has 4 HDMI inputs. IF instead, they were DVI, it would take up more real estate on the back of the set.

  • thauxley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry, it was not "obvious" to me that HDMI has supplanted DVI. I'm not all that up-to-date with video technology.


    The Viewsonic monitor is about 5 or 6 years old and continues to serve me well. I hook it up to the MacBook Air via VGA now.

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