9 Replies Latest reply: Jul 15, 2008 12:08 AM by Wayne T
julia clay1 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
I am thinking of buying a Mac Mini for an art installation project and will need to connect two monitors to it. Please can someone let me know if I can connect more than 1 monitor to a Mac mini. Can they be 19" monitors or must they be smaller resolution? Do they have to be of a particular specification? Any recommendations? Thanks very much.

Mac Mini
  • Boece Level 5 Level 5 (6,245 points)
    Yes and no.

    Do you want the same image on both monitors, or is each monitor going to be showing something different?

    Would the monitors have the same resolution?

    Out of the box, the Mini can only attach one monitor. There are simple video splitters that could display the same image on two different monitors. Generally these require the monitors to have the same video specs.

    Matrox makes a product called DualHead2Go that allows you to display different images on two different VGA monitors at the same time. Again, it is preferable to have monitors with identical specs.

    http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/gxm/products/dh2go/home.php

    If you decide to consider the Matrox route, be sure to read their compatibility chart very carefully:

    http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/gxm/support/dh2go/compatibility.php

    The inch size of the monitors is not as important as their overall resolution.

    The more details you could give about your project, the easier it will be to provide appropriate advice.
  • julia clay1 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks for replying to my querie. Yes they would have the same image on both monitors and the same resolution. Ideally I am looking for a relatively cheap 19" monitor option. Would you recommend one? What will I need to buy to connect these 2 monitors to the Mac Mini? Thanks.
  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6 (17,045 points)
    Welcome to Apple Discussions!

    The short answer is no, you can't connect two displays to a mini since the device only has one video port.

    The longer answer is that yes you can, because it is possible to add a second display via an add-on device either to split the single video output into two, or via an adaptor to drive the second screen through a USB port.

    The problem is that at present, the video splitter device (the Matrox unit linked to above) limits the maximum output, such that you are really stuck with two screens no bigger than 1024x768 (native resolution for 15" LCD panels) and the USB solution is not yet, as far as I can see, on the market for Macs. Devices such as http://us.kensington.com/html/14499.html have been announced, but are either PC only, or not yet available. http://sewelldirect.com/USB-to-DVI-External-Video-Card.asp lists a device for which beta releases of MacOS drivers have been tested - this device would allow you to use a second display up to 19" (for a native 1280x1024 resolution).

    Message was edited by: AndyO
  • Boece Level 5 Level 5 (6,245 points)
    Andy, shouldn't a low-tech vga video-splitter support a higher resolution than 1024x768? (I'm not talking DualHead2Go.)

    1280x1024 resolution should be available in cheap 19" displays.
  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6 (17,045 points)
    A simple splitter would theoretically support anything up to the mini's maximum resolution, but in practice it depends on the actual displays being used as the whether the mini correctly identifies the devices and offers the correct range of resolution options. Some juggling (such as disconnecting one display while the system boots or wakes from sleep) can help, but it really does depend on the display(s) as to whether the mini behaves correctly via a splitter of this sort.

    The Matrox device is technically far better because it presents itself to the mini as a single display, but of course it limits maximum resolution across both screens, and thus isn't really all that attractive a proposition unless 15" LCDs are to be used rather than anything larger.

    The USB-based device seems to offer the best of both worlds - or at least will offer the best of both worlds when released with tried and tested Mac drivers. It's not all that clear why Mac drivers have been slow in coming for these devices when they have been around for Windows for some time now, and a number of manufacturers had pre-announced Mac versions as much as a year ago. At the general price of $99 or so, a USB adaptor would provide a reasonably low cost and (importantly) flexible way to add a second display.... if such a device can be currently had!

    The forgoing is the reason the 'yes' answer is not the short one!
  • MACHATTANKNIGHT Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    do your research. display link just released the beta version for macintosh 4 weeks ago. although this version has several bugs, it is the first of its kind to be released for mac's to enable external video cards to work with apple. If you check their site, Displaylink.com, and go to their product page, all of the video adapters will work right now with displaylink driven macs. you won't lose any resolution either. each video card can handle a fairly hefty resolution load. display link's driver also allows up to 4 monitors at one time (one adapter for each monitor). GMA 950 chip in the mac mini, if you look up its specs on intel's website, the chip is capable of carrying the weight of 2 displays. however, because there is only one dvi port on the mini, this nullifies the aforementioned. therefore, one would need an external video card to harness the 950's graphic power, enabling two monitors.

    I am currently waiting for kensington to release their 99$ dual monitor adapter, I believe it is the way to go for macintosh users, as its arrival was announced in conjunction with Display Link's beta driver back in Jan 08 MacWorld Convention.
  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6 (17,045 points)
    do your research.


    Thank you for that, I did, hence I said that such devices will provide a solution when tried and tested drivers are released for MacOS. So far, the Displaylink drivers are beta, and as you say rather buggy - which to my mind does not make for a viable solution as yet. Despite a number of manufacturers announcing such products over the last year or so, none appear to have delivered a working device with working drivers at this time. As and when they do, those who need multiple monitors will undoubtedly be advised to have a look at them. Until then, we all have to do what you are doing - wait.
  • Ghassan Abukurah Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    So I have a MacBook Pro and 23 inch cinema display. wanted to connect a Sony SDM S73 as a third monitor so I fot the Matrox Dualhead2go device. only the Cinema display and the LCD of the MacBook come on and the Sony is dead. i tried to tinker with resolutions in the Display Prefs but the Sony displays messages like out of range or unsupported resolution, etc... Should I be returning the Matrox box or can I get this to work>?