9 Replies Latest reply: May 30, 2009 6:22 AM by eww
Dai Bach Level 2 Level 2 (480 points)
Hi, sorry if this has been asked before, but I couldn't find anything when I searched.

I have a late 2008 15" MBP and now have an opportunity to get a second 20" Apple Cinema Display to match my existing one.

Is it possible to drive two 20" ACDs from the MBP? And if so, what adapters would I need?

Thanks.

MacBook Pro 15", 2.66GHz, 4GB, 320GB 5400rpm, Mac OS X (10.5.6), MacBook Pro 15", 1.83GHz; Mac Mini, 1.66GHz; MacBook Air, 1.6 GHz
  • 1. Re: Connecting two 20" Apple Cinema Displays
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Hi, Dai Bach. I'm not aware of any device or adapter that would enable you to use two ACDs at their native resolutions. The available solutions for multiple displays allow only very limited resolution on each of them.

    For exmple, the Matrox DualHead2GO sounds terrific until you read the fine print and discover that each of your two external displays will be limited to 1024 x 768 resolution.
  • 2. Re: Connecting two 20" Apple Cinema Displays
    neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,690 points)
    Both the DualHead2Go and TripleHead2Go Digital Editions support two monitors at 1920x1200. However, in the OP's case, neither are compatible with the Late 2008 (unibody) MBPs with the Mini-DisplayPort connector.
  • 3. Re: Connecting two 20" Apple Cinema Displays
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    The DualHead2Go Digital and Analog versions are indeed compatible with the unibody MBP, but only at 2 x 1024 x 768 — which makes the DH2Go all but useless for us. Older MBP models are supported at 2 x 1920 x 1200. Here's the Matrox compatibility chart (scroll way down for Mac compatibility info):

    http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/support/compatibility/gxm/resolutions/#close
  • 4. Re: Connecting two 20" Apple Cinema Displays
    Dai Bach Level 2 Level 2 (480 points)
    Thanks for the replies, but I think I've found a solution. It's a usb to dvi adapter called the viBook.

    http://www.vibook.it/eng/index.html
  • 5. Re: Connecting two 20" Apple Cinema Displays
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Sounds very promising, but VillageTronic's website doesn't answer all my questions. If you buy it, please be sure to come back and tell us how well it performs!
  • 6. Re: Connecting two 20" Apple Cinema Displays
    Dai Bach Level 2 Level 2 (480 points)
    I have finally got my two 20" apple cinema displays connected to my MacBook Pro using the ViBook usb graphics adapter to power the second display.

    It works really well and I can definitely recommend it. The second monitor isn't quite good enough for video, but for normal application windows it's excellent.

    You can see a picture of my set up here: http://twitpic.com/69070 and more info on the vibook here: http://www.vibook.it/eng/index.html
  • 7. Re: Connecting two 20" Apple Cinema Displays
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Very nice — thanks for following up. Are both displays running at their native resolution of 1680 x 1050? When you say the ViBook display isn't good enough for video, do you mean it isn't fast enough to show video smoothly? With a still image, is there any difference in quality from one monitor to the other?

    With only two USB ports to begin with, and those two spaced very close together, are you able to have another USB device plugged in while the ViBook is connected? Do you use a USB hub to gain more USB ports, and if so, is the ViBook plugged into the hub, or directly into the MBP?
  • 8. Re: Connecting two 20" Apple Cinema Displays
    Dai Bach Level 2 Level 2 (480 points)
    Hi eww,

    Yep, both displays are running at 1680x1050. At the moment the display running off the viBook seems slightly brighter, with brighter whites and darker blacks than the one running directly off the Mac. It also seems to be slightly bluer, whereas the other display is more yellow. I may just need to calibrate the displays. To be honest I hardly notice the slight difference as I run different applications on the different displays.

    System Preferences picks up the second monitor as a Cinema display but only gives the option of running at 1680x1050. The usual options for arrangement, colour and the power button are there.

    As for video, I've tested with a quicktime movie and the image is perfectly fine running in windowed mode (actual size 640x368) and even double sized but does get choppy when switching to full screen. Both FrontRow and XBMC run on the main display with the second display automatically switching off. Also, expose is slightly choppy on the viBook display and Quartz screensavers don't run on it.

    The cabling is a bit of a mess, but it's all hidden behind the desk! With only two USBs, the viBook is plugged into one and the USB extension from the main monitor is plugged into the other. That gives me 2 USB ports free at the back of the main monitor. Villagetronic recommend plugging the viBook directly into the Mac and not via a hub.

    All in all I'm quite impressed. I use the second monitor mainly for running things I just want to keep an eye on such as Tweetie (Twitter client) and Mail. Everything else runs on the main display. With that arrangement I'm very happy with the results.

    Hope that helped. If there's anymore info I can give, please let me know. I'm a happy Apple user today!
  • 9. Re: Connecting two 20" Apple Cinema Displays
    eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    This is great info. Many thanks for taking the time!