Previous 1 2 Next 19 Replies Latest reply: Jun 27, 2015 12:52 PM by lllaass
freevito Level 2 Level 2 (280 points)

I have a perfectly good LCD monitor that has a VGA connector on its input cable. I'm currently using it with an old iMac G4 (Gumdrop) via a mini-display to VGA adapter cable.

 

I'm replacing the old iMac with a new Mac Mini, which has only Thunderbolt and HDMI connectors available. The Mac Mini comes with an "HDMI to DVI adapter" (Apple's description), but I can't find any other information about that adapter on the Mac Mini description pages, nor can I find any photos of the adapter. I assume that the DVI side of the adapter is a standard DVI (F) female connector, which will accept a standard DVI (M) male connector.

 

Unless I'm missing something (definitely possible), it would seem that the most direct method of connecting the monitor would be to use a DVI (M) to VGA (F) adapter; plug the DVI side into the Apple-supplied HDMI to DVI adapter, and then use the VGA side of the adapter to connect the monitor.

 

I've read that some folks have had difficulty connecting VGA monitors to the Mac Mini — something about the HDMI signal not accurately translating to VGA with passive adapters. I don't know enough about it to say whether it's workable, but something doesn't add up. If Apple's HDMI to DVI adapter works then it should just provide DVI at the DVI end of the adapter. And if DVI converts to VGA (which it does...I've done it many times), how can the [HDMI to DVI] + [DVI to VGA] path not work?

 

Are there "different kinds" of DVI signals — namely, the kind that can be converted to VGA, and another kind that can't be converted to VGA?

 

Thanks in advance.


MPQuad-Core2.8GHz,32GB,23"CinemaHD, Mac OS X (10.6.8), MacBook Pro 17"; 10.6.8; 2GB RAM
  • freevito Level 2 Level 2 (280 points)

    Oops...never mind; I found my answer.

     

    First, The Solution:

    In case anyone else has the same question, the solution doesn't lie with the HDMI port at all. Rather, the Thunderbolt port is the way to go if you need to connect a VGA monitor. Thunderbolt is backwards-compatible with Mini DisplayPort. Apple's Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter is all that's necessary to connect a VGA monitor to the Mac Mini via the Thunderbolt port:

     

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB572Z/A?fnode=MTY1NDA3Ng&mco=MTA4NDU0NjA

     

    Next, Why HDMI Won't Work With VGA:

    As it turns out, there really ARE different kinds of DVI. The kind of DVI signal that you get on the end of the Apple-supplied HDMI to DVI adapter is DVI-D (digital only). It's compatible with DVI displays, but it lacks the analog VGA signals, which are absent from the HDMI connector.

     

    The "standard" kind of DVI (in the sense that it's the kind used on Apple's DVI connectors in the past) is called DVI-I (integrated), meaning it integrates both digital and analog signals. That's why a passive DVI to VGA adapter worked in the past.

     

    Alas, HDMI is fully digital; it has no analog signal. So, while the Apple-supplied HDMI to DVI adapter will drive a DVI monitor, it doesn't carry any of the analog signal necessary to drive a VGA monitor, because the HDMI connector is lacking that signal in the first place.

  • Spirits Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you so much for this post - I'll have to try this.

     

    I bought a new Mac Mini because I was excited about the HDMI hookup - only to be very frustrated that the HDMI image on my tv was HORRIBLE. I had my old mini hooked up to the same tv through VGA, and was hoping to be able to easily switch from one machine to the other through simply changing the tv's input from VGA to HDMI. Now, I think I'll have to get this adapter and try the VGA route for the new mini, which will mean cumbersome cable switching if I want to use the old machine again.

     

    I really hope Apple can develop a fix for the poor HDMI picture quality of the Mini soon!

  • Crissa Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Many TVs just have horrible HDMI pictures.  I have multiple HD tvs, and some are just blurrier via HDMI than via VGA.  No idea why.  A DVI/Displayport signal has more density, but should support the same things, but the device has to treat the signal right.  One of our HD tvs (one given to me by Microsoft, of all) is notably blurry on HDMI compared to VGA, and doesn't give the option not to display the tvsafe margins.  But on VGA, it lets the connected device choose the exact pixels.

     

    Weird, but not helpful, huh?

     

    -Crissa

  • Eugenio Grigorjev Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I think we need to dig a little bit more in this issue.

     

    I have an old (2010) Mac Mini, that I was using up to last week, with two monitors:

     

    (1) Apple Led Cinema Display - 24" ===> Through MDP output.

    (2) Packard Bell VGA Monitor (19"). ===> Through HDMI output using a KANEX ATV PRO HDMI > VGA converter.

     

    Now I upgraded into a new Mac Mini, I7, 16GB RAM, and obviously replaced it just like it was... BUT:

     

    The VGA monitor does not work with it. Apparently the monitor detects the connection, the computer detects something is being connected but NO-SIGNAL warning appears in the Packard Bell monitor. Tried unplugging and reconnecting with no good result. Then I started some investigation, and found that this adapter will not work, because this computer does not provide power in the HDMI connector, and therefore it will not work because it has no power to convert and decode HDMI signal...

     

    So for all that people like me that is already using the thunderbolt output, this is not a solution. We do need something to walk around this issue. We do need some way to convert HDMI signal out of the Mac Mini 2012 or mid 2011 into a readable VGA signal. I do not beleave there are no devices at all that could do that process... So far I was not able to find anything acceptable.

     

    (BTW) Cross checked HDMI converter still works in the old Mac Mini, but since I do not have any HDMI monitor or TV I cannot check if the HDMI por is working properly in the Mac Mini...

  • FenixDigital Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you!

     

    I have to try one of them, and see.

  • devnieL Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have just tried a HDMI to VGA adapter and this doesn't work with the mac mini 2012 and the ASUS MX279, I will try with the thunderbolt to VGA adapter next weeks

  • lllaass Level 10 Level 10 (166,560 points)

    As previously discussed in the discussion the HDMI output on the 2012 Mini is digital only (DVI-D) while VGA is all analogue.

    The only way from a DVI-D output is to use a converter like in the links I provided in my previous reply. A simple DVI to VGA adopter will not work,

    devnieL wrote:

     

    I have just tried a HDMI to VGA adapter and this doesn't work with the mac mini 2012 and the ASUS MX279, I will try with the thunderbolt to VGA adapter next weeks

  • FenixDigital Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    As far as I was able to research, the actual problem is not that simple.

     

    The previous Mac Mini models (and also AppleTV) can convert through an HDMI > VGA converter (like this: http://www.kanex.com/products/item2.aspx?id=4852) and work perfectly fine.

     

    Actually in this very moment I'm looking to my 19" monitor representing the desktop of my old Mac Mini (mid-2010 C2D) connected to the HDMI through that converter, while in the MDP output I have another VGA monitor through a MDP > VGA adapter.

     

    Well, when I bought this new Mac Mini, I tried to use the same configuration that I had in the previous one:

     

    Thunderbolt output > Apple Cinema Display 24".
    HDMI > [KANEX ATV Pro converter] > 19" WideScreen 19:6 VGA monitor.

     

    But it simply didn't work.

     

    Then I started researching a little bit, and finally I found several comments out there explaining that this converter takes power from the HDMI connector that the Apple TV has but is not part of the standard, and the new Mac Mini apparently do not support that power supply in the HDMI port. Thus making this converter not to work appropriately. As a matter of fact, the Mac Mini detects that something is connected to it, the monitor detects that something is connected to it, but no signal reaches the monitor. This could be obviously a failure in the HDMI or simply an expectable correction to the HDMI into standards.

     

    Have still to check it, but I have no HDMI TV at home, so I will try it at the store, to confirm the HDMI port is working ok.

     

    The DVI > VGA adapter did not work even in the old Mac Minis, nor the Apple TV. That's because no analog signal is present in the HDMI, Illaass is absolutely correct at that point.

  • lllaass Level 10 Level 10 (166,560 points)

    Both the converters in my previous link included a power cable that connects to a USB port for power.

  • Josh Smiley1 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I Have a Mac mini that I'm tryi to split the display to 2 monitors. One is a project that has hdmi ports and the other is a serial/vga screen.  What can I use to split the signal?

    thanks

  • lllaass Level 10 Level 10 (166,560 points)

    What model Mini do you have?

    How to identify Mac mini models

  • Josh Smiley1 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I Have the last gen mini

  • lllaass Level 10 Level 10 (166,560 points)

    Connect the HDMI TV to the HDMI port on the Mini

    Then purchase mini displayport to VGA adopter for the other TV

    Then to setup/use see:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5891

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