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VGA vs DVI? Adapter for external display

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by leonberdi, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    133
    Apr 15, 2011
    Montreal
    I have a Macbook from 2008 that has a mini-DVI output for video.

    I am on the verge of buying a Dell Ultrasharp monitor that supports Displayport, DVI, VGA and USB connections. It does not have an HDMI input.

    From what I understand, my Mac will not connect to an external monitor via USB. And I can't find a mini-DVI to displayport adapter.

    So that leaves me to choose between the DVI or the VGA adapters. However, I have heard that there are problems with analog signals on the mini-DVI - DVI adapters.

    So, my questions are: 1) Are analog signals needed to connect my Macbook to a Dell Ultrasharp monitor (will digital suffice?)? and 2) Is VGA noticeably worse than DVI?

    Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated (except "buy a new computer/different monitor!").

    Thanks!
     
  2. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I don't understand. Your laptop has DVI, and your monitor supports DVI, so what's the issue with using DVI? DVI is the same video quality as HDMI and Displayport, but those two have the advantage of also carrying audio. This is worthless for most people connecting a computer to a monitor. VGA is a joke, don't even consider it.
     
  3. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    133
    Apr 15, 2011
    Montreal
    No, my computer does not have DVI. I've explained everything above.
     
  4. greerd

    greerd Mu-43 Regular

    My understanding is that VGA is analog and would be noticeably worse than the DVI input. Component video is reported superior to VGA and DVI is reported superior to Component. If you want to use VGA, you shouldn't wast the extra cash on the ultra sharp. I can't help with the min dvi to dvi problems (don't use mac) but I've heard that mac makes these adapters.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. steve16823

    steve16823 Mu-43 Regular

    181
    Sep 26, 2011
    Brookfield, IL
    You won't be using any of the analog signals for your monitor connection so you should be able to use a mini-DVI to DVI adapter. Plus, the problems you reference are specifically with the Apple brand mini-DVI - DVI-D adapter that doesn't carry the analog signals.

    Here's an alternative, although as I said before you aren't going to use the analog signals anyhow (Analog is there only for backwards compatibility to VGA).

    http://www.meritline.com/mini-dvi-dvi-cable-adapter---p-42819.aspx
     
  6. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    • Like Like x 1
  7. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    133
    Apr 15, 2011
    Montreal
    What I clearly wrote in my post was that my computer has a mini-DVI output. That is not the same as a DVI output. I apologize if that is confusing.

    Thanks for the link.
     
  8. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Mini-DVI and DVI are electrically the same exact thing. All that's changed is the shape of the plug, so all you need is a wire that reshapes the connection physically.
     
  9. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    273
    Sep 20, 2011
    You misunderstood the wikipedia link. What wikipedia is talking about is people daisy chaining monitor adapters so they could use their Mini DVI-DVI adapters that came with their macbooks with an older DVI-VGA adapter to hook up their Macbook to a VGA monitor. Just buy the Mini DVI to DVI adapter.
     
  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    please guys .... if you don't know what you are talking about then kindly shut up

    the OP explained perfectly what his situation was ... steve your response is wrong

    if you use the solution I suggested you don't have to worry about any analog signals... DVI is digital all the way


    K
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    The problem is that there is DVI-D and DVI-I. DVI - I also has the analog signals along with the digital video signals. Most monitors don't require the analog as well as the digital. Video Cards will sometimes put analog as well as digital out on a DVI-I cable. This allows the user to adapt to analog only monitors from the DVI-I cable.

    My guess is that apple only puts digital out of their mini-dvi. I see no reason why a mini-dvi to DVI cable shouldn't work for the monitor. Just don't expect to get analog out.

    As what I thought:

    "Apple's Mini-DVI to DVI-D cable does not carry the analog signal coming from the mini-DVI port on the Apple computer. This means that it is not possible to use this cable with an inexpensive DVI-to-VGA adapter for VGA output; Apple's mini-DVI to VGA cable must be used instead. This could be avoided if Apple provided a mini-DVI to DVI-I cable. The purpose of DVI-I is to ensure universal compatibility.[1][2]
    The Apple mini-DVI to DVI-D cable's package shows a DVI-I figure instead of DVI-D and does not specify that it comes with only DVI-D."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini-DVI
     
  12. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    273
    Sep 20, 2011
    Wrong. Apple puts analog out of their mini-dvi port on the older Macbook. They just don't carry that signal in their mini-DVI to DVI connector.
     
  13. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    OK... can we stop talking about analog signals and adding noise to the thread.

    the OP is buying a new modern display with DVI.... it will be digital... thats what he will want

    After 10 years touring the world plugging apples into monitors and projectors for apple I do know a bit about this stuff :)

    K
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Kevin,

    While I agree, the confusion comes from the discontinuity between the groups that deal in standards, marketing, and the actual cables/connectors that the user has to deal with. I hate the fact that in many times, organizations standardize a transport method and leave the connectors or cables using those methods to the manufacturers and other industry organizations. We end up with lots of confusion.
     
  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    djarum

    with all due respect, while there is confusion with so called 'standards' we as members of this very friendly forum should concentrate in offering appropriate answers to questions posted and not turn things into a DP review style noise fest

    K
     
  16. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Kevin is correct. I have a 2008 Macbook, I commonly use the exact method he is talking about. Use this plug:
    Apple Mini-DVI to DVI Adapter - Apple Store (U.S.)
    And it will work flawlessly. The Macbook DOES have DVI, just as he claims. Mini DVI is still DVI, and it carries the digital signal, just in a smaller form factor. In fact, third parties alternatives exist that look just like the above adapter, except that they have an HDMI port instead of the full size DVI port, so that you may send video from your Macbook to an HDMI-equipped display. I used to do this all the time when visiting friends in Houston. Apple would make this themselves, except for they as a company are vehemently against HDMI.
     
  17. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    shnitz.... shnitz ....


    you were doing so well until you said

    "except for they as a company are vehemently against HDMI."

    hmmm... so how come the Apple TV and the MacMini both have HDMI ?

    cheers

    K
     
  18. steve16823

    steve16823 Mu-43 Regular

    181
    Sep 26, 2011
    Brookfield, IL
    Yes, my post was initially wrong (because of the mini-DVI issue) but about 2 seconds after I posted it, and long before you posted this.

    So why are you adding your 2 cents after the issue was resolved?

    EDIT: Oh, nevermind, I see the timing of it and how it all came about in the same 5 minute time interval. :)
     
  19. leonberdi

    leonberdi Mu-43 Regular

    133
    Apr 15, 2011
    Montreal
    Thanks everyone for your help. Obviously I should get a mini-DVI to DVI adapter. The Apple one is much, much, more expensive than 3rd party ones. So, does anyone have any bad experiences with 3rd party adapters of this kind?
     
  20. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    At only $20, it's not that bad, considering the build quality, fact that if it's messed up you can exchange it at any local store, etc. I have used both third party and OEM without issue, but for $10 more just get the OEM. It will help with resale/pass-down value anyway.