Friday 27 July 2007

Mac on SBS - Connecting a Second LCD Monitor to an iMac

When it comes to connecting things to this iMac, we have been pretty impressed.

Apple certainly has the KISS principle down when it comes to that.

I personally have a workstation with multiple monitors. So, when it comes to sitting in front of this iMac, even with the wide screen real estate, there is something lacking.

So, we purchased the little gizmo needed to connect a second monitor:

Apple's part number is M9321G/B and it is called a Mini-DVI to DVI converter.

There are three styles for this product, Mini-DVI to DVI, VGA, or RCA/S-Video. We picked up all three.

It was initially a bit difficult to find some information until we stumbled onto this article on Apple's Web site: Connecting an external monitor to your iMac's VGA monitor port. This article dealt with the early G3 based iMac models. Not relevant.

But, with that discovery came this one after a quick search of Apple's support site: About the iMac (Early 2006) and iMac (Late 2006) Mini-DVI video out port. To quote:
For DVI displays, use the Apple Mini-DVI to DVI Adapter (M9321G/B).
For VGA displays or projectors use the Apple Mini-DVI to VGA Display Adapter (M9320G/A).
For televisions, projectors or VCRs that use S-video or composite video connectors, use the Apple Mini-DVI to Video Adapter (M9319G/A).
If there is one thing that can be said about searching for Mac related information in the iMac's Help or on the Internet, it is that one must learn the "language". :D

And, coming back to KISS: When the second monitor's DVI cable was plugged into the Apple Mini-DVI converter the iMac's main screen shimmered for a second, and it picked up the second monitor automatically! It didn't even mirror the main display, it extended the desktop. Pretty kewl man.

Oh, and a bit of humble pie: After connecting the second monitor and bringing up the Display Properties via System Preferences, there is a little question mark below the "Rotate: Standard" option. Click it and guess what comes up?
Connecting multiple displays or a projector
You can connect more than one display to your computer. To do so, you'll need a video cable for each display. You may also need an adapter. See the manual that came with your computer or graphics card to find out which video cable and/or adapter you need.
  1. Turn off the displays and the computer.
  2. For each display you want to use, connect a video cable (and adapter, if necessary) from the video output port on your computer or graphics card to the video input port on the display. Make sure the cables are securely connected or you may not be able to see an image on the display.
  3. Turn on the displays and computer.
When you connect multiple displays, they show the same image (called "mirroring"). With some computers, you can also set your displays to extend the desktop, so a different section of your desktop is shown on each display. You can change this setting in the Arrangement pane of Displays preferences.
Again, there is a bit of a language barrier there since the search term used in the Help Search was "connecting multiple monitors".

Now, off to work. Downloaded a trial copy of InDesign CS3 for the Mac. It is just too hot up front to work on the system in there. So, for now I will be in the back where it is cool building our client's Technology Assessment publication here. It will be an interesting comparison to see how things work with the Mac version of InDesign as I have been working on the PC version since the 1.x days of the product.

If you can work in Photoshop, but especially Illustrator, then InDesign will almost be second nature. Even Word 2007, or Publisher 2007 for that matter can't touch InDesign for professional level publishing.

Okay, gotta stop procrastinating! ;)

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

*All Mac on SBS posts are posted on our in-house iMac via the Safari Web browser.


Anonymous said...

What if you wanted to go beyond one additional monitor? What if you wanted four more? Would the CinePort from CineMassive Displays be a viable option? Thanks!

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...

No it would not be a viable option.

The iMac does not have a PCCard slot, thus it would not be able to use this product.