NurflugelBlog

The NurflugelBlog is a place where I can vent my spleen about pretty much anything that crosses my mind. Politics, religion, those annoying little indignities we all have to put up with - I have plenty to say about them.

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Multiple monitors on a MacBookPro

Those of us without desktop machines lust after the ability to have more than a single monitor. My company has dual monitors for our crappy PC laptops (you can only use both of them with the docking station, which has it's own video card), and I wanted to have more than one monitor for my laptop.

I should note that I usually use the laptop at my desk with the lid closed, as the monitor I have is at a nice ergonomic height, and using a laptop all day is bad posture, which isn't good for my neck.

After a nice, long chat with a Genius (who didn't know how to do it, but pointed me to some web sites), there were two ways I found to do it:
  1. Matrox makes high-end video splitter - the DualHead2Go & TripleHead2Go. These tell your system that the monitor's bigger than it is, then split the signal to the different monitors. Pros - fast, as fast as your Mac's video card. Cons - expensive ($300), can only support 2 or 3 monitors, depending on which model you buy.
  2. Diamond makes a USB monitor adapter. You can get these online (or at Frys) for $72 (for the BVU195), or $79 (for the BVUMD3, which adds 3 powered USB ports to make up for the one you lost). Both models come with a DVI to VGA adapter. Pros - Low cost, can use up to 6 monitors. Cons - not so great for video, games, etc.
I went with the Diamond BVUMD3 - a very nice unit. One thing - Diamond says this is compatible with OS X, then doesn't bother to give you any drivers. If you go to the BVU195 support page, they "include" the OS X drivers - but you have to run an .exe to get them. So, I fired up Parallels, clicked on the "OS X Drivers" text - and it pointed me to a web page. Sheesh.

To make a long story short, just go to http://www.displaylink.com/support/mac_downloads.php to get the Mac drivers. I downloaded the "beta" 1.6 version for 64-bit support (Snow Leopard and all that), and it works GREAT!

There's a good site out there which details one guy's quest to get 3 external monitors -
http://daggle.com/macbook-pro-multimonitor-4-monitors-at-once-1577. http://www.macxperience.com/2010/07/11/connecting-multiple-external-monitors-macbooks/
also has a good discussion about it.

Multiple monitors for everyone!

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2 Comments:

Blogger tenax_technologies said...

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1:59 AM  
Blogger DaveK said...

Hi Douglas,

This sounds like a great solution if you want those two big external monitors. If the company's paying for it, why not? But if you didn't need that much screen real estate, and the Macbook Pro's display would be big enough, I would recommend a stand for your MBPro that would elevate it to the same height as your external. You could go as cheap as a cardboard box (my current sad solution) or as nice as an acrylic plastic or metal stand.

11:58 AM  

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