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Successful dual monitor installation with Mac Mini
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ADent
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanx for the report of success on the dual montior setup.
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dungeon92
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ADent wrote:
You can get the MacBookAir Superdrive to work with a mini, but it requires an extra part and some soldering.

http://tnkgrl.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/macbook-air-superdrive-for-all/

Imagine if you got a faulty drive Laughing .
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SimpleLife
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi bryan9,

Thanks for posting this. I did a lot of research on Diplaylink stuff but I stopped short of getting one due to the high price: most were around $120 more or less (Dynadock, Sewell, etc.).

This EVGA Plus unit is only $69 at my local Circuit City. I think I'm gonna buy one tomorrow. I'll post back my results.

Thanks again (this post prompted me to register for the forum)

Thanks to this forum I also have 4GB RAM (actual usable 3GB) which works great with VMware Fusion. I'll post a thanks on that thread too.

Edit: attached signature
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bryan9
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one problem I've run into with the EVGA + is the cable... it is quite flimsy and the connection seems to work loose just from general desk vibration, causing color abnormalities on the monitor. It is not a standard USB cable; it looks like it has one of those mini (micro?) connectors that are supplied with digital cameras. When I get a chance I'm going to try swapping it out and see if this cures the problem.

BTW, here are some comments on the EVGA unit at newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16815101001

I also looked at the various other units that employ the Display Link technology and didn't care for the prices... I believe the EVGA unit is the cheapest of the lot.

Best
Bryan
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SimpleLife
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I went ahead and bought the EVGA UV Plus at Circuit City for $69 plus tax.

Installation was super easy. Download and install the DisplayLink Mac OS X Beta Driver. There's also a nice PDF user manual and release notes for download for OS X at the website. Junk the included Windows drivers and junk the included USB cable (explanation below).





Just like bryan9, I found that the included USB cable is absolute junk. Upon connection, OS X would not recognize the second monitor. I replaced the mini-USB cable with one I use with my digital camera. Now everything works great.



It's perfect for my uses which is mainly for text, web browsing, and PDFs. The mouse pointer movement is a bit jagged on the second display, and the color kinda stinks, but. . . whatever, for $69 this is completely amazing. This is a beta driver, so things aren't perfect. Refer to the release notes before you dive in to make sure it meets your needs and expectations. In addition, it's still USB so don't expect spectacular performance.



And to think, I was about to upgrade to a Mac Pro in order to use two monitors (I don't like glossy iMac displays).

Thanks again bryan9, you just saved me $3,000 for the time being Very Happy

At $69-79, this thing is amazing. There are other Displaylink models available that also include USB hubs and soundcards, but they do cost more (Toshiba Dynadock, Kensington, Lenovo).

Forums are awesome, and I am lovin' my Mac Mini rig.

Thanks again bryan9!!!


Additional Rig Info Related to Pics Above:

In addition to the EVGA UV Plus, I bought a Wireless Mighty Mouse (right hand), and it works great in combination with my Kensington Expert Mouse trackball (left hand). Both drivers co-exist happily (both can be accessed via System Preferences). The other items in my rig seen in the pics above include a Revolabs xTag wireless microphone which I use with Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition via VMware Fusion. I also use the microphone for OS X speakable items. I'll use Macspeech Dictate once the software matures. Also in the pic is my computer headphone rig which is a HeadRoom Micro DAC and Xin Supermacro 3 headphone amplifier (not in pics are Shure E5c in-ear-monitor headphones).
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SimpleLife
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot to add that the displays are both Dell 19" LCDs (1907FP & 1908FP) running at 1280 X 1024, 60 Hz.

I currently have the secondary hooked up with DVI cable. The color cannot be "calibrated" with the current driver on the second display. I may try to use the VGA input and mess around with the monitor's manual adjustments to even out both monitors' colors.

I'm not used to so much LCD real estate staring back at me. Also, I try to shut off the secondary if I'm not using it as it seems such a waste of energy just leaving it on if I'm not using it.

Cheers.
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bryan9
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:05 am    Post subject: Color adjustment Reply with quote

Great posts, SimpleLife - thanks, too, for the great pics (you did it right).

Let us know if you come up with a solution to the color imbalance problems. I've also discovered that the color balance controls available in the Display preferences don't work on the second monitor, and sometimes the color is really off. Perhaps this is a deficiency in the beta driver. The color abnormalities don't interfere with my use of the second monitor, which closely resembles yours; however, it's an annoying aesthetic issue.

Best,
Bryan
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SimpleLife
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:22 am    Post subject: Re: Color adjustment Reply with quote

bryan9 wrote:

Let us know if you come up with a solution to the color imbalance problems.


I'm lucky that my displays have dual inputs for VGA and DVI (I don't know if all displays have this).

I used the included VGA to DVI adapter and used a VGA cable instead of a DVI cable.

Success!! I was now able to adjust the color and RGB settings to get the color adjusted as closely to the primary display as possible. Not perfect, but much, much better than with the DVI cable. With DVI, only the brightness can be adjusted.

Tuning Display w/ VGA Cable: With a DVI cable, the background on my word processor (http://www.bean-osx.com/Bean.html) was dark blue on the secondary display while it was dark green on my primary display. Using the VGA cable instead, I was able to adjust it to match pretty closely. The rest of the colors and hues are now somewhat matched also. I played with the brightness settings a bit too which helped even more.
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SimpleLife
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:26 am    Post subject: Re: Color adjustment Reply with quote

bryan9 wrote:
I've also discovered that the color balance controls available in the Display preferences don't work on the second monitor, and sometimes the color is really off. Perhaps this is a deficiency in the beta driver. The color abnormalities don't interfere with my use of the second monitor, which closely resembles yours; however, it's an annoying aesthetic issue.


Per the DisplayLink Beta 0.9 Release Notes:

Colour calibration does not work on DisplayLink displays (2374).

I'm not sure but I think this is the issue DisplayLink is refering to.

Cheers.
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dungeon92
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: video Reply with quote

How well can you watch a movie on one monitor and use a browser on the other? Wondering if there is any slow down or drop in quality that is noticable.
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SimpleLife
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:47 pm    Post subject: Re: video Reply with quote

dungeon92 wrote:
How well can you watch a movie on one monitor and use a browser on the other? Wondering if there is any slow down or drop in quality that is noticable.


Per the DisplayLink Beta Release Notes:

DVD player moves from extended DisplayLink display back to main screen (2403).

QuickTime movie window is not redrawn when another window is moved over it (2639).


I rarely watch movies on my computer. I stuck in a movie DVD, and it seems to run fine in the main display. As quoted above, if I try to move the DVD window to the secondary it "slides" back to the main display.

Other than that, it works great. I'm watching Amelie in the primary display as I'm typing this in the Webkit browser in the secondary display.

The DVD movie seems fine to me with no color, quality, or motion problems at all. Again this is just using the normal Mac Mini graphics card.

I have no system slowdown at all with the DVD running at Actual Size or Fit to Screen.

In iStat Pro widget, I'm showing CPU:User at 17% and CPU:System at 7%. I do have 4 GB RAM (3 GB useable) in my Mini.

I also can't run in Full Screen mode for DVD player. I don't know if this is normal multi-display behavior or due to the EVGA plus. Again, I never watch movies on my computer. This is the first time I have done so to test the performance out.

I would have provided a link to a video of my testing this, but I don't have a webcam (still a Luddite in some ways Very Happy ).

Don't forget this thing was $69 plus tax--that's a tank and a half of gas or a nice dinner for two--for enabling a Mac Mini to have a really nice "usable" secondary display.

One other thing, I did use the USB cable extension cord that came with my Apple Aluminum keyboard as a means to disconnect the secondary display anytime I want. This prevents wear and tear on the EVGA plus and Mac Mini USB ports. I'm just wearing out cheap easy to replace cables. I doubt it will ever wear out really.

Works great, I can connect/disconnect on-the-fly at anytime I want to save energy or just have a single display system.

I'll probably get a 30" or bit smaller display later with a Mac Pro rig as I don't like twisting my neck too much for the secondary display. But thats BIG $$$. So for now, $69 plus tax is fine, especially as I had a spare monitor. I must say I have been very productive lately with a jillion windows open.

The release notes states that ". . . .Performance when using spaces in Leopard is sub-optimal (2561)," but I found it to work pretty good with a dual monitor setup. I normally have 4 Spaces. I really like how OS X manages Spaces as I have 8 Spaces with two displays. Neat. Works good so far.

Even for a beta, this thing is rather stable, but that's a big part due to OS X too. It makes configuration so easy and stable.

Well, just for the hell of it, I just ran the QuickTime 840x480 iPhone 3G video from Apple on the secondary EVGA Plus display. There's a bit of "lip sync" lag in the video. Kinda of like a 1970-1980's Kung Fu movie. Other than that the video is smooth and not pixelated or blurry. Again I'm not video pro, but it does work.

For me, the biggest issue is the color. It's not great, but usable. May be a deal breaker for many people. Also Expose works great in the secondary (video plays in Expose too).

Normally, I can't stand Circuit City, but it's a good place to buy because of the 30 day return refund policy for this particular purchase. I'm keeping it for sure, but might not be good for everyone's needs or wants.

Cheers.

Hope this helps.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're giving us loads of great information here, SimpleLife. I notice that you're using the UV-16 model which, according to the manufacturer's website, is capable of driving a display up to a resolution of 1600x1200. My favourite resolution!

I wasn't sure whether these devices could be bought in the UK, but after typing the product description into Google Shopping, I found 6 British retailers selling them.

This question is probably a bit 'far-out', but I can't help wondering if there's anything to stop somebody from adding more of these devices to create a Mini whose desktop stretches over 3 (or more?) displays...
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SimpleLife
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnnyBoy wrote:
You're giving us loads of great information here, SimpleLife. I notice that you're using the UV-16 model which, according to the manufacturer's website, is capable of driving a display up to a resolution of 1600x1200. My favourite resolution!

I wasn't sure whether these devices could be bought in the UK, but after typing the product description into Google Shopping, I found 6 British retailers selling them.

This question is probably a bit 'far-out', but I can't help wondering if there's anything to stop somebody from adding more of these devices to create a Mini whose desktop stretches over 3 (or more?) displays...


I love the UK. I'm glad they have 'em available for you. Pretty good prices too.

I haven't tried it but the DisplayLink OS X Driver Release Notes says that the driver supports 4 displays (needs four USB graphics devices of course):

DisplayLink USB devices are the easiest way to add an additional monitor to your Mac. This driver, with the relevant DisplayLink-powered hardware, will allow any Intel-based Mac – even a Mac Mini or MacBook Air – to connect up to 4 monitors over USB. This driver also supports the USB video of our customers’ USB docking station products, giving you a cost-effective and easy way to connect your display and all of your peripherals to your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air, with only one USB 2.0 cable.

I believe all DisplayLink "chips/hardware" are all the same and that there are two models. With the higher end unit (1600X1200 and 1680X1050) multiple USB graphics devices can be used. The lower end units (1280×1024) can only use one unit.

As quoted above the OS X driver supports 4 displays/USB graphics devices while the Windows drivers supports 4-6 displays from the EVGA Plus UV+ Manual for Windows

There's a ton of info, specs, and links at the EVGA and DisplayLink websites that bryan9 linked to in the original post.

Here are some good blog posts by Sewell too with pics showing multi-displays and USB graphics units:

http://www.sewellsupport.com/archives/mac-driver-for-usb-dvi-external-video-card-out-and-tested-in-house

http://www.sewellsupport.com/archives/adding-multiple-displays-to-your-pc-with-the-usb-to-dvi-high-wes

I did many hours of research before bryan9 started this thread. I was going to get a Sewell but it was just too expensive. When bryan9 posted about the EVGA unit, I bought one right away. What a deal.

Cheers.
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SimpleLife
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a little bit more research. I think the DisplayLink hardware may have changed. Check with the specific manufacturer to see if multiple displays are supported for each model.

From the EVGA UV+ manual that I linked to above, it states that the low-end model supports multi displays also. The Sewell low-end model only supports one. Again, anyone interested should double-check the latest specs.

One more important issue: this device is completely silent!!
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Lummy! A Mini with 4 displays! Shocked And that doesn't even include the display connected to the Mini's own GPU...

On a side note, one thing that I love about external periphs, is that if you buy an additional computer or you sell/part-ex/murder your existing machine, you don't lose the external devices that you've paid good money for. You just swap 'em over to the new machine. Cool
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