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Everything You Need to Know About MacBook Pro Display Adapters

written by: Michael Dougherty•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 5/17/2011

Looking to run a second screen from your MacBook Pro? Wondering what your options are for adapters that will connect your MacBook Pro's Mini DisplayPort to a TV, external monitor or projector? Look no further, here is everything you need to know about the MacBook Pro Mini DisplayPort adapters.

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    The MacBook Pro Mini DisplayPort

    Every Mac with a Mini DisplayPort allows you to connect an external display or projector using an adapter. You can use an external display as your main workspace or to extend your desktop, or you can work in mirrored mode with a projector so you can view what your audience sees.

    The Mini DisplayPort (mDP) is a proprietary miniaturized version of the DisplayPort developed by Apple in 2008. It is used in all new Macs including the MacBook Pro. Several adapters are available from Apple and third-party vendors that allow a connection from the Mini DisplayPort to a variety of external screens. Lets take a look at the three major adapters available to convert the signal from the Mini DisplayPort.

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    Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter

    Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter Use the Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter to connect your Mac to a standard analog monitor, projector, or LCD that uses a VGA connector or cable. Most older monitors will use a VGA connection but be careful when choosing an adapter because newer monitors almost always include a DVI port which is a much better connection.

    The Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter can be purchased from the Apple Store for $29.00.

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    Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter

    Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter Use the Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter to connect an advanced digital monitor, such as the 20- or 23-inch Apple Cinema Display, that includes a DVI connector. Most newer LCD monitors as well as some TV's include a DVI port as well as a VGA port. When choosing between the two you will always want to go with the DVI connection.

    The Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter can be purchased from the Apple Store for $29.00.

    * A Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI is also available for connecting your MacBook Pro to the 30-inch Apple Cinema HD display. Be sure to not get the Mini DisplayPort to DVI and the Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI confused. They are not interchangeable.

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    Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter

    Mini DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter The best possible connection you can get to an external screen with your MacBook Pro is an HDMI connection. This connection will convert both the video and audio signal from the Mini DisplayPort to your HDMI connection. With this connection you will no longer need to use the headphones (audio out) port on your MacBook Pro to send audio to an external source. One adapter, one cable, one connection to convert and transfer both your audio and video signals to an external source.

    HDMI connections are available on most modern televisions as well as most newer LCD computer monitors. As always be sure to check what connections are available on your external screen to make sure you get the correct adapter. If an HDMI connection is available this is the adapter to use, it will give you the best picture as well as transfering your audio in the same connection.

    The Moshi Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter can be purchased from the Apple Store for $34.95.

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    References

    • http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs.html
    • http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB572Z/A?fnode=MTY1NDA5OQ&mco=MTA4MzU1NDg
    • http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB570Z/A?fnode=MTY1NDA5OQ&mco=MTA4MzU1NTE
    • http://store.apple.com/us/product/H1824ZM/A?mco=MTgxMzM1NzE
    • http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4241