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How To Run True Multiple Monitors on a MacBook or MacBook Pro

written by: Nicholas•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/2/2009

One function that many Mac users would have liked to see is the ability to run dual monitors with a MacBook or MacBook Pro. However, there is a workaround that allows you to run two external monitors. This article explains how, and the pros and cons.

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    Things That You Need To Run Multiple Monitors 

    It wouldn't be right to say that MacBooks and MacBook Pros cannot run dual monitors, out of the box. They can run two monitors if you count the actual laptop screen as a monitor. To run dual monitors this way, simply leave your MacBook or MacBook pro open, and connect an external monitor using your chosen connection type: Mini DisplayPort to DVI or VGA, or Mini DVI to DVI or VGA. This will give you your MacBook monitor as the first monitor, and the external display as the second monitor.

    Chances are, this is not the solution you are searching for. If you want to run multiple external monitors with your Apple laptop, it can be done. You will need to purchase a Mac compatible USB video card such as the EVGA UV Plus. And of course, have more than one external monitor as well as a Mini DisplayPort to DVI or VGA or Mini DVI to DVI or VGA, which you can purchase directly from Apple.

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    Preparing Your MacBook or MacBook Pro, Drivers

    EVGA UV 

    Once you have all of the supplies, you can get started. The first thing that you will need to do is install the software that comes with your USB video card. More than likely, it will be a CD or DVD containing drivers. If this CD is not compatible with your Mac, most of the time manufacturers have a Mac driver available on their website. For example, you can find the Mac drivers for the EVGA UV Plus USB video card here. After you have the drivers and software installed for your USB video card, restart your MacBook or MacBook Pro.

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    Preparing Your MacBook or MacBook Pro, DisplayLink Software

    nav logo 

    In addition to the USB card drivers, you will also need to download and install the latest DisplayLink driver. This will allow your USB video card to work properly with OS X and allow you to adjust settings for your monitors. You can visit the DisplayLink website here. If you want a direct download of the latest Mac DisplayLink drivers, you can get them here. After you have the drivers downloaded and installed, restart your computer.

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    Connecting Your Monitors.

    dual monitors It's now time to connect the monitors to your MacBook or MacBook pro. Start by connecting your first monitor using the Apple Mini DisplayPort or Mini DVI adapter. Connect your first monitor to the adapter end of the Mini DisplayPort or Mini DVI Cable, and plug it directly into your notebook via the Mini DisplayPort or Mini DVI Cable in.

    Now, grab your USB video card adapter (EVGA UV Plus), and connect your second monitor to it. It will connect directly to the card via DVI or VGA. Plug the other end of the USB video card adapter into an available USB port on your Mac laptop. Restart your computer.

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    Final Adjustments.

    You should now have two external dual monitors working with your MacBook or MacBook Pro. To tweak settings for your monitors, you can use the software that came with the USB video card adapter, as well as the built-in OS X monitor settings. These settings are accessible through Finder - Application - System Preferences - Display.

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