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Run Two 30" Apple Cinema Displays on a PC 113

Posted by timothy
from the eyestrain-city dept.
dealcatcher writes "For those blessed by the Apple gods and actually own two 30-inch Apple Cinema Displays, this guide explains how to hook two of them up to a PC. The guide includes which graphics cards will support this configuration and a step-by-step of how to get it all going."
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Run Two 30" Apple Cinema Displays on a PC

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  • Price (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sux2BU (20893) * on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:30PM (#12204930)
    Each display costs $3000 from Apple's website.
    • Re:Price (Score:3, Informative)

      by antifoidulus (807088)
      The shittiest thing about Apple monitors if you don't use Apple computers is that they don't give you the option of using Applecare to extend the warranty of the monitor above the 1 year it comes with even if you want to pay extra. However if you buy an apple computer and get the applecare then the display is covered for free. If you are planning on doing this it almost makes sense to buy 2 minis with your display, get the applecare, and then chuck the minis on ebay for close to what you paid for them. S
      • Are you sure they'd let you do that? It's pretty obvious that the 30" display isn't for the mini, simply for the fact that the mini doesn't have enough power to use the display.

        • AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac mini: [apple.com] The AppleCare Protection Plan covers your Mac, as well as an AirPort Extreme Card, an AirPort Express or AirPort Extreme Base Station, and Apple RAM purchased for your Mac. Mac mini, Power Mac, and PowerBook customers can also enroll one Apple display for coverage, provided the Mac and display are purchased together

          So, it indeed looks like you can have one monitor attached per mini; but the coverage does travel with the mini, so you couldn't sell it (although how
        • The "rules" of AppleCare don't state that the monitor has to be able to work with the machine, just purchased at the same time. While it makes no sense, and Apple may re-word things in the future, the AppleCare agreement does indeed allow you to purchase a 30" display and cover it under the Mac Mini's AppleCare umbrella.
          You are in essence paying $650 for a warranty on your Cinema Display, but then again one repair would allow you to recoup the entire cost.
      • Re:Price (Score:5, Informative)

        by foo12 (585116) on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:17PM (#12206056)
        I don't think your solution will work --- AppleCare transfers with sale of equipment, meaning you'd lose the 'halo' protection afforded by listing the display with the Mini(s).
        • AppleCare can be purchased for a Powermac and be applied to a display only. All you have to do is ask a competent employee to do it. It is legal, it is legitimate.
      • Re:Price (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Seems a bit excessive though just to get a 3 year(industry standard really) warranty on your monitor....

        I don't know how you can call it "industry standard" when nobody else offers a 30" display, much less with a 3 year warranty.
      • Re:Price (Score:3, Informative)

        by jtshaw (398319) *
        Standard 3 year warranty?!?

        So far I've checked Samsung, Sony, ViewSonic, Dell, and Phillips and haven't found one yet that offers over a year standard... Dell, like apple, also only seams to allow you to add extra support if you are purchasing a computer.
    • Re:Price (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Oculus Habent (562837) *
      A related question to tax your financial limits...

      If you used one of the newer motherboards capable of supporting two PCI-X cards (not in SLI mode), could you get four 30" Apple Cinema Displays out of it?
    • Each display costs $3000 -- but dont forget the...

      video card (approx $500)
      tax ($150-500 est.)
      Desktop space (4 feet gone)

      On the plus side, youll be the envy of all the geeks on the block, aside from the crazy windows one that hates apple (despite having never tried one except for a quick second only to find it different than windows and therefore unacceptable).
  • or to sum it up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FidelCatsro (861135) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `orstacledif'> on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:38PM (#12205012) Journal
    1: buy two rather wonderfull but epensive monitors
    2: buy expensive graphics card with duel dvi conectors and a framebuffer to support massive displays such as these
    3: install graphics card(driver setup etc ) and then plug in new monitors ( if you buy one with conectors too close either, use an adaptor cable or slice up the one on your 3000 grand monitors... i know which i would do)
    4: turn on system and configure your windowing system to use both monitors at a comfertable size .... in other words do exactly the same thing you would do(read:Should do) normaly
  • I see (Score:5, Funny)

    by El (94934) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:38PM (#12205022)
    So this would be the computer equivalent of putting Formula One racing slicks on a Yugo?
    • So this would be the computer equivalent of putting Formula One racing slicks on a Yugo?

      Actually, that wouldn't be as outlandish as you seem to be implying. Formula 1 banned slicks several years ago, mandating grooved tires. As a result, any Formula 1 slicks you might acquire for your Yugo would be used tires and, frankly, putting used tires on a Yugo is pretty much SOP ;-)
  • Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moofie (22272) <lee&ringofsaturn,com> on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:40PM (#12205039) Homepage
    What a useful guide. You install the video card, plug in the displays, and it works. Gee, I never would have figured that out on my own.

    Want to be helpful? Tell me how to get those two displays without selling both kidneys.
  • by sRev (846312) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:40PM (#12205040)
    Part One was: "How to afford two 30" Apple Monitors."
  • Such a setup is so insanely great! (except for the mutilation of the DVI connector, ouch...) If only this guy can also tell me how to find the insanely huge sum for two 30" Cinema HDs.
    • Hmm... I don't understand. Matrox already came out with multiple monitor support for PCs years ago. What's the big fuss, cause it has an Apple logo?

      You can technically do that on windows having 2 present day video cards, running non-SLI in a ultra high resolution display.

      • Multi-monitor support has been on macs before they were on windows, its MS that had to play catch up in the early 90's. Infact, when win95 came out, nobody was really bothered about it supporting up to 7 monitors because Apple had already done it. So you are right, its nothing new, it isn't a big fuss either except nobody else at the moment does 30" monitors like apple does. Hence the excitement.
  • aargh (Score:4, Funny)

    by toQDuj (806112) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:43PM (#12205073) Homepage Journal
    it is like a million voices all cried out at once and were suddenly silenced.

    possibly heart attacks.

    But seriously, I'd just have put the G5 behind some soundproofing walls and run virtual pc on them. VPC suffices for most scientific programs that would not run under a unix environment.

    B.
  • by Beatbyte (163694) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:43PM (#12205078) Homepage
    to see his desktop... [synapps.de]
    you can SEE the silver spoon by which he is fed ;)
  • okay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sebadude (680162) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:44PM (#12205095) Homepage
    Who has enough desk space for two 30" displays, That's what I'd like to know.

    How practical is it? You'd have to sit pretty far away from them to see all that there is to see, but if you have to sit far away, why not go with two smaller screens and sit closer?
    • Resolution. Editing two huge pics at once in Photoshop. Most new DSLRS put out pics in 8 MP resolution, and one of these could only show you 4 of those, and in the wrong aspect at that (DSLR usually shoots at 3:2, not 4:3). Not that I'd buy one; I savor the day I'm going up from 1280x960 on a 17" CRT... Shit, the other day I bought a cheap lens for my camera that cost more than this crappy monitor.
    • Re:okay (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FidelCatsro (861135)
      if you have the cash for two 30" monitors then im fairly sure you could find the deskspace .. Personaly my desk on which i sit right now is about 1.5M long and would have plenty of space for these to sit at the back(if i moved the clutter/ mess), It is a big desk but not much above average i would think.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:11PM (#12206017)
      Two 30" monitors are a pain, one tends to center their attention on one monitor and place things that are always open on the other.

      The constant head turning and sometimes scooting your chair over to use the other monitor is just plain wasteful.

      I've even tried placing one large monitor over the other, this seemed to help cut down on the scooting and head turning as I just can use my eyes to look up.

      The work involved dragging windows up to the other monitor just isn't worth the effort.

      Since any window can easily be minimized or using Expose in Mac OS X kind of makes getting a second 30" Display a total waste of money. I've been happier since I got rid of the other monitor. BTW I sit about 4 feet from the 30" to take it all in. Wireless keyboard is neccessary.

      Of course the other person was very happy to receive it. :)

      http://homepage.mac.com/hogfish/PhotoAlbum2.html
      • Yes, that's what I meant. For viewing images, photos, or film: great, obviously. My concern was with text apps. With two such large screens and their high resolution, you're either going to be doing a lot of leaning forward (& sideways) to read the screens, or you're going to be squinting like George Costanza when he's spotting pennies on the sidewalk.

        Either way, it's not very healthy or productive. The point is that I think there's a limit to how large a desktop area can be, over that threshold it be

      • Two 30" monitors are a pain, one tends to center their attention on one monitor and place things that are always open on the other.

        The constant head turning and sometimes scooting your chair over to use the other monitor is just plain wasteful.


        I use two 19" CRTs at home and at work and while it's nice to have the extra screen area, it gets hard on the neck after a while. Using two 30" monitors must be very difficult unless the resolution is scaled down so you can sit far enough away (which kind of de
      • You just have to practice Geek Yoga until you can focus each eye independently, one on the X session on monitor B, the other on the chatty text output on monitor A.
      • Well, I think it depends on what you work and how you work.

        Since I use two monitors I can not udnerstand that I once could live with only one.

        The IDE on one monitor, the CASE system on the other (or the browser with API docs or /. )

        Simply debugging is quite fancy with 2 monitors when your IDE/debuggger is on the main screen and the application you run on the other screen.

        Especially when you work on web applications or any kind of applcation where the debuggee is opening several windows.

        I can not udners
        • The issue is whether the second monitor is being used just as more space, as a separate space, or a combination of both. When I was using a 15" powerbook with 1024x768, I always used an external monitor as well if I could, because there just wasn't enough screen real estate.

          Now I've got a powermac with a 23" screen, and I find that I don't miss the second screen all that much, except for in a few specific applications. Those applications are ones where the separate screens were a type of organization for m

      • ... that what you want is THREE 30" displays so you can have one in the center as well as one each to the left and right so they wrap around you. Sounds good to me!

        Anyone know of a mod for UT2004 so it'll display properly on all three monitors? :D
  • Silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ed 'g3' (231005) on Monday April 11, 2005 @04:46PM (#12205126) Journal
    This is all a bit daft - he has a G5 with these two massive monitors and chucks it all because of the fan noise.

    So, in some bizarre attempt at making it better, he hooks them up to a pc.

    Reminds me of the Volksagon adverts - It's a Mini adventure. Those were bloody stupid as well.
    • Sounds like I need to come over as a consultant!
      Pop in a couple of silent fans charge him a few grand and be off.
      Of course they might not make custom fans for Macs, but I'd be willing to solder the connection to adapt it myself.
      • Have you ever seen how massive the G5 CPU/heatsink combo is and felt the amount of heat it puts out? They put anything AMD and intel make to shame when it comes to ridiculous head output. Those fans are the closest thing to silent you're going to find that can effectively cool those things.
    • by ksheff (2406)
      The funny part is that he's right back to square one with the annoying fan noise. I know if I had the money to be able to afford such a system, I'd also spend the extra $$ for longer cables and/or enclosure for the case to eliminate the noise.
    • They're not Volkswagen adverts, they're BMW Mini adverts, thus the "It's a MINI adventure" ;-)
  • I'll admit, I only clicked on it to see the pictures of the dual 30" displays. Is it as beautiful as I expected? I think it was, only moreso. Now if only I could afford the cost (or the desk space).
    • lol, yeah. My local computer store has an apple store in it. Whenever I go in I always take a few minutes to ogle the 2, 30" display steup they have to showcase the G5. I always sit there and say: "now if only I had 10grand to spend..." :-P.
  • This person has supersensitive hearing.

    He's probably a spy, which would explain being able to afford two of those displays.
  • Blessed or heretical (Score:3, Interesting)

    by martinX (672498) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:41PM (#12205717)
    If he was truly blessed by the Apple gods he would be using a Mac. OK, a quiet one...

    This just makes him a heretic.
  • by gremlins (588904) on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:41PM (#12205719)
    I hope the 10 people who can actually afford this enjoyed the article.
  • by Yaztromo (655250) <`yaztromo' `at' `mac.com'> on Monday April 11, 2005 @05:45PM (#12205747) Homepage Journal
    1. User decides to ditch the Mac because the fans are too noisy.
    2. User slices up the connectors of two perfectly good, $3000 Apple Cinema 30" displays to get them to plug into some no-name video card with an nVidia chipset on their "silent" PC,
    3. User complains of the fan noise now coming from the PC video cards.

    What a complete and total git. And this gets posted to /. for what reason?

    (Remember: with great power comes great fan noise).

    Yaz.

    • What a complete and total git. And this gets posted to /. for what reason?

      to show that some geeks have more money than brains?
    • I'm actually a bit puzzled by this story. The author must have hypersensitive ears.

      I'm a dual G5 owner, admittedly of the previous 2.0ghz dual processor model, and I happen to own a display card capable of driving the 30" display.

      It's quiet as a mouse unless I'm using the two CPUs at full speed and even then it's not that bad. It's actually my external hard drives that make most of the noise in my system.

      Of course if he really needs a way to deal with this problem, I recommend simply taking a high-qual
      • I'm a dual G5 owner, admittedly of the previous 2.0ghz dual processor model, and I happen to own a display card capable of driving the 30" display.

        It may be capable of driving the 30" display, but is it doing so?

        GPUs can put out a lot of heat (indeed, on my PowerBook the GPU on it is the biggest single source of heat, particularily if I'm playing a 3D game or anything really graphics intensive). When you're running them at extremely high resolutions, and running TWO of them, they're going to pump out h

        • You are correct. Tragically, all I can afford is the 23" previous generation Cinema Display I presently own :-(.

          However, I've used Apple Motion on it, and a more brutal test of a graphics card has yet to be invented. I still haven't noticed much in the way of noise.

          When I installed my Nvidia 6800 Ultra DDL card, which is this sprawling monster that takes over two slots, I noticed that you have a point. The fan ventilates into the case and so the case fans are still in charge of getting the air out.

          Are
          • Are there any drawbacks with my own proposed solution to run some long keyboard/monitor cables and put the computer in another room?

            I wouldn't even bother with long keyboard or mouse cables -- Bluetooth has an effective range of 10m, which should be more than enough to put the machine on the other side of a wall. Then you only need to run a single monitor cable.

            The only downside I can think of is needing to go around the corner to put a CD/DVD in the drive. This can be mitigated by using a Firewire or

            • I think most people would probably just use a DVI extension cable and get their USB and FireWire from elsewhere. Otherwise you'd need an extension to Apple's cable which would probably be pretty expensive.

              Most of my peripherals are external hard drives which (obviously) don't need to be in the same room and in fact should be banished in this scenerio thanks to their own noise problems.

              If you want a silent computer, you don't want to be in the same room as the optical drive, either :-).

              But of course my k
              • I think most people would probably just use a DVI extension cable and get their USB and FireWire from elsewhere. Otherwise you'd need an extension to Apple's cable which would probably be pretty expensive.

                Well, doesn't the PC side of the cable break out into seperate DVI, USB and Firewire plugs? If that is the case, you should be able to go from the Apple specific cable to a bundle of the three seperate cables for the rest of the run.

                Then again, I don't own a Cinema display, so I suppose I could be mis

  • I have to admit, I just can't understand people who complain about computer noise. I have a damn loud computer- two 40mm drive cooler fans,an 80mm case fan, a 120mm case fan, two PSU fans, a CPU fan, and a fan on the graphics card. It bothered me at first, but after a couple of days I got used to it. For fuck's sake, just listen to music or watch TV or something.

    And advice for the guy who wrote the article- the Quadro 4000 is just a Geforce 6800; there are fanless coolers for it if the deafening noise o
  • I'd try the same thing if I was rich enough although I'd never hook them up to some POS pc. It might be too much monitor but it's still damn cool. Herbalizer
  • Why would anyone want to do this? Why not just get one 30" display, a G5 Tower (say, the $2k one), and a copy of Virtual PC w/ Windows XP Professional, and save about $250? After all, do you really need almost NINE HUNDRED square inches of screen? If you do, isn't it kind of a waste to have it displaying the much shoddier Windows graphics (or, shoddier still, I'm sorry to say, those of certain more politically acceptable free operating systems), blown up to offend the eye all the more? (Yes, let's have the
  • ...steal the money you need to afford this equipment. And the week after we'll be demonstrating a series of exercises you can use to relieve the pain from repeatedly craning your neck to view the far corners of your displays.
  • by oahazmatt (868057) on Monday April 11, 2005 @06:46PM (#12206308) Journal
    what the BSOD looks like on the display. C'mon, show us the goods!
  • by cypherz (155664) *
    to run that rig on Windows! KDE makes much better use of multi-monitor setups than does Windows.
    mmmm xinerama!

  • Fan noise solution (Score:2, Informative)

    by garote (682822)
    So he's chucking a G5 because of fan noise ... makes no sense. I've got a solution that you can apply to PC or Mac. I've been doing it for about six years now.

    Buy four USB hubs and a really damn long monitor cable, and put the stupid machine in the closet. The closet of some other room, even. Or in the basement. Run the cables through a hole in the wall. The G5 even comes with Firewire 800 and optical audio jacks, both of which can support nice long cable lengths.

    Presently I have a P4 in a closet, wit

    • Or maybe buy the new G5 that is water cooled?

      Whodathunkit.
      • It's water cooled in the sense that heat is conducted from the CPU via fluid exchange, but even the majestic G5 is not a silent machine when running full-throttle. Put the machine in a closet and you don't even have to listen to DVDs spinning in the drive while you watch a movie.
    • Keeping the computer in your basement sounds like a great idea for reducing noise... until you have to switch to disc 2 of that DVD movie... then its a hike down to the basement.
      • Yeah, the basement is a bit far off ... If you find yourself swapping media a lot you can always get a USB2.0 external DVD drive -- but that brings noise back into the equation (yeech). I don't know what the best solution for that is ... buy two drives? Copy the DVD on beforehand so you only need to go downstairs once?
  • G5 tower... loud? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ballresin (398599) on Tuesday April 12, 2005 @01:24AM (#12209125) Homepage Journal
    I've been around a number of G5 towers running 30" Cinema Displays, as I work at a retail store. The G5s only make any noise that is audible above a slight whisper when they are churning data really hard.... or are defective. It is not unheard of for a G5 to have a bad midplane. This guy aparently didn't have the sense to bring his $9000+ setup back to an Apple Store and have the Geniuses say "Yup... that's noisy" and fix it. That said... he is clearly not aware of the giant performance hit his "silent" PC is from his G5. Oh well. Feels like another under-appreciated waste of power.
    • I've been around a number of G5 towers running 30" Cinema Displays, as I work at a retail store.

      It is not unheard of for a G5 to have a bad midplane.

      It is unheard of. Macs do not have faults, only defective users.

      You should be fired for suggesting otherwise. I hope you and your family starve.

      Your type make me sick.

      I know that all right-thinking Mac users will agree with me on this.
  • Two is not the ideal monitor configuration. 3 identical monitors provide a much more balanced desktop. Who wants to look at a seam in the dead center of a desktop?

    What I want to see, is a MAC running THREE 30 inch displays at full resolution. I've been trying to configure this for some time but have not found a real solution. Anyone know of a mac PCI card that can push a 30 at native resolution?

    • Well, the Matrox Parhelia DL256 seems to be the PCI dual-link DVI card of choice. However, I can't find a Mac driver. The good news is that there DOES seem to be a Linux driver, so maybe porting would work? (yeah, I know, an XFree86 driver ported to Aqua isn't the best idea, but we could possibly get specs if it's open source)
  • a massive mouse mat.
  • But in need of more desktop space, I've installed Desktop Manager, which allows me to use multiple virtual desktops (a la x-windows).
    I setup my extra mouse buttons to switch forward and backward between the virtual screens, which is very fast and very handy. (with the help of gamepad companion, which is not free).
    If you haven't tried free programs like Desktop Manager (or simular programs like Virtue), then I'd really recommend them to you. [macupdate.com]
  • Those Apple displays are also wall mountable. There goes your desk space argument.
  • ...news that matters? Absolutely not.

    To summarise the article:

    Buy monitors. Buy graphics card compatible with monitors. Plug in. Adjust plug to fit. Adapt OS to use screens at maximum resolution. Gloat on internet.

    That being said, my wife (Graphic Designer) has recently bought a dual G5 and its whisper quiet. The only time it gets noisy is if you accidentally tell it to boot from a network server that isn't there - this will scare the pants off most people, especially if they're not expecting it (like I
  • 1. Can't stand noise from the near-silent G5.

    2. Get noisier PC.

    3. Install two $3000 SWOP-certified monitors.

    ...and then... 4. Realize you're still running Windows, with font aliasing so bad it'll poke your eye out, and no ColorSync.

    So, basically, you've just spent $6000 on monitors capable of displaying a level of clarity that Windows cannot, in even its greatest wet dreams, fully utilize... that is, unless this guy comes up with an equally-absurd, obscenely expensive, and Rube Goldbergian solution t

    • 1. Can't stand noise from the near-silent G5.

      You're abusing (just like most others) the term 'silent'. There is nothing about the G5 that makes it near silent. Yes, it manages fan speeds. Yes, there are many fans and most of the time they run slowly. But no, that doesn't make it 'near-silent', just because you can get cheapo 7000rpm fans that sound insane. The G5 makes noise, you know it and I know it, and in quiet home environments it is often unacceptable. Just face it.

      2. Get noisier PC.

      That PC has
      • 1. I have three G4s... the noise doesn't seem to "bother" me... and I'm the kind of guy who can hear my CRTs' 60-120Hz refresh cycles.

        2. The guy complained the so-called fanless PC was noisy. For whatever reason, his solution was... well, personally I'd have told him to get a G4 laptop and be done with it. I do video editing on my G4 laptop... so don't tell me it's not sufficient.

        Look, if you wanted to tell us all that you're jealous, just have the guts to say you're fucking jealous. I know I am

        Jea

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