When I pondered my conversion to Mac, one of the biggest issues for me was the ability to operate two large computer monitors side by side. As a developer this is a huge issue for me, so you can imagine my dismay when after going to the Apple store and talking to “genius” they simply turned around and Googled my question (something I had obviously done many times before). After looking around I did discover that there was a device that would do what I was looking for.
This tutorial applies strictly to Mac Book pros (Mine was new in Sept of 2011 and is running 10.6.5). If you’re using a desktop mac or another mac book I can’t promise similar results but here’s what I did.
The device that allows you to go dual and even triple screen on your mac book is the Matrox DualHead2Go DP Edition. Some of the other device versions will work, but they won’t give you the resolutions you want to run 24” inch monitors. If you want to go big on you monitors you’re going to need to use the DP (display port) edition.
Because I was operating DVI monitors I needed three different adapters! 2 DP to DVI adapters to connect the unit to the monitors and 1 Mini DP to DP adapter to connect the Mac to the Matrox unit. I definitely didn’t appreciate all the extra costs of the adapters, but I was a man on a mission so I did it anyways.
Mini DP to DP Adapter
The software Matrox PowerDesk allows you to tell the OS what monitor (laptop or “dual screen”) should be the primary.
Little Annoyance, but Working Great!
One of the primary annoyances is that it treats the dual monitor setup form the device as a single monitor, so you can see that the task bar is completely stretched out across the top. This really doesn’t cause too much pain except when I need to get to the file menu and I’m using the left monitor.
On the other hand the great part about this is you can stack a ton of stuff in your application bar at the bottom – fill it up as it will stretch all the way across the bottom if it needs to.
Lots of cords need to be plugged in when you “dock” your mac, but nothing too overwhelming there.
You’ll need a USB hub. The Matrox unit takes up the mini display port AND A USB port for power.
Overall I’m very pleased with the results. I work primarily off the two main monitors, but I can put secondary applications like script logs and skype on the less dominant lap top monitor. If you are a developer you’ll definitely benefit from this arrangement. Also, if you like my desk, check out this post.. I made it myself.
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