Multi Monitor setup on my MacBook Pro

This has been a long time in the making, but on my third attempt, I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally gotten my two Dell 24” screens working with my MacBook Pro. There is only one small issue with my setup, which I will come back to, but otherwise I’m chuffed with myself!

Ever since I purchased a second 24” screen for my Alienware PC, I’ve been struggling to get the same setup working with my my first MacBook Pro. The previous versions of the MBP all came with two DVI ports for easy multi-monitoring. I think the original need of two ports was to drive Apple’s monster 30” display, which had a resolution greater than one DVI cable could carry.

When Apple released the new unibody MBPs in 2008, we lost the DVI port and got a Mini-Display port instead. This could be used with DVI and VGA and even HDMI I believe. But you could only connect one monitor to the adapter. Which you had to actually buy separately!

A few months back I picked up another Dell 24” 2400WP Monitor from eBay for a song. These monitors are no longer available from Dell, which is a pity as they are fantastic. With a 1920×1200 resolution, adjustable height/orientation and five input sources, they are an excellent monitor. The original one I’ve had for about five years without issue. I’ve got both of these montiors hooked up to my Alienware PC and I enjoy a desktop of 3800×1280, making development on Visual Studio a joy to do.

With my PC playing nicely with the latest addition to my tech family I thought it was time for the MacBook Pro to get a little piece of the 3840×1200 action. My first attempt was Apple’s own Dual-Link DVI connector, an expensive purchase, but one that proved useless. Whilst it does have two DVI connectors, it still only acts as one display.

For my next temp I got a little bit more advanced with a purchase of a Matrox Dual Head2Go. This did work out of the box with little setup, but I quickly discovered that it was limited to a resolution of 1600×1200 (or thereabouts). If I wasn’t dealing with HD resolutions, this would have been sufficient. A little expensive, but it was a good piece of kit.

After returning that to Amazon I gave up on the idea. A couple of weeks later and I found myself doing a lot of iPhone development work and the idea was rekindled. A few minutes Binging and I happened upon the WinStar USB 2.0, a solution that uses your USB port to drive a monitor. It promised very high resolutions so I placed an order on Amazon.

Upon arrival I downloaded the drivers for OS X, installed, rebooted and Voila! I had my second monitor running at 1920×1200!

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The only issue I have at this point is that I cannot seem to keep the lid closed on my MBP whilst using the two monitors. This means I do have three screens available, but my desk is a little cluttered. Not a bad complaint though…

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