Blog Post

Have a 30″ Display? Want a new MacBook Pro? Get Comfortable

Dual-Link DVI Adapter Delay

When Apple announced their fall lineup of laptops, one thing really caught my eye. The new MacBooks can now drive a 30″ display. I don’t know how they did it, but that new integrated graphics chip can now really push out the pixels like no other MacBook has.

I had my 30″ display plugged into my Mac Pro, but I knew when Apple’s new laptops came out, I was going to make the switch back to a MacBook Pro. Knowing that I could even choose a MacBook just made the options more exciting.

That is until I noticed one little wrinkle. Well, two wrinkles actually. Number one is that the adapter that you need to connect a 30″ display to a mini DisplayPort is $99. Ouch! Number two: Apple is backordered by 4-5 weeks. I waited a week to make my purchase, hoping that it was a fluke, or that Apple would magically get more in stock. Nope, they are still backordered.

I’m not entirely sure what the deal is. Perhaps with the new MacBooks offering the 30″ display capability, there ended up being quite a bit more demand for these precious little adapters than Apple anticipated.

I ordered my laptop anyway. I chose the MacBook Pro because I have a Firewire 800 device I use alot. It’s awesome, but bittersweet, as my 30″ display is just sitting on the floor awaiting Apple’s getting back up to speed.

Nonetheless, I’m optimistic. Apple has gone with an open standard by choosing DisplayPort. This means that anybody can make a cable for it without paying royalties. Here’s hoping that someone will be quick to market with some new adapters.

20 Responses to “Have a 30″ Display? Want a new MacBook Pro? Get Comfortable”

  1. I’m with Phil on this would… I am a new Mac user crossing over from the land of PCs. I was coaxed into buying the new MBP and a 30 inch monitor… yeah… brilliant. Essentially I have a really nice laptop and a 30 inch boat anchor; which, as a hardcore developer, is not acceptable.

    This week, I angrilly returned back to PC. After ordering the new magic cable (for $99!!!) and being promised back in October that it would be 4-5 weeks… I’ve given up on this whole Apple experiment. This confirms the fear that’s kept me from converting to Apple in the past – you are beholden to one company for your hardware, and at any moment they can screw you.

    So… I am back in the land of PCs… and actually quite happy. Overall, I feel incredibly foolish for wasting so much money and time when the PC world was there all along with everything I needed.

    Sorry Apple. All the hype and the cult following does nothing for me. Maybe I’ll check back again in a couple years.

  2. News flash: the mini-to-DVI cable ($29) will allow you to use your 30″ monitor, but NOT at the real resolution… only a max of 1280 x 800. In other words, useless. And the $99 DUAL-LINK DVI cable ISN’T EVEN AVAILABLE YET AND WON’T BE UNTIL 2009. So, if you’re an idiot like me, who just traded up from an old MacBook Pro to a NEW MacBook Pro, based on the Mac “Genius” saying the new one would indeed run my 30″ monitor, you’re out of luck and will be working on a laptop screen for the next 2 months. This really pisses me off, considering the fact that those with MacBook Pro and 30″ monitors tend to be some of the biggest power users… For Apple to suddenly “force” my 30″ monitor out of commission until February 2009 is a HUGE kick in the nuts to a serious designer. If I hadn’t already spent an entire day configuring the new MacBook instead of billing, I would gladly pack it back up, return to the Apple store and throw it through the f*ing window. After scheduling the visit through their Genius Help System, of course ;)

    • Amazing. Here we are in August, 2009. The apple tech support that I am paying for had NO CLUE why my MBP would not work w/ the 30″ monitor at any better than 1280×800. They simply gave up and said “talk to an apple retailer”. It’s only thru this forum have I found the solution – namely, shell out another $100. Captive audience – you get lulled into buying a sleek MBP and 30″ monitor, then – oh, by the way, you’ll need an expensive, special cable to make it all work. Nowhere on the apple website does it state you also need to buy the cable. I challenge someone to find it. Misleading advertising. Caveat emptor! At least someone in apple is earning their paycheck in marketing, go screw the customer…

  3. Michael Rosenthal

    Apple currently sells a miniDisplayPort to DVI adapter for $29. It seems that that should do the job. I may be overly optimistic or missing something, since the current MBP supports the 30″ monitor. Seems that it would be worth a try.

  4. @#11 – Brian Warren

    I agree with your point – I’ve been buying Apple since 1994 and I always remember getting a staggering number of cables in the box for all manner of useful conversions – the best I remember was a male-male 3.5mm audio cable which was a completely unexpected windfall to have included.

    I also think that the market of people who buy the 30″ display either a) need it for their jobs or b) would dead like one.

    Personally I’m in the second category since I’m only an amatuer photographer but if I needed the 30″ display to be productive then I might scrape together the extra money to buy it, considering it a business expense which would pay off gradually over time – it wouldn’t be a simple decision to sink so much more money into it because it would be money that didn’t go to something else.

    The difference between even 24″ and 30″ monitors for me is a decent second camera and adding this adapter starts to put it into very nice lens upgrade territory, a professional photographer needs to take that into account when they buy anything and they might not feel that the bigger monitor and cable for it is worth foregoing a lens for.

    The 4-5 week delay is a -very- long time for an expensive product which may be used for someone’s work. It’s a long time to have your fantastically cool FPS accessory to be sitting on the desk blank.

  5. @Steve, true enough, these computers are not cheap. One could make a similar argument that since Apple’s already getting a bunch of my money, you’d think they could toss in the necessary adaptors like they have in the past, up until this latest round of laptops.

  6. While I’m not trying to pass any flames at you and your post, you do make some valid points (the delay in shipping, for example). That said, you possibly paid $2700 for a Mac Pro, a new MacBook Pro for $1999 and a 30″ display for $1799, plus if you bought AppleCare on top of that, which I assume that you did, then you’ve sunk quite a bit into your hardware. While I too have bought pretty much the same setup, plus an iMac, Macbook and a couple other Apple products, a $99 cable should NOT be your concern.

    When you can come back to the table complaining about the quality, support, etc. and in this case the available of said cable, then will your concerns have weight. Everyone that is an Apple product owner understands that there is a premium price to be paid for their products. If you are unhappy with said “Apple Tax”, I’m sure Dell, HP, or some other company would love your dollars.

    Thanks for the article about the delay and I agree, it will be a short time, if not already, before a cable that is non-Apple branded to be made and will come in much less on the pricing scale.

  7. 2Harvey:
    OK, I’m not talking about this particular mini dvi to dual link dvi.. Haven’t disassembled it. But general mini-dvi -> dvi adapter:
    shouldn’t cost more than $10, maximum. Say nothing of the prices on power adapters for iphone or ipod touch devices, like this one:
    I have bought a fake adapter in China for less than $10, it looks absolutely the same as the original ones and works great as well..

  8. If you read up on VGA, DVI, Dual DVI, and DIsplayPort, you’ll find out that there are significant electronic differences. It’s not just a matter of putting different connectors on the two ends of a cable. Apple calls it an “adapter” because it contains electronics. The cost of those electronics, as well as the cost of manufacturing, packaging, and distribution depends on the quantity they can sell. The market for this adapter is smaller than the number of people who own a computer with DisplayPort and a dual-DVI monitor and want to connect them to each other. That’s not very large. Then if Apple is planning on coming out with displays with DisplayPort soon, the demand for this adapter is going to be even more limited.

    Taking all those factors into account, $99 is probably an appropriate price.

  9. OMG, they’re killing me with their prices on cables, adapters and such… $30-50 for wires wrapped in plastic. WTF? I personally hate the policy of using proprietary adapters.. it’s just extortion.. Even if I can afford to buy it – I can’t do that because of principle.