Behind The Driver

Using Dell 2713hm on Mac

15 Dec 2012

Just got a screamin deal on a Dell 2713hm ( link ) . It runs at 2560×1440. This resolution means that single-link DVI cables do NOT have enough bandwidth to run the monitor. So what are the options?

There are three options to attach this monitor and have it run at the proper resolution.

1) Displayport. No adapters, just a straightforward Mini-DP to DP cable. They are several dollars on monoprice ( link ).

Here is what that looks like on my 2009 Mac Pro ( Quad 2.66, 6GB, GT120, blah ). And here is what it looks like on my 2009 MacBook Pro ( Dual 2.8, 8GB, 9600M ).

2) Dual Link DVI. This the second best option to DisplayPort. Nothing wrong with Dual-Link DVI, but unless you are using the DVI port on just about any Mac Pro or 2008 or older MacBook pro you will need a Mini-Displayport to Dual Link DVI adapter.

Many are thrown off by the fact that apple sells an inexpensive ( like 30 bucks ) mini-DP to SINGLE-link adapter ( link ). This will not run the 2713hm at 2560×1440, or any other monitors with similar resolution. It will not pass a DUAL-link signal to the monitor. It isn’t going to work. It doesn’t matter what Mac you have or what video card you have or what DVI cable you have or what the guy at the genius bar told you. It will not work.

The adapter you need in order to do mini-DisplayPort to dual-link DVI is a dirty hack and should generally not be used. It is effectively a tiny video card ( yes it takes power from USB to run the tiny video card ) and it takes the displayport signal from the mac and translates it into dual-link dvi. If you check the apple support forums you will find that it is not entirely reliable. You may have better luck, but it’s a horrible solution ( link )

You would be absolutely insane to use this solution instead of the mini-displayport to displayport cable for $7 from monoprice ( linked above ).

3) HDMI 1.4a. HDMI has a bunch of version numbers. At the time of writing this post most devices don’t support 1.4a, which would allow the monitor to work at 2560×1440. I would not suggest pursuing this avenue. My Radeon 7850 claims to support HDMI 1.4a through the HDMI port, but I could not make it work with the monitor at high resolution. Your luck might be better.