Apple Cinema Display + Macbook + 360
August 23, 2007 6:30 PM   Subscribe

I have an old 17" Apple Cinema Display, a first generation Macbook and an Xbox 360. Explain to me as though I were a small child how I can use my ACD (if at all) 1) with my Macbook and 2) with my Xbox 360. I know that there are probably all kinds of adapters involved but I read some past threads and being not at all savvy couldn't really make heads or tails of any of it. Inside there are photos of the port on my computer and the plug on the ACD.

Photo of Macbook port. Photo of Apple Cinema Display. Sorry the second one is blurry-- I was totally focusing on the wrong part of the display. If any addition info is needed, I can be emailed or I can respond in the thread.

Thanks a million.
posted by sneakin to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You need
1) a mini-DVI to DVI adapter
2) a VGA to DVI adapter (box?)
posted by niles at 6:35 PM on August 23, 2007

The connector on the Apple Cinema Display is an ADC port, which is like DVI (which is digital+analogue video) with extra pins for USB and Power. This is easily adapted to a DVI port, which is then easily interfaced with the XBox and the Macbook by using the converters that niles pointed to.

So, in addition to the items that niles describes, you will also need an ADC to DVI converter. Apple will happily sell you one, but they do not come cheap.
posted by jacobbarssbailey at 6:45 PM on August 23, 2007

Wow, jacobbarssbailey, what a scam! If I read this right, Apple is charging 99 bucks for a converter that removes two pins?
posted by The Bellman at 6:53 PM on August 23, 2007

So, jacobbarssbailey, what I need is ADC to DVI and then DVI to mini-DVI for the ACD to Macbook, and then a DVI to VGA for the Xbox?
posted by sneakin at 6:54 PM on August 23, 2007

I'm curious about this too, so I'm going to jump in with more questions. I checked out the link to the VGA to DVI box adapter, and the box is discontinued. When I googled VGA to DVI converter, I found
(a) $300+ converter boxes, and
(b) $15-$20 adapters.
What's the difference between the box and the adapter (aside from $285)?
posted by bassjump at 6:58 PM on August 23, 2007

The DVI converter is expensive because it has to supply the power that the ADC port originally carried from the Mac -- it's essentially an AC power adaptor, USB port, and DVI converter in one.

But yes, you really should think through whether it's more cost-effective to spend $120 on the ADC-DVI and DVI-MiniDVI converters to get this old Cinema Display working, or just to buy a new 17" LCD that would probably have switchable VGA and DVI ports on it natively.
posted by squid patrol at 7:04 PM on August 23, 2007

Thanks everyone! Awesome help/advice. This is all seeming more and more cost-prohibitive. I was really hoping to save space by getting rid of a big ol' tv with no remote and replacing it with an ACD that someone gave me, but it seems too expensive. Stupid technology.
posted by sneakin at 7:24 PM on August 23, 2007

There are several kinds of DVI outputs, and these have two kinds of video signal pins: analog and digital. DVI-A has only analog signal outputs, DVI-D has only digital signal outputs, and DVI-I has both.

Analog DVI signals are VGA-compatible. All a cheap DVI to VGA adaptor does is connect those to the right places on a VGA connector. If you have a DVI-A or DVI-I output and a VGA monitor, that's all you need.

The expensive DVI to VGA converters contain electronics that converts incoming digital video to outgoing analog video. If you have a DVI-D output and a VGA monitor, you can use one of these - though it may actually cost less to replace your monitor or your video card.

The Apple Cinema Display, the Macbook and the Xbox 360 all connect using digital video signals, so all you should need is cabling adapters, not signal format converters.

Your main expense is going to be Apple's DVI to ADC box that jacobbarssbailey linked to (which does power supply and digital signal regeneration, not conversion); once you have that, a mini-DVI to DVI cable should connect your Macbook, and a HDMI to DVI cable should connect your Xbox 360.
posted by flabdablet at 7:49 PM on August 23, 2007

Hey flabdablet-- Awesome, thank you. My question is, what is HDMI?
posted by sneakin at 8:11 PM on August 23, 2007

flabdablet - I believe that only the xbox elites & some other recent models have HDMI (sneakin: another digital connection). The sneakin may be able to get is component but you can cram that into a normal VGA connection if needed.
posted by puddpunk at 8:55 PM on August 23, 2007

HDMI is DVI-D with a different connector and some extra stuff tacked on to handle digital audio as well as video. The video part of HDMI is backwards-compatible with DVI-D, so if you've got a monitor like the Apple ones with DVI-D compatible inputs, all you need to run HDMI video into them is an adaptor cable.

If your Xbox 360 is one of the models with HDMI out, then using your Apple display might actually make some kind of sense. If it doesn't, and only has VGA analog video, your best option is probably to buy a new generic LCD monitor with both DVI and VGA inputs. This would probably come with a VGA cable you could plug straight into the Xbox, and then all you'd need to buy would be the mini-DVI to DVI cable for your Macbook. I expect that such a monitor would end up costing you less than the flock of adaptors and converters you'd need for the Apple display.
posted by flabdablet at 1:12 AM on August 24, 2007

Dig it. And I'm off to eBay to see what I can find on the cheap. Thanks again.
posted by sneakin at 6:04 AM on August 24, 2007

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