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Ask Max: What DVI connector do you need for the Mac

Asked on 10/24/2007:

I recently purchased a Power Mac G5 duo core (from Powermax, of course). I was looking for a non-Apple display monitor as even the pre-owned Apples are prohibitively expensive, their quality notwithstanding. On the specs for the Power Mac, it lists 2 'DVI' inputs on the back of the tower. Here's where it gets confusing for me: I researched for a list of non-Apple displays that might work. However, when I read the specs for those displays, I find connections listed as 'DVI-D', or 'DVI-I', but none listed as simply 'DVI'. What is the difference between these three types and which ones would be compatible for my computer? In my limited research, it seems that the 'D' stands for digital signal, and the 'I' is something relating to an analog kind of signal. Whatever kind of useful feedback you can provide would be extremely helpful. Thanks in advance for your help.


DVI cable connections have been a source of confusion for many Mac users. It is not too hard to understand the difference behind them, but the industry has made it a mess of acronyms that could confuse anyone. I will try to give you some basic info on the DVI options out there.The foundation of all the connections is the plug form. DVI is really just a reference to the shape of a plug. Everything after the "DVI" is describing the number of active pins in that DVI connection. DVI-D is the most practical and basic DVI connection. It is just a simple connection that only works with the digital video signals. Most "DVI Monitors" will have a DVI-D connection. The DVI-I connection as all the same pins as DVI-D but has a few extra pins that carry an additional analog signal. The analog plugs are mostly unused when attached to a digital display. Because of the analog pins present, DVI-I connections can be downgraded from DVI to VGA via an adapter cable, as opposed to DVI-D connections that are digital only. If you are connecting a DVI LCD to a computer DVI-D is what you want, but DVI-I will also work too.The third option for Mac Users is DVI-Dual Link. This is similar to a DVI-I connection, but it has even more active pins that can carry the huge amount of data that 30" Apple displays need. A DVI-Dual Link plug can run any of the above connections, right down to VGA.I hope that helps. It only sounds confusing but it is not that bad.

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