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Not sure if this question if more appropriate in this Mac site or a non Mac site, but:

Can the current (as possibly soon to be updated) Apple 27 inch LED Cinema Display be used with non Mac systems such as those running Windows or Linux? What would it take to make it happen?


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This is a fine question for this site. We're about Apple hardware and software, and the Cinema Display is Apple hardware. :-) – Nathan Greenstein Jul 17 '11 at 18:53
@Nathan OK, thanks! :) – hpy Jul 17 '11 at 19:28
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can use the current version with other hardware, but it isn't trivial.

The LED Cinema Display connects to Macs using a Mini DisplayPort, which isn't popular on non-Apple hardware. However, you can get a converter like this one that lets you use the monitor with an HDMI connection. So, if the other machine has an HDMI out you could use that. I'm sure you can also find converters to use with VGA or DVI outputs.

The next version of the display will (almost certainly) use ThunderBolt instead of Mini DisplayPort. The physical connector is the same, but the data that travels over the cable is very different. These converters may or may not work with ThunderBolt; we'll have to wait for the product to come out and for someone to test.

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Would the current Cinema display require a Dual-Link DVI connection? I have one of the last macbooks with mini-dvi, and I want to know if I can hook it up to the latest cinema display if I buy all the right adapters for it. I know the mini-dvi won't drive the 30-inch display which requires dual-link DVI, but I don't know about the 27" cinema display because it has fewer pixels. – Chris Quenelle Jul 18 '11 at 4:17
@Chris Not sure, sorry. I've never used DL-DVI myself... – Nathan Greenstein Jul 18 '11 at 14:05

There are easily 40 PCI graphics cards listed on Amazon alone that work with non Mac computers and have Mini DisplayPort outputs.

You've got lots of options if you have a true DisplayPort signal. There's nothing proprietary about the connector or the monitor as it's basically HDMI/DVI over a different pin configuration. Be careful if you get a converter - the cheap ones take MiniDP and send it to HDMI - you'll need one that goes the other way if your video source is HDMI or DVI since the Apple monitor expects a miniDP signal.

Do pay attention to HDCP capabilities of the graphics card or connector if you will want to play media that has DRM or other copy protection.

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