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Is that possible to replace the existing graphic card of a Macbook Pro (Mid 2010, Mini DisplayPort, GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M) for a graphic card that could support 2 screen output?

Or else is it possible to add another graphic card in (or outside) the Macbook so that I can use another display.

What I am trying to do is have dual external screen (Macbook Pro docked and closed).

I have tried DisplayLink USB to DVI adapter but it's really choppy and unusable for me (photo and video editing). I can't even watch a video on it, you can even see the difference when moving the mouse (and I have a i7 quadcore processor -_-). I thought it was an external graphic card, I had no idea that the processor would be doing the job instead (and very poorly).

Furthermore I don't want to spend $200 or $300 to try the Matrox DualHead2Go and finally consider that the fact that it's one big "screen" extended over 2 screens (and not 2 real screen separed) is annoying (i'm really afraid this is would be a pain).

So I'm looking for a real solution for Macbook Pro dual external screen.

Change my graphic card? (I don't even know where the second video output would go...). Or add another graphic card externally? (USB? does that even exist?)

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, there is not a cheap good or ideal way to do this.

The graphics card is a key integrated part of the logic board on the MacBook Pro, there really is no separation of it from it to do an upgrade, short of replacing the entire motherboard, and even then you would be limited to what was available at the time for that generation of MacBook Pro.

See that orange highlighted square, thats the NVidia GeForce pictured below:

Mid 2010 MacBook Pro LB from iFixit

Honestly, the Matrox route is probably the most affordable workable solution to this problem.

This MacBook Pro also lacks an ExpressCard/34 slot or Thunderbolt so you really can't go the route of an external graphics card. And even if you could you would be talking over $500 USD just to get the external PCI express chassis, for example Magma's ExpressBox 1 starts at $829 for just one external PCI Express slot, you would still need to spend another ~ $200 to buy a mac compatible graphics card.

Magma ExpressBox1 External Solution

Your last option is to maybe reevaluate if this MacBook Pro is the right machine for your needs. Would a newer model MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt solve this problem, maybe maybe not. If you don't have two Thunderbolt Displays, you are kind of still out of luck hooking up dual displays to even a Thunderbolt MacBook Pro, with out the need for expensive external adapters.

Would an iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro better suit your computing needs, complimented with a basic MacBook Air or iPad of some kind for your mobility needs.

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Thank you for this comprehensive answer. I am afraid the Matrox solution won't be perfect (I might as well buy 1 big screen...), for example for games (that I play sometimes). As for the idea of trying another machine, that's something I'm considering (apple.stackexchange.com/questions/42911/…), but it's either expensive or limited (no more laptop)... I'm thinking about it. –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 8 '12 at 13:30

VillageTronic VTBook - this will work!

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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Looking at the specs for the VTBook it appears to only support up to OS X 10.5.x -- dead product perhaps? Maybe you can expand on the answer a bit if you have some experience using it on a new OS X version? –  Ian C. Apr 20 at 5:58

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