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I have a Macbook Air 13″ (late 2010) and external monitor (Dell SX2210) connected by Mac Display Adapter to VGA adapter (pre-Thunderbolt). I frequently see regions of the Dell screen glitched by wavy-jittery noise for a few seconds at a time. The size and location on the screen seems random, and is more frequent and noticeable some times than others. No glitches on the Mac screen. This has persisted through OS upgrade from Mountain Lion to Mavericks.

Would using DVI instead of VGA fix this (worth the purchase of adapter)? Anything else?

  • Are you sure it is not the monitor, which is defect? I don't think buying the DVI adapter would make a difference. – napcae Oct 27 '13 at 18:51
  • Have you tried another Mac or a Windows machine (with a full-sized VGA connector) on the Dell monitor to find out if the monitor is at fault? Alternatively, you could always purchase a DVI adaptor, and if the monitor is still at fault, either get a new monitor with DVI or live with the existing glitch and return the adaptor. – IconDaemon Oct 27 '13 at 21:29
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It could be the monitor, the cable or VRAM/ something else in your Mac going bad.

Easiest way to test would be to use the monitor on another computer or with another source (like DVI) and see if the problem persists. Preferably with a different cable to limit things to the monitor.

If you can borrow a DVI adaptor from a friend, that would be a cheap way to see if DVI would fix it (either by replacing VGA or perhaps the VGA port on the monitor is going bad - it happens).

Finally if the monitor behaves with everything but your Mac, then it could be a hardware problem with your Mac. Since your Air uses integrated graphics there is no dedicated VRAM - and since there is no problem with the native screen, the more I think about it, the more it sounds like it's probably a problem with the monitor itself.

Unfortunately there isn't an easy way to tell without doing some testing as suggested by others already. Good luck!

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