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I have a mid-2011 iMac running Sierra. I just purchased a new Ultrawide monitor to use primarily on my PC, but it also supports dual input devices, so I was thinking I could connect my iMac to it in order to have the Mac as a picture-in-picture on the same screen as the PC.

The iMac has mini Displayport and Thunderbolt. The new monitor has HDMI inputs. I would like to use the miniDP port. Will a miniDP-to-HDMI adapter/cable work? I seem to recall the 2011 iMac was right on the cusp of some changes to DP and the only way I've ever connected an external display to this iMac was using the Apple mini DP to Dual-Link DVI cable/adapter. Can I just go direct miniDP-to-HDMI?

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Yes, a mini-DisplayPort to HDMI cable will work well with the iMac.

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Can I just go direct miniDP-to-HDMI?

Yes, but I wouldn't advise it as your first option.

The DisplayPort and HDMI signals are very different. It's not just the pin-out of the adapters that are different, there's a difference in voltages and a clock sync signal that's doesn't exist in DisplayPort. Because of this, you can run into issues. Here's a short sampling:

Therefore, to avoid/overcome these potential issues, I suggest (in order), the following:

  • Use native DisplayPort input and avoid HDMI
  • Using an Active HDMI Adapter rather than using a passive cable/adapter

Unlike a passive adapter/cable, the active adapter will recreate the actual HDMI signal giving you a more reliable connection.

I personally avoid HDMI for all my computer related activities. I've found that by using the native DP connectivity end-to-end and not converting, my displays/video have been rock solid with no issues. Less conversion = higher reliability.

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  • Great details, thank you. Unfortunately my display only has HDMI inputs available, the one DP input is taken up by my PC. So I don't have any other option. I've ordered an adapter but it is a passive one. Will see how lucky I get with it as soon as it arrives. – JVC Nov 29 '20 at 0:25

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