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I have a 2011, 15" MacBook Pro (running 10.6.8) with the defunct, AMD(?) graphics chip. I'm trying to connect to a 23" Apple Cinema Display using a brand-new Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter (LogiLink CV0037), but it doesn't work. I am aware that my laptop has a Thunderbolt port, not a Mini DisplayPort. However, everything I've read seems to indicate that a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter should work perfectly fine for what I'm trying to do, given Thunderbolt's 'backward compatibility'.

The most likely culprit in my mind is that I've permanently disabled the faulty graphics chip by following these video instructions, which might be interacting with how my machine connects with the display. Is this likely correct? Is the AMD(?) chip required to run external displays? Are there any other obvious possibilities?

Also, it's worth noting: Both the display and adapter do in fact work. I plugged the display into an older 17" MBP with a mini-DisplayPort with no problems. Also when I pull the adapter out of either the 15" or 17", the laptop screen goes blue for a few seconds, suggesting that the 15" MacBook Pro is also detecting something, just not integrating the display connection fully(?).

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Is the AMD(?) chip required to run external displays?

To answer my own question, it would appear to be the case.

I baked my faulty motherboard (and thus AMD GPU) in an oven at 200℃ for 10 minutes (following many tutorials you can find online). This has (at least temporarily) "fixed" the faulty graphics chip, and now my machine connects with the display without a problem! (But first I had to undo my software disabling of the faulty chip, of course.)

If anyone else is having a monitor connection issue using a dual-graphics-chip MacBook where one of the chips is faulty, then that is likely the cause of your issue.

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