I'm planning on buying a mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter to make use of my unused Samsung 20" monitor. I'm planning to use it so that I can extend my desktop in my MacBook Pro.

I have some reservations if it would work fine. I've heard others complaining that it doesn't work when they attach their VGA cords to the device. Do you think the cause of it is just their monitors or MacBooks not capable of supporting a the highest resolution? The maximum resolution of my 13" MBP is 1280x800. I'm quite sure that my 20" monitor can handle this.

  1. Am I right with my hunch?
  2. What's the issue why other monitors tend to not work at all when attached to the device?

I have several aftermarket mini DisplayPort to VGA adapters (el-cheapo like Monoprice.com) to work perfectly with several Macs and various monitors and projectors.

Moreover, I am ever pleased and surprised at how well VGA works considering the old tech.

It should "just work" for a 20" VGA display. The Displays control panel will let you select resolutions up to the max supported by the display and extend the desktop from your MacBook. Performance should be excellent.

I use a cheap mini DisplayPort adapter ($9) with 2008 and 2010 15" MacBook Pros and various VGA displays and projectors and it has always worked with no fuss, even over way-too-long VGA cables (50') connected to a high-def projector.

VGA is component video so signal integrity means a lot for image clarity. For a desktop 20" LCD display on a normal cable, it will appear fine.


Does your monitor have DVI? I strongly suggest against VGA when possible. It has inferior quality, resolution support, and manual shape/size adjustment of the image is a pain.

MacBooks with mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt have the graphical oomph to drive at least 2560x1600 via a Dual-Link DVI adapter. Any resolution limitation would be imposed by the VGA interface.

  • Yes, it has a DVI port, but I still need to buy a DVI cord for that to work. I only have VGA as of now. I don't want to shell out money for a DVI cord. :P
    – Panoy
    Aug 4 '12 at 5:52
  • 2
    This is not the place to cut corners. VGA is an old, inferior standard that has terrible image quality (blurry and artifacted at higher resolutions). Instead of buying an adapter, you should consider a Mini Display Port to DVI cable, that'll act as an adapter and cable in 1, and is general priced the same as a regular adapter (~$30)
    – Alexander
    Aug 4 '12 at 6:31
  • You are right. The DVI to Mini Display port cord is too short right? So I need another extension cable for it. Hmmmmmm.....
    – Panoy
    Aug 4 '12 at 6:56
  • 2
    I'm not sure where you're located, but Monoprice is a great source for very cheap, good quality cables and adapters. You should be able to get a DVI adapter and cable for ~$10.
    – robmathers
    Aug 4 '12 at 19:24
  • 1
    They have a cable that goes from DVI to MDP without needing any other adapter. Comes in 3, 6 and 12 feet varieties. ~$30
    – Alexander
    Aug 4 '12 at 19:30

You can fine many mini DisplayPort to DVI 6' at Amazon for under ten dollars, if you need longer I am sure they have your needs. I have bought many adapters, optical cables and adapters (also HDMI cables) from 6' to 25' and have had no problems. I did a quick search on Amazon with the link below:


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