Saturday, January 09, 2010

Two more hardware standards Apple play fast 'n' loose with - DVI and Display Port

Another example of a customer splitting an equipment order into bits and not buying the monitors we recommended (saved a full fifty quid on each unit!) has combined with Apple's very poor implementation of 1920x1200 resolution to bit us in the backside.
The newest iteration of MacPro workstations ship with a display card that has a DVI and DisplayPort (with a DP->DVI breakout adapter). Aside from the problem of non-standard blanking as implemented in OS-X's drivers (see my blog entry about Kramer DVI routers) there is a very funny (but consistent effect) if you boot one of those computers with two monitors extended over fibre - you get one display at low-res and the procedure to get two monitors running at 1920x1200 is;

1. Boot the machine with a single monitor connected to the DVI port - increase resolution in increments to 1920x1200 @60hz
2. Reboot
3. Check the resolution sticks.
4. swap the monitor to the Display Port output
5. Reboot
6. Wind up the resolution as per 1. and if OS-X detects the extra monitor turn on display mirroring
7. Reboot
8. If both monitors come back up at 1920x1200 then turn off mirroring and ensure that both monitors are still at 1920x1200
9. Reboot
10. Make sure it's all sticking!

Compare this to the procedure for bringing up a PC-based Avid (running on an HP 8400/8600 workstation, nVidia card);

1. Set both displays for 1920x1200 @60hz

It is so clear that Apple assume you have the machine under your desk and you're using two of their monitors on the pre-made cables they supply. That's not how broadcast facilities are configured and if Apple wants to see FCP used more in film & TV they need to make their implementations of signal standards more robust.

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