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View Full Version : Span, Span, Span, Span



KaphaBear
11-14-2005, 09:33 PM
I am trying to identify the cheapest video card I can acquire that will allow me to do spanning between 2 non-digital monitors on a G4, dual processor, 450 mhz, running 10.3.9. Also please advise on how much memory (or how little) I need. I won't be doing any gaming... mostly desktop publishing.

Thanks!

unclemac
11-14-2005, 09:57 PM
Hi and welcome to Macgurus.

So, is VGA + DVI OK, or do you want/need ADC?

KaphaBear
11-14-2005, 10:02 PM
Thanks for the quick reply.

I'm embarrassed to say that I am not very savvy with those terms. What I can tell you is that we will be using two old monitors for quite a while and MAY pick up an LCD monitor when we have more money several months down the road.

unclemac
11-15-2005, 09:06 AM
By old I assume you mean CRTs, or pre-LCD, TV-like monitors. Most of these (outside of what Apple built way back when) are use a standard VGA connector.

VGA = std. low end analog monitor plug
DVI = newer std. digital monitor plug
ADC = non-standard Mac only digital monitor plug (now discontinued)

For the most flexabilty, you will want to stick with VGA and/or DVI ports on your video card and monitors. Most cards that support spanning have one of each, but for something like 30 bucks you can get a converter cable that will convert DVI to VGA, so you could hook up two older/low end VGA monitors.

If that all makes some sense, then the question is, which video card that supports spanning, but is also inexpensive. We have seen alot of these sorts of video questions of late, so you are not alone in wanting to upgrade.

The problem is, there are only a couple choices for older Mac G4s, and none are what I consider cheap. Read this thread to get yourself up to speed with what is now being sold specifically for Mac use:

http://macgurus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21347

unclemac
11-15-2005, 11:31 PM
There is an unofficial way to add video too. Cheaper and more flexible, but more to learn, and a small risk as well.

Flashed video cards are getting more and more attention, mainly because Mac users have few choices, and all are over priced. A "flashed" video card is a card that was made for a PC, but has been converted to be used in a Mac. The hardware is identical for both, but the firmware data - the instruction set that the OS talks to - is very different. Without the correct firmware, the Mac will not boot correcty.

Geeky computer types buy PC cards that have a Mac equivilent (ATI 7000, 9000, 9200, 9800, etc.) and "flash" or install the mac firmware info on the ROM chip.

Downsides? To get them to work and be reliable takes some trial and error, and just the right make and model of card married to the right ROM data. There can be limitation too: some ports may not work, the card may not support sleep, or have other issues. If a modified ROM is used, the card may not work with the drivers installed in future OS updates.

Once all this is worked out, the guy buys a bunch of these cheap PC cards, flashes the ROM, and sells them on ebay for more than he paid for them, but less than a "real" Mac video card.

Search ebay for something like {ATI video Mac} and if you read the fine print, you will see that many of the items are indeed flashed cards. Anyone thinking of buying a flashed card has to do their homework and read the fine print to see what downsides the card may have.

I have three flashed cards, and no issues with any, but YMMV.