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Apple 30" Cinema Display (M9179LL/A)

Apple's 30" Cinema Display has a native resolution of 2560x1600 and will work at native resolution with Linux, PCs, and Xorg. However, a video card supporting dual-link DVI is required. Importantly, a card with dual DVI ports does not necessarily support dual-link DVI.

Dell's 30" 3007WFP UltraSharp(TM) Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor, released in the Fall of 2005, seems to have very similar specifications. Much of this page should apply to it.

Dual-Link DVI

For native 2560x1600 resolution a dual-link DVI signal is required, this is delivered over a single DVI cable.


Dual DVI 
Two DVI ports. Commonly found on many video cards. Does not specify single link or dual link DVI.
Single Link DVI 
Plain old DVI. Supports up to 1920x1200/1600x1200. Commonly found even on Dual DVI cards.
Dual Link DVI 
New and improved DVI. Supports > 1920x1200/1600x1200. If a card manufacturer does not specifically claim dual-link DVI support for a specific card, it is likely the card does not provide dual-link support.

Video cards supporting Dual-Link DVI

More suitable cards are available for PowerPC Macintosh computers than for x86 PC. This is probably because the Apple 30" monitor required them. Even though both platforms support AGP, the firmware is different. So cards that seem similar for the two platforms often are different in their support of dual link.

Most suitable cards for x86 PCs are PCIe rather than AGP (or PCI). The PC world is transitioning from AGP to PCIe for video cards.

nVidia makes chips that many other companies use to make video boards. nVidia lists cards that support dual link and the Apple monitor in a FAQ. Unfortunately, the board makers' specs don't often mention whether they support dual link or not. Suitable x86 PC cards are currently (mid 2007) entering the low-end. Some 7300s (but not all) have dual-link DVI, and are available for less than USD100. If you are willing to spend so much money on a graphics card, the 7800 and 7900 GT and GTX (NOT the GS) do have dual link DVI. The 7600GT cards can and some do support dual-link dvi. The 7600GT from Xpertvision specifically includes support for dual-link dvi.

Despite the information in the following link, it is possible find dual-link support on some x86 nVidia 6600 boards:

ATI has a a number of suitable cards and chips aimed at the Mac platform. One works on both the Mac and the x86 PC: the ATI 9600 PRO PC & Mac Edition. Note that this is an AGP card.

On the x86 PC side of things, all cards in the Radeon(TM) x1000 family (x1300, x1600, x1800, and x1900) support one or two dual link DVI interfaces.

The AGP 8x ATI 9600 PRO PC & Mac Edition and the ATI Radeon (TM) x1900x works at 2560x1600 resolution in X using the ATI proprietary Linux driver. The other ATI models capable of Dual-Link DVI should work as well. The best resolution possible with the vesa driver is 1280x800.

Several ATI and nVidia "workstation" video cards (Quadro and FireGL) support dual link, but they are more expensive.

Other manufacturers make high-end cards that should work. For example, the Matrox Parhelia DL256

More DVI Information

Manufacturers Providing Dual-Link DVI Cards

This section is for listing manufactures that explicitly make available dual-link support on some of their cards.

Importantly, although some nVidia graphics processors support dual-link, card manufactures do not necessarily make dual-link available. Always check that dual-link support is explicitly stated by the card manufacture for the particular card you are interested in. Also note that some dial-link cards are also dual-DVI, and with some of these, only ONE of the two DVI sockets on the card is dual-link (the other being just single-link) - if you can't get 2560x1600 resolution; try switching the plugs. Yet-another-note: nVidia and ATI cards with 2 displays connected perform a detection upon powerup - so if you're switching cables around, you almost always have to cold-boot (power off - "restart" is not enough!), otherwise switching cables will not have any effect.

Compatible Monitor Arms

To utilize a VESA monitor arm, an Apple VESA adapter is required.

Due to the weight of the monitor, few VESA monitor arms are compatible.

Compatible monitor arms


Sub-pixel ordering

The sub-pixel ordering is: R-G-B

See also:


Monitor Section

Section "Monitor"
        Identifier  "Apple"

        # Provided by monitor
        HorizSync   49.000-98.000
        VertRefresh 60.000
        Option      "DPMS"

        Modeline "2560x1600" 268 2560 2608 2640 2720 1600 1603 1609 1646

        # Alternate modeline
#       Modeline "2560x1600" 336.15 2560 2752 3032 3504 1600 1601 1604 1654

        DisplaySize     640.00 400.00           # Actual: 101.6dpi : dot pitch = 0.250mm
#       DisplaySize     677.33 423.33           #  Force:  96.0dpi : 12.0x8 = easy rounding
#       DisplaySize     650.24 406.40           #  Force: 100.0dpi : 12.5x8
#       DisplaySize     625.23 390.77           #  Force: 104.0dpi : 13.0x8

Device Section

This section is appropriate for an nVidia card:

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Card0"
        Driver          "nvidia"
        VendorName      "nVidia Corporation"
        BoardName       "NV43 [GeForce 6600 GT] (rev a2)"

        Option          "UseEdidFreqs"
        Option          "ExactModeTimingsDVI"
        Option          "NoLogo"
        Option          "NoBandWidthTest"
        Option          "AllowGLXWithComposite"

Screen Section

Section "Screen"
        Identifier      "Screen0"
        Device          "Card0"
        Monitor         "Apple"
        DefaultDepth    24
        SubSection "Display"
                Depth   24
                Modes   "2560x1600"

Dual Head Apple 30" Cinema ("TwinView")

In addition to what has been described above for single head operation here are the specifics of a working dual head setup:

NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT

Ubuntu 8.04

step1: activate 3D acceleration in hardware manager

step2: reboot

step3: sudo nvidia-xconfig -twinview

step2: reboot

Dual Head ("TwinView") xorg

Section "ServerLayout"
   Identifier     "Default Layout"
   Screen         "Default Screen" 0 0
   InputDevice    "Generic Keyboard" "CoreKeyboard"
   InputDevice    "Configured Mouse"

Section "Module"
   Load           "glx"
Section "InputDevice"
   Identifier     "Generic Keyboard"
   Driver         "kbd"
   Option         "XkbRules" "xorg"
   Option         "XkbModel" "pc105"
   Option         "XkbLayout" "de"
   Option         "XkbOptions" "lv3:ralt_switch"
Section "InputDevice"
   Identifier     "Configured Mouse"
   Driver         "mouse"
   Option         "CorePointer"
Section "Monitor"
   Identifier     "Configured Monitor"
Section "Device"
   Identifier     "Configured Video Device"
   Driver         "nvidia"
Section "Screen"
   Identifier     "Default Screen"
   Device         "Configured Video Device"
   Monitor        "Configured Monitor"
   DefaultDepth    24
   Option         "NoLogo" "True"
   Option         "TwinView" "True"
   Option         "MetaModes" "nvidia-auto-select, nvidia-auto-select"
   SubSection     "Display"
       Depth       24
       Modes      "nvidia-auto-select"
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Last modified: Wed, 01 Oct 2008 16:13:00 +0000 Hits: 15,999