Reader Tom Wilcox faces a cable conundrum. He writes:
I recently traded in my old PowerBook for a MacBook Pro. I’m travelling soon to give a presentation and will need to connect my new laptop to a projector. I see that Apple sells two Mini DisplayPort adapters, one for VGA and one for DVI. At $29 each I’d prefer to not buy both. Which should I get?
As someone who does this kind of things on a reasonably regular basis I can say that I’ve yet to encounter a problem when I’ve waggled a VGA connector at my host. The quality of the resulting video isn’t as good as you’d get from DVI, but there may be occasions where you’re presented with an older projector that doesn’t support DVI.
All that said, in direct response to your question I’d respond “Both and neither.”
And by that I mean that you’re better off carrying both kinds of adapters. If DVI is available, use it. However, you needn’t drop $58 plus tax and license to be fully prepared.
For the price of a single Apple adapter you can have both a DVI and a VGA adapter from MonoPrice.com. The company’s Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter is just $7.65. The Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter is more expensive at $18.36. I’ve used each one and have yet to have a problem with them.
And these kinds of savings can be found all over MonoPrice—6-foot HDMI cables for under $10, Toslink (optical audio) cables that cost less than $2, short Cat 6 (Ethernet) cables for under a buck. In short, once you’ve learned about MonoPrice you’ll never shop for cables at Radio Shack or the Apple Store again.