If you’ve been holding off purchasing a new Apple display because you don’t have an ADC-equipped Mac, one company may be able to help you: Gefen Inc.. The company is in the process of manufacturing some conversion hardware that may cause you to look again at Apple’s Studio Displays and Cinema Display.
Apple’s monitor line consists of three models: a 17″ CRT-based Studio Display, a 15″ LCD flat panel Studio Display, and the superstar of the bunch — the gargantuan 22″ LCD flat panel Cinema Display. All three monitors have required users to own a Power Mac G4 up until now, since they sport the Apple Display Connector interface, or ADC. Video cards equipped with ADC interfaces are available on new Power Macs, or on “Radeon Kits,” video card upgrades available through the Apple Store for Power Mac G4 and G4 Cube models. Retail Mac video cards don’t support the ADC, however, preferring the more widely-used DVI connector instead.
When Apple introduced the ADC at Macworld Expo New York last summer, two problems were immediately apparent: How do you connect older displays to newer Macs? And how do you connect older Macs to newer displays?
Making a DVI monitor work with an ADC equipped Mac turned out to be a fairly easy and inexpensive proposition. Since DVI is part of the ADC interface (ADC also carries power and USB signals), it was trivial for cable makers to built an adapter that makes it possible to hook up a DVI display to an ADC connector. In fact, Apple sells exactly such a cable, manufactured by a third party, from the Apple Store for US$39.
Since power is carried from the Mac to the monitor through the card and ADC interface, however, building a box to make new displays compatible with old cards is more of an engineering effort. Gefen has introduced the aptly named DVI to ADC Conversion Box to fill this gap. Sporting a DVI interface and an ADC connector on its backplane, the box features its own power source. This makes it possible for older Apple-installed video cards that sport DVI connectors, or DVI-equipped video cards made by third parties, to connect to the newer Apple monitors.
The imagery currently on Gefen’s Web site shows a fairly plain-vanilla black box with a power switch on the front and two connectors on the back. According to Gefen spokesperson Linda Morgan the final product will sport VGA in/out and USB connectivity, in addition to the DVI and ADC connectors.
Morgan explained that the box itself will retail for US$299, and is available for pre-order directly through Gefen’s Web site. The unit isn’t shipping yet but is expected to begin shipping in the next several weeks. Morgan said that the price will include the box, power supply and a six foot cable.