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Where to Buy Mini Display Port Cables

Updated on September 9, 2010

The mini display port was first announced by Apple in the fourth quarter of 2008. It superseded Micro-DVI and Mini-DVI technologies previously found in Mac notebooks.

Ironically Apple still hasn’t released a cable with mini display port connectors on both ends. Still common at the Apple Store are the Mini DisplayPort to VGA, and Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter.

While either adapter provides a suitable way to connect your MacBook or MacBook Pro to an external monitor, it’s a missed opportunity if you have a newer display that accepts a mini display port connection. Having a clunky, full-sized DVI cable hanging from the side of your slick new laptop is far from ideal.

In the meantime, third-party cables from Belkin and Dr. Bott will allow you to avoid that unwieldy DVI wart caused by Apple’s adapter. It costs about the same as first-party offerings, ranging from $25-$40.

Top retailer choices

It may be difficult to find mini display ports in big box stores such as Best Buy. Even high-tech shops with the widest selection of computer gear don’t have many choices when it comes to this type of cable. The technology is still relatively new and it is most demanded by Apple users which make up a minority of computer users. No doubt the variety of options will expand in upcoming years.

  • eBay
  • Apple Store

HDMI gets some competition.
HDMI gets some competition.

Apple’s new LED Cinema Display Provides Clue

It’s less puzzling as to why Apple hasn’t released a mini display port cable when you take at look at the spec of the company’s new Cinema Display. It has a video connection cable built right into the back that branches out into three segments. There is one Mini DisplayPort connector, USB, plus power for laptops.

Apple doesn’t tend to think about how their products work with third-party products and monitors are no exception. The Cinema Display doesn’t need an external video cable so Apple isn’t compelled to release one.

Dell puts Mini DisplayPort connection in new monitors

Computer manufacturer Dell feels that mini display port will be the mainstream video connection to replace DVI. Some consumers were surprised when Dell fitted their new Ultrasharp monitors with Mini DisplayPort connections instead of HDMI. The company responded to this concern by stating the HDMI is the standard for home theatre and consumer electronics. The next-gen cable for desktop and laptop computers is Mini DisplayPort.

Mini DisplayPort cable problems

Some users are noting shoddy video performance with third party cables. Some claim that any digital connection is perfect. It either works or it doesn’t. This is an oversimplification as a bad digital cable can result in an unattractive hue on the display, flickering refresh-rate gone haywire amongst other things.

Before you buy a mini display port cable, be sure to read customer reviews outlining the experience of others. Reviews are tough to find at the moment because this type of connection is new to the scene, however Belkin cables seem to have the most reviews to date on Start with Belkin and move on from there.

The Verdict

Laptop users especially benefit from the superior form factor of mini display port cables. If you have the correct connector on your laptop and external monitor, you’d be crazy not to try it out. Upgrades this inexpensive are rare.


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