Apple adapter foreground, Kanex in the back.

If you are an Apple customer who’ve had a 30-inch display since the time Apple announced they’d be going from DVI adapters to Mini DisplayPort, you’ve probably gone through the wringer like me.

Display flicker Issues with Apple’s adapter

That link is to the timeline up until last year.  I’m not alone, here are two Apple Discussions threads with thousands of people with similar problems:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8680802 http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8674416 Amazon too

Now Apple’s product, after three firmware updates over two years and significant user outrage, mostly works, but I still have a problem pictured above often when I return to my Dell and HP monitors after sleep.  By clicking input on my monitor and shutting it off and on a few times, it snaps back into shape.  But that is a pain especially since I can hook up my DVI MacBook Pro without issue (and it works fine on my Unibody running Windows in Bootcamp!)  What to do?  Kanex to the rescue…

Kanex on top, Apple below

Kanex (who has been known to advertise on 9to5mac – full disclosure) saw my displeasure and sent me their MDPC30 Mini DisplayPort to Dual Link DVI Adapter a few months ago.  In testing it over the past month I can say I haven’t had one screen flicker incident.  It just immediately turns on and I have the exact digital display that I expect. The MDPC30 is also a lot smaller and brushed aluminum case matches aesthetics with my MacBook Pro much better (ironically) than Apple product.  Again, it just works.

Two important things to note about this product:

  1. The cabling is much shorter than Apple’s adapter.  Apple’s is about 4 feet where Kanex only give you 2.  For me, less cabling is better, but important to note if your computer is set far away from your DVI cable and Display.
  2. Kanex doesn’t use a USB passthrough where Apple does.  Both use a USB port for power but Apple’s adapter has a USB output that can lead to your monitor’s USB hub.  That means I need an extra USB cable to monitor adapter when using the Kanex.  I like Apple’s solution on this better but I’m willing to give it up for consistant monitor quality.

Important note: Kanex doesn’t use a USB passthru but still takes a USB port for power.

There isn’t much else to say on this product, it is just plug an play and forget.  If you are still getting killed by Apple’s adapter and want one that works 100% of the time, give the Kanex MDPC30 a try.  They are $99 on Amazon, the same that Apple charges for theirs (though Amazon discounts it 12%).

About the Author

Seth Weintraub's favorite gear