My husband brought home a new shiny last week.  A 27″ apple cinema display.  Oh my oh my.  So pretty.

The initial attempt to plug it in resulted in us discovering an issue with compatibility of ports.  My graphics card was an ATI Radeon 5870, which has a mac compatible display port, but not the mini version, which is what this screen supports.

We ordered an adapter which says it converts the signal.  A week later, we first test the screen on my husband’s laptop, which has the same display port that my computer has.  Bingo, it works!  Sweet.  So we plug it in on my system and sadly, we didn’t get the same positive response.  Instead, the system constantly makes a disconnect reconnect sound from Windows and flickers the screen on and off along with the audio.  My system does pick up the icam, speakers, and usb hub which is built into the screen, but not the screen itself.  *sigh*

After a bunch of digging and research, we discover that we essentially have 2 options.

  1. Pay around $200 for an active converter (the adapter was a passive converter)
  2. Find another graphics card which supports the darn mini-display port.

We researched option 1 already and didn’t like the whole idea on principal (my graphics card was the same price.  I’m not paying $200 just to make this darn screen work on something which has no other function.  That’s a lot of dough for the return), so we started looking at option 2.  We found graphics cards which are supported for around $230.  Looking on ebay for how much my current card is going for, it looks like we’ll be able to essentially exchange cost for cost.  My card sells for MORE than the new card, and the new card has similar capabilities.


So new video card it is.


Installed the card and yay!  It works!  So now I’m on this amazing screen and need to figure out what to do with my existing wide-screen.

I really like the idea of having it standing tall to the right of the lovely cinema display.  It would be both useful for reference while working on projects as well as be appealing, but the stand which it is on isn’t one of those which allows for it to tilt and stay on its stand.  So back to Amazon.  After reading a ton of reviews, I found this little guy which was just over $15.

Amazon is swift.  I ordered it on Monday.  Today is Wednesday and it arrived around noon.  I was just at a pausing point with a project, so I thought, “What the heck?” and proceeded to install it.

All was well.  My stud finder (which always tells me there’s a/c in any part of a wall… ) was quite consistent with its reporting of where a stud was.  I marked, measured, leveled, and got everything ready.

Part of this was the concept of where the darn screen would be exactly.  This swivel can extend, go left and right, and tilt, but it can’t go up and down, so I need to figure out exactly where vertically this will be placed.  Not too high and not too low.

My first attempt to mark exact placement was to take chalk and thickly put lines where the bracket will need to attach to the back of the screen.  I took the screen and rubbed that on the wall… nope.  There’s a lip that prevented the chalk from touching the wall.

Second attempt was to put the screws partially in, and mark the screws with chalk… but the screws are the shiny kind which wouldn’t even take the chalk dust.

Attempt number three, I take double sided tape, put that on the ends of the screws and try to get it to stick to the wall – and they liked the screws a little more than they liked the wall.

Last attempt, I combined both concepts and drew with the chalk directly on the tape, and then took the chalked, taped, screw ends which were partially screwed into the screen, and rubbed that on the wall where the screen needed to be.  THAT actually worked.


Next on the order of business was the installation itself.  There were heavy wood screws in the pack that came with the wall mount.  So after double checking my leveling and marking exact placement of the mount, I started getting this thing into the wall.  Halfway through screwing these wood screws in, the top one’s head started stripping.  I slowed down and tried to get the screwdriver as perfectly placed as I could, but the screw wouldn’t stop breaking down.  It got beyond turning… it was just too mangled up and not screwed in enough to call it good.

I’ve heard that a screw with stripped threads would be removed by drilling into the middle of it and slowly removing the drill bit which would release the screw.  I didn’t think it would work in this case but I was willing to give it a try (I figured the threads were entrenched too much in the wood, but who knows?)

So I get out the drill bit and start trying to drill and *SNAP* the entire thing just snaps in half.  It didn’t even leave a devit in this darn screw.



Got a pair of locking pliers and plied the sucker as tight as I could and was able to very slowly but steadily remove the darn screw.

What I don’t get is why the heck the manufacture would send sub-par screws like this.  The stripping of the head was rediculous.  Their guide said in red italic text that this needs to be mounted directly into a stud.  Since they knew it was going to be in wood and under a lot of torque, why the heck would they include a screw with soft metal?!

Anyway, I had a long solid set of wood screws in the garage, easily installed with that and got the screens set up.


Last on my list is to figure out how to control the brightness of the screen.  It’s system driven like a laptop’s screen is.  I’ve read that drivers can be found on an OSX Leopard disk within the bootcamp area.  I truly hope that is true because this screen is quite dim.

Will post an update with what I discover.

Thanks for reading!



I discovered how to control brightness on my 27″ apple monitor and posted what we discovered:

27-inch Apple Cinema display on my Windows 7 system


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