I previously reported on the sleep issues with the Mini DisplayPort connector on the new Mac Pro video card (Radeon 5770 or 5880). See entries from Oct 9, Sept 16, and Sept 9, as well as the hot corner workaround.
The problem can be really bad; lately it has caused both displays on my Mac Pro to fail to wake up (both Mini DisplayPort and DVI), with no workaround other than a hard power cycle of the Mac Pro.
Cables and adapters that work
I’ve found a combination that seems to work so far (one day’s use): the Monoprice 5714 Mini DisplayPort Male to DisplayPort Female Adapter along with the cable that came with the NEC PA271W. Update! — after a day’s use, it’s clear that the Monoprice 5714 adapter does NOT solve the issue.
Also, the Monoprice adapter hangs my Mac Pro at startup with the Monoprice cable, so it’s not a general solution. And NEC tells me that it might not be reliable with all displays, something I’ve now confirmed; it seems to work better, but does not eliminate the wake-from-sleep issue.
Update from NEC
NEC has sent me an update yesterday stating that the following solutions have been tested and work properly.
1) CableMatters.com 101007 Mini DisplayPort Male to DisplayPort Male cable. I have ordered this cable, and I will test it when it arrives.
2) Circuit Assembly H713013-00.25 MiniDP Male to DP Female cable when used with the NEC-supplied DisplayPort cable.
3) BizLink MiniDP Male to DP Male cable (sorry, no URL given).
Output of 10-bit color is still not there
A display not waking from sleep is not the only issue; Apple has yet to get its act together to support 10-bit color output to displays that support it, like the NEC PA271W (see my review). But if it’s not an iPhone or iPad, priorities are necessarily lower these days.
The use of 10-bit color offers 4X the precision of 8-bit color, with far smoother grayscale gradients. Some high end monitors support 10-bit color (like the NEC PA271W), but until the cable and driver issues are worked out, PC users still have an advantage.