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Using an old Apple 30-inch Cinema Display on an iMac Pro

Martin W writes:

Some time ago you published some information about driving an old Apple 30-inch Cinema display from a modern Mac.

I've recently retired my early 2009 Mac Pro and wanted to use my "Apple 30-inch Cinema display" as a second monitor on my new iMac Pro. I found a reasonable and workable solution as follows:

  1. Purchased a UPTab USB-C (Type C) to Mini DisplayPort Adapter, 4K@60Hz - Silver, SKU UP-USBC1009 for $35 (note - as of April 2018 ago the silver version had newer guts than the black version) .
  2. Purchased a Monoprice 6904 Mini DisplayPort 1.1 + USB to Dual-Link DVI Adapter for $60
  3. With the computer off, plugged the "USB-C (Type C) to Mini DisplayPort Adapter" into a USB-C port on my iMac Pro; plugged the "Mini DisplayPort 1.1 + USB to Dual-Link DVI Adapter" into the "USB-C (Type C) to Mini DisplayPort Adapter" AND into a USB 3 port on the iMac Pro; plugged the "Apple 30-inch Cinema display" into the "Mini DisplayPort 1.1 + USB to Dual-Link DVI Adapter". Booted the computer.
  4. It worked only intermittently. Fortunately a quick call to UPTab technical support resolved the problem. Apparently the security features of High Sierra will not allow a device first plugged into an "off" computer to be recognized at boot. The solution was simple, unplug the adapters, boot the computer, then plug in the adapters. From that time forward the computer easily recognized my second display and drove it at full resolution.
  5. Turned out that with the adapters connected and the "Apple 30-inch Cinema display" turned off, the iMac curser would go off the iMac's display into nothing. Found another easy fix, just unplug the "Mini DisplayPort 1.1 + USB to Dual-Link DVI Adapter's" USB 3 cable from the iMac. OK, I have to do two things when I want to use the dual display setup (1) power-on the display and (2) plug in a USB cable. Not too big a price to pay for getting all those extra pixels.

Final comment. The calibrated "Apple 30-inch Cinema display" looks like grainy crap compared to the calibrated iMac Pro's 27" beautiful 5k display — but it's still useful ;-) Feel free to share as you see fit.

My next project is to remove the two M.2 SATA blades from the 960GB OWC Mercury Accelsior E2 PCI Express High-Performance SSD with eSATA Expansion Ports PCIe card currently in my old Mac Pro and find a small external enclosure for them with USB-C connectivity to my iMac Pro. The fun never ends…

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