In lieu of a more manageable name, Startech’s MDP2DVID has the full moniker of Mini DisplayPort to DVI-D Dual-Link Adapter. Which rather neatly explains what this strangely large cable adaptor is designed to do.
The key words are ‘dual-link’. As a video port standard, digital visual interface (DVI) became the best way to pipe digital video from consumer PCs and laptops into LCD flat-panel monitors from the early 2000s. But in most applications, its maximum panel resolution is limited to 1920 x 1080 picels.
To step beyond this and take advantage of high-end panels such as the Hazro HZ27WA 27in display we recently reviewed, you need a dual-link DVI connection. Providing you have a fully wired DVI cable (look to make sure all 24 pins are included in the main array of a DVI plug), this works well when connecting PC to screen.
Problem is, the regulation DVI port is fast becoming an endangered species, especially on notebook computers. In place of what is now a relatively large wide rectabular port we more often see HDMI connectore. Or in the case of Apple and now even HP, the Mini DisplayPort.
It’s a doddle to convert Mini DisplayPort on the laptop into DVI, using a small passive adaptor. Apple includes them with some of its PCs, or sells them separately for £25.
Trouble is in store though when you want to move beyond 1920 x 1080 pixels. For this task, an actively powered adaptor is needed, such as this device from Startech.
Because it needs its own power, it’s designed to use that old standby of desktop energy sources, the 5V-capable USB plug. So on one end is a dual-link DVI-D female socket, and on the other side, two flying leads: Mini DisplayPort male and USB Type A plug.
The Startech MDP2DVID is made of sturdy metal, and finished in black. The two fixed cables are similarly of high quality construction in stiff insulation.
In our tests, it worked splendidly, most of the time. Connecting an Apple Mac mini to Hazro 2560 x 1440 panel, we saw the full resolution passed to the display, crisp and clean as you’d expect of a digital video connection.
The only minor issue we saw over a four-week period of steady use was a fuzzy double-image distortion on one occasion. This has been reported elsewhere as a random event for such adaptors – Apple’s own dual-link adaptor suffers the same intermittent problem, according to posters on its online shop product page. We found it was quickly fixed by pulling out the plug and then reinserting.