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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Cable to connect an iMac to a PC tower


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SallyA

 
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Having had a particularly awful experience trying to buy a Dell XPS 2720, I am now considering an iMac. However I want to know whether I can also use it as a monitor to be able to use my PC tower from time to time; for example to use Memory Map which does not have a mac version.

Advice appreciated.
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Yes, you can use a new iMac 27" or 21.5" machine as a spare monitor with the proper connector adapter and cable. It will depend of course on what video output port your PC tower has. The 27" iMac has 2 thunderbolt video ports, whereas the 21.5" machine only has one.
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SallyA

 
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Brilliant, thanks. It is a VGA output from the (rather old) tower. I have no idea what a thunderbolt is so I will have to do further research to see what connectirs might work.
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SallyA

 
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So would this work?

Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter - Apple Store (U.S.)
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Yes, you can use that adapter. The MiniDisplayPort adapter is backward compatible with the Thunderbolt connector. However, I'm not sure what the quality of the video will be from the VGA output port of your old PC. I suspect the resolution will be low and possibly blurry.

Make sure you test it with the adapter and can return it if the results are not satisfactory.
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Ok, thanks.
Sorry, I am not particularly savvy as far as hardware is concerned. Upgrading to a first-ever Mac seems a bit daunting trying to work out whether I can do all the things I am usec to.

Is there a better alternative cable?
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Is there a better alternative cable?
Unfortunately no. It's the quality of the video signal that is coming out of your old PC that's in question. VGA is low quality as it is, but when the output is of low resolution it will really not be of viewable quality for things like movies. A new iMac screen has a very high resolution display. For example, I'm currently typing this on a 2013 27" iMac which has a native resolution of 2560 x 1440. Your PC likely will output video at 1024 x 760 or maybe lower.
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Ok thanks. I dont need high quality for watching a video, just to use Memory Map for example, so presumably it may work OK.

As far as I have been able to work out, the only other alternative solution would be to use something like bootcamp and load my old windows XP onto the iMac in order to use non-Mac software. Seems a bit cumbersome. And what I don't know is whether operating the iMac in windows XP partition opens it up to any of the potential threats that may ensue now that it is no longer being supported (one of the reasons for deciding to upgrade in the first place!)
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AFAIK it doesn't open the Mac up to any Windows threats. An infected file could infect other Windows files on the computer or in some cases send the infection to other Windows users. Mac files wouldn't be affected.

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I don't believe that adapter is going to work. It is a mini-displayport "to" VGA. Meaning it takes a digital signal and converts it "to" analog.

AFAIK, none of those will work the other way - VGA "to" mini-displayport - to convert an analog signal to digital.

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AFAIK, none of those will work the other way - VGA "to" mini-displayport - to convert an analog signal to digital.
Good point. I never even thought about that. If the only output she has on that PC is VGA she won't be able to use the iMac as a spare monitor.
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The plot thickens! But yes, AFAIK if I get a iMac I definitely want to use Memory Map as I have lots of maps that I think would be hard to replace. I also definitely want to be able to use GSAK, as I understand that Mac-based alteratives are not as versatile. It seems that GSAK and other downloadable Wndows-based programmes can be used via Parallels.

So for around 38 it looks like Crossover might do the trick. Thanks
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veehb

 
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I was a "died in the wool" PC user for a couple of decades. I reluctantly tried the Mac world three years ago when I purchased a used iMac. A year later I purchased a new MBP 15" . I purchased and installed Parallels and Windows 7 for the MBP. So now l have the best of both worlds. I use the Mac software 95% of the time. There are a few windows programs I need to run, and so do with Parallels. That works very well. I recommend you look into either Parallels or Bootcamp and put Windows on it. I'd suggest going to Windows 7 rather than Windows XP. Not sure you can legally install your copy of Windows XP on your Mac computer. I am now really into the Mac world, still using the old iMac (still running Snow Leopard because it can't be upgraded to Mavericks) with an external monitor, my MBP 15". also with an external monitor (two computers side by side with four screens, nice computing station), and use an iPad and iPhone. I have a PC with Widows 7 installed, but never turn it on. Windows 7 on the MBP runs very well. If you do that, I suggest getting 8 GBytes of memory. Don't be afraid of the Mac world, jump in with both feet and you will love it!
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One more suggestion. You can purchase a good quality HD monitor for the iMac for less than $200, if you want to run two monitors on the iMac. I'd do that rather than try to use the iMac as an external monitor for the PC tower. You could use the external monitor on either the PC Tower or as a second monitor on the iMac. I really like having two screens!
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SallyA

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veehb View Post
I was a "died in the wool" PC user for a couple of decades. I reluctantly tried the Mac world three years ago when I purchased a used iMac. A year later I purchased a new MBP 15" . I purchased and installed Parallels and Windows 7 for the MBP. So now l have the best of both worlds. I use the Mac software 95% of the time. There are a few windows programs I need to run, and so do with Parallels. That works very well. I recommend you look into either Parallels or Bootcamp and put Windows on it. I'd suggest going to Windows 7 rather than Windows XP. Not sure you can legally install your copy of Windows XP on your Mac computer. I am now really into the Mac world, still using the old iMac (still running Snow Leopard because it can't be upgraded to Mavericks) with an external monitor, my MBP 15". also with an external monitor (two computers side by side with four screens, nice computing station), and use an iPad and iPhone. I have a PC with Widows 7 installed, but never turn it on. Windows 7 on the MBP runs very well. If you do that, I suggest getting 8 GBytes of memory. Don't be afraid of the Mac world, jump in with both feet and you will love it!
Thanks for the reply. Several weeks on... getting to grips with OSX. It turns out that I couldn't have installed Windows XP on the iMac anyway - only options are for Windows 7 or 8 in Bootcamp.

My husband bought a Dell XPS 2720 and we have managed to connect both the iMac and Dell as well as several mobile devices to a printer. I have managed to install and use 'Wine' to use GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) - a Windows-based programme. Still to see whether I can get Memory Map to work in the same way, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. Whether the transfer to an iMac proves a good decision in the long run is difficult to tell at the moment since it is such a big leap. Certainly, it looks like editing video footage from my iPhone (on Safari in Africa) will be easier. And as for looks - well the iMac beats a Dell any day. That's apart from the ridiculous problems encountered trying to order from Dell - but that's a whole different story.
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