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Do I Need an Original Monitor For a Mac II?

Posted: February 8th, 2020, 2:45 pm
by qrani
I found someone selling a Macintosh II on Craigslist for very cheap, in supposedly working condition. I figured that since it used analog rgb video that I would be able to use a small adapter to VGA since the only Macintosh I have right know is a Macintosh Plus, which obviously doesn't have an external monitor, and the guy selling it didn't have a monitor either. When I looked at the pinout for the connector used by the Macintosh II video card, it had red, green, blue, hsync, vsync, and ground, just like VGA. But, after some more research, I found that the video signal is 66.7 Hz. Would I be able to use an adapter with a modern monitor or not?

Re: Do I Need an Original Monitor For a Mac II?

Posted: February 10th, 2020, 8:45 am
by Turboladdade
I can tell you from memory those converters to use standard PC monitors are a nightmare to get working correctly. You'll save yourself a lot of grief by just finding a compatible Apple monitor from that era.

I suggest first figuring out which video card is installed. There is the lower-end Macintosh II Video Card and the higher-end Macintosh II High Resolution Video Card.

Re: Do I Need an Original Monitor For a Mac II?

Posted: February 27th, 2021, 9:37 pm
by nichwolfe
You can use an Apple Hi-Res Color Display (the original one that was released the time of the first Mac II) and be fine of course.
You can also use later Apple color monitors that have the DB-15 connector. That gives you plenty of old ones to choose from that go into the mid 90s. You won't need to worry about what card is in your Mac II since the chances are that it puts out the 640x480 and those monitors can work with that.

The easiest thing to do would get a DB-15 to VGA converter. The kind with DIP switches provide several manual modes you can force it into, or some will automatically convert the signal without user input. These are easy to come by and definitely low cost. Then you can use just about any VGA monitor that supports the output of the Mac II's video card signal. This means that older LCD monitors are an option with the adapter!

The only real problem I've ever had was with my Quadra 700 putting out a green-tinted image on the LCD monitors I have because I don't have any that support 15kHz (I think it was output that my Quadra is putting out. So I need an older LCD monitor for my Quadra and then the picture will be fine. I just use my Apple Hi-Res Color monitor and I'm fine with it. It displays the 24 bit color beautifully.

I'm not sure what my Mac II, IIx, IIci and IIcx have in them right now, but they show up just fine on the same LCD monitors I tried my Quadra with. These monitors are just some common 20-some-inch 1080p monitors I got at Fry's. I can't remember what the kHz was on all the Mac II video cards I have installed, but I'm guessing it's not what my Quadra is. My Mac IIsi is also fine with a converter and an LCD monitor.