All is not rosy in the land of multi-monitor MacBook Pros. As I mentioned there, I’m driving two large external monitors through USB, using Diamond adapters to connect USB to DVI; the USB plugs run into a Belkin USB hub, which runs into a single USB port on the side of the MacBook Pro with which my employer generously supplied me. (I will give you guys an iPhone app very soon; promise.) The dream is then that I can then run a bunch of other USB devices off the hub as well: iPhone, mouse, camera, etc.
It sadly hasn’t worked out that well, for reasons that illustrious Stevereads commentator mrz explained in comments to that post:
1. There’s just not enough bandwidth in USB — much less in a USB hub, which has to split one USB port’s worth of bandwidth across seven devices — to power a high-resolution monitor (much less two high-resolution monitors). My monitors would periodically slow to a crawl, and would slowly repaint the screen from top to bottom. I had to unplug the USB hub at this point, so that OS X could shift everything onto the built-in monitor; once it did that, the speed returned to where it should have been.
2. The USB hub — possibly because of item 1 — has died. None of the components plugged into it work, individually or together. When I unplug any of them — say, the mouse or a monitor — and plug them directly into the MacBook Pro, they return to life.
I can live with item 1: sure, I move windows around, and the rendering doesn’t really keep up with the movement, but it’s better by far to have two slow monitors than only a built-in MacBook Pro screen. Obviously I can’t live with item 2: I can’t stand to have a hub die after only a few days of use.
I tried to call Belkin support, but it’s another Indian call center. I find few things more disheartening than finding Indian tech support on the other end of the call; it speaks of a tech company that wants to save money (hmm: flimsy, cheap product?) and doesn’t care at all about helping its customers.
I may try to find another, better, more reliable USB hub, but the Belkin one gets fine reviews on Amazon. I’ll have to look around more closely.