It is possible to install an extra monitor on an iMac G5 computer and have what is known as “screen spanning” which is an extended desktop mode of operation.
Screen spanning is where your screen desktop area is extended to include the extra monitor (not a duplicate of your existing display). There is a small Apple mini VGA to regular VGA plug short adapter cable that is required to go from the small VGA port on the back side of the iMac computer and plug the other end into the monitor cable.
The original Apple OS X software for the iMac G5s did not provide screen spanning capabilities. The hardware can handle it, but Apple chose not to enable it in the software. Not sure the reason behind Apple’s decision on that. Apple only supported dual monitors with both monitors displaying the same information on the screens at the same time. However, there is a free software modification that can make use of the hardware capabilities of the internal video card on the motherboard in the iMac G5 computers. The video card on the iMac G5 20 is a built-in nVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 directly mounted on the motherboard. The iMac motherboard essentially provides the means to have two monitors using the Apple Mini-VGA to VGA Display Adapter for a Mac. The mini-VGA adapter will cost you somewhere around $20.00, including shipping charges, to purchase from Amazon. You might be able to buy one for a little bit less.
You can download the latest version of the Screen Spanning Doctor (v0.3.3) software. Screen Spanning Doctor (0.3.3) supports Tiger. Click on the link to be sure your Apple computer is compatible and able to make use of this software mod. The software patch was for the iBook, eMac, and iMac computers. You can view which models are supported. Please note, the site has the following disclaimer that I would also have to echo too:
“Please note that I cannot be responsible for any damage that you might do to your computer. This site is for educational purposes only and you are responsible for everything you do with the given information. …”
The cool part about this addon monitor screen spanning mode of operation, is it can have its own separate monitor configurations for screen resolutions, and even the background picture for the desktop can be different too. The screen saver program can display different designs on each monitor. It doesn’t mean you can have different screen savers running at the same time, it just means that a Screen Saver like Cosmos, which has different images from the universe, each monitor will display a different image at the same time. I personally have installed the screen spanning software on my iMac G5 and it works terrific for me.
If you are thinking to use an extra monitor because your Apple iMac G5 20 or iMac G5 17 inch is having main display problems, your problem might actually be a bad motherboard. The capacitors for the video display unit located on the iMac G5 Mainboard go bad (burst open, leak electrolytic fluid, and dry up) along with additional filtering capacitors that blow up on other areas of the motherboard. Refer to the article I wrote about How to Repair Apple iMac G5 Motherboards and replace those bad capacitors. Or, the problem may be with your Apple Power Supply Unit.
When an extra monitor is plugged in to the port on the back of the iMac G5, the Apple software senses a new monitor is installed and provides the available screen resolutions for each, on each monitor. So, when you go to System Preferences, and click on Displays, the configuration settings appear on each of the monitors’ screens with each specific configuration particular to each monitor. Arrangement of the monitors can be on the left, right, top, or bottom by simply dragging the monitor to the position you would like. If you decide to have your monitors stacked on a shelf, one above the other, you can place the monitors under one another on the setup screen. If you wish to have them on your desktop, side-by-side, then place the setup screen on the left or right. When your monitors are set up the way you want, the mouse will track accordingly. For example, if you have your monitors side-by-side, then when you move your mouse to the right, you will then go over to the other screen. This is handy if you regularly have lots of windows open and wish to expand your Mac desktop area. Or, you can have one application on display on one screen and have another running on the other. Just drag the open software application screen to the other monitor. Colors can also be calibrated between each of the screen monitors too.
With the price on large screen LCD monitors having dropped significantly over the years, now is the time to add more real estate graphic exposure to your desktop area today.
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