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Silicon Graphics MultiLink Adapter
Frequently Asked Questions

Will the MultiLink adapter allow me to use my existing 1600SW display with my notebook computer?
Yes, most notebook computers and docking stations have a VGA analog output, which can be connected via MultiLink to the Silicon Graphics 1600SW display. MultiLink will convert the analog signal to a digital one and scale the image to fit the display. Note, however, that many laptop computers output a maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024 or less. To make the best use of the 1600SW screen, the image will be scaled to fit the screen. Because of the limitations of the low-resolution output, the screen image may not look as sharp as one with a higher resolution. Also, you may want to check out the MARGI Systems Display-to-GoTM card, which allows full 1600 x 1024 support for most laptop computers.

Will MultiLink enable my existing 1600SW to work with all video cards?
MultiLink accepts both analog and digital inputs and comes with three different cables for connecting VGA analog, DFP digital, and DVI digital video card output. The MultiLink adapter supports standard VESA modes at 60 Hz for 640 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768 and 1280 x 1024 resolutions in addition to the SuperWide modes. This means that just about any standard VGA card will work with MultiLink. However, the video card must be a "SuperWide savvy" graphics card to support the 1600SW display's native 1600x1024 resolution and provide the ultimate image quality.

What type of connector do I need for MultiLink?
The MultiLink Adapter comes with three different interface cables to support DVI, DFP, and VGA connections. All three cables are included, so there is no need to specify which one you will need when ordering the MultiLink Adapter. Users will choose which cable to use with MultiLink during setup, depending on what type of graphics card output connector they have. The picture below shows the four types of connector outputs supported by MultiLink.

Image Describing the Four Types of Connector Outputs Supported by MultiLink.

Connectivity with MultiLinkTM Adapter
Video interface input DVI-I, supporting analog VGA and digital DVI and DFP via bundled cables, 720p HDTV (with RGB converter). Please see Compatible Graphics Cards for list of SuperWideTM Savvy video cards.
Video interface output Digital: LVDS
Supported platforms Any Windows® , Mac OS, or Linux® systems with a VGA, DVI, or DFP video connector

Supported Silicon Graphics visual workstations:
  • Silicon Graphics® Onyx2® (requires IRIX ® 6.5.8 or later)
  • Silicon Graphics® O2® , Silicon Graphics® O2TM (MultiLink not required on these systems for flat panel connection) Please see Compatible Graphics Cards for list of SuperWideTM Savvy video cards.

What is meant by "SuperWide savvy" video cards?
While most video cards will function properly with MultiLink, only some are able to fully utilize the ultrahigh resolution of the Silicon Graphics 1600SW flat panel display. These SuperWide savvy cards are able to drive the display at its maximum resolution of 1600x1024.

How do I find out if the card is SuperWide savvy?
For a list of SuperWide savvy graphics cards with links to drivers, visit our SuperWide Savvy page.

If your card is not listed there, please contact your video card manufacturer and let them know you are interested in having a SuperWide savvy driver for your Silicon Graphics 1600SW display.

What happens if my card is not SuperWide savvy?
If your card is not SuperWide savvy, you will still be able to use the 1600SW and MultiLink with your system. You will operate in either scaled or nonscaled modes at 1280x1024, 1024x768, 800x600, or 640x480, all at 60 Hz. With these modes, MultiLink will automatically scale the image to fit the full resolution and aspect ratio of the 1600SW. You are free to choose to operate either in the scaled aspect ratio (16:10) or a standard aspect ratio (4:3), selectable via the MultiLink on-screen display menu system. Please see the diagram below for an illustration of these aspect ratio modes. Keep in mind that the best results are achieved with a SuperWide savvy video card.

Diagram of Flat Panel Displays Illustrating the Scaled Aspect Ratio and the Standard Aspect Ratio.

Contact your video card manufacturer and let them know you are interested in having a SuperWide savvy driver for your Silicon Graphics 1600SW display.

Why does the MultiLink Adapter require a 60 Hz refresh rate?
The native timing of the 1600SW is 60 Hz. Unlike with CRTs, however, the refresh rate of a TFT LCD does not have any bearing on picture quality. CRTs use high refresh rates to reduce flicker. CRT pixels must be refreshed constantly as the phosphors decay, and the more frequent the refresh, the less visible flicker is experienced by the user (although ergonomic studies show that even very rapid flicker can cause substantial eyestrain). LCD technology eliminates flicker--each pixel stays on until it is told to do otherwise-so the refresh rate does not influence the quality or stability of the image. Refresh rate on an LCD is actually an architectural hold-over from CRT designs-technically it is possible to address an LCD without any line-scanning-style "refresh" timing at all.

Does MultiLink scale down from higher resolutions?
MultiLink does not support downscaling. Downscaling (taking a higher resolution and forcing it to fit a smaller screen size) results in the loss of pixel information, affecting overall image quality. It is best to use a video card that is SuperWide savvy with the 1600SW.

Will I be able to connect my 1600SW flat panel display to a DVD player to watch movies?
Not directly. In order to watch DVDs on your 1600SW and MultiLink, you will need to use your PC, a DVD ROM drive, a DVD decoder (either software or hardware), and DVD playback software.

What Silicon Graphics workstations are supported by MultiLink?
The Intel architecture-based Silicon Graphics® 230, Silicon Graphics® 330, Silicon Graphics® 550, and Silicon Graphcis Zx10TM visual workstations will connect to the 1600SW flat panel display in analog or DVI digital mode using MultiLink. Silicon Graphics® Onyx2 connects to the 1600SW via MultiLink in analog mode. Silicon Graphics® Octane is not supported by MultiLink. Silicon Graphics® O2, Silicon Graphics O2+TM and Silicon Graphics® 320, and Silicon Graphics® 540 do not require MultiLink, as they already have connectivity to the 1600SW flat panel display.

Will MultiLink work with Sun® systems?
There is no support for the Sun timing mode in the MultiLink adapter box.

I've heard that MultiLink is HDTV 720p compatible. What does this mean and how does it work?
In order to view 720p high-definition television signals on your 1600SW using MultiLink, you will need a third-party converter box. This box will convert HD serial output into an RGB component signal, which interfaces with MultiLink via the VGA cable. Of course, you will still need an HD source such as an HD receiver or an HD VCR before you will be able to view any video images. Note: MultiLink's 720p support does not currently offer aspect ratio correction.


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