Yamakasi Catleap Q270 Update: Doubling-Down

Doubling down on the Yamakasi Catleap goodness


So not too long ago we, took a look at the highly talked about Yamakasi Catleap Q270. It was a beautiful monitor that performed well, but calling it  barebones in its features and connections was an understatement. Well, we recently decided to double down on all of that desktop real estate and add another monitor to the mix. It was certainly an adventure and we learned a few things along the way that we thought you might like to know.

First things first, let’s quickly chat about the price. As with anything that get popular, the price is sure to go up. As of writing, the cheapest price for the Yamakasi Catleap  Q270 SE  is $370. There are other models such as the Q270 SEi and the Q2703 that are cheaper,  but have much higher tolerances for dead pixels than the Q270 SE (20 and 15 respectively as apposed to 5 on the Q270 SE we looked at).  Also note that the Q2703 is actually a different design if having matching monitors matters to you.

As you can see in the picture, it comes in white now. It’s exactly the same as the OG black Catleap we looked at back in June.

Getting this up and running has been the most interesting and mentally challenging part of this adventure.  First off, if the model you choose doesn’t have the HDMI and VGA port, then it also doesn’t have a video scaler built in. A video scaler is necessary for displaying video that isn’t full WQHD (2560×1440) at full screen. Without that scaler, 1080p and smaller video will float in the center of the screen surrounded by black.

The HDMI and VGA port on the monitor are also necessary for receiving signal from a laptop. Using a HDMI to DVI cable on the Dual-Link DVI monitor won’t work as all of those cables are single-link. The same goes for adapters even if they say they support dual link. Even though the adapters say they support dual-link DVI, they aren’t actually striping the data across the extra TDMS connections found int Dual-Link DVI that are necessary for supporting the higher resolution. If that last sentence didn’t make sense, read the wiki page on DVI here

Using another Q270 SE and a desktop, there are only 2 ways to get that  second Yamakasi Catleap Q270 SE to work. The first is to use an ACTIVE Mini Display Port to Dual -Link DVI. The adapter must be active in order to stripe the necessary data across the connecting links. There are issues with this. The obvious is that your graphics card needs to have at least 1 Mini DP output. The second is that these adapters are not cheap. The starting price is about $70 from Monoprice.  Apple also makes one for about $100 which is going to actually be your best and cheapest bet for buying in a retail brick and mortar store.

The other option is to run a second graphics card. This doesn’t have to be as expensive as it sounds since the card won’t be running in SLI or Crossfire. Not running in either of those modes means that the second graphics card doesn’t have to match the card already installed. We won’t recommend running 2 different GPU manufacturers, i.e. 1 Nvidia and 1 AMD, as that could turn into a driver nightmare very quickly. Using cards from different vendors, however, is fine as one is made by Diamond while the other is from MSI. We have a Radeon HD 6950 running in the system above  and we added a Radeon HD 6770 for the second monitor that we found on sale for under $50. It was a painless procedure as the drivers already installed worked for the new card. We would imagine the same would be true on the Nvidia side as well, but don’t have the cards to test that. The big thing to look for in the second card is that it must have at least one Dual-Link DVI port, not just a DVI port. After that ti should be just plug and play.

There you have it. If you’re looking to run a dual monitor setup using 2 Yamakasi Catleap Q270 monitors then we strongly suggest running a second graphics card. It should be a painless experience and hopefully cheaper than buying an adapter.

Let us know if you have any questions or how your own experiences turned out in the comments below.