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Old Sep 28, 2010, 10:42 PM   #1
dolphin842
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Exclamation Dell u2211h monitor shows dithering pinstripes on 2010 Mac Mini (and others)

October 2011 Update (OS X Lion 10.7.2):

For 10.7.0 and 10.7.1, the pinstriping problems returned and are unavoidable. With 10.7.2, the unplug/replug workaround described below works again, at least for my 2010 Mini. However, users are still reporting problems with Snow Leopard and Lion when using other Dell UltraSharp monitors (i.e. u2412m). The problem appears to be the result of a conflict between the graphics driver's dithering system and the monitor's, as the affected displays tend to use Advanced Frame Rate Correction (A-FRC) to emulate 8-bit color from their 6-bit panels.

After taking the mini to a Genius, he confirmed that the OS X driver is the likely culprit, and 'escalated' the problem with a note to the engineering team. Hopefully the engineers will address this permanently in the future, but until then, I recommend that anyone who experiences this problem take their Mac to the Genius Bar and have them submit the issue to engineering.

---original post below---

So after a good bit of troubleshooting, I have finally gotten my monitor to work with my Mac Mini. Hopefully by reporting my experience, this information will be beneficial to other Mini users.

Bottom line:

If you want to use the Dell UltraSharp u2211h with a Mac Mini, you must:
1) Use a Mini DisplayPort-->DisplayPort cable and
2) Leave the monitor powered off during boot, turning it on only after the login screen shows up.

Otherwise, the monitor will display pinstriping artifacts on certain colors, and the computer may not wake from sleep. If you forget to turn the monitor off, unplugging and replugging the mini DisplayPort connector should fix the problem. For the full story, read on...

Background: Why match a Dell monitor with an Apple computer?

The LCD panels in Apple's displays use in-plane switching (IPS) technology, which gives them good color fidelity and wide viewing angles. However, for many users, these advantages are negated by the glossiness of Apple's panels, which can make it difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy the benefits of this high-end monitor technology.

While IPS panels previously commanded a significant price premium over typical LCD displays, a new variant of the technology (e-IPS) has enabled vendors to offer IPS monitors for much lower prices. One of the companies taking advantage of e-IPS is Dell, which makes the UltraSharp u2211h, a monitor of the same size and resolution as the 21.5" iMac (1920x1080). This monitor sells for around $280 new ($200 refurbished via Dell's Outlet store) with a 3-year advance replacement, zero-dead-pixel warranty. Most important of all, however, is that the Dell monitor has a matte coating, much like the pre-aluminum iMacs and pre-unibody MacBook Pros. I acquired a refurbished unit direct from Dell, which had a few dead pixels. Thankfully, Dell had a flawless replacement at my door less than 24 hours after phoning in the problem. After years of groaning at the crummy quality of my 2006 iMac's screen, I was ready to be impressed.

Problems (and solutions) with the u2211h on Macs

Unfortunately, despite Apple's promise that you can hook up any old monitor to their Mac Mini, the u2211h does not play very well with some Macs under certain conditions. Hooking it up via DVI to the aforementioned 2006 iMac, I noticed that on certain solid colors, the monitor exhibited a very noticeable horizontal pinstriping effect. This effect was similar in appearance to the pinstriping we used to see throughout previous versions of OS X, except that now it was showing up on what were supposed to be solid colors! For certain shades of gray, the pinstripes became diagonal and started moving from right to left. This was completely unacceptable, but since I was in the process of upgrading to a new Mini, I just wrote off the problem as a symptom of an aging computer.

Much to my dismay however, this same problem showed up on the brand-new 2010 Mini when using HDMI/DVI or Mini DisplayPort. Even worse, when hooked up via DisplayPort, the monitor would not wake up if it went to sleep, nor would the Mini itself wake up if it went to sleep! Frustrated, I was ready to throw it all out the window until I by chance discovered that if the DisplayPort cable was unplugged and then reinserted after the computer was booted, both the pinstriping and sleep/wake problems disappeared! After further experimentation, I found out that so long as I waited to turn on the monitor until the Mini finished booting (essentially until the login window appeared), the problems would never materialize.

While the solution is less than ideal, I don't restart very often, so it's not much of a burden to keep the monitor off while booting. (Incidentally, the pinstriping/sleep/wake problems never show up in Windows 7, so there's no problem in turning the monitor on to access a Boot Camp partition from the EFI menu). For me, the present situation is much more desirable than a glossy monitor, so at the end of the day I am quite happy, enjoying my nice IPS matte display.

Addendum: For what it's worth, while my 2006 iMac and 2010 Mini can both exhibit the pinstriping problem, it does not appear to affect all Macs. Just to satisfy my curiosity, I hooked up a 2007 MacBook with a GMA 950 (!) and there's no pinstriping whatsoever.

Last edited by dolphin842; Jun 18, 2014 at 08:19 PM. Reason: 10.7.2 update
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Old Sep 29, 2010, 02:44 PM   #2
Pablito Rossi
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Originally Posted by dolphin842 View Post
For me, the present situation is much more desirable than a glossy monitor, so at the end of the day I am quite happy, enjoying my nice IPS matte display.
Please everyone subscribe the petition for a matte option on every model of imac and macbook http://macmatte.wordpress.com/

It's amazing that Apple refuse to listen all the customers that have huge problems with those damned glossy screens
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Old Sep 29, 2010, 04:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by dolphin842 View Post
So after a good bit of troubleshooting, I have finally gotten my monitor to work with my Mac Mini. Hopefully by reporting my experience, this information will be beneficial to other Mini users.

Bottom line:

If you want to use the Dell UltraSharp u2211h with a Mac Mini, you must:
1) Use a Mini DisplayPort-->DisplayPort cable and
2) Leave the monitor powered off during boot, turning it on only after the login screen shows up.

Otherwise, the monitor will display pinstriping artifacts on certain colors, and the computer may not wake from sleep. If you forget to turn the monitor off, unplugging and replugging the mini DisplayPort connector should fix the problem. For the full story, read on...

Background: Why match a Dell monitor with an Apple computer?

The LCD panels in Apple's displays use in-plane switching (IPS) technology, which gives them good color fidelity and wide viewing angles. However, for many users, these advantages are negated by the glossiness of Apple's panels, which can make it difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy the benefits of this high-end monitor technology.

While IPS panels previously commanded a significant price premium over typical LCD displays, a new variant of the technology (e-IPS) has enabled vendors to offer IPS monitors for much lower prices. One of the companies taking advantage of e-IPS is Dell, which makes the UltraSharp u2211h, a monitor of the same size and resolution as the 21.5" iMac (1920x1080). This monitor sells for around $280 new ($200 refurbished via Dell's Outlet store) with a 3-year advance replacement, zero-dead-pixel warranty. Most important of all, however, is that the Dell monitor has a matte coating, much like the pre-aluminum iMacs and pre-unibody MacBook Pros. I acquired a refurbished unit direct from Dell, which had a few dead pixels. Thankfully, Dell had a flawless replacement at my door less than 24 hours after phoning in the problem. After years of groaning at the crummy quality of my 2006 iMac's screen, I was ready to be impressed.

Problems (and solutions) with the u2211h on Macs

Unfortunately, despite Apple's promise that you can hook up any old monitor to their Mac Mini, the u2211h does not play very well with some Macs under certain conditions. Hooking it up via DVI to the aforementioned 2006 iMac, I noticed that on certain solid colors, the monitor exhibited a very noticeable horizontal pinstriping effect. This effect was similar in appearance to the pinstriping we used to see throughout previous versions of OS X, except that now it was showing up on what were supposed to be solid colors! For certain shades of gray, the pinstripes became diagonal and started moving from right to left. This was completely unacceptable, but since I was in the process of upgrading to a new Mini, I just wrote off the problem as a symptom of an aging computer.

Much to my dismay however, this same problem showed up on the brand-new 2010 Mini. Even worse, when hooked up via DisplayPort, the monitor would not wake up if it went to sleep, nor would the Mini itself wake up if it went to sleep! Frustrated, I was ready to throw it all out the window until I by chance discovered that if the DisplayPort cable was unplugged and then reinserted after the computer was booted, both the pinstriping and sleep/wake problems disappeared! After further experimentation, I found out that so long as I waited to turn on the monitor until the Mini finished booting (essentially until the login window appeared), the problems would never materialize.

While the solution is less than ideal, I don't restart very often, so it's not much of a burden to keep the monitor off while booting. (Incidentally, the pinstriping/sleep/wake problems never show up in Windows 7, so there's no problem in turning the monitor on to access a Boot Camp partition from the EFI menu). For me, the present situation is much more desirable than a glossy monitor, so at the end of the day I am quite happy, enjoying my nice IPS matte display.
Thanks for the heads up, I have a Dell U2311H coming in and I assume I would run into the same situation.

1) Just wondering if you have tried using the HDMI to VGA adapter and whether these problems are exhibited.

2) Where did you purchase the mini-DisplayPort to Display Port cable? The only one I can find online through Google is on CircuitAssembly.

3) I don't turn the monitor off, I let my computer go to sleep and the monitor goes to sleep by itself, if I were to connect using a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort, do I have to actually manually plug and unplug the cable everytime? Or would it wake-up and work normally.
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Old Sep 29, 2010, 05:22 PM   #4
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Thanks for the heads up, I have a Dell U2311H coming in and I assume I would run into the same situation.

1) Just wondering if you have tried using the HDMI to VGA adapter and whether these problems are exhibited.

2) Where did you purchase the mini-DisplayPort to Display Port cable? The only one I can find online through Google is on CircuitAssembly.

3) I don't turn the monitor off, I let my computer go to sleep and the monitor goes to sleep by itself, if I were to connect using a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort, do I have to actually manually plug and unplug the cable everytime? Or would it wake-up and work normally.
1) Apple no longer includes a VGA adapter. However, I did try the provided HDMI-to-DVI adapter and experienced the same set of issues.

2) I got my cable from Monoprice.com, which has mini DP->DP cables in a variety of lengths

3) So long as you keep the monitor off while the Mini is booting, everything should behave normally from then on, so it should be fine to let the monitor go into powersave mode when the Mini is idle or goes to sleep. The only time you need to have the monitor off is when the computer is booting. If you forget, a simple one-time unplug/replug of the display cable should get you back to normal operation (until you shut down/reboot of course).

At the end of the day, the u2311h may or may not have the same problem. There are lots of reports of happy u2311h users with Macs, so it may be specific to the 21.5" model or to some undetermined subset of these units (for what it's worth, the first u2211h I received with the dead pixels had the same problems).

Also, I forgot to mention, not all Macs are affected, as I can hook up a 2007 MacBook with a GMA 950 (!) and there's no pinstriping whatsoever. I've put an addendum to the original post to mention this.

Last edited by dolphin842; Sep 29, 2010 at 05:30 PM.
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Old Sep 29, 2010, 07:06 PM   #5
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Well, I guess I will just get another 2209WA for my second monitor. I have it connected to my 2009 Mini with the MDP to DVI adapter and haven't had any problems out of it. It worked flawlessly from day one. The only differences between it and the U2211H are it doesn't have DisplayPort and it has a lower resolution. Honestly, though, I've never really had a problem with its 1680x1050 resolution.
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Old Sep 29, 2010, 11:11 PM   #6
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Well, I guess I will just get another 2209WA for my second monitor. I have it connected to my 2009 Mini with the MDP to DVI adapter and haven't had any problems out of it. It worked flawlessly from day one. The only differences between it and the U2211H are it doesn't have DisplayPort and it has a lower resolution. Honestly, though, I've never really had a problem with its 1680x1050 resolution.
That's a good call if you don't mind the lower resolution, as the 2209WA is generally regarded as being better in quality than the u2211h anyway.
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Old Sep 30, 2010, 10:50 AM   #7
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That's a good call if you don't mind the lower resolution, as the 2209WA is generally regarded as being better in quality than the u2211h anyway.
I've been wondering what the catch is on the U series. It has an IPS panel and the same warranty and features as the 2209, yet the U2211h has been cheaper. It always seemed there should be a catch.
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Old Sep 30, 2010, 11:49 AM   #8
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I've been wondering what the catch is on the U series. It has an IPS panel and the same warranty and features as the 2209, yet the U2211h has been cheaper. It always seemed there should be a catch.
Essentially the differences boil down to fewer backlights in the u2211h and some modest quality/contrast differences (EDIT: Turns out the 2209wa is a true 8-bit panel, so it doesn't have the dithering problem described in this thread). Having seen both monitors myself, the differences are subtle but present. For those with a keener eye for this stuff, people tend to like the 2209wa much better. That said, coming from a TN panel, either model is nothing short of beautiful . I just decided to err on the side of price and resolution (16:9 helps for hooking up the Wii and Xbox as well).

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Old Sep 30, 2010, 12:02 PM   #9
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Thank you for the information. I actually have 2 of the U2211H monitors that I will be hooking up with the 2010 Mac Mini once I purchase that within 2 weeks. I'd planned on running dual monitors with it.

I'll report if I have the same issue once I get everything up and running.
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 12:24 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by celiboy07 View Post
Thank you for the information. I actually have 2 of the U2211H monitors that I will be hooking up with the 2010 Mac Mini once I purchase that within 2 weeks. I'd planned on running dual monitors with it.

I'll report if I have the same issue once I get everything up and running.
It's possible you could be in for some disappointment: I only got the pinstriping to go away when hooking up via Mini DisplayPort and doing the above-specified routine. The problem always showed up when using the HDMI-out no matter what combination of cables and/or adapters I used. Please let us know how it works out; it might give some indication about whether this is a universal or machine-specific problem for the Minis.
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 04:40 PM   #11
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It's possible you could be in for some disappointment: I only got the pinstriping to go away when hooking up via Mini DisplayPort and doing the above-specified routine. The problem always showed up when using the HDMI-out no matter what combination of cables and/or adapters I used. Please let us know how it works out; it might give some indication about whether this is a universal or machine-specific problem for the Minis.
Is it possible that the issue is related to your Mini logic board?
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Old Oct 1, 2010, 07:40 PM   #12
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Is it possible that the issue is related to your Mini logic board?
It's possible, but since the exact same problem exists when I hook up the monitor via mini-DVI on my 2006 iMac, I can't help but think something else is going on. Maybe something driver-related? It's totally confounding.
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Old Oct 2, 2010, 04:58 AM   #13
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Does the problem persist on the same inputs when using non-macs?
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Old Oct 2, 2010, 04:37 PM   #14
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Does the problem persist on the same inputs when using non-macs?
I've not hooked it up to a PC, but as I mentioned earlier, there's no pinstriping problems whatsoever when running Windows 7 via Boot Camp on the Mini.
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Old Oct 3, 2010, 05:03 AM   #15
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That is very strange. Actually it doesn't make any sense at all.
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Old Oct 3, 2010, 08:18 PM   #16
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That is very strange. Actually it doesn't make any sense at all.
Yeah, it's certainly one of the most perplexing hardware issues I've encountered (not that I've encountered many, but still...).

The only suggestion someone's been able to offer is that the pinstripes are the product of some conflict between the color dithering approaches taken by the panel itself and the OS X drivers. I don't know enough about how 8-bit IPS panels work to know if this is a viable explanation or not.

One more clue I discovered while troubleshooting: Each time you adjust the Contrast setting on the monitor, the colors that invoke the pinstriping effect change. For example, if you went to the Lagom LCD contrast test page and shifted the monitor's Contrast setting, each step down or up would make the pinstriping disappear from some color swatches and appear on others. This would seem to indicate that ultimate responsibility for this problem lies with the monitor, but then again you have Windows 7 running everything fine. And then you have unplugging and replugging the cable making it go away so, yeah this is a weird one for sure.
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Old Oct 3, 2010, 11:10 PM   #17
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Thank you for the information. I actually have 2 of the U2211H monitors that I will be hooking up with the 2010 Mac Mini once I purchase that within 2 weeks. I'd planned on running dual monitors with it.

I'll report if I have the same issue once I get everything up and running.
OK so I've purchased the new Mac Mini over the weekend and have hooked it up to dual U2211H's. To my surprise, I do NOT have any pinstriping issues. I've tried a number of scenarios, including turning the Mini on then the monitors, waking the monitors up from sleep, and also tried a single monitor configuration and have not noticed any display issues. I do not have Windows installed yet so this is all on OSX.

I'm using a Mini Display to DVI adapter from Monoprice, as well as the supplied HDMI to DVI adapter and everything is flawless right now. The monitors were just purchased a week ago. I'm unsure how to troubleshoot your issue, but hopefully this gives you some info. If there is anything you would like me to test out, I'll give it a shot.
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Old Oct 3, 2010, 11:20 PM   #18
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OK so I've purchased the new Mac Mini over the weekend and have hooked it up to dual U2211H's. To my surprise, I do NOT have any pinstriping issues. I've tried a number of scenarios, including turning the Mini on then the monitors, waking the monitors up from sleep, and also tried a single monitor configuration and have not noticed any display issues. I do not have Windows installed yet so this is all on OSX.

I'm using a Mini Display to DVI adapter from Monoprice, as well as the supplied HDMI to DVI adapter and everything is flawless right now. The monitors were just purchased a week ago. I'm unsure how to troubleshoot your issue, but hopefully this gives you some info. If there is anything you would like me to test out, I'll give it a shot.
Good to hear you're not having any problems! If you want to investigate further, you can head to this page and examine the color swatches to see if any exhibit pinstriping. If it's all clear, then it'll be good news as far as the problem not affecting all instances of these products.
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Old Oct 5, 2010, 02:17 AM   #19
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Since this a current thread and there's 2209WA chatter, I'm wondering if anyone has a good color profile they can pass along for this display.

I am on a Mini early 2009 using MDP > DVI.

I know people calibrate depending on lighting conditions, but i feel like anything would be better than stock.

Also, I feel like text really isn't razor sharp on the 2209WA with the mini. Anyone else notice this?
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Old Oct 8, 2010, 05:46 PM   #20
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My apple cinema exhibited the same behavior with my mac as the u2311h, I believe its some problem with the OS and how it handles color profiles. If you try leopard or 10.5.8 you will see no pinstriping. Another possibility suggesting its an OS problem is by checking ICC V4 capability of a color managed browser. This for example should display perfectly in safari and chrome> http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter but in snow leopard it doesnt display properly. Also this behavior does not happen with the monitor connected to a windows 7 machine. So if you are running 10.6.4 and have the ability to try an earlier version maybe 10.6.3 see if it still happens. Thats my theory anyway

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Old Oct 9, 2010, 05:23 PM   #21
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My apple cinema exhibited the same behavior with my mac as the u2311h, I believe its some problem with the OS and how it handles color profiles. If you try leopard or 10.5.8 you will see no pinstriping. Another possibility suggesting its an OS problem is by checking ICC V4 capability of a color managed browser. This for example should display perfectly in safari and chrome> http://www.color.org/version4html.xalter but in snow leopard it doesnt display properly. Also this behavior does not happen with the monitor connected to a windows 7 machine. So if you are running 10.6.4 and have the ability to try an earlier version maybe 10.6.3 see if it still happens. Thats my theory anyway
Interesting... which Apple display showed the problems?

I've tried 10.5.x and 10.4.x on my iMac, as well as a fresh 10.6.3 install from the Mini's system disc: Same problems, though varying slightly in nature (10.4 had fewer horizontal pinstripes, but much more diagonal/moving pinstripes on grayscale colors). For what it's worth, the ICC V4 test image works fine for me in 10.6.4, but that's after I did my workaround to eliminate the pinstripes; next time I reboot I won't do the workaround and see if the test image fails then.... might give us something to go on.
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Old Oct 9, 2010, 06:04 PM   #22
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Interesting... which Apple display showed the problems?

I've tried 10.5.x and 10.4.x on my iMac, as well as a fresh 10.6.3 install from the Mini's system disc: Same problems, though varying slightly in nature (10.4 had fewer horizontal pinstripes, but much more diagonal/moving pinstripes on grayscale colors). For what it's worth, the ICC V4 test image works fine for me in 10.6.4, but that's after I did my workaround to eliminate the pinstripes; next time I reboot I won't do the workaround and see if the test image fails then.... might give us something to go on.
This was the apple cinema aluminum display the one without the display port. The pinstripes i saw were vertical. Across certain shades of solid colors .
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 01:48 AM   #23
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U2311h

Ok, so I have been using the U2311H for a while now and just thought I'd provide some feedback on my part.

DVI-HDMI Adaptor vs. MiniDP to DisplayPort Cable

In this case, I feel that the MiniDP to DisplayPort Cable had better colors compared to the DVI-HDMI adaptor. The texts look nicer and the colors are richer.

Wake-up Problems

When using the MiniDP to DP cable, per Dolphin842, in order to be able to wake-up my display after sleep mode, I had to ensure that my monitor is turned off during the boot process and only powered on after the log-in menu has disappeared (I don't know how he figured this out, but this is very impressive).

After I do that, my mini will sleep/wake without any problems. Please note that, when I choose to not turn off my monitor during the boot-up process, I could not wake my mini up after sleep even if I unplug/replug the miniDP cable.

As for connecting via the DVI adaptor, there is absolutely no problem waking up the mini after sleep.

Conclusion

In order to enjoy my mini with nice colors, I have opt to turn off monitor and turn it on only after the computer has booted. As I do not restart my computer a lot, this is not too much of a hassle.
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 02:13 AM   #24
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Thanks nerdpov for your corroboration of the sleep/wake problem on the 23-inch model. I'm still not any closer to figuring out where the actual problem lies, however.

May I ask where you bought the miniDP->DP cable? I got mine from Monoprice. If you got it from there as well there's a chance the sleep/wake problems may be due to a faulty cable from them.
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 01:29 PM   #25
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Thanks nerdpov for your corroboration of the sleep/wake problem on the 23-inch model. I'm still not any closer to figuring out where the actual problem lies, however.

May I ask where you bought the miniDP->DP cable? I got mine from Monoprice. If you got it from there as well there's a chance the sleep/wake problems may be due to a faulty cable from them.
I purchased mine from Circuit Assembly.

Seeing as how we purchased our cables from different places, I highly doubt that it is the cables causing this issue. Do note though that I do not have pinstripe effect on my Mac Mini, just sleep/wake problems.
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