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Old Dec 20, 2005, 08:05 PM   #1
OldCorpse
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Help me pick an external monitor for 12" iBook!

OK, this has got to have been covered, I did a search for "monitor" and there was a mass of results, but it's a needle in the haystack problem.

So, here goes. My first mac is the 12" 1.33Ghz iBook I just ordered. Now, I love the portability, but I figure when at home, it would be nice to hook it to a good external monitor.

What I'd use the monitor for: mostly a lot of A LOT of word processing, a little photo editing, a little audio editing, maybe a bit of video editing (and of course the usual email, web-browsing etc). The most important to me, however is the word processing.

I use several different wp softwares, and what is important to me - what would be nice is if I could fit a whole standard A4 page on the screen so I don't have to scroll up and down to see text. A big boon would be if I could fit two pages side to side for comparison. Good quality font display is essential, as when you spend that many hours typing/reading, bad text display can really destroy your eyes.

Now, reallistically, there are some limitations. First, my bugdet is about $500. Second, the monitor will be driven by the aforementioned 1.33Ghz 12" iBook (the latest July 26 refresh).

1)Are there serious resolution limitations? Can my iBook drive resolutions above what the manual says (dowloaded the pdf file from amazon), which says "your iBook doesn't support external display resolutions above 1024 x 768". Now, I know several folks have mentioned that they use the iBook to power higher resolution EM... is that where the "hack" comes in? I don't care about mirroring or not what is on my laptop screen to the external monitor (I'm fine with it being the same), but do you need the hack just to drive the larger resolutions? And how high can I safely go?

2)I understand there will be speed limitations with the poor vid card of the iBook, but I don't intend to play games on it, so that's not that important to me, nor do I care about watching DVDs on it.

3)Does the iBook have the right connectors for the monitors I'm considering (I know there's something about a digital out which is not available or smth).

4)How exactly does the height vs width work? I know that sometimes when you go to widescreen, even if the screen is listed as larger diagonally, you can actually lose height... which is important to me, as with word processing, the length of the page displays is what matters to me... what's the formula?

Here's what I dug up so far to consider:

a) Dell Ultrasharp 2005FPW 20.1-inch, Wide Aspect (16:9), Active Matrix TFT, Midnight Gray, 1680x1050 Pixels, 300 cd/m² Brightness, 600:1 Contrast Ratio, VGA / DVI-D / S-Video Connectors, 4 USB 2.0 Ports, 100 mm VESA Compliant
$465

b)Dell Ultrasharp 2001FP, 20.1-inch, LCD, TFT, Midnight Gray, Up to 1600x1200 Pixels, 0.255 mm Pixel Pitch, Anti-glare with Hard Coating, 15-Pin D-Sub / 24-Pin DVI-D / S-Video / Composite Video / USB Connectors
$629

Re: the last $629, I'm sure I can find coupons and the like to bring it down to at least around $500, so that's less of a factor.

The thing about these two, is that it seems that I'm not gaining that much width and sacrifing quite a bit of height going from the 2001 to 2005, so I'm inclined to ignore the 2005... unless... can I fit a full A4 page on the 2005 assuming I move the apple dock to the side? Second, would I be able to fit two A 4 pages side by side on the wide aspect 2005? If not, seems to me, the 2001 is a better choice for me. Btw., why is the 2001 more expensive than the 2005, I thought everyone lurved those wide aspect ratios!

Or am I all wrong, and should look to the 24" and up the $ if I want the A4 page thing... but then, can the iBook handle it? Or maybe I'm looking at the wrong manufacturer (Dell)?

Thanks in advance!

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Old Dec 20, 2005, 08:23 PM   #2
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You do need the screen spanning hack to use a resolution larger than 1024x768 on the external monitor.

I think you'll need 1200 vertical pixels to comfortable show an entire A4 page on screen. I sometimes use two A4 pages on screen at the same time with a 1920x1200 display.
Edit: Wait a second. I just tried on my iMac with just 900 pixels, and I only missed 1 cm of the A4 page, and that was with the menu bar on the same screen. With 1050 pixels and the menu bar + tool bar on the iBook's display, you should easily fit two A4 pages on a 1680x1050 display. Note: This was at 100% zoom, which in fact makes the text a bit small, so if you have less than perfect eye sight, it could cause strain in the long run.

I have an older PowerBook 12" which also has 32MB of video RAM. It can run a 23" external display at 1920x1200 resolution, although exposé gets choppy with more than a couple of windows. That means your iBook should be able to handle 1600x1200, but don't expect a smooth exposé transition with dozens of windows.

The 2005 is bigger in surface area (and total number of pixels), so now that widescreen has become quite common, that would explain why the price for the larger screen actually is higher.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 08:34 PM   #3
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The iBook cannot run a second, separate, display. You can plug one in but it will only mirror the output of the built in display and only at 1024x768. It's handy for using projectors, plugging it into a TV for watching DVD's but that's about it.

The "Hack" (Screen Spanning Doctor) allows you run another display at it's native resolution as a completely separate display to the one in the iBook. I've heard people running 1280x1024 displays with no real problem so long as they weren't running anything too intensive. I used to run it with a TV plugged in at 1024x768 and the iBook would get quite warm if I had a DVD running on the TV and uni work on the iBook. That was until my video card decided to do something weird and now I can't plug the TV in because it thinks it's a VGA display and not an NTSC/PAL display.

Just be careful with the hack.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 08:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gekko513
You do need the screen spanning hack to use a resolution larger than 1024x768 on the external monitor.

I think you'll need 1200 vertical pixels to comfortable show an entire A4 page on screen. I sometimes use two A4 pages on screen at the same time with a 1920x1200 display.
Edit: Wait a second. I just tried on my iMac with just 900 pixels, and I only missed 1 cm of the A4 page, and that was with the menu bar on the same screen. With 1050 pixels and the menu bar on the other display, you should easily fit two A4 pages on a 1680x1050 display.

I have an older PowerBook 12" which also has 32MB of video RAM. It can run a 23" external display at 1920x1200 resolution, although exposé gets choppy with more than a couple of windows. That means your iBook should be able to handle 1600x1200, but don't expect a smooth exposé transition with dozens of windows.

The 2005 is bigger in surface area (and total number of pixels), so now that widescreen has become quite common, that would explain why the price for the larger screen actually is higher.

Thanks gekko, that was quite helpful... the 2001 though does seem to have 1200 vertical pixels... or am I reading it wrong 1600 x 1200? Also, I'm a little confused when you say that the 2005 is bigger in surface area which would explain why the price for the larger screen is actually higher... it is the 2001 price that is higher...

OK, I see your edit... so, it looks like the 2005 with 1680 x 1050 would be hunky dory?

What do you think of Samsungs? I see some nice prices on them in tigerdirect...

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Old Dec 20, 2005, 08:36 PM   #5
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Oh yeah, the other way around for the larger display. The 2001 has a larger surface area.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 08:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chundles
The iBook cannot run a second, separate, display. You can plug one in but it will only mirror the output of the built in display and only at 1024x768. It's handy for using projectors, plugging it into a TV for watching DVD's but that's about it.

The "Hack" (Screen Spanning Doctor) allows you run another display at it's native resolution as a completely separate display to the one in the iBook. I've heard people running 1280x1024 displays with no real problem so long as they weren't running anything too intensive. I used to run it with a TV plugged in at 1024x768 and the iBook would get quite warm if I had a DVD running on the TV and uni work on the iBook. That was until my video card decided to do something weird and now I can't plug the TV in because it thinks it's a VGA display and not an NTSC/PAL display.

Just be careful with the hack.
Aaah, so I see the "hack" is essential - though again, I really don't care about having different pages displayed on my ibook and the monitor at the same time, but I do care to have higher resolution... gekko seems was able to power some pretty high resolutions... after reading of your experience, I hope the hack doesn't fry the ibook ... I haven't read any other reports of the hack destroying the ibook (and I do not intend to run it in clam mode).
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 08:46 PM   #7
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I have the PowerBook which is designed to be able to run an external monitor independently. The iBook isn't. This could be a problem, but I doubt that it really is. The forum would have more threads titled "Help! I fried my iBook!!1" or similar if it really is a problem. Chundles' problem doesn't sound heat related, although it's hard to tell for sure.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldCorpse
Aaah, so I see the "hack" is essential - though again, I really don't care about having different pages displayed on my ibook and the monitor at the same time, but I do care to have higher resolution... gekko seems was able to power some pretty high resolutions... after reading of your experience, I hope the hack doesn't fry the ibook ... I haven't read any other reports of the hack destroying the ibook (and I do not intend to run it in clam mode).
They're your only two choices. You can either run the monitors separately at their native resolutions or you can mirror the internal monitor on the external one at 1024x768.

I don't think it was the hack that buggered the video card, I think it was one of the guys down at the Apple Centre when he was installing my extra RAM. That or 10.4.2. Both of those things occurred the day I stopped being able to plug into TV's.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 08:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gekko513
You do need the screen spanning hack to use a resolution larger than 1024x768 on the external monitor.

I think you'll need 1200 vertical pixels to comfortable show an entire A4 page on screen. I sometimes use two A4 pages on screen at the same time with a 1920x1200 display.
Edit: Wait a second. I just tried on my iMac with just 900 pixels, and I only missed 1 cm of the A4 page, and that was with the menu bar on the same screen. With 1050 pixels and the menu bar + tool bar on the iBook's display, you should easily fit two A4 pages on a 1680x1050 display. Note: This was at 100% zoom, which in fact makes the text a bit small, so if you have less than perfect eye sight, it could cause strain in the long run.
OK, I see your other edit... hmmm... I usually work at 125% zoom, the 100% really doesn't reflect the real-life page as well, so that's a bummer... how would a 1200 vertical do? In that case, I should perhaps look at the 2001 at 1600 x 1200?

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Old Dec 20, 2005, 09:03 PM   #10
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At 125% zoom I estimate that you will crop 3 cm (1+ inch) of a full A4 page with 1050 pixels. If you don't need to see the top and bottom edges, you would still be able to see the full writeable height if the total top and bottom margin exceeds 3 cm. You would be able to fit the whole thing including edges with 1200 pixels.

The page width of an A4 page at 125% zoom is almost 750 pixels, so you would need 1500 pixels to fit two pages next to each other. Both displays would be fine for that.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 09:08 PM   #11
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Just wanted to say that I have the same iBook you're getting and I span to a 1280x1024 17" Samsung LCD using the hack. It works great, expose and dashboard can get a tad jumpy, but it does that on Powerbooks too on a big display.

I have not had any problems at all, and I haven't heard of many G4 iBook owners that have.
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Old Dec 20, 2005, 09:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gekko513
At 125% zoom I estimate that you will crop 3 cm (1+ inch) of a full A4 page with 1050 pixels. If you don't need to see the top and bottom edges, you would still be able to see the full writeable height if the total top and bottom margin exceeds 3 cm. You would be able to fit the whole thing including edges with 1200 pixels.

The page width of an A4 page at 125% zoom is almost 750 pixels, so you would need 1500 pixels to fit two pages next to each other. Both displays would be fine for that.
Well gekko, you are a ton of help, and I thank you very kindly. I think I'm going to spring for the 2001... now, I just have to find a good price... after all, I bought my brand new iBook for $785, so it would be embarrasing if I can't get an absolutely blood-curdling deal on the 2001... I mean, I want the deal to just scream bloody murder, cry and wail! I'm so cheap, I can't believe it - but then again, I accessorize like crazy and soon spend more money than a more balanced reasonable person Plus, I have a bit of time before I need to buy the monitor, so I can search for the next month or two...

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Old Dec 21, 2005, 05:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ITASOR
I span to a 1280x1024 17" Samsung LCD using the hack. It works great, expose and dashboard can get a tad jumpy, but it does that on Powerbooks too on a big display.
My 12" and 15" PB hooked up with a 20" and 23" ACD respectively do not show any jumpiness when I use Exposé. I think iBook's so called screen spanning hack should be able to manage smaller LCD (less than 19") since iBook only comes with 32 MB of VRAM while PB comes with 64 MB of VRAM as a minimum config. For my iBook, I don't bother to do the hack as I don't want to mess with its graphics card by taxing it with higher-than-XGA resolution screens (and also I don't need to do so as I can use my PBs with ACDs if I need to use larger screens).
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