27" iMac pixel density vs. 30" cinema display

Discussion in 'iMac' started by xraydoc, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    For anyone who's spent time with the 27" iMac - how do you find the screen's pixel density?

    I'm tempted to hand over my 2006 2.66GHz Mac Pro to my daughter and get myself a 27" Core i7 iMac for myself.

    I'm 40 years old, and while my eyes are decent, I certainly find an ultra-high dot pitch uncomfortable to use for any length of time. For example, the 1920x1200 resolution on the 17" MacBook Pros is simply too small.

    I am currently using a 30" 2560x1600 display and I find that acceptable, but not sure I'd want to go much tighter. I also have an HP laptop from work that has a 17" screen at 1680x1050 which I also find acceptable.

    Anyone have any comments they'd like to share? I'll spend some time at the Apple store with a 27" display model for sure but often it takes more than a few minutes of play to determine if the screen will be alright.
  2. macrumors member

    May 22, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    i don't have any experience with a 30inch cinema display, or any apple product other the iphone so far, but I have been to the apple store and tired out the 27" iMac.

    I'm using a 22" samsung on my PC at the moment, and apart from the 27" being absolutely massive compared to it, the font on the iMac is a lot smaller. I was with my mum at the time, and she complained she couldn't even read any text on the screen, even standing 2 feet away. Without her glasses, that is, but I also noticed the pixel density affecting the font size.

    I'm 18 though, so I don't mind sitting 30cm away from 27" computer. :p
  3. macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2003
    I upgraded to the 27" from a 24" iMac, the difference is quite noticeable. I am constantly increasing the text size in the web browser, but I like big text and being able to read things easily. While not quite as extreme as the 17" MacBook Pro, you might want to stick with the 30".
  4. macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2008
    The hub of stupidity
    Think of the pixel density of a 17" uMBP, then supersize the screen. I have a 27" sitting here, and pictures definitely look much sharper on it than the 30" panel. (hint: if you are looking for a 30" display, go to eBay for the same panel at 1/2 the price)
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 19, 2009

    The 30" cinema display is 100.63dpi;
    27" iMac is 108.78 dpi;
    17" 1920x1200 is 133.18dpi;
    17" 1680x1050 is 116.54dpi.

    Hope it helps.
    Also, I found wearing glasses is very liberating:)

    Tom B.
  6. macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    Wisconsin, EE.UU.
    Lucky daughter. :D
  7. macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2006
    What happened with resolution independent text that Apple was supposed to release with Leopard? Does that resolve the small text issue with big screens?
  8. macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    They did not release such a thing. Neither in Leopard, nor in Snow Leopard.
    Haven't heard any news about that for more than a year now.
  9. macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2009

    I have both.
    The 27" screen is noticeably smaller.
    The 27" screen's white tones can appear slightly yellowish.
    The glossy screen on the 27" will make the blacks appear blacker and this is nice when viewing photos or films.
    It is easy to work on the 27" screen and the 16:9 format is nice too.
    I have the feeling after working for 3 days on the 27", that I am still missing a piece of my screen though...
    The screens cannot really be compared, both are very different.
    I have no problem with either but once you have got used to the luxury of the 30", you will notice that the 27" is smaller and that colours appear slightly different.

    I hope my first post helps you,

  10. macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2006
    That's my point. Initially Apple was claiming it would be released in Leopard, but then they backed away from it. Why?
  11. macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2009
    Resolution was one of the deciding factors why I went with the 21.5". I don't do video or graphic work, only watch DVDs maybe once every 2 or 3 weeks, and don't play games. I work with text. Having to lean forward and squint to read text in the native resolution wasn't a viable solution for me. The word-processing programmes I work with allow me to easily zoom to make text larger, and even with the 21.5" I have to CMD ++ to be able to comfortably read anything on the internet. So I guess it depends on what you will be using your computer for. The 27" display is beautiful for pictures, but not for text without having to constantly make adjustments.
  12. thread starter macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Thanks for all the help.

    I'm going to hold off for at least another month and think things through very carefully. While I'm very satisfied with the display on my machine, I could use a) a little speed boost without spending another $3000 on a Mac Pro, and b) simplifying my life and getting rid of the giant 2.5 ft. tall monolith sitting on the floor next to me, heating up the room 15° over the rest of the house.

    I'm pretty much done playing major games, so I doubt I'll be itching to upgrade the graphics card (which I couldn't in the iMac but can with the MP). And the 2GB internal drive plus an external FireWire Time Machine backup device or Drobo and maybe another external scratch drive would be sufficient for me I think for some time to come.

    If the DPI of the 27" (~109 dpi) truly falls in between the 17" 1680x1050 panel and the 30" 2560x1600 panel (100-116 dpi), I should be ok with it. Wouldn't want any smaller.

    I'll give it until mid-January to mull it over carefully. Hopefully the DOA issues with the 27"s should be sorted out by then.

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