Apple Cinema Display or 3'rd party?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Can, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. Can macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2007
    Apple Cinema Display or 3'rd party?

    The current models are aging quite quickly in the fast forward display world. I just bought a MacPro and I would like some help on what 3'rd party screen to choose. (Or if you still like the apple CD).

    Remember I'm a student on budget so 3'rd party displays thats more expensive than the apple cinema display is not an option for me.

    (I'm looking for a 20" screen)

    Thanks for any kind of feedback :)
  2. jeznav macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2007
    (I might as well post here instead of making a new thread.)

    I'm also planning to buy a Mac Pro very soon but I was a little disappointed on not seeing an updated Cinema Display at MWSF. I was about to get a 23" ACD and that sums up to $4K. So, if I were to buy a 3rd party LCD now I would save a lot of cash plus more features like better contrast ratio, and response time.
    The downside is you get the feeling of not using an apple product or annoyed at something that does not match aesthetically(If that bothers you). The good side is if apple release a new ACD (I don't know when), you can always buy it later than regretting buying an ACD now.

    Anyways I'm buying an Acer 24" LCD for around $414CAD instead of 23" ACD ($1049 CAD) which packs more better features like 3000:1 contrast ratio, 2ms response time, and especially an HDMI input. Definitely A++.
  3. Dionosaur macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2008
    I would guess that anyone who is considering buying an Apple Cinema Display (ACD) must be serious about photo editing, or graphics that need accurate colours.

    As far as colour accuracy goes, they are still among the best, though definitely not currently *the* best. (Eizo and Nec have models that are likely better than the ACDs). And the ACDs are definitely not the best in terms of value, either. Apple needs to update if they want to stay competitive, even if they are not yet ready for LED.

    I do photography and design professionally, and was seriously considering the 30". At $2100 Canadian it's too much money, especially considering that it has not been updated in ages, and it has no HDMI input, if one wanted to use it as an HD TV.

    I considered the 23", but at around $1100 Canadian, and also no HDMI options, forget it.

    Over the past few days I spent probably 20 hours searching and reading the forums and reviews, and concluded that there's a lot of crap out there. Beware.

    Perhaps the best value going now is the BenQ FP241W or the FP241WZ. I ordered an FP241W for only $550 Canadian + $20 shipping. Has full HDMI inputs and much more. This monitor should hold me over until Apple updates its line, and after that it has the flexibility to be used for other purposes.

    They are true 8-bit monitors, unlike most cheapies now. Colour is pretty good compared to the much more expensive ones. And, response time is definitely faster than the ACDs if you are a gamer.

    I've heard that the FP241W has recently been discontinued, not sure about the FP241WZ. If you want one, jump on it. They are available. Make sure the manufacture date is sometime after early-2007, so that it has the updated firmware.

    Google "BenQ FP241W reviews" and read up to see if it has what you want. You might want to spend a bit more for the FP241WZ, it has only the extra ability to insert black frames between each frame, giving the impression of a faster response time.

    I'll let you know what I discover when it arrives, hopefully next week.
  4. macgruder macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2007
    The Apple (23") uses LG.Philips LM230W02 S-IPS panel. In other words, probably the best there is. So at $800 the Apple is good value. Compare the NEC 24" that uses a S-IPS panel and it is $1100. The issue with the ACDs is warranty and inputs not display quality or value for money. Try looking for another 23" or 24" monitor with a S-IPS display - you'll find nothing much cheaper. (the panels will have been quietly upgraded as LG.Philips releases new versions).
  5. arj8138 macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Pennsylvania, United States
    I too am a student looking into getting a Mac Pro and since I started thinking about it I decided to go third party on the monitor.

    Once again, I cannot justify the extra price for something with an Apple Logo.

    I use Final Cut and Photoshop etc. on everything from an ACD to a good Viewsonic and NEC and really do not see a difference. I really dont.

    If you creating something for web use or TV use, everyone doesn't have ACD's anyway, but if your doing stuff for billboards then maybe you should invest.
  6. Dionosaur macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2008
    macgruder: which Apple displays are $800, and in which country? Go check the various Apple stores, and get back to us on that one.

    Aside from that, I'll clarify what I said...

    The comments I made are for anyone who is looking for a good quality budget monitor, for example, a student. I think that's how this thread was started?

    If you are a student in photography or professional graphics, then you might consider an accurate, more expensive monitor, like the ACDs or one of the similar quality alternatives.

    (I don't think anyone can say with any certainty that the ACDs are *the* best; and if so, then I'd like to see some hard objective data from carefully calibrated monitors and carefully measured comparisons.)

    The ACDs are ok value for professional accuracy, but they are clearly not the best value for a general-purpose, versatile monitor.

    If you are a student, and if very critical colour is not essential, then you will find that there are other great monitors out there for much less money, and with HD compatibility, like I described earlier. And yes, there are some non S-IPS displays that are very good.

    Even if you are looking for a budget monitor, I'd recommend staying away from any monitor that is a cheap TN that is not true 8 bit. Insist on that. The trend is toward cheap (but fast) 6 and 7 bit monitors that dither colours, and that's gotta be discouraged.

    Be sure to read a lot of reviews before you make a decision, and study the specs. You're gonna be spending a lot of time looking at that monitor, so if you take the time to research now, you'll be thankful later.
  7. BrokenE macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2008
  8. Dionosaur macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2008
    Ah, yes, that must be the one. I'm not sure if people in various countries see everything the same on the Apple website. The Apple Canada site has the 23" for $1050 ($1102 - $1176 with sales tax, in Canada), the US site it's around $900... UK, around 10,000 GBP, I suspect...

    Anyway, here's an update on the "temporary" monitor I ordered, the BenQ FP241W. It came in today, and I set it up and spent a couple hours calibrating (using Apple's built-in OS X calibration utility), and tweaking it as I displayed known photos.

    Here's the skinny:

    -- Unpacking the box and setting it up is super-quick. Sturdy stand, easily adjustable in vertical, tilt, and swivel. I expected the build quality to be worse, but I think it's quite respectable, especially for the price of this display.

    -- 100% good pixels. Very even backlight.

    -- The CD manual seems to be useless in OS X. It's not a pdf. I don't know why they wouldn't just keep it simple for everyone, and just make a pdf. ... Wait, you can access the manual with a browser, it seems. I started clicking on the numerous html links on the CD, and some of them took me to locations in user's manuals. Anyway, doesn't matter though. Exploring through the OSD menus built into the monitor, and using the OS X display calibration will do a wonderful job -- but, if you need a good calibration, be prepared to spend an hour or two experimenting to get it just right.

    -- OS X recognized it immediately on bootup (BenQ 241W came up in System Prefs -> Displays), and everything displayed correctly with my G4 1.25 MDD with the stock Radeon 9000, running Tiger. The display allows 90 degree (tall) orientation, and that works fine too.

    -- This is a major and long overdue upgrade for me. For now, I am going from 1280x1024 to 1920x1200 (until Apple releases their new line of displays). In a week's time this display will be running on a new Mac Pro.

    -- Default settings are very bright. I'm in a dark office with low ambient light, but even so... for me, I turned the brightness from default 90 to about 10. I turned the contrast down from default 50 to 40. (I tried a few settings, these made me happy with my particular display, in my low-light office.) Then I ran the OS X calibration, and saved several variations I could choose from later.

    -- After viewing many familiar photos, and websites, and working with text, I must say that this display has far exceeded my expectations. And I'm a very picky guy!! But, if you do choose this one, like any other display (including Apple's), do take the time to calibrate it properly.

    I'm not surprised that one review (or detailed description in another forum) , said:

    "I have read rumours in other forums that BenQ will stop shipping the FP241W shortly because the LCD panel used in it, which is supplied by AU Optronics (which is owned by BenQ), is being discontinued. If this is true, I recommend that you get one these now before they all disappear if you are considering a 24" monitor. It may be difficult to get a competitively priced MVA or PVA based 24" LCD monitor in future, as the manufacturing trend is towards the less costly TN panels."

    I must say I agree. I expect this display is not quite up to the Apple displays (though it is brighter and capable of more contrast)... In my opinion, with careful calibration, one can comfortably do professional photo editing with this monitor.

    Ah, and look at all the options for hookups, and all the cables are included! It even has picture-in-picture... does that mean I can watch TV while I'm working?

  9. Dionosaur macrumors newbie

    Jan 18, 2008
    I'll be giving you at least one update on this, if anyone is interested. May take me a couple weeks before I can get to it.

    I want to see if this display is quite useable for photo editing when compared to one of the ACDs. I can pretty much guess what areas it will not stand up to the challenge (one area in particular)... anyone care to guess?

    But, after using this for a few days, initial impressions are still very positive.
  10. gazfocus macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2008
    Liverpool, UK
    I too am a student (in UK) looking to buy a Mac Pro and a 23" ACD (eventually 2).

    I don't do any serious photo editing or anything, but do a fair bit of web design (for which I manipulate my own images to make the backgrounds, etc), and I need to be able to notice the slightest differences in colours.

    However, the main reason I want the ACD's is because of the Aesthetics. If anyone made a simularly stylish display, I'd probably go with a 3rd party option, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.
  11. curiosa863 macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2006
  12. ivan1234 macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2007
    I really like ACDs so I would say go for the apple display (I have a 30'')

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