Apple Cinema Displays vs. other brands? + Display quality rant

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Doc69, May 3, 2008.

  1. Doc69 macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    I've had a 23" polycarbonate Apple Cinema Display for a few years now that I've been extremely happy with. I now need a big six monitor-array for stock trading and have been doing lots of research.

    First I wanted to determine what size to get. 22" seemed perfect until I discovered that the highest resolution for most 22" is only 1680x1050, the same resolution as most 20". I had hoped that by now, since they can make 20" displays with 1680x1050 cheaply, that they would make 22" with 1920x1200. Not so. I don't want bigger pixels, I want more pixels per inch. Heck, even my MacBook Pro has 1680x1040 on a 17" screen and is available with a 1920x1600 screen! Surely they could make a 22" or even a 20" with 1920x1200?

    As I wanted 1920x1200, I decided to go with 24", as there were almost no 23"s to be found, apart from Apple. The slightly larger dot pitch worried me a bit, but I figured it wouldn't matter too much. Why all manufacturers are going 24" with a lower PPI than the 23"s is a mystery to me. And especially why there are no 20" or 22" at 1920x1200 (except for the 22" L220x from Lenovo).

    After looking for a monitor with HDCP, 178/178 viewing angle, and not being a TN display (which I read bad things about), I decided to go with the Samsung 245T, paying twice as much ($680) as for the cheaper 2253BW ($310). I thought that by paying up, I would definitely get a great display. I also considered Dell, but the Samsung got better reviews.

    Then yesterday I received and connected my new 245T displays. And I was quite shocked. Whereas my Apple Displays are "calm" to look at, yet very sharp, and have accurate colors, the Samsungs were super bright, had a strange color cast and were not very sharp at all. After playing around with the settings the picture got a little better, but in order not to "burn" my eyes, I had to turn down the brightness all the way! Unfortunately it seems that the sharpness of the display is somehow connected with the brightness. When you turn down the brighness, the display gets less sharp. And after staring at the Samsungs the whole day today, I realize that there is something going on with the lighting that makes my eyes hurt. This was not the case with the Apple display. And when you stare at a screen for over 10h a day, you can't have a display that is straining on your eyes.

    I know that in flat-screen TV land there is a quest for higher contrast and more brightness. That now seems to have spilled over into computer displays as well. Why would I need this insane brightness in a computer monitor when I'm sitting 20 inches away? I think my old ACD had only 200 cd/m2 brightness and 1:350 contrast, and that was plenty. Actually, the picture quality when watching DVDs are better on the Apple display! I don't get it. How can that be when the Samsung has faster response time, higher contrast and more brightness???? Maybe it's because the pixels are bigger, but the Samsung definitely has more grain, more motion blur and a strange contrast when watching DVDs.

    What are your experiences with LCD displays? And can anyone recommend a display that has great sharpness and doesn't strain your eyes? I'm thinking about the Apple Cinema Displays but are they worth the price? My first choice was to get six monitors for stock trading that also worked well for games and movies, had HDCP and a great viewing angle. I now may settle for a display that "just" does computing (text is easy to read) very well, and leave the movie watching for my TV. I could also go down in size to 20" at 1680x1050 or get a 22" like the Lenovo L220x that has 1900x1200.

    Any input or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  2. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    A good number of computer LCD panels are based on - or even use - television LCD panels. This is why the price of widescreen computer displays using LCD panels is dropping so quickly compared to those that use 4:3 LCD panels - the raw volume of widescreen panels being produced is much greater since they go into both the computer and television market.

    The 23" ACD launched in 2002. We don't know how many panels Apple purchased so it may be a case that they are still reducing their stock which is why they have not yet moved to a 24" S-IPS panel. They also may be waiting for the price of LED-backlit S-IPS panels to drop - the new Samsung models are extremely expensive - before they release a new line of ACDs.

    The virtues of S-IPS panels are sung quite vociferously on MacRumors, but it is not really as clear-cut a case of "if it is not S-IPS then it sucks" as some proclaim.

    My iMac 24" has an S-IPS display and I love it. But I also spend eight hours a day staring at two HP LP2465 24" S-PVA monitors and they look great to me, as well.
  3. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    In my opinion, disregarding the price, Apple Cinema Displays are of very good quality. Apple uses high quality panels in these products (lets not talk about the 20" iMac display). Yes, they are expensive. Yes, they lack many (ok, most) features other displays do for half the cost. But, as you've discovered, image quality is top notch.

    I have seen some 19" displays running at 1680x1050, a resolution more typically found in 20" and 22" displays. Not sure if this will help you that much, though. And I cannot comment on quality - I think they were Westinghouse displays I noticed at Best Buy a week or so ago. Dell sells a 17" 1440x900 display, a resolution more typical for 19" displays. Again, I cannot comment on quality.
  4. roblin macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2007
    I have one 30" ACD and one 245T... it was really hard to configure them to look similar. the 245T looks blueish white, is way to bright, gets gray when you lower the brightness etc. spent like 20mins calibrating but still not happy with the results.

    I regret the decision to buy one, should have gotten one more 30" ACD... maybe I'll sell the 245T....
  5. a priori macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2008
    This won't be very helpful for you, but I had exactly the same issues you had with your Samsungs with a paid of Gateway FHD 2400s that I got 5 months ago for my Mac Pro. It really hit home when I subsequently picked up a Macbook Pro and placed it side-by-side with my Gateways.

    My Gateways have been replaced with a pair of 23" ACDs in the past 3 weeks.
  6. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    Yes. Sad to say, but Samsung utilize poorer quality
    photons. These go floppy at lower energy levels, so
    leading to a perceived lack of sharpness.
  7. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    EIZO ColorEdge CG221 is 22.2" and 1920x1200.

    Be ready to pay for the privilege.
  8. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
  9. ronin4848 macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2008
    Rookie set-up

    No offense, but your set-up is overkill and amateurish. Studies have shown that there's is no way to keep track of what's going on with 6 monitors set-up horizontally. Even setting them up 2 high and 3 across is overkill. If you can return your Samsungs I have a suggestion.

    All you really need are two 30" ACDs. They have roughly twice the pixels of a single one of your Samsungs. And you can then sell two of your three graphics cards. You'll save a ton of money and have much better image quality.

    If you insist that for some reason you absolutely need more than 12 million pixels of real estate, just add a third 30" ACD later. This would roughly equal (pixel-wise) 6 Sammy 245s, take up less horizontal desk real estate (and would, therefore, be easier/faster to follow), and would have vastly superior image quality. It would also require only two graphics cards instead of 3. Price for 2 graphics cards and 3 30" ACDs is about what 6 Sammy 245s and 3 graphics cards cost.

    When you decide to get really serious about trading, you should do what I did and get a Bloomberg box.

    Good luck.
  10. jragosta macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2004
    It's a matter of using the right tools for the job. Get a calibration device that reads the output from your monitor directly and calibrates it.
  11. tugger macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2005
    I had a similar experience when my 20" Apple Cinema display went belly up a few months back. I replaced it with a Samsung SyncMaster 206bw (20", 1680x1050) for 40% of the cost of a new ACD. After fiddling with it for a month, I still couldn't get it to look like the ACD. Colors looked too vivid and the brightness was annoying. It was running on a PM G5 with the Radeon x800XT.

    When my PM G5 died one month later, I got a MP 2008 with the stock Radeon 2600 card. Same garish colors and annoying brightness. Then I put an nVidia 8800GT into the MP and the image improved a lot. It almost seems like I'm looking at the ACD again. Not exactly the same easy-on-the-eyes quality of the ACD, but pretty darn close. Or maybe I just adapted.

    Anyway, the blinding headaches are gone and my neurosurgeon tells me there was no permanent damage from the experience. :eek:
  12. Doc69 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    Thanks guys for all your helpful replies. Based on similar experiences by roblin and Infrared, I have decided to return the 245Ts. Luckily I only bought two so far. The main reason for the return is that turning down brightness to a comfortable level is affecting color and sharpness, making white appear gray. This is unacceptable to me. If you can stand the strong brightness, I guess the 245T would be OK. But I need a display that will be both sharp and produce normal colors even when set to a low brightness. Another big minus with the 245T was the high-gloss black bezel. It is really reflective and quite distracting as I have a lot of lights in my office. I knew that the 2253BWs were high-gloss, but all the photos I've seen of the 245T looked matte. Perhaps they changed that recently?

    Thank you for the tips on two 30" ACD. I had been thinking about that alternative as well. However, I previously decided not to go with that setup because I don't like to sit in between two monitors. That's why I've always had three, so I could sit directly in front of one. I've also noticed that the 30" emits a tremendous amount of heat. So much even that it bothered me when I sat front of one. Living in LA I don't need more heat! :) What's your experiences with the 30" in this regard? Should I rethink it?

    By the way, I saw the LED backlit Samsung XL30 at CES, and it was cool as a cucumber (and had great PQ and colors). But of course, it's out of my price range. I've been thinking about the XL 24 though to use as my main monitor for my regular computer work.

    So, do you guys have any suggestions for 20" or 22" displays that are sharp, don't strain your eyes, have quite accurate colors without being extremely bright? Also, the higher the resolution, the better. And the cheaper the better. I think I'm going to have to separate my trading setup from my regular work setup as the trading monitors need not be of the same quality as a main work monitor (as long as my criteria are met). Around $250 a piece would be ideal, then I would have money left over for a super-great main monitor, like the XL24 or an Apple 30" display.

    Also, does anyone know why the 245T has more motion blur, when watching DVDs that the old 23" Apple?

    And if someone could give the lowdown on the advantages/disadvantages of the various forms of LCD displays, i.e. TN, S-IPS, S-PVA etc., that would be great too.
  13. Doc69 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    I did not get offended. I understand where you're coming from. I agree that six 24" will be too much. I realize that now when I have two of them here. However, I don't agree that six monitors are too many, if they're 20" or 22". Obviously I wouldn't set them up horizontally or even look at all of them simultaneously. Arranging them in two rows of three, I would have my level II, order window and TICK/TRIN indicators on the main screen in front of me. The other five would have charts, news feed and CNBC. On the lower row I would have charts of what I'm trading, at different time frames, and the main indices and e-minis. The upper row would have charts of stocks I want to keep man eye on, but not necessarily look at every five seconds. Whatever displays I end up buying, I will go with 20" or 22". If you want to tell me more about the Bloomberg terminal and how it as improved your trading, that would be great. Good luck with your trading!
  14. Doc69 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    I too remember when the High-Resolution VP2290b it came out in 2004. It had over 200 pixels per inch, twice that of most monitors today. I had hoped that this would start a trend of affordable displays with higher PPI. It seems the trend went the other way instead (24" instead of 23" with 1920x1200). I really love my 17" MacBook Pro display (1680x1050). It has a PPI of 117 (23" ACD has a PPI of 98). I use the MacBook Pro for most of my web reading as it is a very comfortable display to look at for long hours. And because of the higher pixel density, text appear very sharp. It's very hard to go back and read on a display with lower PPI after that!

    The EIZOs are great, but it comes at a price...
  15. Infrared macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    I'd like to see Apple go with more ppi. Some people coming over
    from Windows don't like the font rendering under OS X, claiming
    it's fuzzy. I don't happen to mind it myself, but moving to higher
    ppi displays would allow for more subtle anti-aliasing assuming
    resolution independence is used (otherwise the text just gets
    smaller on menus etc.)

    There's a table on this page with listings of ACDs over the years
    and their ppi numbers:

    There hasn't been much improvement at all since 1999, and the
    values seem stuck in the 98-102 ppi range.
  16. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
  17. ajn946 macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2008
    Off topic but, may I ask how the terminal is? I have never had the opportunity to use one, so how does it fair against others you have had experience with?

    In regards to the displays, I use 2x23 + 1x30 for trading and analysis. In all seriousness, the useability of 6 displays is rather limited. However, if it conducive to your trading then of course that is fine. I can highly recommend apples displays.
  18. VSTscalper macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2008
    I have been day trading for almost 12 years now....and I also teach trading. I have a MacBook Pro 17" running a 22" Samsung. I believe 6 monitors is way too many monitors to look at. Even worse feeds and especially watching CNBC during will more than likely lose money. The problem is....too much information can be as bad or worse than not having enough information. You a very short period of time....overpower your ability to make good trading decisions. I say this because it happens to most traders....including myself many years ago.

    If you insist on using the is chart called Data Based Indicators for Trading....that I put together many years ago. I no longer use it is not needed. the displays. Another alternative to dual or triple 30" displays would be....go with dual or triple 24" iMacs....just the base 24". You would have the 1920 by 1200 pixels as talked about earlier. You would give up a some size with the display....but you have more processing power....which can be tied together with Xgrid. You would have a mini-supercomputer. This could be useful if you are doing backtesting....strategy backtesting can take a lot of cpu power. Of also depends on what charting_trading platform you are using. The base 24" the same price as the 30" display. If you ever have a computer go still have the other iMac's. While I haven't looked it up....I doubt the iMac would take more power than the 30" displays. Also....I believe you could run an extra the iMac if you wanted to at some point.

    Bloomberg would be overkill for you....especially if you are new to trading.

    Good trading to you.


    Attached Files:

  19. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    For what its worth, I bought my wife an Apple 20" display on Saturday... Simply gorgeous picture quality. Wow. Crystal clear text, excellent whites, vivid colors and not harshly bright (she seems to like it at about 80% brightness). She's been commenting for the past 24 hrs on how nice it looks.

    Its connected to a dual 2.5GHz G5 at the moment, soon to be replaced by a Mac mini.
  20. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    6 monitors for stock trading? What/where do you trade? I trade options/futures/equities and never had a need for more than 4x 20.1" monitors. Not saying it isn't necessary, but I'm curious what you have on there?

    EDIT: Doh! Brain freeze. My colleague and I share an additional tri-screen setup for Bloomberg/Thompson-One data, news, financial TV and charting... and we've asked for an additional monitor for it to boot. Still though - if it's just for stock trading, and you're not a "pro" (Pro; as in an employed professional trader with access to supplemental & enormously expensive trading and research tools (mostly research tools) that give advantages to trading firms and brokerages), 6 will be overkill. A single person couldn't possibly keep their eye on it all. We have it all, and use some of it sparingly. If Bloomberg didn't require we use their provided "terminal" & secure network, I'd probably prefer it be installed on either of the other workstations, and minimized.
  21. ajn946 macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2008
    May I ask how the bloomberg functions in comparison to other systems/platforms you have used?
  22. OZMP macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2008
    you have PM RE: samsung, a dude i know hates em, his reasoning is in the PM, a sample:

    [snip]HP 3065 30" S-IPS
    This uses the same LCD as both the Dell 3007WFP-HC and the Apple 30" Cinema HD.

    It however has both better contrast/viewing angles than the WFP-HC and also much better input delay than the Apple 30".
    The Samsung 305T is just a plain waste of space [snip]
  23. scottydawg macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    Have you looked at the NEC 2490 or 2690? H-IPS and can be ordered with a hardware calibration kit (Spectraview).
  24. Doc69 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    I trade mainly stocks and four monitors would be enough for me as well. It's just that I don't like to sit in the middle of two screens. So it's either one row of three bigger ones or two rows of six smaller ones. Six smaller one's will give roughly the same area as four bigger ones, and as monitors are cheap these days, I figure I may as well go with six.
  25. Doc69 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    These monitors look great, but are over $1000 each. I prefer to spend less than $500 each. Preferably $300.

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