Early vs Late 20" Apple Cinema Display (June 2004 vs August 2006)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mike5411, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. mike5411 macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2008
    Hey everyone,

    I currently own a mid 2009 mbp. I used to own a beautiful 24" ACD, but then I ended up selling it since it was just too big at the time. However now times have changed and I would love to have a larger screen again!

    I toyed with the idea of buying a 27" ACD, but then I would feel someone like a fool since the 27" ACD have already been superseded by the Thunderbolt Cinema Display. Even though I am not buying a new mac now, I figure my next one in the future will have thunderbolt, so I might as well hold out on the ATD until my computer is completely compatible.

    Therefore this brings me to my question. There is a 20" ACD on Craigslist. It is listed for $150 but I think I can talk the seller down a little bit more. However, it's date of production was in 2005 which means it is the revision from June 2004 with 250cd/m2 brightness and 400:1 contrast ratio versus the later revision in 2006 with 300cd/m2 brightness and 700:1 contrast ratio.

    Visually, is there a difference between two two monitors when it comes to day to day activities? Do you think I will notice and difference and be dissatisfied with the older revision. Furthermore since I have owned an 24" ACD in the past, will I be satisfied with an older ACD such as this one.

    Thanks for the help!
  2. peskaa macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2008
    London, UK
    I ran the two 20" revisions side by side for a while, and the brightness change was basically equivalent to one extra 'notch' - but running in isolation, you wouldn't notice any difference.

    The big issue with buying the older ACDs is that they go yellow over time, and some exhibit pink fringing round the edges - make sure you test before purchase.

    I still have a 23" ACD from 2006 in daily use on my PC - and it's a great screen.
  3. Lennyvalentin macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2011
    The ACD hasn't been superceded by the ATD; they both use the exact same LCD panel and pretty much the exact same LED lighting system too. Performance for the two displays is nearly indistinguishable without pulling out a color meter, and even so the differences are quite minor according to Anandtech's review. The ACD is even a tad brighter and has slightly better color accuracy, although that may be random variation in the production run.

    As for buying older monitors, I'd be wary of buying something as old as a 2004 model. That's very VERY old for a monitor, and the CCFL backlight tubes are sure to be near-shot if it's been used a lot, or at least significantly aged. Even a 2006 model is roughly half a decade old by now and the CCFLs may be very worn indeed. Brightness and contrast will be way down compared to a new monitor, and color reproduction will be much worse too.

    Maybe you can get the CCFLs and inverters replaced, but it's a big costly job if it's at all feasible. Better to just buy a new screen, and get much higher performance out of it too. Modern cheap-ish LED IPS displays spank old screens from 2004 or 2006 in every respect, and they're not nearly as expensive as they used to as long as you stick to 21 or 24" screen size.
  4. mike5411 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2008
    Thanks for your reply - this was the type of response I was looking for!

    Thank you for your answer. While buying such an older monitor did cross my mine, your post helped me realize how much I should consider it. 2005 was a long time ago.

    Furthermore, thanks for the input on the ACD. I suppose I used the word superceded since I didn't want to say the ATD replaced the ACD, since they both still exist in the online Apple Store. I guess my true reservation about the ACD is that it is the same price as the ATD and I would probably end up keeping the monitor longer than my current computer. I suppose I wouldn't feel as good about my $1,000 purchase of the ACD knowing that it wouldn't have the thunderbolt features on my next computer, even thought in reality I will probably never utilize those features.

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