External Monitors

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CentralFC, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. CentralFC macrumors member

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    Nov 5, 2011
    #1
    Hey guys, just purchased my first MacBook Pro and I absolutely love it. Things are much smoother on here and I couldn't be happier.

    However, going into college next year I'm looking for an external monitor. With that being said, I have little to no knowledge involving monitors, so if someone could point me in the right direction, it'd be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    Oct 21, 2008
    #2
    Depends on what you want and how much you're willing to spend.

    The Apple Thunderbolt display is an obvious choice, since it's a USB/Thunderbolt hub, provides power, etc. But, it is quite expensive. If you just want some extra space, Dell makes some good, inexpensive monitors. :)
     
  3. CentralFC thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Just saw that, but I'm only willing to pay around a few hundred, at the most.

    What would you go with?
     
  4. phyrexia macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I have a Samsung 2333T which I adore. It was only $150 or so.
     
  5. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    #5
    I just ordered one of these. It's not the fanciest monitor in the world, but on sale the price is hard to beat ($135 with a 10% off coupon code, which is easily found online).

    The big selling factor for me was that it's height adjustable. Most monitors in this price range aren't, and that's a deal-killer for me. So this was an obvious choice.

    Dell monitors have a pretty good reputation - at least their Ultrasharp models do. The "P" series aren't quite as good, but hopefully they're still decent. Mine hasn't shown up yet so I can't comment on real-world performance, but the reviews on Dell's site are pretty good. And for $135, I'm not expecting the world. :D
     
  6. infernohellion macrumors 6502

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    #6
    wondering about the same question. Is there any higher than 1080p resolution on third party external displays? Perhaps something equivalent to the Thunderbolt display but cheaper?
     
  7. pixor macrumors member

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    #7
    I've just bought a Dell U2711. It is apparently the same panel as the Apple one, but wider colour gamut, a matte finish to the screen, and much cheaper.

    The display looks great, and doesn't reflect horribly like the Apple one.
     
  8. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    #8

    They're quite hard to find now, but before 1920 x 1080 monitors became common, 1920 x 1200 was the norm.

    In terms of 2560 x 1440, Dell makes one, but it's not all that much cheaper than the Apple one unless you find it on sale for a good price.

    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd&sku=224-8284&redirect=1
     
  9. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    #9
    Nope, not really significantly cheaper anyway....
     
  10. CentralFC thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 5, 2011
    #10
    Thanks a lot! It's much appreciated.

    However, how do you connect the two? How does it work in general?
     
  11. CentralFC thread starter macrumors member

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  12. ottos macrumors member

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    Nov 11, 2010
    #12
    I am also looking for monitor for my 2010 mbp , for my needs the (16:9) wide screen 23'' Dell Ultra sharp
    seems to be good buy for the price, are dell monitors mac friendly.
     
  13. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

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    Nov 18, 2010
    #13
    Couple things to know about external monitors:
    Resolution - how many pixels can fit on your screen. So 1080p = 1920x1080, 2560x1600 = 4.096 million pixels, etc.

    Aspect ratio: the ratio of pixel width and pixel height. 1920x1080 has an aspect ratio of 16:9, 2560x1600 has 16:10 (8:5 if you wanna get mathematical), and the old 1280x1024 has 4:3.

    PPI (pixels per inch) - how densely packed each pixels are on the screen. So if it's a 1920x1080 27" monitor, it would be (sqrt(1920^2+1080^2))/27 = 81, which is pathetically low for a monitor. At 2560x1440 on a 27" screen you get 108, and 2560x1600 gets 112. You can see how big the difference is between 1080p and 1440p or 1600p.
    For future reference, the hi-res screen on a MacBook Pro 15" is around 128.6 ppi.

    Color gamut - how many colors your display can show. Yes, the screen you're staring at cannot display all of the colors of the rainbow (at least not accurately enough). A 100% NTSC gamut screen can show all colors of the NTSC spectrum. Here, a high color gamut is best, but it won't matter as much if you're not into graphics. A screen calibrator will improve any display's colors.

    TN/IPS, LED, etc. - technology behind the screen. TN is twisted nematic. Cheap, mass produced, less accurate colors. IPS is in-plane switching. Has better colors and viewing angles. LED backlit displays usually draw less power and have truer whites.

    Contrast - how big the difference is between blacks and whites. You probably know how this works.

    Brightness - self explanatory. However, a bright display usually corresponds to a one with low contrast.

    Refresh rate - how fast your display works. 60Hz means it can display 60 frames per second, and 120Hz can display 120 fps.

    Wattage - how much power your display draws. Lower, the better (obviously ;))


    Verdict: Either 27" display with 2560x1444/1600 resolution, or 21" with 1920x1080 resolution. 60Hz, good contrast & brightness, IPS if possible.
     
  14. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    #14
    You'll need an adapter. Apple makes one, but you can find them a lot cheaper from Monoprice. I've bought several adapters from Monoprice and they're just as good as the Apple ones and cost a lot less. IMO it's also worth picking up the VGA adapter, just in case you ever want to plug into a projector, TV set, etc. I leave one in my laptop bag for just such occasions. They also make a 3-in-1 version that does HDMI, DVI, and VGA... kind of neat, especially if you do lots of presentations etc.

    You can also just get a Mini-Display Port to DVI cable if you don't want to fuss with the adapter.

    Once you plug in the monitor... that's it. OSX automatically detects it and sets the resolution to the optimal setting. You can adjust resolution, extended vs. mirrored desktop, etc. and calibrate colours, but it should be good to go out of the box, so everything else is just tweaking.
     
  15. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

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    #15
    Now, if only the U2711 came with Thunderbolt...
     
  16. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    #16
    Brief update: my Dell monitor arrived today. It's a great piece of kit, especially for $135. Colours are good - not as good as you'd get from an IPS display, but perfectly acceptable for general use/word processing/etc. Unless you're doing graphics work, video editing, or watching a lot of movies/TV (or are just really anal about colour) I think you'll be happy with the colour.

    Biggest downside is probably lack of connectivity: only DVI and VGA, but I wasn't worried about that. Other downside is the two USB ports are on the side - good for easy access for usb keys, but ugly if you want to use it as a USB hub (which I don't).

    All in all, I doubt there's a better monitor out there for the on-sale price. Especially one that's height adjustable. At the regular price, I might buy something else, but at $135, it's a steal.

    It's on sale on Dell's website right now, and 10% coupon codes are easy to find online. :)
     
  17. Mr.Outside macrumors 6502

    Mr.Outside

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    #17
    I just ordered this it's supposed to be a really nice one. Should be here in a few days.
     
  18. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #18
    third party monitors are a better choice b\c they are significantly cheaper
     
  19. Sgt. Raven macrumors member

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    #19
    For a college dorm room you might want a monitor that has a TV tuner too. Then you could use it for both, although you couldn't use it as a monitor and watch TV at the same time.
     
  20. CentralFC thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    Stupid question, but what's the difference between the adapter and cable?
     
  21. Mr.Outside macrumors 6502

    Mr.Outside

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    #21
    You plug the cable into an adapter, you could get the cable that has two different ends so you dont need an adapter.
     
  22. Freyqq macrumors 68040

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    #22
    actually, a lot of them have a picture-in-picture feature, where about 1/8 of the screen would be the TV, and the rest would be the monitor.
     
  23. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

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    #23
    Bigger isn't necessarily better. You can end up with overly saturated ui elements. It works if it's well controlled. The larger the gamut, the larger the distance between colors. I'm not getting into the 10 bit discussion because it's commonly misunderstood, but wider gamut isn't necessarily better if they do a poor job on dithering. High contrast can also be bad if they obtain it via heavy handed sharpening algorithms. The point is you need to make a purchase decision based on the display itself rather than manufacturer spec data.

    Does the OP actually have any need for a thunderbolt interconnect?
     
  24. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

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    #24
    And that's why I suggested a calibrator.

    If he plans on plugging in stuff to the monitor, then yes, the Thunderbolt cable would help immensely by allowing for a much more comfortable and integrated docking experience.
     

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