Future proofing, a which monitor ??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TuiSong, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. TuiSong macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Location:
    Petone, New Zealand
    #1
    I'm not the type of person who buys the latest tech and then sells it every year or every other year to fund the next latest tech purchase. So please bear that in mind when making a recommendation. I probably buy a new computer every three to four years on average, but we have a family of five users in the household so I expect to have usability for at least 8 years to varying degrees. Current example of this is the 17" flat screen G4 that my son runs in the bedroom for music and dvd watching, it's practically useless as a computer now and barely loads up any flash or video content online, but the screen is still bright and has no dead pixels and it runs dvds and music just great.

    So I'm in a position now where my current iMac is having a few HD issues, it's a 20" white intel core duo and getting on for five years old, and can't run lion. it's served me well and I intend to have a go at putting in a new HD once I get my new setup running, which brings me to my question about future proofing, I like my stuff to be usable for a very long time and I really hate when parts remain usable and other bits don't. For that reason I decided to make my next computer a mac mini upgraded to the i7 and will upgrade ram to 8gb once I get it here. I figure seperate display and computer will serve my needs/wants better.

    So the question I wanted to ask is, will I absolutely need to get a thunderbolt display to ensure me long term use from my monitor? the second hand market in NZ isn't that great because there just aren't as many people out there looking to buy, so buying and selling to upgrade isn't an option that makes financial sense. Apple have shown in the past that they can be extremely ruthless at cutting out dying technology, they tend to opt for the cold turkey method rather than the gentle weaning that other manufacturers err towards. So when it comes time to replace my new mac mini in four years time, will I find that -not- going with a thunderbolt capable monitor now will mean I am stuck with having to buy a new one because apple have decided to remove all other connectivity from the mini?

    I'm looking at the 27" dell, it's matt which is a bonus as I am wanting to use the computer in our family room for watching movies as well. I'm thinking glossy screen isn't ideal for this? (correct me if I have made a wrong assumption) My part time work involves a lot of fiddling about with maps and pdfs and I do have dreams of taking my photography hobby to the next level, so for that reason I believe the glossy screen of the ATD is a good thing?

    The other reason I would lean towards the dell is that it is a lot cheaper here in NZ. The dell is $1249 NZ vs the ATD at $1649 NZ. If I convert the US prices ($949 dell, $999 ATD) they come in at $1232nz and $1287. So the dell wins on actually being comparable in worldwide market pricing. (why the price hike for NZ market apple?)

    But the big question comes down to which monitor will actually work for me in the long term. Anyone here have access to a crystal ball?
     
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #2
    I'm not totally sure that future proofing is too much of an issue with monitors, however, I think the Dell would probably be closer to that goal. It has more inputs, which is especially beneficial, since the only computers that will work with the apple display are the latest Macs. In fact, the thunderbolt display might actually be a hindrance, due to its very limited compatibility and the fact that apple feels it necessary to make anything that they produce completely obsolete in 5 years. It may look nice and have thunderbolt capability, but that's about it. The Dell is much more versatile (can hook up to any computer you like, and I believe even DVD players, game consoles, etc.) and cheaper, so I would say it's easily the better buy.

    EDIT - I just saw another part of the question. There is no need to worry about the computer not being able to support anything other than a thunderbolt capable display, since thunderbolt provides the same video output (DisplayPort) that the previous connection, Mini DisplayPort, did, with the same connector. For the dell, all you'll need is a miniDisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, and you'll be set to hook it up to your computer. I believe the monitor supports HDMI as well, however, that is better left for things other than your computer, as HDMI will not support the full resolution of the monitor.
     
  3. TuiSong thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Location:
    Petone, New Zealand
    #3
    This is the reason why I am asking the question about thunderbolt. I don't like any other computers aside from mac. I started work many centuries (decades) ago and worked as a typographer, during my time we switched from cold type setting using a great monster of a machine that required punch tape to be fed into it, to using macs and I was hooked. I bought my first lime iMac with my redundancy check.. yeah the new macs we got trained up on wiped out most of our department and suddenly being a tradesperson with 3 years apprenticeship behind you meant nothing, but I don't hold it against apple.

    Anyways the thing is I have no desire to use anything other than a mac, I won an HP netbook last year in some competition, we got it out of the box pushed a few buttons and tried getting it connected to our network and I gave up after 30 minutes, put it back in the box and mailed it up to my mother who uses an ancient windows PC (she hasn't actually adapted over to using it yet either as no internal modem means she has to upgrade her internet to broadband.. argh!)

    What I don't want is to be finding myself in a position in four years time where I can't run a new mac on the dell screen because thunderbolt has become the standard and the only type of connection the future macs will have
     
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #4
    I mentioned in my edit that that really isn't anything to worry about. The newest MacBook Pros, Airs, and iMacs all only have video out via thunderbolt, and they can connect to the dell with an adapter. All you need is a miniDisplayPort to DisplayPort cable (male to male). You plug the mini end into the thunderbolt port on the mini (it's the same connector as thunderbolt) and the bigger end into the display, and it's set up.
     
  5. TuiSong thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Location:
    Petone, New Zealand
    #5
    Ahh I think I get you now. I was thinking that the thunderbolt and other standard ports were different slots. Just had another look at the back and it only has the hdmi and thunderbolt. So even if apple cut the hdmi out and limited it to only thunderbolt it will still work with non thunderbolt display

    I blame the lack of starbucks within walking distance for my slowed comprehension

    ETA: So am I right in thinking that movie viewing will be easier on a matt screen? just that the only glossy screen things we have in the house are the ipods, ipads and the 13" macbook and none of them are really a great test for movie watching due to size, all our tv's and the larger macs are matte. Movie viewing will probably make up for a third of the use
     

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