ibook + monitor - is it practical?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by lion, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. lion macrumors newbie

    May 29, 2005
    Does anyone here uses an ibook with an external monitor?

    After reading lots of comparisons between the ibook 12" and 14" monitors, I'm thinking of buying a 12" ibook as my main and only computer + an external monitor. I'm wondering how practical is it going to be as i'll be using the external monitor everytime i'm at home.

    I'm going to use my laptop for word processing, internet, light webediting, and DVDs.

    Do you think it's a convenient option? Have you had any problems with the laptop heating up or slowing down, etc..

    And if you have a photo of your ibook connected to monitor..can you please post it.

    Thank you very much.
  2. shadowmoses macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2005
    Dont have a pic but i have before connected an iBook to my 17" monitor, and it is not very good. It works fine but the resolution is quite dismal. If a low resolution doesnt bother you then it is fine but otherwise its output just isnt great.

    ShadOW :p
  3. ATRAX macrumors newbie


    May 17, 2005
    You could always get the iBook version without a monitor and keyboard aka "Mac Mini". :) Mine looks great at 1280 x 960.
  4. zach macrumors 65816


    Feb 14, 2003
    That's because you're mirroring the monitor.

    If you want to drive an external monitor at any sort of decent resolution, you need this.

    With that installed, however, your iBook should drive a monitor just fine.
  5. reh macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2003
    I've been using my iBook with an external display, keyboard, and mouse a bit recently. I find it to be fairly handy. Although I haven't bothered with the screen-spaning hack yet, that could make it even more useful.
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Just to expound slightly on what Zach said....

    If you mirror -- without hacking, the only thing an iBook can do -- then the external display will always run at 1024x768 (or less, if you should set both displays lower for some reason). If you use an external display such as a >15" LCD that has a native resolution that is larger than 1024x768, this will probably result in an unsatisfactory viewing experience. If you use a small LCD display that has native 1024x768, the iBook will look as good on that display as any other computer would. *However* the external display will not have any more pixels than the iBook display. It will just be brighter and larger.

    If you span -- using the hack -- then half of the iBook's video memory will be devoted to the external display and the other half to the internal display. The two displays can run at different resolutions, and you will be probably be able to drive a modestly higher resolution (like 1280x1024, which is standard for most LCDs up to and including 19") with good results. However, since the video memory is split, you may notice degradation in Exposé or other video effects. Your notebook will probably also run slightly warmer, and the fans may run more frequently, because the video card will be working harder. It probably should not have any long-term adverse consequences for your iBook, but it may be unsatisfactory...depends a lot on the rest of your usage profile. Were I already pushing it hard enough that the fans come on occasionally, and this makes the fans come on a lot, I could imagine being driven crazy by it. :(

    Hope that helps. :)
  7. joecool85 macrumors 65816


    Mar 9, 2005
    That sounds like a lot of work for an iBook...My PB can do that without any hacks. I know, because I do it.
  8. Studawg7 macrumors regular

    May 15, 2004
    Cville, VA
    using an external monitor with an ibook is very easy, not hard at all. as long as you dont want a higher resolution on the external monitor than what you already have, everything is great. if you want a higher resolution on the ext. monitor, apply the hack. it is easy to install and then very easy to change the resolution for the ext monitor. i havent noticed any real heat issues while driving my 19" lcd, but then again i dont use it that often or for any extended length of time, like days.
  9. Krasnall macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2005
    Poland (yeah, that's Europe)
    Is the 32 MB VRAM enough for the hack (and 1280x1024)? I want to use my iBook for some Photoshop and the larger screen would be very useful - but will it be fast enough?
  10. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina

    Fast enough is a matter of opinion. I don't think the hack itself is going to affect photoshop much one way or another. Where you'd really see it is with visual effects like expose.

    But if you're working with gigantic (40 MB plus) photoshop files you will likely want a more powerful Mac.
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Pssst...no computer that uses the "hack" has more than 32MB of VRAM...all the ones with >32MB VRAM have this feature enabled without a hack. ;)

    But to echo Wordmunger, it really depends on all the things you do that take up more VRAM...using something like Desktop manager to have more screens, having more windows open simultaneously, dashboard.... And then of course stuff like iPhoto and Photoshop can be very demanding on the video card.

    For normal office stuff, you'll probably be fine, though.
  12. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2004
    The Alpha Quadrant
    I use my 14" 1GHZ iBook with the screen spanning hack as my main computer at work and at home. At work it drives a 21" monitor at 1280x1024 with no problem; it goes higher, I just don't like it too terribly high with that particular monitor :p I'm a web designer/developer and use photoshop on a daily basis and haven't had any frustration due to it being slow--everything works great. Expose/Dashboard are a *little* sluggish but definitely not much or anything to get in a tizzy about.

    If you have the $$ you may want to get a pBook instead and not have to worry about the hack. However, being a cash-strapped student, I didn't have the money for a pBook and got a maxed-out ibook instead and it's served me well. I doubt you'll have any complaints unless you're a truly hardcore photoshop user, in which case you should have a better computer anyway.

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