Monitor recommendations?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Bedawyn, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. Bedawyn macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Would anyone like to share their wisdom regarding monitors? I need to buy one soon, but I've never been into that aspect of the hardware and always had all-in-ones or second-hand machines before. And now there's so many different brands and kinds out there that I don't even know where to start, especially since so much of the marketing and review material seems directed toward Windows gamers, whose needs I imagine are going to be pretty different from mine.

    Here's what I know I need:
    -- It needs to be compatible with the Mini I'll buy later this summer.
    -- Flat-screen, fairly small footprint
    -- At least 15 inches
    -- I'm willing to spend up to $1000.

    Here's what I really really want, but can live without if I have to:
    -- It should be compatible (by itself or with some kind of affordable adapter?) with an old PowerMac 7300.
    -- 17 inches, maybe up to 20 would be nice, but bigger than that would be too big.
    -- I'd like to spend no more than $750.
    -- Clean, simple lines, minimalist design. When I'm looking at the display, I want my attention on the content, not on the monitor itself.

    Here's what I would also like to have, but isn't on the priority list:
    -- I'd like it to be compatible with whatever the next computer I buy will be, which is almost certainly going to be a tablet.
    -- Pivotable, so I can use it portrait style.

    I'm not thrilled with the widescreen monitors, but am resigned to the idea that we're probably going to be forced into them in the future, since everyone's putting out software now with palettes and drawers that require more horizontal screen space. Once I have the Mini, I'll probably watch movies on it now and then, but I don't even own a DVD player now, so that tells you just how important movies are to me. The only gaming I do is Sims and MU*s.

    On the other hand, clear and readable screen fonts are very important to me. My eyesight is blurry enough on its own, so I really appreciate a clear, crisp picture. But -- and this is a big but -- nothing drives me crazier than software that only supports higher resolutions, which smaller monitors may be "physiologically" capable of displaying but only by making all the fonts and icons tiny. The best, highest resolutions in the world are useless to me, if the GUI elements are too small to use comfortably. My office computer has 1280 by 1024 on a 19-inch (I think?) Dell, and that's about as small as I can handle, and that's using large fonts. So unless Tiger finally gives us back the ability to choose our own system fonts and sizes and improves the anti-aliasing (or allows us to turn it off completely), I'm _really_ hesitant about going to any of the "modern" higher resolutions.

    I'm also used to Apple prices, so although I don't want to pay them this time, everytime I see something priced below $700, I automatically worry about the quality, and I don't know enough about AV companies to know which produce good hardware and which don't. The company names that are unfamiliar to me I don't trust because they're unfamiliar, and the company names that are familiar to me I don't trust because for non-computer media electronics, I've always bought the cheapo-only-used-occassionally versions.

    Any recommendations? I really don't know where to start. Everytime I try to look at the possibilities online, I end up eek!ing at all the options.
  2. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    How about a 20.1" widescreen LCD, same model as Apple's (but different backlight), reviewed (here and on review sites) as being among the best, for just $400-$500 brand new--WITH portrait rotation, video inputs for TV/VCR, picture-in-picture, AND both DVI and VGA connections. So you can hook your old machine to VGA, your Mini to DVI, and switch between then with one button, or even view both side-by-side.

    Only downside: a Dell logo :)

    I'm 99% sold on the Dell 2005FPW--which there are frequent discounts and coupon codes for, in both the home and small-business areas of (you can shop both). That brings the brice below $450 at times. I've even heard if it as low as $350 if you play the coupon game: Dell changes its discounts and deals daily.

    Having shopped around, I know why people recommend Dell LCDs: good quality, full-featured, and LOW price! They have a big 24" one you can get for a little over $1000, and also smaller (non-wide) 17" and 19" ones that you can get very cheap.

    If you want non-widescreen, Tiger can rotate the display to portrait. Or get that 19"--it's the same 1280x1024 as the 17", but with bigger pixels. I know what you mean about tiny fonts. (The 20.1" is 1680x1050.)

    DPI comparison (smaller DPI means BIGGER fonts/menus):

    20.1" widescreen (or tallscreen!) = 99 DPI
    17" non-wide = 96 DPI
    19" non-wide = 85 DPI (BIG pixels--too big?)

    Playing the Dell discount game is annoying, but it can pay off. Try these links--or do what I did and just call Dell: they may have a special ready to tell you about (today: $440 at the small business store).

    I can't vouch for those sites, but a coupon code's a coupon code! Codes expire quickly, but I THINK you know that when you try to order, so you can still back out.

    It's possible your old PM will need a Mac-to-VGA adapter (cheap). I don't remember when Apple started using regular VGA.
  3. eleveneastgate macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2005
    Gateway FPD1530 15" LCD

    I purchased:

    Gateway FPD1530 15" LCD

    from eBay for $300 shipped a few months back for my Mini. I've had no problems with it so far, ;)

    Good luck!
  4. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Jul 23, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    You got ripped...
  5. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
  6. acedickson macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2004
    Maybe they're not cheaper. Maybe they're just less expensive, lol. I have a friend that has a 2405FPW and it's beautiful. Personally, I'm looking towards the 2005FPW.
  7. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Yes, I meant cheaper in the good way :)

    Although they certainly do LOOK cheap compared to Apple's displays... but the image is good, so you have to ask what you're willing to pay for style. I'm willing to pay about $25 less than Apple's cost :D Which means it would be worth it bought WITH a laptop, so that AppleCare automatically covers the display too. Otherwise not.

    EDIT: Dell has other displays too, besides the ones I looked into. They have 15" LCDs, and a big 24" one, and I think they have a 20" NON-widescreen too.
  8. GanChan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2005
    I bought a 15" hp Pavilion monitor to go with my Mini. $199 at Fry's, $150 after mail-in rebate. Came with a little pair of speakers.
  9. Bedawyn thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Thanks for the replies, guys. It's almost suspicious how many people (not just in this thread) are recommending the Dell FPWs, but I'm not quite convinced yet, partly because it's Dell, partly because a widescreen wouldn't be my first choice. Anyone know anything about Viewsonic? Some of their X series are nasty looking, but others look like they'd do the job.
  10. _DsK_ macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2005
    London (West), England
    Nothing wrong with the Dell screens themselves, to be totally honest i was rather suspicious about it at first, Dell isnt my first choice for PCs, let alone for a screen.

    How about the Dell 2001, 20" screen with a 1600 x 1200 res, although persoally id go for the widescreen option, makes great for TV and DVD viewing, not to mention being able to view multiple documents side by side! :D
  11. Hattig macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2003
    London, UK
    The Dell monitors seem to be the best value, and reasonably good into the bargain. Look at the monitor reviews section on Anandtech. The 19" 1905FP seems to be a particularly good deal at the moment and will fit in with your requirements for a monitor.

    At home I have an AG Neovo F419 19" display, I've liked it so far, and it is still working great after a lot of use over 19 months. But now I'd still got for the Dell, probably a 2005FPW at the moment but the 1905FP would do in an emergency.

    But yes, you do lose the style of the Apple Cinema Displays, you've just got to weigh up the pros and cons of both.
  12. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Jan 17, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    The Dell's are good values / good performers right now. I wouldn't be suspicious. compares the Apple 23" for $1500 and the Dell 24" - $995 as of yesterday on the Dell site (with a PM, one could buy TWO for $500 more than a single 23" Apple display) - and found that the Dell has a panel that is a better technical performer (brighter, faster pixle response, etc.), which makes the value stand out that much more. It also has component video inputs and picture-in-picture capability. ... also rotates left to right, and goes up 7" from it's low position - and at that point can rotate into a disturbingly large portrait display. has a new review of the 24" on their sight - they have some additional pictures and a little video that shows the adjustability. That review is also very good. Not the prettiest, but not the worst looking. The value is the compelling thing.

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