Monitors, PCs, MACs. resn and connections

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bogart, May 2, 2008.

  1. bogart macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2008
    I'm running a PC laptop and am planning as soon as I made my mind up which model to get to migrate to MAC - either blackbook or MBP 15 inch.

    The PC laptop will continue running for some purposes so I was thinking that maybe I could get an external display now and use it with this laptop and later use it with the mac - they seem to be half or less of the price of mac external displays. I'm only interested in 20 inch, not larger - but enough to comfortably edit two pages side by side on either machine.

    Noting that the ratio of height to width in pixels is 1.6 on most mac display resolutions I look around for what monitor would suit mac and PC and here I get stuck because of not knowing how resolutions and monitors work and how they are negotiated between machine and monitor.

    My PC laptop has an

    ATI Mobility Radeo 9600

    and the display settings software tells me it can do the following in millions of colours.

    800 x 600
    1024 x 768
    1280 x 1024
    1400 x 1050
    1600 x 1200
    1792 x 1344
    1800 x 1440
    1920 x 1080
    1920 x 1200
    1920 x 1440
    2048 x 1536

    I don't know whether these modes are what the graphics hardware can do or are a property of some combination of what it can do and the actual display (LCD) properties (frequencies, pitches etc) - in other words, whether they would be different with a different monitor plugged in.

    I note also that only 1920 x 1200 has the 1.6 ratio and that this is higher than the typical 1680 x 1050 quoted as the maximum resolution for many widescreen monitors (and also the mac 20 inch cinema). I also note that 1680 x 1050 is not one of the ones I listed that my hardware says it can do.

    So how does this work - suppose I buy a non-mac widescreen display with max res 1680 x 1050 display - will the other resolutions listed here less than that (for example 1280 x 1024, 1400 x 1050) work on it or do they have to match precise resolutions the display can achieve ?

    Were I to buy say this

    Asus VW202S 20" Widescreen TFT Monitor

    or something similar, will I be able to run some of my current laptop's outoput modes with it and will I later be able to drive it with a mac at say 1680 x 1050 (its max resolution).

    Then there is the question of how to connect to it. I presume they all have DVI connectors now - is that right ? Can I get a VGA to DVI connector that would work with my PC now then later use some other connector with a mac ?

  2. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    LCDs typically runs best at native resolution for normal usage (some exception may include games where you trade off resolution for frame speed). 20" widescreen LCD typically are 1680x1050.

    Every single current Mac and recent can drive all 1680x1050 screens.

    Also, Macs auto-detects the display, no need to fumble for some key presses and sometimes restart that is required of windows.

    If you computer has VGA output, that does not work with DVI monitors that doesn't have VGA inputs.

    However, DVI outputs can be downgraded to VGA.

    All recent Macs have DVI outputs that connects to DVI and VGA.

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