My Convoluted Display Decision

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Apple Corps, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. Apple Corps macrumors 68030

    Apr 26, 2003
    Simply sharing my experience and decision process - your mileage may vary :D

    Been running a well loaded Mac Pro 1,1 driving two 20" Apple Cinema Displays for three years now. Rock solid performer and well pleased with the displays.

    A family member was going on vacation and allowed me to use their new 27" iMac (i7) that was purchased in January I think.

    First reaction was to the impressive display size & resolution - a lot more detail in my photographs - WOW.

    Easy decision - time to upgrade to a larger and higher resolution screen. The iMac looks like a no brainer - get a 27" display with a free computer attached.

    But the display is what I'm really after - so I arrange to get a new 30" Apple Cinema Display to compare side by side to the iMac. I have been a matte screen person for many years - but I actually gave the nod to the iMac screen. No flickering, very very little yellowing, no dead pixels, minor reflection in a well light controlled room, and slightly more vivid imagery. The 30" ACD was impressive, but did have a minor "granularity" associated with the matte finish. It was most noticeable on uniform expanses (calm pond surface, building siding, etc.) even though all the detail was there. There was very slight yellowing on the 30" ACD as well.

    So, getting ready to order the 27" iMac. But wait - I lose a lot of capability when my Mac Pro goes away (double esata ports, 4 hard drives, 9GB ram, etc.). So........... more review needed.

    The NEC 30" 3090 comes to the top of my list. I order one directly from NEC. Hooked it up and knew within about one minute that I had found my new display - stunning. The NEC matte finish does not have the granularity that the 30" Apple Cinema Display does. It was more uniform than the ACD and no yellowing was seen. Some calibration work was needed but it was minor. I could go on and on about the image - the best period. The range of physical adjustments were impressive - though I do miss the sleek design of the ACD.

    Lesson - the proof of the display is in the viewing :D Check the tech specs but don't let them color what your eyes are showing you. Also, don't get too carried away with the "latest tech rage". The NEC is a CCFL backlit display. In some ways superior to LED (i.e., it has a near infinite number of emitters as opposed to very few emitters with LED - fewer issues with color consistency and illumination on such a large panel). The NEC also has sensors that monitor and adjust the CCFL over the years to compensate for any "dimming". The half life on the newer high end CCFLs is huge - well beyond what many of us will ever need to worry about.

    Happiness :D
  2. Cycom macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    NEC's high end monitors are no joke, and neither are their prices.

    I'd like something really unexpected from Apple for their next ACD's. Something like local dimming and triluminous RGB backlights (like the Sony xbr8). Not gonna happen, I know, but still...
  3. TheStrudel macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2008
    If there's any lesson to take away from this story, it's that some vendors are simply better than others. NEC is a name in high end monitors. Nobody argues that point. They just don't really want to pay NEC prices, and I can't blame them - if you're not using it for work, why would that make sense?

    That said, if you look around you can find cheaper monitors that still offer good value. My Doublesight (sounds like a no-name, I know) uses the same panel as the NEC 2690wuxi, and it performs well for the price. Not as well, but half the price, so I can't complain.

    NEC do sell some decent cheaper options - they and Dell are currently selling IPS displays around the $300 mark, which is an incredible value compared to what's been available in the past.

    It's too bad that all the IPS panels may have QC/uniformity issues because of LG Philips. More expensive NEC displays are well-screened for that and use ColorComp technology to combat it, though.
  4. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I picked up a NEC 2490 Refurbished unit. Added an extended warranty, and still saved ~$250. I'm happy with it.

    But as you say, there can be others to consider as lower cost alternatives, such as the HP 2475W (24" H-IPS IIRC). According to, they usually need calibration OTB, but once done, they're quite nice monitors, and cheaper than the NEC.

    But I do suffer from eye strain, and knew I'd benefit from the polarizer on that particular model (past discussions with my Ophthalmologist).

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