Can someone give me a brief lesson on Monitors?

Live forum:


19-04-2005 19:26:28

I'm fairly close to completing freeminimacs and want to get a flat panel monitor to go with it. I have some basic but limited knowledge about them but want to get your opinions/suggestions about what will go best with my mini.

Ideally I would like to get a wide screen flat panel that I can also use as a TV. Does DVI mean that a monitor can accept an HDTV signal?

I've been sort of looking at the Dell 20" widescreen. I think its called the 2005FPW or something like that. Do you guys know if that will work with the Mini, and if it will accept a TV signal as well?

Note, I'm not a big gamer so a superfast response time is not THAT critical too me.


19-04-2005 20:23:01

Not all that experienced with LCD monitors, but the one thing I do know is that you want DVI.. even if it costs more.

If you can get a good price on an LCD monitor with a VGA connector, that would be good to use until you can upgrade to one with a DVI.

The VGA connector is analog and the DVI is digital. Much cleaner picture and resolution is handled differently and more efficient.


19-04-2005 20:45:36

my newest monitor has both VGA and DVI inputs... and a button to switch between which one it's using. i just don't see how this analog signal can get any better... gues i have to wait for my mac mini


19-04-2005 21:15:40


I have the 2005FPW and its a superb monitor. I intend to hook the mini up to its analog input (I have my Dell PC's two DVI outputs connected to the other DVI input and my other LCD). It can also accept TV in via its S-Video or Composite (Yellow, not component) inputs.

The 2005FPW retails for $750, but there have been many deals lately for it in the $400-$500 range (most recently $381 - http// I got mine for $411 shipped back in January. Even if you were a gamer this would be a great monitor, but since you aren't it also has very crisp colors and is very bright.

Back to generic monitor discussion for a second, DVI isn't always the best solution - sometimes an analog monitor/signal can be comparable or rival a DVI one given certain circumstances. However, in general, the DVI is going to reproduce a superior image/experience.

DVI doesn't necessarily equate with HDTV, but the 2005FPW is capable of being used as an HDTV monitor - but remember it has no built in ATSC tuner so you'll need some sort of HDTV box to deliver the signal to the 2005FPW. Another note, the 2005FPW's native resolution is 1680x1050 which is actually a 1610 ratio as compared to the 169 ratios of 1920x1080 (1080i) and 1280x720 (720p). From what I've read it scales those to 1610 pretty well, but haven't tried it myself.


19-04-2005 21:29:51

[quote5cdc020524="mapStuart"]Back to generic monitor discussion for a second, DVI isn't always the best solution - sometimes an analog monitor/signal can be comparable or rival a DVI one given certain circumstances. However, in general, the DVI is going to reproduce a superior image/experience.
Great info, map. Thanks for posting that. I became a bit more educated.

Will have to wait and see when I get an LCD. For now, I have no choice but to use a CRT.


20-04-2005 16:24:46

Basically there a few things to look for when getting a flat panel monitor

These are listed in no particular order of importance...

1) Response time.. the lower the number the better. Most monitors now should be 12ms or better. The response time is the amount of time it takes for one pixel to change from one color to another.

2) Contrast ratio. The higher the better. Most monitors now have a 5001 ratio I believe. This is the ratio of the darkest color to the brightest color.

3) Luminance- how bright the display can get. Typical monitors have 300cd/m^2.

4) Pixel size- this is important for gamers. Unfortunately, pixels are rather big for flat panel montors when compared to CRT. My old CRT had .21mm for each pixel.. my flat panel has .26mm

As far as brand goes, you can't go wrong with a Sony or Samsung flat panel. I have a Sony HX73 myself. It's got 3 inputs so you can hook up to three computers to it and theres a button to switch between the computers. 2 analog inputs and 1 DVI input. So if you have a PC and you also want to hook up a mini mac to it, you might want to consider a monitor with multiple inputs.


20-04-2005 16:54:29

i bought my LG Flatron L1720P a few weeks ago and i absolutely love it. there is a dead pixel, but it's refurbished and i got it for $250... while bestbuy (or compusa... i don't remember) sells the same monitor for $550... damn good deal if you ask me.


20-04-2005 17:52:08

You can get a Dell 1905FP between $260-$300 depending on the deals. Pretty dang nice for a 19" LCD with DVI and analog inputs, height/swivel adjustment and 4 port USB hub. Retail on it is $499. Just search for 1905 in the Hot Deals forum. Only problem with this monitor is that I wouldn't recommend this monitor for gamers since its response time is a bit slow and it does exhibit ghosting (I game on my 2005FPW). Other than that it has great clarity, sharpness and brightness with good colors and a stylish design.

One thing is to be a little wary of stated monitor specifications since contrast ratios are notorious for being completely erroneous and manufacturer's fudge other numbers as well (response time being one of them). Also realize that some of the 8ms response time panels out there are that fast because they actually use panels that can't display as many colors and they use dithering techniques to approximate a lot of colors. Overall its fine for normal users and gamers, but graphics professionals should probably steer clear. The best bet is to read 3rd party reviews from numerous places to get more accurate information on specific units.


20-04-2005 20:22:44

Wow a lot of great feedback. Thanks a bunch guys!

What I'm kind of gathering from here and other sources is that Flat Panels are able to receive a variety of different signals, and as long as I choose one that is capable of receiving a signal from a cable box, I should be OK for watching TV. Is that correct?

I really can't decide between a widescreen or a regular. The 2005FPW looks so amazing though.


21-04-2005 14:26:27

Some great Dell deals today

1905FP - $248
2001FP (great 20") - $380
2005FPW - $384

Yes, amishjs, you just need a cable box or something to send the signal. If its an HDTV box than the best bet is to see if you can get your box to send everything out as 720p and then ideally you'd use the DVI in on your display (better quality than the s-video) - in which case you'd use the analog for the regular computer (which should be perfectly fine quality-wise as well).


22-04-2005 01:48:30

get a TV tuner card for your computer if you want to watch tv. They also have TV tuner cards that works without a computer.. they basically turn a tv signal into an analog output that you can plug your computer monitor into.