View Full Version : 20" vs. 23" ACD for Mac mini and future...

2005-02-23, 14:22
OK guys,
As some of you know I now have my "uber-mini" with 1GB of RAM and dual-layer 8x SuperDrive. Life is good. However, I will soon have enough jack to get a 20" ACD to pair with my mini. I typically like to keep my monitors for a long time (though I have only had my latest CRT for 2 years and I want to drop-kick it because it is so frickin' deep, and hard on my eyes). I also like screen real estate. A lot. I run my 19" CRT at 1600x1200 with 85Hz refresh.

So my question is this. Should I spring for the 20" ACD in a month or wait another month or two after that and go for the 23"? I know about the "pink" problem, and I would return and return to the Apple Store until I got one without it (as others have done). The Apple Store is not too far from my house so this is not that big a deal.

The benefit of the 23" is a bigger size and higher resolution (duh), including the ability to view full HD content in its native size. Do you think this is worth, or not worth, the $800 difference in price, given the scenario that I would be keeping the monitor for at least 3-4 years?

I'm sure either monitor would be "good", but I am just looking to get the one with which I would be happiest. What say you? And no, a Dell or (insert competitor product) monitor is not an option for me.

Thanks guys (and gals)!

2005-02-23, 14:40
Man... you're making it tough on yourself when you say you must have an Apple display. Because in all honesty, even throwing price out the window, their displays are subpar. I just can't recommend anyone buying an Apple display now, with all the reports of pink screens. But if you insist, then I'd say go for the 23", but not until Apple resolves the problem. That should give you a few months to save up the cash.

If they're still deleting posts at their discussions reporting the problem and pretending it doesn't exist, maybe you should just get the 20" instead. Then again, I've heard that even some 20" ones suffer from this problem. The 23" is very desirable because it'll actually give you more pixels than your CRT currently offers. Even though the physical screen area is larger on the 20" than on your CRT, it won't feel like enough of an upgrade.

If you're planning on keeping this display for such a long time, don't torture yourself by getting one that's all pink. If it was me, I'd probably go insane long before the useful life of the display was up.

2005-02-23, 20:09
Thanks Luca,
I think I will wait till I have the cash for the 23", and see if the pink problem has gone away. If it hasn't, I don't know what the hell I'll do. I'd really like an "Apple" system if you know what I mean (it's the obsessive / compulsive in me).

2005-02-23, 20:50
There is a really good 26" dell that was talked about a few days ago... Cheap and has component inputs so you could watch TV on it too... If I had the dough I'd think about getting one...

2005-02-23, 21:27
Thanks Paul, but I can't get a Dell (personal reasons). I appreciate the suggestion though.

2005-02-23, 21:53
It's actually a 24".

There are a lot of great LCDs made by Not Dell. People talk up the Dell displays because they offer very similar ones to what Apple makes but with kinda ugly cases and low prices (and no pink hue), but there are a number of very nice displays that look just as good as the Apples and without the stigma of the Dell name attached. Samsung is one of them. The main problem there is that there aren't a whole lot of widescreen ones.

I understand why you want an Apple display and that you're willing to pay extra for one. Still, if Apple's displays are not only overpriced but also of poor quality, I don't know why you're so confused. It's simple - if Apple can't fix their displays, then they shouldn't get your business. If you know ahead of time that there are chronic problems, why are you so intent on buying one? I can understand brand loyalty but going so far as to pay extra for the brand you like, even when you already know that their product is of poor quality, seems foolish.

2005-02-23, 22:05
I think you misread my response to you. I said if Apple has not fixed their display issues by the time I have enough money for the 23" I don't know what I'll do (I never said I would still buy an Apple display - that would be stupid). I would pay extra for an Apple display over another brand's display, only if the Apple product is of good quality (i.e. no problems). Therefore, yes I do have brand loyalty, but am NOT foolish (i.e. I would not buy a pink display for more money). :)

I really hope you don't think I am that stupid (though I suppose it doesn't matter if you do...). ;)

2005-02-23, 22:16
I thought you may actually have OCD or something and you might go out and kill people if you didn't have an Apple display :lol:.

Okay, I see what you mean. Well, it's probably a good idea to wait a couple months anyway. When the iBook logic board problems were brewing, Apple denied any knowledge of the problem for a few months, and eventually took action and issued a recall (only after hundreds/thousands of people signed online petitions at two different sites dedicated entirely to the problem). Apple's in a predicament. If they admit there's a problem, then anyone who owns an aluminum Cinema display is going to be begging for a replacement, and NOW. So right now it's very likely Apple's planning some way of fixing these problems and it'll just take them a couple months to get it all ready so they can officially announce it.

In the meantime, though, we don't know if that's the case, so it's a good idea for people to keep bitching about it. If Apple sees a bunch of people willing to stand for defects and a bunch more willing to buy their defective displays, they're not going to issue a recall.

Anyway, if Apple's quality problems don't get fixed, I'd recommend Samsung as an excellent brand with great looks and style. They have a 24" HD display (http://product.samsung.com/cgi-bin/nabc/product/b2c_product_detail.jsp?eUser=&prod_id=NB24BSAS) with the same resolution as the Apple, and it even looks similar. Cost is about the same, around $2000. That would be my fallback display if Apple doesn't work out the 23" Cinema's problems.

2005-02-23, 22:34
Thats a cool monitor... no (explicit) TV input... what does dual CPU input mean?
I want PIP in a monitor... that would be cool.

2005-02-23, 22:40
All that means is that it has two inputs (one VGA and one DVI) so you can connect it to two different computers and then use the on-screen display to pick which input you want to use. Like a KVM switch, minus the K and the M.

2005-02-23, 22:49
I took a look at the Samsung. Any other ones you recommend? The reason I am asking is it only does 25ms refresh rates (the Apple ones are 16ms, when the pixels aren't pink ;) ).

2005-02-23, 22:52
By the way Luca, thanks for the help. :)

2005-02-23, 23:19
This BenQ (http://www.benq.us/Products/LCD/index.cfm?product=435) is also a 23", and it has a 16ms response time. Sony (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=24-006-084&depa=1) also has a 16ms 23" one.

I hope Apple resolves those issues. These other brands are pretty good and well-known, but they're just not the same as an Apple. I'm a cheapskate so I'd probably go for the Dell, but if you want something stylish and are willing to pay for it, Apple would be the way to go if not for the quality problems. And to be honest, I haven't done quite enough research into any quality problems with these other brands. That would be a good idea since it's such a big purchase.

2005-02-24, 09:27
The best thing about the new 24" Dell WS monitor is that it's probably not made by Dell.

I simply can't justify $500 more for an Apple 23" when comparing specs and features.

1000:1 contrast ratio, 12ms response, picture in picture, portrait swivel capability etc.

Education price is showing @ $1199.

Dell does note that there may be compatibility issues with certain GPU cards, so that would be a matter worth considertion.

The sony Xbrite 19" monitor also looks pretty good for less than $600.

With LCD prices dropping an average 15% per month, I would wait if you can.

2005-02-24, 10:26
FWIW, I recently started following all the ACD teeth-gnashing at the Apple dicussion forums and they have *not* rectified any of the problems with the 23" ACD. And almost without exception, everyone who has bought one has seen some degree of the problem when they used the litmus test people are using. And almost without exception, it seems like everyone who returns theirs for another new one, winds up with the same problem.

People returning 2 or even 3 screens is not uncommon. And everyone who has gone along with their ignorant Apple Cert. Tech and had the thing "fixed", wound up with a screen that was worse than when they started. I suspect it's almost impossible to fix an LCD with color issues; as soon as someone un-sandwiches the screen from the chassis and tries to put it back together, you're screwed. Uneven backlighting is almost a universal result of these kinds of repairs -- going way back before this particular problem. The manufacturing tolerances simply arent there. This isn't like replacing a fan unit in a G5 or a hard drive in an iMac.

OTOH, I have read very few complaints about the 20" ACD. I suspect there is a difference in the component parts used to light the screen, etc. Perhaps there is no such thing as a 23" backlight, and they have to combine smaller ones to do the job at a certain brightness? Whatever the case the 20" is the one I am considering spending my money on.

But if my CRT holds out a while longer I may wait and get a LaCie 321 or an Eizo CG21. That's for doing color-critical stuff I mean. Neither of those two would be necessary for general usage. The 20" ACD would be perfectly fine.

2005-02-24, 10:53
Thanks for the advice Moogs and Fallen. I think I am just going to wait a while since the tech still doesn't seem to be quite "there yet". I think I can tolerate my CRT for another year (since it is running at a decent refresh rate and a pretty good resolution). Upgrading to an LCD would still be a "luxury" at this point so I think I am going to hold off until I can get one that I absolutely want and has no issues at all. In the short term I can use the ~$1950 that it would have cost for the 23" (if it did not have the pink issue) for other mac goodies that I would like to get (Virtual PC no OS, iWork '05, Airport Express, iSight and that Belkin light for it, AE and BT kits whenever they are available, and the BT keyboard and mouse, to name a few). That would still leave me with over $1000 to build on for an LCD purchase next year, and it would at least partially satisfy my craving for some mac goodies in the near-term.

Thanks for your input though guys.

2005-02-24, 12:33
just wondering... can the measly 32 meg video card on the mini handle such high resolutions on those big 20-23 inch monitors?

2005-02-24, 13:41
The 32 meg card can handle those resolutions just fine. Expose might be choppy (not smooth) but it doesn't slow down.

The 20" ACD is fine, just a little on the expensive side.

If you want a 23" now, and I think that would probably give you more joy and be more useful than any "gadgety" upgrade...

The Viewsonic VP231B looks very good IMO, reportedly has good QC (although I haven't found very comprehensive reviews). DVI and VGA. Supports HDCP in the DVI input so it is a future proof HDTV screen as well.

The HP L2335 has a reasonable price, is wildly successful, there are tons of positive reviews, obviously good QC. HP has really worked on constantly improving the same model and fixing complaints. Has HDTV component input, SVHS, composite, DVI and VGA.

2005-02-24, 13:58
Yes I have heard good things about that Viewsonic VP231b. I might take a good look at that one. Thanks for reminding me.

2005-02-24, 19:01
That HP looks great. LG makes very nice high end screens as well so the fact that it uses one is encouraging. Most of the places that have reviews are more consumer-oriented though. Anyone know of a design-savvy site that has the scoop on this baby (gamut, etc)?

2005-03-22, 17:46
OK Guys and Gals,
It's decision time. I will have about $1200 on Friday, so I COULD get a 20" ACD from the local Apple Store. OR, I could wait another 3 weeks and I'll have $2000 by then to get a 23" ACHD. I know we've talked about all the issues the 23" has, but has anyone heard one way or the other if they've been cleared up yet?

Basically, if you were in my shoes, and wanted (not absolutely NEEDED) a flat panel (for desk space and more USB + Firewire ports), what would you do - 20" ACD NOW + goodies such as VPC (non-OS), iWork, Airport Extreme and Airport Express, iSight, etc... in 3 weeks or so, or a 23" ACHD in 3 weeks or so (knowing you will probably have to return it 1 or more times until you get a "good" monitor)?

Thanks in advance for the replies. :)

2005-03-22, 19:37
I've got the 20" and am surprized how much larger it looks on my desk than it does at the Apple store at the end of a line of 20" - 23" - 30" screens.

I'm glad I didn't get the bigger ones. :lol:

2005-03-22, 20:55
All my family has 17" LCDs and I have just recently upgraded to the 20" Apple one (no problems by the way). But it really is large compared to everything I am used to.

I realize that in this person's situation, he is used to a bit larger junk... Remember that a 21" CRT is really 20" of visible space. So... by purchasing the 20" Apple monitor, you aren't really "upgrading" sizewise...

2005-03-22, 21:13
Personally I'd go with the 20" - having extra stuff is nice, and you won't have to worry nearly as much about getting one with major color problems.

2005-03-22, 22:19
I was at an Apple shop a month ago and spent probably hours checking out and comparing all the displays. The 20" stood alone, but a 20" iMac was close. The 23" and 30" were planted on the same desk and driven from the same Powermac. I did gray tests on all (set desktop background to medium gray, uncovered desktop with Expose), ran video with QT, and opened browsers, Terminal windows and OmniGraffle to get an idea of the available space.

20": nice display. No complaints. Even gray degradation when viewing angle was increased. I think it was a little picky in the vertical direction though. Maybe the 20" felt a little powerless in the bright daylight, but as I said it stood separate from the other two. I would be happy with a display like this.

23": errr. The resolution is great. I really want a WUXGA display. HD content, two *big* apps side to side comfortably. But the viewing angle was absolute crap! When I positioned myself even about 15 degrees off, a disturbing green hue creeped out of the edges and consumed the whole screen with just a little additional angle. (My sight is red-green deficient so this could just be the pink hue effect.) No way would I buy this or recommend it to anyone.

30": great display. Amazing viewing angles, colors, everything. When the colors finally faded it was to neutral gray and I think that occurred on a much greater angle than on the 20". The screen was not at all bothered by the well lit environment, and it was angled slightly toward the window while the 23", closer to the window, was angled slightly away. This really left the 23" to shame. Dimensions-wise the 30" might actually be too big for my use on desktop.

All three seemed to do moving graphics with little blur and ghosting, but I'd need to run a normal, familiar FPS game for a while to tell for sure. I played a little Nanosaur on the 20" and the computer, whatever was attached to the 20", lagged. At another store I played some racing game with the 30" (lower resolution of course) and again I thought the attached Powermac lagged.

2005-03-22, 22:51
THanks for posting your thoughts on the lineup Kodari. Your experiences jive pretty well with the others I've read about. It's surprising to me the 30" has better color performance / purity than the 23" in general, but obviously this isn't some consumer-grade panel under the hood so it should be good. Certainly ain't cheap when you factor the card in there.

2005-03-22, 23:54
Unless you have one of the new 17" PBs.

2005-03-23, 09:12
Thanks guys,
Looks like I'll probably go with the 20". It's just not worth the extra $800 AND the hassle for the 23". :(

2005-03-23, 10:39
I have a 23" ACD at home - it's the older style, and I love itand right now at work here I am staring right at a 23" new metal ACD. No problems at all - great great screen.

I would never get a dell, as one other person mentioned on here. Oh, how 'not right' that would be. Apple Cinema Displays have great quality - you can see the image from any angle and does not diminish or fade, like some other LCDs. Apparently they did have some pink problems, although I have never seen any at any stores or on the 2 23" displays that I have.

20" is nice, 23" is better.

2005-03-24, 09:39
Thanks guys,
Looks like I'll probably go with the 20". It's just not worth the extra $800 AND the hassle for the 23". :(

I did forget to mention one thing. My 20" Mac display is hooked to my PowerMac Dual G-5 which has an up-graded video card in it. I really don't know if this makes for an extra sharp display or not, but when I ordered the outfit, the next step up in video cards was very little, so I thought "why not?"

Don't know a thing about "tests" etc., but I do know that the new 20" Mac display has nothing lacking for my eye balls! :)

2005-03-27, 23:00
Hello All,

I just thought I'd post to let everyone know I finally made up my mind, and went with a 20".

I went to the Apple Store in Plano yesterday and proceeded to school the rep. on the various problems the 23" had (basically I was wanting him to talk me into a 23", and find me one with no problems). By the time I was done with him, he (and a coworker) both agreed my money would be better spent on a 20" and other goodies.

The funny thing is, the second guy that came up to me to assist the original rep. remembered he had a practically brand-new 20" ACD in the back (box, manual, everything), that had been returned earlier in the week. Some guy bought it, and a 15" PowerBook, but then returned th e 20" ACD a day later (he said, and it said, on the box that "he didn't like the setup with his powerbook"). No defects, no scratches, NOTHING wrong with it. And get this - I walked out of there with the 20" ACD and an iKlear pack for $888 with tax (only $799 + tax for the monitor). :)

So now I am typing on my BEAUTIFUL (and PLENTY big enough) 20" ACD, having saved over $200 because someone "didn't like it". <insert maniacal laughter here>

All in all, thanks everyone for talking me into the 20" and out of the 23". It worked out beautifully (price and color / hue-wise). I'll post my setup (in the post your setup thread) later in the week when I have my desk organized.