Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dell 2005FPW LCD Display: the poor man's cinema

TidBITS: Expanding the View with a Dell LCD Display

I wish my Samsung 17" CRT would hurry up and die. Maybe if I dropped it a few times ...
Dell, being the giant of the industry, is able to command great prices on the parts it buys, which is one reason the company can offer complete computer systems for relatively little cost. Consequently, Dell frequently puts together deals to move its inventory. In this case, I found the 20.1-inch 2005FPW LCD for around $550. Considering that Apple's original 22-inch Cinema Display cost $4,000, and its current 20-inch model costs $800, the Dell display was a great deal...

...The 2005FPW has a 20.1-inch viewable screen size, supporting a maximum resolution of 1680 by 1050 pixels (1,764,000 pixels). According to the technical specifications, it sports a contrast ratio of 600:1, an image brightness of 300 cd/m2 (candela per square meter, a measure of luminosity), and a viewing angle of approximately 88 degrees vertically and horizontally. In real-world terms, that means the screen is bright, beautiful, and sharp.

That's not all, though. The 2005FPW includes four input types: VGA, DVI-D, S-video, and composite. At first I thought that was marketing jargon that indicated you could simply attach just about any device with included adapters, but no, the monitor includes four separate ports. That enables you to connect four devices and switch between them. My PowerBook G4 connects via the DVI-D port, and for fun I hooked up my old Dell laptop via VGA. A button on the front of the monitor's frame switches among the different inputs.
The iMac does not support an external display other than for (gag) mirroring. (Apple doesn't support multi-monitor desktops on its 'low end' machines. Sad indeed. Once upon a time even a Mac SE supported multi-display desktops.)

There's supposed to be a way to support an external display via a USB device, but I can't believe it would work well (bandwidth). If I could share a 20" Dell between my XP and my 20" iMac, so I could have an on-demand 20" x 20" desktop ...

Update: Ahh. I'd forgotten screen spanning doctor, as mentioned here. I think the Samsung may have a nasty accident shortly before Christmas. What a shame ... I would suggest monitoring the iMac's temperature when increasing the load on the video subsystem however.

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