Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The iMac i5 27” screen – we’ve exceeded the vertical limit

I’m increasingly enjoying my sadly flickering i5 iMac. The performance is great, and when the screen doesn’t flicker it’s fairly agreeable.

I’m not sure I’d buy it again though – especially if Apple were to produce an i5 in a smaller form factor.

The screen is just too high. On a conventional table and chair I spend too much time looking up. A sore neck awaits.

I could move the display much further away, but then I’d be unable to read the screen.

It’s the wrong computing form factor for human anatomy. I’d like the top of the screen to be about 8-10” lower, and then grow the display area horizontally. Practically speaking the classic dual monitor arrangement would work better.

Of course that aspect ratio isn’t nearly as good for watching a movie, which mostly shows that one screen won’t work for movies and productivity.

The iMac does drive two displays of course. I think I may end up using an older 21” Dell LCD as my primary reading area, and the massive 27” screen as my photo, video and general workspace. This will take some desk manipulation …

Update 12/17/09: I'm doing better by learning to create smaller windows, and move them to the bottom of the screen. So the top half is a parking area, and the bottom half a working area. It helps when apps open new windows near old ones - Safari does this well. I'm looking forward to the connection to my external Dell however.

Update 12/22/09: I got my mini-DisplayPort to DVI cable, and now I have my Dell 2007WFP as an secondary display. It's a bit tricky to adjust the two to matching brightness levels, I found it easiest to pick a mid-range level for the Dell then use the keyboard control to adjust the i5. (Note the old iMac ambient light sensor is gone!). This arrangement is easy on my eyes, especially since I boosted my Safari font size to suit the high pixel density of the i5. It's quite a display surface, even if Emily does remind me that Al Gore's displays are much bigger.

Update 12/29/09: The enormous Apple discussion thread on this topic includes posts from customers developing flicker problems weeks after buying an i5. I decided to go ahead and apply the firmware update in case a firmware problem might be causing overheating and damage to the GPU. Of course it helps that it's about 8F outside, and fairly cool in the computer room.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

It might be worth exploring a VESA mount adapter and an Ergotron mounting arm. Apple makes a mount adapter but comments suggest it might not actually fit the 27" iMac.