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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Monitor setup recommandation for rMBP

Monitor setup recommandation for rMBP
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Mac Elite
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Nov 16, 2013, 04:05 AM
 
Hi! I'm on the brink of replacing my aging 20" mid-2007 iMac with a 15" 2013 rMBP. I'll use it mostly as a desktop and so it will be connected to an external monitor most of the time. I was wondering what route should I go in regard to my monitor setup. I'm currently a computer science student so I spend a lot of time in front of my computer. I use iMovie weekly, Photoshop frequently (for very small projects) and InDesign once in a while. I don't need exceptionnal color fidelity (gamut) since I'm not doing any design work professionally. I still want a good quality display which won't cause eyes fatigue. I also want good reliability since I tend to keep my goods a very long time and ideally, my monitor would last through a couple computers (about 10 years).

I'm currently happy with my 20" iMac but the trend seems to favor much larger screen (27") or dual-screen setup. I've never really tried working with either so I'm not really sure I'd really need it but people working with large and/or dual screens swears their work is easier and that it's really worth it. What would you suggest? My first idea was to buy a 27" monitor, like the iMac. Would I be better with two smaller screens? Would my computer suffer loss of perfomance while driving such a big display? I tried exporting a video on the MBP in an Apple Store and liked the performance. Would it take longer to render the file while driving the monitor? (I'd buy the one with the dedicated video card)

If I go with the 27" route, is it overkill to get the Dell UltraSharp U2713? Is it really worth the huge premium over regular 27"? The 2713 has higher resolution and is basically what Apple offers in the iMac. Plus it has DisplayPort input so I would not need a 100$ adapter for dual-link DVI and keep everything native. On the other hand, it's 2-3X the price of regular monitors...

thank you!

[edit] also, why would a cheaper and lower resolution display have a "better" pixel pitch? this monitor has a 0.1mm pitch vs 0.23 for the 2713, despite a lower resolution and price...
( Last edited by FireWire; Nov 16, 2013 at 04:49 AM. )
     
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Nov 17, 2013, 04:31 AM
 
I think you'll be happy with anything 24" or larger. I'm currently using a Dell U2410 and am quite happy. (Although the side USB ports stopped working.)

I love the Apple 27" as it also doubles as a hub for the rMBP. Extra thunderbolt ports, extra USB ports, etc. But if you ever plan to use the monitor with non-Apple hardware, the Dell you mentioned might be a better way to go as it has far better video connectivity. (At the loss of the Thunderbolt ports and Apple's obvious cable-reducing advantage.)

Good luck
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Nov 18, 2013, 12:05 AM
 
Yikes! 1000$ for a monitor is way overpriced! The "dock" features are interesting, though.. I can buy a refurbished for 800$ but that's still very expensive... and I think they are overdue for a refresh, since it's been many years without one and they only support USB 2. I think I'll wait a bit and see what's the market offers in the forecoming months. Does Apple ever hold black friday deals on such items?
     
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Nov 19, 2013, 05:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by FireWire View Post
If I go with the 27" route, is it overkill to get the Dell UltraSharp U2713? Is it really worth the huge premium over regular 27"? The 2713 has higher resolution and is basically what Apple offers in the iMac. Plus it has DisplayPort input so I would not need a 100$ adapter for dual-link DVI and keep everything native. On the other hand, it's 2-3X the price of regular monitors...
The "regular" monitors are going to either 1) use TN panels, which look pretty bad at that size, or 2) have really low resolutions. In Dell's case, it seems to be the latter — the 1080p resolution of their cheaper 27" is lower than the resolution on my 24". The pixels on that are going to be pretty huge. This is a pretty good option for users who are elderly or have impaired vision that makes it hard to read text at small sizes on normal computer resolutions. It's also a good buy if you're planning to use the monitor primarily for watching movies and/or other video files, which typically max out at 1080p resolution anyway. For all other usage, if you're planning to get a monitor that's limited to 1080p, I'd recommend just getting a 23" model like this one instead, as you'll have exactly the same amount of usable space to work in, but the picture will be much sharper due to the smaller pixel pitch (the .1 mm spec quoted in the other monitor's specs is almost certainly a typo).

Alternatively, you could compromise between the two and get a 24" like this one, for a slightly higher resolution, while still being fairly inexpensive.

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Nov 22, 2013, 01:36 AM
 
thank you! I think I'm gonna wait a bit for the prices to come down, and see what Apple has to offer next - the TB display is overdue for a refresh. I might go for a refurb in a few months.
     
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Nov 22, 2013, 02:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by FireWire View Post
thank you! I think I'm gonna wait a bit for the prices to come down, and see what Apple has to offer next - the TB display is overdue for a refresh. I might go for a refurb in a few months.
The lack of USB 3.0 is the ONLY thing that would give me pause right now on the Apple Display. It's pricey for sure, but best-of-breed. USB 3 is currently (slowly) appearing across all of Apple's products. This display seems to be the last holdout.
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Nov 29, 2013, 03:13 PM
 
I finally took the plunge and ordered the Dell. There was a big Thanksgiving special at 519,99 instead of 799,99, a saving of 280$. I don't think the thunderbolt display is ever gonna come close to that price, even refurbs, and I think that range of price is more reasonable for my budget. I "rented" a 27" samsung display yesterday because I had an urgent FCP montage to do and I didn't want to do it on my MBP 15". It's really big! I guess it will take some time to get used to it. I think the higher resolution will be worth it as at this size, the quality was acceptable but could be better. I'll use my laptop in clamshell mode most of the time, but for FCP, I placed the MBP at my right and I use its screen to show the video preview, which gives me more space on my main monitor for the editing, and I can preview the result in full screen.
     
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Nov 29, 2013, 05:17 PM
 
Congrats on the purchase! Nice size display. I'm sure you'll get many years of enjoyment out of it.
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