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Teardown of Apple's Thunderbolt Display finds same LG panel used in 2009 iMac

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Apple's newly released Thunderbolt Display sports an LG display with the same model number found in the 27-inch iMac released in 2009, a teardown of the screen has found.

The new display, powered by Apple and Intel's Thunderbolt technology, was disassembled this week by iFixit. They found that the LG display is model number "LM270WQ1," matching the previous iMac as well as the screen found in Dell's competing UltraSharp U2711 27-inch monitor.

However, Apple's display uses LED backlights for better picture quality and lower power consumption, as opposed to the cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) found on Dell's screen. In addition, the Dell display is matte, while Apple's is glossy.

The solutions provider also noted that Apple's screen has a 12 millisecond response time and 17.7 million colors, while Dell's competing panel offers an advertised 6 millisecond response time and 1.07 billion colors.

iFixit found that the glass front of the new Thunderbolt Display can be removed with "heavy duty suction cups," just like with Apple's iMac lineup. The LCD screen sports a resolution of 2,560-by-1,440 pixels.



"The fan is easily removed by simply detaching a couple of connectors and unfastening a few screws," they said. "Apple has, as usual, chosen to go with a large, brushless fan to keep the colossal Thunderbolt Display cool and quiet."



Inside the display, iFixit found a plethora of chips, causing them to remark that "it's hard to believe there's no computer inside." The screen includes a built-in FaceTime HD video camera, 2.1 speaker system, integrated MagSafe charger, three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining up to five additional Thunderbolt devices.



Some of the chips inside powering all of those features include:

Pericom PI7C9X440SL PCIe-to-USB 2.0 host controller
L129NB11 EFL, which looks to be the Thunderbolt port controller
Analog Devices ADAV4601 audio processor
NXP LPC2144 USB 2.0 microcontroller
Delta LFE9249 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN filter
SMSC USB2517-JZX USB 2.0 hub controller
Maxim MAX9736B Mono/Stereo high-power Class D amplifier
LSI L-FW643E-2 open host controller interface
Broadcom BCM57761 Gigabit ethernet controller
Supertex HV9982 3-channel switch-mode LED driver IC


The teardown also discovered that the speakers inside the Thunderbolt Display are 49 watts with a miniature subwoofer. In addition, the Flextronics power supply is said to provide 250 watts of maximum continuous power.
post #2 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



The solutions provider also noted that Apple's screen has a 12 millisecond response time and 17.7 million colors, while Dell's competing panel offers an advertised 6 millisecond response time and 1.07 billion colors.




Apple knows that the people who buy Apple products do not care about spec sheets, and that pretty much nobody except geekazoids will ever compare the two side-by-side.

So they don't care to cut profits when unnecessary. They will sell many more than Dell.
post #3 of 30
I'm using a thunderbolt display right now and have no regrets about the purchase, amazing picture, and works perfectly with my macbook pro. It replaced my aging dell 24" monitor.
post #4 of 30
Mine is back on the UPS truck right now. It was expensive, but when you compare it to other IPS panels, it really is quite a good deal.
post #5 of 30
I'm assuming that this is a different panel than that found in the previous generation 27" Cinema LED Display?
OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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OK, can I have my matte Apple display, now?
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post #6 of 30
I think I could live with a CCFL if it gets me a better screen surface, better response time, and more colors.

I just hate that the better screen is a Dull.
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


However, Apple's display uses LED backlights for better picture quality and lower power consumption, as opposed to the cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) found on Dell's screen..

First off I hate Dell and will never buy anything from them. That said this part of the article is incorrect. CCFL is actually still superior for picture quality and especially color accuracy. It remains the standard in professional quality displays. If you're doing color grading of any kind, LED is still problematic and its popularity is actually leveraged upward from the consumer end. That'll probably start to change by the next panel generation.

LG doesn't have much variation amongst its 27" panels. Most of these displays don't really see their quality defined completely by the panel within them. In fact some of the most expensive designs use similar panels to what is in the thunderbolt display. They're just implemented differently. The response time/number of colors thing is completely meaningless. Dell might be using a different overdrive circuit design and a 10 bit panel variant to claim those numbers. 10 bit panels have been another buzz word but they don't really solve the need for dithering with a wider gamut like the Dell uses, and very few graphics cards support 10 bit out anyway (nothing from Apple supports this and it's unsupported in Lion).
post #8 of 30
I ordered 2 today. Coming in a few days. Wondering why they're the same price as non Thunderbolt versions. How are these supposed to be connected to my new Mac Mini? Thunderbolt only? So one of them will be connected to a Thunderbolt input and the second display daisy chained via Thunderbolt?


p.s. my desk is 110CM wide but the 2 displays together = 140CM. I hope 15CM overhang on both sides is ok.
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

First off I hate Dell and will never buy anything from them. That said this part of the article is incorrect. CCFL is actually still superior for picture quality and especially color accuracy. It remains the standard in professional quality displays. If you're doing color grading of any kind, LED is still problematic and its popularity is actually leveraged upward from the consumer end. That'll probably start to change by the next panel generation.

LG doesn't have much variation amongst its 27" panels. Most of these displays don't really see their quality defined completely by the panel within them. In fact some of the most expensive designs use similar panels to what is in the thunderbolt display. They're just implemented differently. The response time/number of colors thing is completely meaningless. Dell might be using a different overdrive circuit design and a 10 bit panel variant to claim those numbers. 10 bit panels have been another buzz word but they don't really solve the need for dithering with a wider gamut like the Dell uses, and very few graphics cards support 10 bit out anyway (nothing from Apple supports this and it's unsupported in Lion).

That's an interesting perspective. You seem to know a little more about this than me and I'd like you to clarify something if you can?

My initial reaction was annoyance at Apple when I saw this article. They charge a good deal more than LG do for their display yet it appears technically inferior. The majority of people looking at these panels will be professional people due to their cost and excessive quality for non-professional needs. Given that, the quality difference is important. A professional wants the best quality their budget can get them, it's not just about desirability as it is for consumers as I'm sure you appreciate.

Apple give you the Thunderbolt port, the FW800 and USB ports plus the speaker system but it's still a lot more money, even given the vastly superior physical chassis, though if you're paying this much for a display, it's nice to have a beautiful cold metal chassis!

When I've got annoyed with Apple in the past for seemingly skimping on specs, I've often learned that I was wrong to do so as I wasn't in possession of all the facts. Apple have a habit of looking at a problem and choosing the right specs for the job, not necessarily the most impressive specs on a spec sheet. For instance they often choose less than the top end chips for MacBooks because they offer better balance between power and battery life.

My question is: are Dell simply touting specs that nobody in the real world could make use of? You mention Lion doesn't even support 10-bit display. Have Apple simply done what they often do and make this display as good as it needs to be to make full use of Lion's capabilities, or is the Dell display actually going to give better results despite much of it's technical capability being moot as Lion cannot make use of it?

To put it another way, would Dell's panel actually give a better picture than Apple's or are they both rendered equal by Lion's 8-bit bottleneck? (response time aside, not an issue for me as a photographer)
post #10 of 30
Good question. If one doesn't need the Thunderbolt port, the FW800 and USB ports plus the speaker system and FaceTime camera which LG or Dell would one buy that is supposed to be the same as the Apple display?

Is there a LG model for sale at stores that is the same or only a Dell UltraSharp U2711?

Bonus question. If my HDTV is connected to my Mini via HDMI can I still have my Mini connected to my dual displays at the same time? Is there some sort of HDMI splitter/adapter/hub?


Thanks
post #11 of 30
Selling a 2009 panel in the year 2011 and charging full price for it?

Only Apple.

"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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"Like I said before, share price will dip into the $400."  - 11/21/12 by Galbi

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post #12 of 30
I never understood why anyone wouldn't just buy an iMac for $100 more (well $200 if not a student). They advertise it as being the perfect accompaniment to the MBAir, but you might as well get an iMac and have a quad-core processor and better graphics. $999 for a monitor and a port hub? Give me a break.
MBA 13" i7/4GB/256GB

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post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Selling a 2009 panel in the year 2011 and charging full price for it?

Only Apple.

Um did they not just say that Dell is using the same panel? I don't see any indication that there are any better panels on the market in the 27 inch size that would warrant the use of them.

I am guessing that your paying for the thunderbolt, I can only imagine how many engineering hour's were put into developing this and designing the integration with intel, its the price you pay for being first out of the gate.. just look at how many thunderbolt accessories are out there as we speak.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by aiolos View Post

I never understood why anyone wouldn't just buy an iMac for $100 more (well $200 if not a student). They advertise it as being the perfect accompaniment to the MBAir, but you might as well get an iMac and have a quad-core processor and better graphics. $999 for a monitor and a port hub? Give me a break.

Its price competitive, for the specs and high-end features it has... but the iMac is a STEAL, so I agree. Get the iMac if you can afford the difference, and even if you dont need/want two computers to deal with, just use it as a display only. Then resell it one day, and get more than your $100 back!

And one good way to use a laptop and desktop: treat the laptop as a server, where your documents reside, and access it from the speedy big-screen desktop. Then when you want portability, grab the laptop and goyour files are already on it, with no synching.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post

First off I hate Dell and will never buy anything from them. That said this part of the article is incorrect. CCFL is actually still superior for picture quality and especially color accuracy. It remains the standard in professional quality displays. If you're doing color grading of any kind, LED is still problematic and its popularity is actually leveraged upward from the consumer end. That'll probably start to change by the next panel generation.

Hmm... how could CCFL be a standard for professional when it can't even give a good black level?
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by aiolos View Post

I never understood why anyone wouldn't just buy an iMac for $100 more (well $200 if not a student). They advertise it as being the perfect accompaniment to the MBAir, but you might as well get an iMac and have a quad-core processor and better graphics. $999 for a monitor and a port hub? Give me a break.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

It’s price competitive, for the specs and high-end features it has... but the iMac is a STEAL, so I agree. Get the iMac if you can afford the difference, and even if you dont need/want two computers to deal with, just use it as a display only. Then resell it one day, and get more than your $100 back!

And one good way to use a laptop and desktop: treat the laptop as a server, where your documents reside, and access it from the speedy big-screen desktop. Then when you want portability, grab the laptop and go—your files are already on it, with no synching.

I think you're missing something. This is a 27" panel, not a 21" panel. The 27" iMac costs $700 more than the Cinema Display, not $100. The cinema display is for professionals using MacBooks and consumers with more money than sense lol. Apple make premium products and their brand attracts affluent people so it's worth marketing as a consumer product too, but the reality is most of us won't buy a Cinema Display unless we are a professional who wants the ease of integration and needs that image quality and for them an 27" iMac costing $700 more doesn't make sense.

I am a photographer and the Cinema Display is attractive to me because I can bring my MacBook Pro home from a job and just plug in one Thunderbolt cable and all my daisy chained hard disks mount and I have a 27" Cinema Display to use instead of a laptop-grade 15" screen. An iMac doesn't offer that workflow. As decent as MacBook Pro screens are, they don't compare to this.
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Selling a 2009 panel in the year 2011 and charging full price for it?

Only Apple.

Ignoring the fact that everyone else sells the same panel at the same price in a worse monitor with older ports and fewer features?

Only Galbi.

Originally Posted by asdasd

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Originally Posted by asdasd

This is Appleinsider. It's all there for you but we can't do it for you.
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post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

That's an interesting perspective. You seem to know a little more about this than me and I'd like you to clarify something if you can?

My initial reaction was annoyance at Apple when I saw this article.

Why would you get annoyed if you don't understand the gibberish passed off as specs?
Quote:
They charge a good deal more than LG do for their display yet it appears technically inferior. The majority of people looking at these panels will be professional people due to their cost and excessive quality for non-professional needs.

Why is the quality excessive? For that matter why do you associate quality with professional needs?
Quote:
Given that, the quality difference is important. A professional wants the best quality their budget can get them, it's not just about desirability as it is for consumers as I'm sure you appreciate.

You are assuming there is a real quality difference between the two displays. You can not make such a determination based on manufactures specs. Specs have very little to do with quality nor suitability for professional use. In the end the only thing that counts is performance in the regime that the professional intends to use the device.
Quote:
Apple give you the Thunderbolt port, the FW800 and USB ports plus the speaker system but it's still a lot more money, even given the vastly superior physical chassis, though if you're paying this much for a display, it's nice to have a beautiful cold metal chassis!

When I've got annoyed with Apple in the past for seemingly skimping on specs, I've often learned that I was wrong to do so as I wasn't in possession of all the facts. Apple have a habit of looking at a problem and choosing the right specs for the job, not necessarily the most impressive specs on a spec sheet. For instance they often choose less than the top end chips for MacBooks because they offer better balance between power and battery life.

You do realize that Apple is after the mass market right. They fully expect people with professional needs to go to suppliers building professional monitors.
Quote:
My question is: are Dell simply touting specs that nobody in the real world could make use of?

That is a delicate question. First there is an assumption that the extra capability can be realized in the real world. It is one thing to say a panel is a ten bit display it is another thing to realize an actual ten bit range in color.

As to the question isn't that sort of like asking how anybody can make use of 16GB of RAM or a sports car that can do 200MPH? I'm certain somebody can come up with a way to demonstrate the value of such a display, but in the real world who would notice.
Quote:
You mention Lion doesn't even support 10-bit display. Have Apple simply done what they often do and make this display as good as it needs to be to make full use of Lion's capabilities, or is the Dell display actually going to give better results despite much of it's technical capability being moot as Lion cannot make use of it?

I can see you are really hung up on specs.
Quote:
To put it another way, would Dell's panel actually give a better picture than Apple's or are they both rendered equal by Lion's 8-bit bottleneck? (response time aside, not an issue for me as a photographer)

As a photographer how many of your software packages use color channels greater than 8bit? Actually there is a lot of processing done these days outside of the 8 bit world but when generating a display most apps expect 8 bit displays. In the end only testing can tell you which panel gives better results on a Mac.

In any event you need to look at things from a different perspective. The bottle neck isn't so much Apples as it is an issue of hardware. Only recently have panels actually been able to give decent 8bit results. As to the so called ten bit panels realize that there is much involved in getting those panels to operate well, ten manufactures could all build screens with the same panel and all of then could get different results.

Note the word "different" above, different does not imply better or worst than another.
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post

I think I could live with a CCFL if it gets me a better screen surface, better response time, and more colors.

I just hate that the better screen is a Dull.

Then again the Dell is not glossy. That would make a whole lot of customers happy. Perhaps that matte-petition (Zunx?) guy is on a Dell forum right now, praising this display.

Personally I've always chosen non glossy (I'm into photography and prefer the non reflective screen) but cannot believe I would ever choose a Dell over an Apple. Do have a problem if my current (non glossy) 30" would die.
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post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by aiolos View Post

$999 for a monitor and a port hub? Give me a break.

I paid $1800 for a 30" last year and would do so again if mine were to die. Unfortunately it simply isn't available... I'm not going to state if I'm rich or not but if I were it would be my preference and if I weren't I'd save for my preference rather than compromise on price. Does that make sense?
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post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Selling a 2009 panel in the year 2011 and charging full price for it?

Only Apple.

Not really. I bought a 1989 house in 1998 and I paid full price for it.
post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Why would you get annoyed if you don't understand the gibberish passed off as specs?

I do understand the specs. They're not gibberish. I was annoyed because the specs of the Dell display exceed the Apple display in meaningful ways (half the response time, greater colour gamut) and yet Apple ask for a lot more for their display. I then qualified my annoyance with the rest of my comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Why is the quality excessive? For that matter why do you associate quality with professional needs?

The quality is excessive because for the vast majority of consumer needs the display is overkill. An iMac's display, a SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper large display of lesser quality or, if it's for film viewing, a television set, would be more than enough for most usage. A $1k display is not what most people buy to edit the family snaps, browse the net and watch Prison Break. I'm not being condescending, but it's a fair point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

You are assuming there is a real quality difference between the two displays. You can not make such a determination based on manufactures specs. Specs have very little to do with quality nor suitability for professional use. In the end the only thing that counts is performance in the regime that the professional intends to use the device.

I am not assuming anything, I am simply taking the specs at face value and asking a reasonable question. The specs are there to convey performance in the regime. I can buy a Ford Focus and take it to a track day to find out it doesn't have the performance of a Ferrari 459, or I can look at the specs - meaningless though they are - prior to making my purchase.

According to the specs listed in this article, the Dell display outshines the Apple one in two key areas. Response time is a real-world differentiator, though not one I care much about given that most photographs don't move a lot. Whether or not the listed colour gamut has any meaning (as it may not in fact be produceable) in the real world was at the heart of my question to the user I was addressing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

You do realize that Apple is after the mass market right. They fully expect people with professional needs to go to suppliers building professional monitors.

I don't doubt Apple will sell many of these displays, but they are clearly a prosumer/professional product. Most people will balk at the price and so they should as it is beyond their requirements. Again, not being condescending, it's just a fact. It would be a waste of money for most users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

That is a delicate question. First there is an assumption that the extra capability can be realized in the real world. It is one thing to say a panel is a ten bit display it is another thing to realize an actual ten bit range in color.

As to the question isn't that sort of like asking how anybody can make use of 16GB of RAM or a sports car that can do 200MPH? I'm certain somebody can come up with a way to demonstrate the value of such a display, but in the real world who would notice.

First, there is not an assumption at all. The very reason for my question to the user I was addressing was precisely because I was not making the assumption that the extra capability can be realised in the real world. I know it cannot be completely realised, I wanted to know to what extent it can be realised. That is at the heart of the matter.

If the Dell display does in fact display a meaningfully greater colour gamut than the Apple display then that is of course important. I would notice. People don't spend thousands of dollars on some display models out there because they're idiots; they can see the difference. Unless Apple's display is the ultimate in display technology, the pinnacle of human accomplishment in LCD display, which is is not, then it is reasonable to ask if the Dell model exceeds the Apple model just as a $2-3k NEC model might.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I can see you are really hung up on specs.

This is an idiotic and disrespectful commentary. A colour gamut is a real thing. It is important to me as a photographer. Dell claim to their display has a colour gamut SIXTY times greater than that of the Apple display. I'm really hung up on that.

...if it can actually be produced by a system, hence my question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

As a photographer how many of your software packages use color channels greater than 8bit? Actually there is a lot of processing done these days outside of the 8 bit world but when generating a display most apps expect 8 bit displays. In the end only testing can tell you which panel gives better results on a Mac.

In any event you need to look at things from a different perspective. The bottle neck isn't so much Apples as it is an issue of hardware. Only recently have panels actually been able to give decent 8bit results. As to the so called ten bit panels realize that there is much involved in getting those panels to operate well, ten manufactures could all build screens with the same panel and all of then could get different results.

Note the word "different" above, different does not imply better or worst than another.

All of them. Every single one. I shoot 14-bit RAW images, which I edit with Aperture. If I retouch them I generally use 16-bit PSD files to preserve quality. If (and again, I was asking in my question as I do not know) Lion can output at greater than 8-bit and a display can show greater than 8-bit, that is of course desirable! My vision isn't 8-bit thanks.

As for ten manufacturers making panels, that's convoluting the matter. I am talking about these displays because they are the same panel with disparate prices. I want to know if the cheaper Dell panel which claims huge technical superiority over the Apple one, can actually put that extra performance 'down on the road', so to speak.

The word 'difference' not implying better or worse does not alter the fact that some displays are better than others. My MacBook Pro's display is different from a Nintendo Gameboy's, but I think it's fair to say it's also superior.

To get back to the simple question I asked, are the limitations of Lion and other considerations enough to render the claimed extra colour gamut of the Dell display irrelevant? And therefore, are the two displays in reality approximately equal in colour gamut because the added potential of the Dell model cannot be realised?
post #23 of 30
and it's a great monitor. I was thrilled to drop off my 22" Mitsubishi CRT to the recycling station earlier.

One problem. You HAVE TO HAVE a thunderbolt computer to power this thing. You cannot use Mac Pro (for example) with mini display port. I didn't know this and was really upset when it didn't work. For the time being, I've got it hooked up to my new Macbook Pro and am using screen sharing to access my Mac Pro. At this point, I'm trying to figure out my options. I'd hate to return this monitor as it's really great. I might have to exchange for the previous LED Cinema Display with MDP but might just sell my Mac Pro instead and just use my MBP for the time being.
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galbi View Post

Selling a 2009 panel in the year 2011 and charging full price for it?

Only Apple.

You actually need to understand the reasoning here. Wider gamut panels really can look like ass if they aren't properly calibrated. You get a lot of overly saturated ui elements and stuff. There are more drawbacks than advantages to wider gamut displays and they're more prone to banding due to the larger color steps. As they age it can get worse.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

To put it another way, would Dell's panel actually give a better picture than Apple's or are they both rendered equal by Lion's 8-bit bottleneck? (response time aside, not an issue for me as a photographer)

Quite a lot of this stuff is marketing. Mine uses an 8 bit panel and it looks better than most of the 10 bit panels (unfortunately the brand is overpriced in the US compared to other countries). In my opinion Dell and Apple displays aren't really ideal for a photographer. Neither one is that amazing and both lack a really good option for calibration. The Apple will drive you crazy due to the glossiness, so if it's between the two I'd go with the Dell. I'd then try to find a package that could profile it reasonably well, but wider gamut displays (and those with LED backlighting so either of these) have limited options in calibration pucks. Most of the devices on the market do a poor job with these display types in my opinion. I haven't seen a Dell in a while, but Apple always has obnoxiously bright display settings. For editing photos I recommend a display that can dial down far enough to match your prints, and I suggest doing your editing in near total darkness if possible. If you think I'm kidding just look at what those at professional photo labs and prepress houses do.

My suggestion is to look for reviews on the long term performance of the Dell and maybe some of the recent model NECs. I had a lot of problems with the NEC 90s series (which is why I no longer use them), but the new ones are supposedly an immense improvement. I'm actually typing this on a 2190 UXi. it's still working after five years or so, but within a year and a half to two years, those models would really start to lose overall stability. Magenta casts around the corners as they aged were also an issue. I haven't heard of this problem with any of the newer ones. Anyway I hope that helps.
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by canucklehead View Post

and it's a great monitor. I was thrilled to drop off my 22" Mitsubishi CRT to the recycling station earlier.

One problem. You HAVE TO HAVE a thunderbolt computer to power this thing. You cannot use Mac Pro (for example) with mini display port. I didn't know this and was really upset when it didn't work. For the time being, I've got it hooked up to my new Macbook Pro and am using screen sharing to access my Mac Pro. At this point, I'm trying to figure out my options. I'd hate to return this monitor as it's really great. I might have to exchange for the previous LED Cinema Display with MDP but might just sell my Mac Pro instead and just use my MBP for the time being.

Hehe I had to comment on this. I don't like the Apple displays but dude that Mitsubishi must have been ancient. I don't think they've manufactured a single display since 2003? Sony Artisans were better for the price back then anyway compared to the high end Mitsubishi at the time.
post #26 of 30
Quote:
The solutions provider also noted that Apple's screen has a 12 millisecond response time and 17.7 million colors, while Dell's competing panel offers an advertised 6 millisecond response time and 1.07 billion colors.

Some errors here. First of all, almost every panel on the market operates with 8 bit RGB color channels. Cheaper TN and eIPS panels use 6 bit + FRC (dithering), which makes them able to reproduce 8 bit for each color channel.

That equals 16,77 million colors. 10 bit panels are available but pretty much useless today because all OS systems and photo editing programs use 8 bit. Often manufacturers also use for example "1.07 billion colors" specs to indicate that internal color processing is done with a higher-bit LUT (look up table). This basically means that images run through a color table to improve gradation. That is a good thing but it doesn't make the actual LCD panel 10 bit. The panel is still 8 bit and therefore it only reproduces 16.77 million colors.

As stated earlier in the discussion LED has no positive effect on picture quality - at least necessarily. It can provide a more even light distribution, leading to better light homogeneity, but it has absolutely no impact on for example black depth. This is the LCD panels "faults" and IPS panels used in Apple monitors, Dell, NEC and other graphic monitors all come with subpar black levels because the IPS panel technology is not capable of completely eliminating light from the backlight unit (whether it is LED or CCFL). But most of the time LED is integrated as Edge LED and besides lowering the power consumption and slimming down the panel, it has no advantages over CCFL. It is the _light source_, the light controller that creates colors is the LCD panel.
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnielse View Post

Some errors here. First of all, almost every panel on the market operates with 8 bit RGB color channels. Cheaper TN and eIPS panels use 6 bit + FRC (dithering), which makes them able to reproduce 8 bit for each color channel.

That equals 16,77 million colors. 10 bit panels are available but pretty much useless today because all OS systems and photo editing programs use 8 bit. Often manufacturers also use for example "1.07 billion colors" specs to indicate that internal color processing is done with a higher-bit LUT (look up table). This basically means that images run through a color table to improve gradation. That is a good thing but it doesn't make the actual LCD panel 10 bit. The panel is still 8 bit and therefore it only reproduces 16.77 million colors.

As stated earlier in the discussion LED has no positive effect on picture quality - at least necessarily. It can provide a more even light distribution, leading to better light homogeneity, but it has absolutely no impact on for example black depth. This is the LCD panels "faults" and IPS panels used in Apple monitors, Dell, NEC and other graphic monitors all come with subpar black levels because the IPS panel technology is not capable of completely eliminating light from the backlight unit (whether it is LED or CCFL). But most of the time LED is integrated as Edge LED and besides lowering the power consumption and slimming down the panel, it has no advantages over CCFL. It is the _light source_, the light controller that creates colors is the LCD panel.

I was going to write a longer response but you know.... you explained it nicely. I think as calibration pucks catch up and we see 10 bit out with ddc calibrated displays become more common, it could improve the overall transitions of these displays. As it is 10 bit refers to the hardware's mapping, but not its response. It's just 0-1023 rather than 0-255. This doesn't however mean that these are equally spaced increments. That's what I mean when I say that manufacturers play with their numbers at times.
post #28 of 30
2009 display or not, the picture quality and the specs of the monitor still outpace many (even all) monitors in its price class.

... at night.

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... at night.

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post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

Hmm... how could CCFL be a standard for professional when it can't even give a good black level?

I don't see how one is related to the other, because that concerns a different part of the overall panel. A good black level concerns an LCD panel's ability to block light. I doubt the same LCD substrate with CCFL would show a dark gray when LED would show a better black. I think it's more likely that you're comparing an old substrate with CCFL with a new substrate with LED backlight.

As for CCFL being a better backlight source, I don't know. As far as I understand, some backlight LEDs use the same kind of material to generate the light, phosphors on the lenses of an LED, some backlight LEDs use discrete red, green and blue LEDs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by canucklehead View Post

and it's a great monitor. I was thrilled to drop off my 22" Mitsubishi CRT to the recycling station earlier.

One problem. You HAVE TO HAVE a thunderbolt computer to power this thing. You cannot use Mac Pro (for example) with mini display port. I didn't know this and was really upset when it didn't work. For the time being, I've got it hooked up to my new Macbook Pro and am using screen sharing to access my Mac Pro. At this point, I'm trying to figure out my options. I'd hate to return this monitor as it's really great. I might have to exchange for the previous LED Cinema Display with MDP but might just sell my Mac Pro instead and just use my MBP for the time being.

Yes, Apple still sells their old 27" LED Cinema display for this reason. You'll have to exchange the TB display for the older display to use it on your Mac Pro.

New:
http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC...co=MTY3ODQ5OTY

Factory Refurbished:
http://store.apple.com/us/product/FC...co=MTY3ODQ5OTY

I'm interested in seeing how Apple will implement Thunderbolt on a Mac Pro, I've read that you can't just add it to a video card, which is kind of a baffling limitation. Then again, I'm baffled why TB display isn't backward compatible with the old Display Port-only connector.
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post

Hmm... how could CCFL be a standard for professional when it can't even give a good black level?

You're listening to too much manufacturer drivel, and really your information is dated by several years. IPS panels from around 2007-2008 on have really reproduced a nice black level. It's just a matter of what people are used to hearing at this point (that and samsung marketing for their pva panels). The best quality professional displays available usually offer a contrast ratio of 400:1 to 500:1 when calibrated. It may sound low to you but it's completely workable. The other side of this is that there's no standard for defining contrast ratio. Some inflated numbers are calculated by unrealistic sharpening algorithms used on a new display set to maximum brightness. This kind of situation isn't appropriate to analyzing their potential for use in a professional environment. Things that matter way way more are how well it tracks in darker colors, ability to reproduce appropriate detail from white to black, uniformity in color and luminance, sample variation in manufacturing, available display management software, and performance at 80-120cd/m2 (160 for some stuff) as these are typical brightness ranges used for color critical applications.

The top display manufacturers have stuck with CCFL on higher end displays while migrating their consumer lines to LED. LED in general has certain issues, but I expect the engineering problems to start to fade over the next couple years as experience with the technology on the consumer lines will help with upward leveraging. The other part is that newer colorimeters have been designed with newer panel generations in mind. Up until a year or two ago, these designs were still from the crt era and leveraged by adjustment tables rather than updated hardware.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


I'm interested in seeing how Apple will implement Thunderbolt on a Mac Pro, I've read that you can't just add it to a video card, which is kind of a baffling limitation. Then again, I'm baffled why TB display isn't backward compatible with the old Display Port-only connector.

I've read a lot of conflicting information on this. Intel has stated that it supports displayport and PCI protocols. Given the desire to implement it on the Windows end, I doubt the one we've seen is the only possible style of implementation. We may very well see it with the same connector but a different backend.

It's kind of weird that such a standard grew on the mini displayport connector as it does have some limitations compared to the normal style of connection. Really the bandwidth available isn't as impressive for displays as it is for data. Displayport 1.2 has supported Gb/s with the option for 10 bit out (there's a lot of misunderstanding on the potential advantages here and not all displays that have this really gain much from it, just providing this note for clarification).

It'll be interesting to see what happens with wireless displayport and if Apple eventually chooses to adopt it.
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