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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Nov 29, 2010
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    MacBook Pro - Adding External Monitor
    I have this MacBook Pro:

    MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2008) - Technical Specifications

    I am wanting to add an external lcd (led ?) monitor (or a TV) for design work in such programs as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I'll also add a keyboard and mouse and other things to convert it to a desktop.


    I need accurate color representation as these designs are to be printed by a 3rd party. I also need a display that will work with a 4:3 aspect ratio. I usually work in 1024 x 768, but 1600 x 1200 is acceptable since I often work at several times actual size.

    I am not big fan of the lcd monitors or TVs, but they don't make crt monitors any more. I tried a cheap LCD TV with a PC hookup that had a 4:3 mode, but I am not impressed (too soft and not as sharp as a crt) - the TV had a native aspect ratio of 1440 X 960. I also hated the fact that in 4:3 mode it placed large black areas on the right and left.

    The Apple specs for this model says:

    "Dual display and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors".

    Any suggestions?

    1. I should be looking for a S-IPS, preferably with led, correct?
    2. I should be looking for native 4:3 support over emulated (which would probably mean 1600 x 1200 by the models I've seen so far)?
    3. I am thinking that I'd use the laptop screen for the desktop area and a large monitor at 1600 x 1200 for actual design work. I am not sure if I can find a large enough screen to compensate for current dual 19" setup on another Power Mac G4 though.

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
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    How much do you want to spend? The Apple Cinema Displays are of the finest quality and give excellent color rendition. Not sure you're going to find high quality in a 4:3 aspect ratio though. The Apple display in the link is 16:9.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Nov 29, 2010
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    I think the Apple Display is out as its 10.6 minimum and not 4:3 native. It also seems a little pricy considering it is not geared specifically for design work.

    I really don't get Apple (and I've been a supporter since the Apple II) - Apple has always had a niche with designers and publishers, but they don't make a 4:3 aspect ratio. I mean how am actually suppose to do any design work when other aspect ratios don't work - squares are not squares, circles are not circles - and so forth. I don't care about movies or gaming. Surely Apple could come out with a lcd - led for designers, cad work, and such only - I'd pay a premium price for it so long as it was great and not a general consumer item.

    I found this list:

    Comprehensive List of S-IPS/H-IPS/e-IPS and other IPS Based LCD Monitors

    As to how updated it is I am not sure because I don't see the monitors on the manufacturer's web sites and some reviews for some of these products indicate that they originally came out years ago so the technology may not be that great. I don't think I could stand connecting some of these brands to my Mac - it gives me the shivers to think of hooking up a Dell or HP, LOL.

    The most I've spent was $550 each back in 1999-2002 era for some 45 pound 19" crt monitors, a couple of which I still use.

  4. #4


    Member Since
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    12" Apple PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz)
    I don't think you understand aspect ratios on computers.

    They're not like TVs/HDTVs where the signal is one resolution and the display squashes (or letterboxes) it to fit. A computer will adjust its output to suit the resolution of the display. So don't worry about the aspect ratio; just worry about whether the resolution is sufficient for you. And yes, on an LCD, you'll have to stick to the native resolution of the panel.

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Nov 29, 2010
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    I do not quite get what you are saying based upon this image from Wikipedia, which shows various common resolutions and the aspect ratio under which they are classified.

    File:Vector Video Standards2.svg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



    If I set my right crt monitor to 1024 x 768 (a 4:3 aspect ratio) it looks normal. If I set my left crt monitor to 1280 x 768 (a 5:3 aspect ratio) it is not usable - squares are not squares and there is a black band on the right, left, and top.

    On the other hand I tried hooking a lcd TV with a native resolution of 1440 x 960 (a 3:2 aspect ratio), which produced similar unusable results to the 1280 x 768 on the crt. On the other hand the TV did have a 4:3 mode, which displayed the images correctly (i.e., squares are squares and not rectangles), but it left black bands on the left and right. I was also not impressed by the images, clearly not as sharp as a crt - which form what I've read may be due to the lcd being forced to emulate a non native resolution over its set in stone native resolution.

    I do not understand why I should not pay attention to aspect ratio, since this immediately tells me if monitor is capable of projecting a usable image over its entire surface. Using any other aspect ratio other than 4:3 in say Adobe Illustrator will mean your circles are ovals and your squares are rectangles.

  6. #6

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    What tech is saying and I agree with is that the best viewing will be at the display's native resolution.

    However, I also understand what you're saying. And since you'll be the one who is using the display and deciding on what's right for the particular work that you do, you need to buy and use whichever display that works best for you.

  7. #7


    Member Since
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    Yes, the point is, with an LCD display, you need to use the native resolution.

    Your MacBook already has a widescreen LCD built in. It works pretty well, doesn't it? Real LCD displays are not the same as CRTs or cheapie TVs.

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