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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Feb 16, 2011
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    Question Apple 30" Cinema Display - brightness comparison/settle for older one?
    I just bought a 30" Cinema Display on eBay. It is sweet. But it's an older and dimmer one. At least I'm pretty sure. I really wanted the newer, brighter one, which I thought I was getting. Is the brightness difference worth fighting for, or should I just settle for the one I got? Let me explain.

    First, read this, especially the note about brightness/contrast. Or see my summary that immediately follows.
    Cinema Display 30-Inch (Aluminum) Specs (Aluminum, M9179LL/A, A1083) @ EveryMac.com

    Apple released the 30" display in 2004 and discontinued it in 2010. "On March 28, 2006, Apple increased the quality of the display -- providing brightness of 400 cd/m2 and a 700:1 contrast ratio." Prior to that, they had a brightness of 270 cd/m2 and a 400:1 contrast ratio. That's about a 50% increase in brightness.

    Since the older ones were made for about 21 months and the brighter ones were made for about 51 months, I assume most displays out there are the newer, brighter ones. The eBay listing I purchased had "400 cd/m2 brightness, 700:1 contrast" in the summary. I'm guessing that was just an honest mistake in copying and pasting. I asked the seller if he got it in 2006 or earlier, and he believes he bought it directly from Apple in 2007. However, it is noticeably dimmer than my MacBook Pro's display (not sure of exact brightness on that), and it is much, much dimmer than the 500 cd/m2 monitors it will be sitting between. This leads me to believe that it's 270 nits, not 400 nits. Most telling, though, is that the bottom of the monitor says "2005" on it.

    I think it's pretty safe to say that I got an old, dim one. I really wanted the brighter one to go with my other bright monitors. Technically, it was misrepresented in the listing. Is this a big enough issue to raise a stink about, or should I just shut up and settle for what I have? Don't get me wrong -- the monitor looks great. But if I'm going to drop a bunch of money on one of the best monitors out there, I think I deserve to get the one I want and expect.

    Has anybody personally compared the two and seen the brightness difference? A 50% increase is pretty significant. I probably wouldn't care or know any better if this was my only monitor, but since it's next to two bright monitors, it's a very obvious and unfortunate difference.

    Thanks for your input. Sorry for the novel.

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainOlimar View Post
    Has anybody personally compared the two and seen the brightness difference? A 50% increase is pretty significant. I probably wouldn't care or know any better if this was my only monitor, but since it's next to two bright monitors, it's a very obvious and unfortunate difference.
    Do you REALLY want to know?

    If it turns out that there is a significant difference in real life situations...with the big bucks you probably paid for the monitor...wouldn't you rather not know!

    Sometimes ignorance is bliss!

    - Nick
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  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Of course I want to know. That is why I asked, yes? lol

    Since it seems pretty apparent that it's the older one, the question is, "Is this discrepancy worth disputing?"

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainOlimar View Post

    Since it seems pretty apparent that it's the older one, the question is, "Is this discrepancy worth disputing?"
    Again I ask...does it really matter? The purchase is done. Whether you have the dimmer or brighter version of the 30" display...there really isn't anything you can do about. Unless you can actually return the display.

    If the display looks great...then just be happy with it...and don't stress about whether the "brighter" version is any better or not.

    If (for example) the brighter version is noticeably brighter...what (at this point) can you or will you do about it??

    You got what you got...be happy with it.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    If (for example) the brighter version is noticeably brighter...what (at this point) can you or will you do about it??
    That was my question.

    After 20 minutes or so, it appeared to get a good bit brighter (to the point where I'm now satisfied). As it turns out, the serial number indicates that it was manufactured in May 2006, thus it's indeed the newer model after all. Thanks for your input.

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