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  1. #1


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    Questions RE: Purchasing External Monitor for MBP
    Hi Mac Users.

    Background
    I have a 13" MBP (early spring 2011) w/ 1280x800 display.
    I'm planning to morph my set-up into external monitor, wireless keyboard, wireless mouse. I am not a professional photographer/graphic designer/film producer.

    I've been researching purchasing an external monitor. This one's in the lead right now:
    Dell UltraSharp U242M (IPS, 24" monitor, 16:10, 8ms). Familiar with some, but not sure what all the specs mean. Amazon link if you're interested: Amazon.com: Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24" LED LCD Monitor - 16:10 - 8 ms: Computers & Accessories.

    Questions:

    1. This monitor has a 1920x1200 resolution whereas my MBP has a 1280x800 display. Does this mean that I won't be able to fully utilize the monitor? Because of the display differences, will the monitor display be distorted?

    2. Speakers. I'm assuming that when using an external monitor without built-in speakers, one has to provide external speakers to get sound? (In other words, will the speaker on the MBP be active when using the external monitor?)

    3. Connection cord(s). From your experiences, what is the best display cord option to use? It does not have an HDMI port - given my scenario, is this going to be an issue?

    4. Calibration. Any recommendation on third party software?


    Finally, any recommendations on a solid external monitor that from your experience beats this one? I will pay up to $400 or so for a good product.

  2. #2


    Member Since
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    iPhone 4S iPod Nano 6th Gen MacBook Pro (2011) -OS: OS X v.10.6.8 -Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
    Disregard question #2

  3. #3

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    I can probably answer questions 1 & 3.

    Your MacBook Pro is capable of displaying a number of different resolutions, after you connec the monitor go to Display settings and selec the native resoloution for your monitor.

    Amazon and other places carry several different configuration video adapters that will work depending on the output and inputs you prefer to use. Minidisplayport to HDMI is readily available.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  4. #4


    Member Since
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    iPhone 4S iPod Nano 6th Gen MacBook Pro (2011) -OS: OS X v.10.6.8 -Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
    Thanks for the reply, RM.

    Do you have any recommendations on display choice? Is HDMI the way to go?
    First priority is best display possible. Second priority is avoiding clutter (excessive cords, etc.)

  5. #5

    IvanLasston's Avatar
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    1 - There are 3 output modes - Mirror (Same thing on both displays), Dual Display(Your laptop screen is one display, the external monitor is another display), and "Clamshell" (Laptop is closed - only display the monitor.) The only one that will "look weird" will be Mirror - because you won't be using the native display resolution of the External Display. The other two modes you can set the resolution to the native display resolution. But short answer - is no it won't be a problem and you should be able to fully use the monitor. (By the by I have my MBA and Dell monitor set to Dual so that I have a 1920x1200 and a 1366x768 display)

    2 - I know you said disregard - but some monitors do have audio that could be straight analog or USB depending on the version. Apple's own display uses a thunderbolt connection. That being said - even with speakers connected you can choose your audio output from the Sys Prefs -> Sound or alt-click the volume on the menubar. (Note I have USB audio, Airplay, and headphones all hooked up and depending on how much I want to share - I select which audio output to use.)

    3 - I like the monoprice adapters. Awesome price and converts just fine.
    HDMI Cable, Home Theater Accessories, HDMI Products, Cables, Adapters, Video/Audio Switch, Networking, USB, Firewire, Printer Toner, and more!
    In your case the DVI or VGA converters would work - but I'd recommend DVI.
    Do note that some DVI does not have HDCP - so my really old Dell monitor with DVI wasn't able to play some content on iTunes. I had to move the video to my laptop monitor to play it - I didn't see any information on HDCP with the monitor you linked but if you are looking to play HD content from iTunes it is something to research.
    EDIT: HDMI includes HDCP so you may want to find a monitor that supports HDMI directly

    4 - Start with the built in calibration Sys Prefs -> Displays -> Color -> Calibrate
    Usually calibration is for printing so that what you see on your monitor is what you print - but the calibration is a good place to start for non-professionals.
    ColorSync for Mac OSX

  6. #6


    Member Since
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    Right on - thanks, Ivan!

    You completely lost me on #3. What does HDCP mean? Any recommendations on how to phrase inquiries on this feature?

  7. #7

    IvanLasston's Avatar
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    HDCP is a type of hardware digital copy protection. Most of the time it is seamless to the user. But as I stated I tried playing a HD movie from iTunes on my 24" Dell monitor (Which is some 12 years old) and it gave me an error.

    Here is a pretty decent article on the subject
    HDCP errors with iTunes HD content | Macworld

    Here is a wikipedia article
    High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    You can see that DVI may be supported - but you have to find out if the particular monitor has the hardware to support HDCP. If you aren't going to be buying HD from iTunes or finding a way to play Blu-Ray on the Mac, the point is moot.

  8. #8


    Member Since
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    iPhone 4S iPod Nano 6th Gen MacBook Pro (2011) -OS: OS X v.10.6.8 -Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
    This one is HDCP supported.

    I have Thunderbolt.
    So, lmy set-up should be Mini-Thunderbolt --> DVI ---> Dell UltraSharp 24.

    Does anyone think I would absolutely be missing out without HDMI (which this monitor doesn't support)?

    Cheers and thanks for all of the advice.

  9. #9

    bobtomay's Avatar
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    You shouldn't notice any difference between DVI-D and HDMI as far as your video goes.
    Just make sure when you buy a cable it is DVI-D.

    The Dell Ultrasharps are some nice monitors at their price.
    I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
    In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.

  10. #10


    Member Since
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    iPhone 4S iPod Nano 6th Gen MacBook Pro (2011) -OS: OS X v.10.6.8 -Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
    After much research, I stumbled upon refurb'd Dell UltraSharp 2209A (22" w/ IPS) for a mere $179 total. I decided to the $100 difference was more important than the 2 inches, so I went with this one.

    If anyone is researching threads in the future and curious about how my set-up is working, feel free to message me. Thanks to all for your advice.

  11. #11

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.cotton View Post
    After much research, I stumbled upon refurb'd Dell UltraSharp 2209A (22" w/ IPS) for a mere $179 total. I decided to the $100 difference was more important than the 2 inches, so I went with this one.

    If anyone is researching threads in the future and curious about how my set-up is working, feel free to message me. Thanks to all for your advice.
    Even better, you could post an update to let us know . . .
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

  12. #12


    Member Since
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    Right on - just put a reminder into my phone!

  13. #13


    Member Since
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    iPhone 4S iPod Nano 6th Gen MacBook Pro (2011) -OS: OS X v.10.6.8 -Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
    Update - Review
    About a month ago, I purchased a refurb'd Dell UltraSharp 2209A (22" w/ IPS). I got it off Ebay for $179 and it included a speaker bar.

    For the record, I'm not a gamer, professional photographer/filmmaker, computer whiz, etc. I wanted something that could help take the strain off my eyes b/c I use a 13" MBP (early 2011).

    I've been using a Thunderbolt connection and could not be more pleased. After 3 weeks of use, couldn't be more pleased. I get high quality, simple connection, and haven't experienced any dead pixels.

    I recently purchased a set of wireless headphones (Sennheiser RS 160) and converted my old hard drive to an external for movies/instructional videos. Looking forward to using these with my monitor.

    Hope this helps. Thanks again everyone for the knowledge while making my decision.

  14. #14

    RavingMac's Avatar
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    Thanks for the followup. Glad it is working well for you.
    I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .

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