Decision Time

I have decided to place an order the Power Mac G5 Quad. I’m still deciding what monitor to get. Should I go all-out and purchase the gigantic 30″ Cinema Display or be conservative and get the Dell 24″ display, which is similar to the 23″ Apple Cinema Display?

Alex has decided that the 30″ is for him, while Eric and Rae are suggesting I get the 24″ (or dual 24″ in Eric’s case). I can certainly see the case for both choices, so I’m opening up this post to comments from readers! Which display would you get?

Dell is currently running a deal for a Dimension 9100 with a 24″ monitor for only $1199 (after rebate). That certainly looks like a good deal!

Update: One other thing to keep in mind is that I’ll be getting a 25% discount on the Apple purchase. That would mean a 30″ Apple Cinema Display would cost $1875 instead of $2499. Dell routinely gives out 35% discount codes on the Dell 24″, so I would be paying $759 for the display. I’ve heard that the Dells are insanely bright. Has this posed a problem for anybody doing serious photo editing work?

The photo accompanying this entry shows the relative screen resolutions for each of the monitors that I’m considering. I’ve also thrown in the original Mac screen size of 512×384 for reference! I used to have an SE/30, and my, how little screen real estate that computer had!

Update #2: I made my decision to go with the 30″ Apple Cinema Display over the dual 23-24″ ACD or Dell displays. Part of me was always leaning in that direction, but I wanted a little more validation from others. Thanks to Eric and Alex, to whom I spoke late last night for the extra encouragement. In the end, several points led me to the 30-inch:

  • More vertical space. The 23/24-inch displays only gave me an extra 176 pixels of vertical space over my current 17-inch monitor (1920×1200 versus 1280×1024), whereas the 30-inch gave me 576 more pixels. Yes, you can rotate one of the Dell displays to get 1920 vertical pixels, but then I would have a Tetris-shaped monitor setup!
  • Balance. The 30-inch gives me 100% more horizontal resolution of my 17-inch display with 56% more vertical space. The dual Dells would have given me 200% more horizontal resolution but with only 17% more vertical space. I preferred the idea of a bigger monitor rather than a wider monitor.
  • Price. The dual Dell displays was only $316 cheaper than the 30-inch. If I wasn’t getting a 25% discount on the 30-inch, the difference would have been $940. That’s significant enough to have pushed me towards the Dells over the 30.

Both monitor choices would have made me happy, but I am pleased with my decision. Since my 17-inch never had the versatility that the Dell displays have with their multiple inputs, memory card readers, and rotation ability, I don’t think I’ll miss those features. Lastly, by the time I consider my next computer purchase, I don’t think that I’ll be worrying about upgrading the display as well.

Thanks to everyone who posted comments!

16 thoughts on “Decision Time

  1. jim

    I have a Dell for my Mac based on Eric’s suggestion and I love it. To me, those Apple monitors are ridiculously overpriced and I couldn’t see paying that much just to have a matching logo.

    My 2 cents. :)

  2. syndromes

    My general premise when buying a new computer (et al) is to almost always get a step down from premium. For that extra x% of size/performance, or whatever, you’re going to be paying a big ole premium generally. Is it worth it for me? Usually no. Although I did splurge for a D30 when they first came out ;) Eh, if money isn’t an issue, get what your heart desires. I guess i’d rather buy the cheaper monitor AND something else though at the end of the day. But then i’m in super penny pinching mode, so i’m a bit tainted ;)

    Anyway, consider this a vote for the dell.

  3. I just got myself a 24″ from the Dell Dimension deal, then promptly sold the PC on craigslist. Ended up paying less than $800 for a 24″ screen that would’ve cost over $1300 if it was from Apple. So far as I can tell, it totally stands up to any of the Apple cinema displays, and actually has many more features and much more flexibility.

    The big things that stand out for me:
    – It’s got memory card slots built-in: FOUR of them. Albeit painfully slow over the also-built-in USB 1, still very handy sometimes.
    – Lots of inputs: DVI, VGA, S-Video, Composite RCA. Add this to the built in picture in picture and there’s bound to be something cool that can be done with it.
    – It pivots: This was hardly a feature I was looking for in a monitor (or even realized was still an option since those old school Radius displays), but it’s cooler than I would’ve thought, especially with the dual-inputs; turn the display on it’s side, one input on top, one on bottom, each taking up half the screen (and the halves are still plenty large).

    I’m also looking into getting the Quad G5, and I’ll be putting my money into ram and a hot shit video card, not over priced monitors.

  4. This has been my MO for buying computers in the past as well, having purchased the middle-ranged PowerMac, PowerComputing, and PowerBook computers in the past. I guess this time is a little different vis-a-vis the computer. As for the display, I could still go either way. Friday’s the day I’ll put in the order, so keep the comments coming in!

  5. I think you can’t go wrong with either decision. ;)

  6. Go to Fry’s and look at the displays. They have a ViewSonic 24″ that similar to the Dell (or did when I was at the Sunnyvale Fry’s a few weeks back). After comparing the two, I had a very easy decision.

  7. Just updated the original post with some more information. Another thing to keep in mind is that I’ll be getting a 25% discount on the Apple purchase. That would mean a 30″ Apple Cinema Display would cost $1875 instead of $2499. Dell routinely gives out 35% discount codes on the Dell 24″, so I would be paying $759 for the display. I’ve heard that the Dells are insanely bright. Has this posed a problem for anybody doing serious photo editing work?

  8. The Dell is quite bright, but I’ve go back and forth between monitor profiles when working with photos, so when I’m not, the extra brightness makes things much easier to read.

    And how exactly are you getting 25% off from Apple, do tell? :)

  9. Bryan

    There is one catch for getting the Dell: You can’t control the LCD from your shinny new Mac! I got a bit of surprise when I bought my 20″ panel from Dell and later realized that the brightness control key doesn’t work since the USB ports on the LCD are just a regular hub.

    Also you might want to make sure you can actually tune down the brightness on the Dell: On my 20″ Dell LCD the lowest setting is still very bright. I guess they designed it this way so you can use it to watch TV.

  10. Apple Employees get an annual 25% discount for one system. I know someone who isn’t using theirs this year :) Employees also have a 15% discount for friends and family (up to a certain number of purchases).

  11. Lucky bastard.
    If he feels like making a new friend, I’d be happy to buy him a beer…. ;)

  12. I’d avoid the Dell. Esthetically it looks much uglier. If you decided you don’t want to spend so much for the 30″, then get the 23″ Apple Cinema Display.

  13. As much as I’d like to support Apple and diss Dell, I’ve become more pragmatic of late so I’d have to say go with the 2×24″. That price is pretty ridiculous. The only thing better? 2×30″ but I’m assuming that’s not an option. =)

  14. Kwai

    Does the employee discount include the G5 Quad? If, so that would be such a great deal. My vote would be for the 30″ display over 2X24″ Dells. I’ve actually had the opportunity to see 2 Apple 30″ displays connected side by side and it will literally take up your entire desk. I also think it’s too much space (if ever there were such limits :) Either way, enjoy. Lucky you.

  15. Yes, the discount applies to the purchase of an entire system — computer and display(s).

  16. Congrats! Now the waiting begins. :)

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