Monitors for a mini
February 13, 2005 9:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to buy my mother a new Mac Mini once the new iteration of OS X is out. Can anyone recommend a decent 15 or 17" flat panel display to go with it? I heard that you can get one for about $250 – $300, are those decent?
posted by luriete to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
Is your mum farsighted? (Mine is.) You might want to think about a 15" display with a native resolution of 1024x768. Even with a smaller screen the text will be a little larger and easier to read.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:08 PM on February 13, 2005

Best answer: Make sure to upgrade the memory in the Mini. Mac OS X doesn't run very well in 256MB. 512MB is really the minimum. (OS X is the first consumer operating system that maintains the state of every open window in memory. Most others only maintain the screen area, then use smoke-and-mirror tricks.)

As for monitors, I've got a Samsung SyncMaster 173s that I'm pretty happy with. Got it for $350 or so.

I recommend checking out hardware review sites, like AnandTech and Tom's Hardware. They exhaustively test the monitors they get. AnandTech is especially good.
posted by maschnitz at 10:08 PM on February 13, 2005

You can get a brand-name LCD for that much. For example, here's a ViewSonic 17" LCD for $269.

It's your mom, so you don't have to worry about the refresh rate being low for gaming (which drives up the price).
posted by falconred at 10:09 PM on February 13, 2005

Also, for most people, the quality of the monitor, keyboard, and mouse really determine the entire experience. Processors are so fast nowadays that there's no real difference between an entry-level machine and a gamer's machine for 80% of the application. Don't scrimp on the monitor.
posted by maschnitz at 10:13 PM on February 13, 2005

It might work out to be cheaper to get her an eMac or an iMac, or heck even an iBook.
posted by riffola at 10:32 PM on February 13, 2005

I'm actually reading this on one of the Viewsonics falconred linked to. I wouldn't strongly recommended this model in particular. They've got a few other 17" models that are noticeably better for a similar price.
posted by shoos at 10:32 PM on February 13, 2005

Another recommendation: get a monitor with digital input. While the mini is supposed to come with digital-analog converter cables, the picture is much better with a monitor that supports direct digital input.
posted by aberrant at 10:33 PM on February 13, 2005

Response by poster: Do the versions with the digital input cost much more?

She is using this for photography primarily (she's on an older os9 imac now, and is in awe of iphoto 5 and flickr), so display quality is quite important.

I will investigate the iMac, but we can get a 15% discount on the mac mini, and even with a $300 screen and the 512 meg upgrade it'll still be a bit cheaper.
posted by luriete at 11:54 PM on February 13, 2005

Look on NewEgg. Just a few companies make most of the LCD panels, so the name of the company that's on the front is mostly a formality. Not paying for a name brand can save you a lot of money without much impact to quality. There are several 17" displays on there in your price range and even a 19". A 19" might be a good choice for an older person, as it doesn't have any more pixels than the 17" so stuff is bigger by default.
posted by kindall at 12:13 AM on February 14, 2005

For what it's worth if she's serious about photography she may prefer a CRT because it will probably have better color reproduction. LCDs are getting better though.
posted by Wood at 7:40 AM on February 14, 2005

I just read a recommendation in the latest PC Magazine that if you want to maximize font size, you should get a 19-inch screen. I'm not sure if that's a Windows-centric recommendation or not; the magazine does cover some Mac stuff.
posted by pmurray63 at 7:51 AM on February 14, 2005

Interesting thread on Macintouch about analog displays not working as well as digital, connected to a Mac mini.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:09 AM on February 14, 2005

Another vote for CRT, if space (and being able to move it) isn't a huge issue. You can get a very nice 17" CRT for well under $100. (I still use one I bought used about four years ago as I continue to wait for LCDs to get dirt cheap.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:55 AM on February 14, 2005

Response by poster: Unfortunately space is a huge issue, which is one reason we're going for the tiniest machine possible. However, I will still look at some CRTs. Thank you, Askmefi!
posted by luriete at 12:47 PM on February 14, 2005

I would recommend the Samsung 153T. About $230 shipped at that site (found through PriceGrabber). It's a Samsung (generally very good quality), has a digital connection, and it comes with a cable for the digital connection (DVI). Many monitors with a digital connection don't come with the DVI cable, which costs maybe 20-30 dollars more (complete guess). You can see that the 153T above comes with a DVI cable in the "photo gallery."

I have the 152T, and it's worked very well for me. The 153T is a somewhat old monitor (Samsung doesn't make any new 15" LCDs with digital connections, it seems), which probably accounts for the low price. But I can't see any reason why it wouldn't work well for you.
posted by whatnotever at 4:17 PM on February 14, 2005

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