Apple M9178B/A 23" Widescreen LCD Monitor Reviews
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Apple M9178B/A 23" Widescreen LCD Monitor

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The Apple Cinema HD Screen on Windows XP

Feb 17, 2003 (Updated Feb 18, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Use:

Pros:High Resolution, Bright and Beautiful Image color, sharp text, work with Windows XP, relatively cheap

Cons:Slight ghosting when viewing DVD, no VGA input, need DVI to ADC adapter for XP

The Bottom Line: Thinking about getting a large LCD screen for you PC? Consider this Apple. It is high quality, relatively cheap, and work well with Windows.


After I built my new P4 system last year, I was shopping for a monitor to replace my 5 years old 17" Viewsonic CRT. To me, monitor is the most important component of a PC, because it is how we 'see' the PC. It does not matter how fast your PC is, if you use a low quality monitor, you will not feel good about your PC. Thus, I spent a lot of time looking at various monitors, from 19", 21", 24" CRT to 17", 18", 19", 20" all the way up to 24" LCD. I decided to get an LCD because CRT is taking to much space, and the quality of many LCDs seems pretty satisfactory for me, even for photo editing.

I was close to get a Dell 19" or 20" since they are sold at really good price, until I came across the Apple 22" and 23" at my local Apple store. After seeing the resolution of the 23" Cinema HD, I decided I want this resolution. I feel that this resolution will allow me to display two applications side by side, which will make me more productive. It is also much more pleasant to look at photos shoot with my digital camera with this huge screen. The widescreen is another plus for DVD watching.

At that time, the Apple Cinema HD was sold for $3500, while the Sony 23" and Samsung 24" was sold at around $3000. I looked at the Sony and Apple. Both looks really good to me, but somehow I like the design of the Apple more, but could not justify the extra money. Late January 2003, Apple drop the price of the 23" to $2000. After reading many reviews and did not see anything bad on this screen, I decided to go for it.

I was worry about how well the monitor will work with Windows system, after seeing some people having problems running it at 1920 x 1200 resolution with their nVidia card. I did see few people get it to work with Radeon 7500 and Radeon 9700. I bought a Radeon 9000 Pro (to replace my nVidia MX440 card which does not have DVI), and an Apple DVI to ADC converter ($99).

The DVI to ADC converter take 3 inputs: DVI, Power and USB. I connect the DVI input to the Radeon DVI port, the USB input to my PC USB port, and the power to a power outlet. The output of the converter is ADC, which carries Digital Video, USB and Power. This one ADC connection is plugged into the ADC input at the back of the display. This actually save the desktop from cluttering cables.

Surprisingly, the Radeon and XP recognize this display as "Plug and Play" monitor instantly after I connect this monitor to my PC. The max resolution of this monitor (1920 x 1200) is also recognized. The two USB ports at the back of the HD Cinema is also recognized and work perfectly when connected to USB devices. The image is displayed beautifully on this display. The only gripe I have is the brightness button on the monitor has no effect when being pressed (when connected to a Mac, pressing this button will bring up the Color adjustment dialog box which allow the user to adjust the brightness). However, I can still control the brightness of the monitor through ATI Display Control Panel.

I setup my old Viewsonic CRT as the secondary display, and the HD Cinema is significant brighter than it. Color is much more saturated. The text is also a lot sharper. I compare the screen to my Dell's 15" UXGA (1600 x 1200) laptop LCD screen and Fujitsu 14" XGA (1024 x 768) laptop screen. This Apple is also brighter than both of those displays. Color and brightness are uniform across the huge screen. According to the spec, the brightness of the monitor is 200 and contrast is 350, which is not that impressive compare to other LCD monitors, but I find the screen more than bright enough. I also don't have any problem with its contrast. Overall, I'm very happy with the display quality of the monitor.

Watching "Attack of the Clone" DVD, I notice slight ghosting in the movie, but not too serious. I also play "Need for Speed III" on it, but I do not notice any ghosting. It is a blast racing through this huge screen. Feels like in the arcade. The response time of this monitor is not listed. The truth is response time only measure the time it took from complete black to complete white and vice versa. However, in real world situations, most transitions take place between two grey color points, which usually take longer than the listed response time. Thus, the response time is not the whole story on how fast an LCD screen is.

I have read the Apple forum, and many says that the new 20" Cinema Display is better than the 23", since its 'black' is closer to the real 'black', and its 'white' is closer to the real 'white'. I can believe that the 20" is better as it is newer, but personally I could not tell the difference when I was in the Apple store. After seeing the 23", the 20" seems too 'small' to be satisfactory anyway :) But if you don't want to spend $2000, the $1300 20" should be a great choice, as it is priced well against similar sized LCD monitors as well.

If you want to run this monitor with both Mac and Windows systems, there are some kind of ADC/DVI KVM switch that can be used. I may buy a Mac next time as I am very impressed with the OS X Jaguar and iLife applciation suites.

Anyway, I'm very happy with this monitor. It is hard to get back to CRT after using this monitor. There are many people who complained about the color accuracy of LCD. I'm not a professional, and the color rendition of this screen is more than satisfactory. I also know many professional photographers and graphic designers that use these monitors, so I have confidence in its quality.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 2000
Operating System: Windows


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