By which I mean Apple’s 20″ Cinema Display, of course. What were you thinking?

It’s taken me two days just to empty off the top of my desk so that I can get the new computer arrangement set up. Late afternoon today, though, I finally got it going and, at long last, I hooked up the Cinema Display to Mystic, my new G4 PowerBook. The big widescreen display runs natively at a resolution of 1680 x 1050. That’s a lot of pixels to push when coupled with the PowerBook’s 15.2″ 1280 x 854 LCD, which is why I opted for the 128 MB of VRAM on the video card. I love running a side-by-side dual display configuration, so as you can imagine this is as close to computing heaven as I’ve been in some time.

A metal stand holds the display and allows it to pivot up and down. This base can move easily enough for side to side viewing (though it’s no G4 iMac) as necessary, but it’s not very necessary. This screen looks to my untrained eyes as good as a CRT from side angle viewing. Anyone who remembers the early years of LCD technology will appreciate the strides that have been made.

The brightness, sharpness, color, etc. are all as magnificent as one would expect. Testing reveals no dead pixels (unlike Mystic, which has one) though it’s still early. Usually if they’re going to turn up it will be in the first 30 days. As of right now, everything seems perfect. I’m looking forward to watching a DVD on this.

The display uses a DVI connector, so no more bizarre DVI-to-ADC dongles for us PowerBook users. The DVI forks near the end and splits out into DVI, USB, FireWire, and power. That’s as good a solution as any to combating cable clutter. Given that the monitor has 2 USB 2.0 and 2 FireWire ports, I have plenty of cables running hither and yon. Maybe I’ll investigate a wireless keyboard and trackball down the road to clear up the desk.

Indeed, the display is so thin compared to the 15″ Compaq monitor it replaces that the wide expanse of open desk space makes the cables that much more obvious. I’ve added a couple of JBL speakers (replacing some smaller, weaker NEC ones) which aren’t helping things in that respect. Still, this is hardly the worst of problems.

It might be another day or two before I get the chance to integrate the monitor fully into the workflow—by which I mean using Photoshop or GoLive—but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been without a big screen ever since my 19″ Princeton CRT burned up some months back. The 20″ Apple Cinema Display not only replaces it—it’s a big step forward.