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Monitors worth taking a look at...

By farl in Technology
Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 11:45:24 AM EST
Tags: Hardware (all tags)
Hardware

Since the first version of this article did not make it through, I have decided to write a more indepth article into the fun offered by the company Panoram Technologies. While this might smack of advertising, I personally think this is more of an article on what is available from a certain company in terms of really nice (and really expensive) monitors. As a graphic designer, I sure know that I would LOVE one of these monitors for myself.


Panoram Technologies offers the following set of monitors that are applicable to our desktops:

They have numerous other models, ranging in size and function, all the way up to 18' screens (haven't you always wanted one ENTIRE wall of your bedroom to be a monitor? Think of playing a flight simulation, Descent, or even Quake with real life-size people running around). The monitors have an 11mm gap between the screens, which is negligible. The desktop footprint of this monitor looks to be almost negligible, as each of the submonitors is a flat screen. While it is hard to justify the price spent, having a 43.5" WIDE monitor (equivalent size would be as a 45" monitor) with a footprint of about 10" or so, would definitely make my desktop a lot less cluttered.

So what do you get for the price if you start adding on fun prebuilt systems? Here are two examples of some of the nice stuff available.
  • HP System - Dual 1ghz - 3 Oxygen GVX1 Cards (1 AGP and 2 PCI) - 512mb RAM - $31,295
  • Mac System - Dual 500mhz - Dual AGP cards (unspecified), PCI graphics card (unspecified) - 512mb Ram - $27,540

I am sure there are many other companies that produce monitors of this caliber and range, I just find it very nice that they produce these sets and set them up for MacOs, HP, Sun, SGI and Win/NT. Also their wide range of inputs is really useful - DVI, RGB, Composite, USB and S-Video, making these very versatile monitors.

So even if none of us could ever afford a setup like this, it is always fun to go look at what is on the top end of the monitor range. Their website is well worth looking at. As one of the users here on kuro5hin commented in an earlier version of this article "this is porn for geeks".

Farl
farl@sketchwork.com

PS> In an effort to fund my purchase of the PV2 290 DSK, I am collecting donations at Paypal at farl@sketchwork.com. Anything accepted.

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Poll
How expensive is the computer you use? (US$)
o $20,000 + 2%
o $10,000 to $20,000 0%
o $7,000 to $10,000 0%
o $4,000 to $7,000 5%
o $2,500 to $4,000 24%
o $1,000 to $2,500 36%
o Sub $1,000 18%
o I don't use computers. I connect telepathically to the internet. 10%

Votes: 344
Results | Other Polls

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Display: Sort:
Monitors worth taking a look at... | 45 comments (29 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
Vague question (2.33 / 6) (#1)
by Knile87 on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 02:49:11 PM EST

Do you mean "How much is it worth now?" or "How much did you pay for it?"
For some, there's a huge difference.. like, me, for example. My bro probly put $4200ish into this, but now it's about, what, 1500.. I donno.

"We're all on a big ship! We're on a big cruise, across the world!" -- Iowa Bob, in Hotel New Hampshire


I mean "how much did you pay for it?" (3.00 / 3) (#3)
by farl on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 02:51:13 PM EST

Good point. Especially with computers now though, anything older than a year or two is not worth anyhing close to what you paid for it.


Farl
k5@sketchwork.com
www.sketchwork.com
[ Parent ]
CAD and product design (2.50 / 8) (#5)
by rednecktek on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 03:10:00 PM EST

might be real nice. But the real questions here are: <flame free area>
  • Does it work with Unreal Tournament?
  • Does Warcraft 3 count as command operations software?


Just remember, if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.
Bang per bucks (1.62 / 8) (#6)
by EchoFive on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 03:26:27 PM EST

You can get yourself a pretty good gaming box for sub-$1000. My Athlon 700 with 128 Mb RAM, mother board, a 32Mb Riva TNT 2 and a funky new computer case cost me about $700. The rest of the hardware I ripped out of the steaming carcass of my old P200.

...but I use it mostly sit and draw and doodle in various Adobe products, writing RPG stuff and distributing it as PDF. I almost never play by myself, mostly on gamings with a dozen or so friends. And mostly Counter-Strike.

Baldur's Gate 2 is a different matter entirely. :)


I am Swede. Hear me bork! (Not.)
No, the question was (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by psicE on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 05:14:15 PM EST

how much it was worth. Did you include the old parts in the valuation?

I'm running a Celeron466 based computer, and the entire thing, including monitor, was WORTH about $600 when I bought it, less now. Not counting monitor, it's worth $450.

[ Parent ]
mmmmmm (2.66 / 9) (#7)
by rusty on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 03:31:49 PM EST

Need a crescent desk with like six of these mounted on distressed industrial piping. The Matrix has me...

____
Not the real rusty
lain. (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by harb on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 05:23:11 PM EST

Apparently Rusty needs to see Lain's father's set up.. :)
harb.

bda.
[ Parent ]

I prefer Lain's setup (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by fluffy grue on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 11:28:16 PM EST

I don't like lots of screens everywhere. Too much scanning has to happen. Lain's computer, however, has only one decent-sized monitor which is used WELL. Not to mention that it's got that nice audio (and, later on, psychokinetic) interface anyway - who needs a screen when you're frobnicating the bits directly? :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Too big (3.66 / 6) (#14)
by spinfire on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 05:13:24 PM EST

IMHO, there is a limit to how big a monitor can be and still remain usable. I find that a 19in. monitor is a decent balance between the desktop size gained and the need to "seek" ones eyes around the viewable area.

Monitors smaller than 19in will have small, undreadable text at resolutions high enough for maximum productivity. However, though monitors larger than 19in will have a larger text size at a given resolution and support higher resolutions, the user cannot view the whole screen without looking around. With the perimeters of a screen plunged into peripheral vision, the work/play efficiency of the monitor decreases considerable.
Freelance Hacker. spinfire on FooNET.

Not too big. (3.66 / 3) (#27)
by theR on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 11:21:09 AM EST

I disagree. I think you might just be sitting too close to the monitor. More screen space has it's advantages, anyway. Even if you have to look around, isn't that faster than switching things between the foreground and background? I have dual monitors at work, and as long as you don't sit too close, it's great. Right now, I have the browser open on the right monitor, and my mail, command prompt, and Exceed on the left monitor. Switching between these would be a pain. It's much easier just to look to the left or right than it is to bring things to the front to see them.

I don't think it matters if the perimeter of the screen is in peripheral vision. That is the case no matter what you are looking at. If you are reading something, basically all the words around the few you see directly are in peripheral vision. Plus, you can always adjust the window size so you can see the whole thing. It does save time when you can view more windows without moving them back and forth.

Size does matter.



[ Parent ]
IBM monitors (3.37 / 8) (#21)
by jbridge21 on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 06:42:01 PM EST

If I remember correctly, the IBM 9-megapixel monitor was going for $20,000. So, while it might not be as big physically, it has a HECK of a lot more pixels, for a lower price. So if you're shopping for the best price/pixel, instead of price/size, then IBM could be the way to go.

How about dense realestate? (3.80 / 10) (#22)
by cbatt on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 06:54:54 PM EST

Sure these monitors might provide many pixels, but they're still doing it at a measely 72 or 96dpi (yes you can get over 120dpi, but who the heck runs at 1600x1200 on a 15" monitor?).

My point is, why are they not filling the same sized screens with more pixels?

I really don't want a bigger than 19" monitor. What I want is ultra high detail in the same amount of real-estate.

I saw this while surfing the other day, and it looks to fit the bill. It's a 9-megapixel display being produced by IBM, yet it looks to be about the same size as that fancy Mac cinema display. They even offered a magnifying glass to onlookers just to prove how detailed the images were.

This is the type of thing I'm looking forward to. Especially with the coming of vector graphics based GUI interfaces. Reading the screen will be much less straining.

-----------
Before you can understand recursion
you must understand recursion.

You contradict yourself (2.50 / 2) (#23)
by fluffy grue on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 11:25:03 PM EST

First you say that you don't want a 120dpi screen (1600x1200 at 15"), and then you say you DO? Make up your mind, man! :)

Also, I personally think 72dpi is good enough. My fonts are already small enough even at 1152x960 at 17" (1500 dots per 16", i.e. about 95dpi), and even then I need to zoom in when I'm a bit tired. (What can I say, I love having lots of screen real estate. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Not necessarily (none / 0) (#45)
by adamsc on Sun Nov 26, 2000 at 02:07:43 AM EST

I'm not sure there's a contradiction. A real high dpi display is going to have 1 pixel per dot; if you're running a 15" display at 1600x1200, you're probably well beyond the physical resolution of the device (meaning multiple pixels get smudged into a dot) and will probably be enjoying things like a really cruddy refresh rate.

Refresh rate and display quality are why I'd want one of those IBM displays. Even with a good monitor and video card, the quality is obviously worse than a high-quality active matrix display. Yes, I can tinker with pincushioning, trapezoids and all of the other controls but I've yet to see why I should need to just to get decent quality.

[ Parent ]

Green with envy (2.50 / 4) (#30)
by tezmc on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 02:12:55 PM EST

Ok, I'm really jealous of anyone who has one of these..

I'm a graphic designer too and I very much doubt that I'd ever see anything even remotely like this on my desk.

This is probably due to the fact that the company I work for is so tight-fisted (despite the fact that it makes millions in profits each year) that it wouldn't even buy a zip drive so that I didn't have to make lots of trips between my PC and our image servers (Mac based, and they won't connect my PC to them for some unexplained reason) with a floppy disk.

Yes, I'm a graphic designer and I hate macs... wanna make something of it? :)

The only advantage I can see is that I get a lot of excercise walking back and forth all day :)

Ok, whine over.... time to look at the job pages again methinks.

,Tez 'waiting for Macromedia and Adobe to commit to Linux so I can abandon Windows altogether' McKittrick
The eight legged groove machine
multiple trips.... (2.66 / 3) (#32)
by 0x00 on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 11:25:15 PM EST

I have a few questions for you:

1. Are you transferring print quality photos between the file server and your computer? (these files are often HUGE)

2. How does your company transfer projects to the printer?

3. How can you be a graphic designer if you hate macs? and yes I do want to make something of it. Unlike my pc, the mac doesn't collapse when I drag a photoshop image into freehand :). The mac handles fonts 1000 times better then the Windows machines, although font corruption is my worst enemy.

4. Are you doing web graphics?

5. Are you running NT on your work machine?

6. Finally, a Mac based image server? what were they thinking?

--

0x00

I'm a Clown.

[ Parent ]
Macs suck (1.33 / 3) (#34)
by delmoi on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 12:50:01 AM EST

How can you be a graphic designer if you hate macs? and yes I do want to make something of it. Unlike my pc, the mac doesn't collapse when I drag a photoshop image into freehand :). The mac handles fonts 1000 times better then the Windows machines, although font corruption is my worst enemy.

This would have a lot more to do with the implementations of those programs then the machine itself. At least I've never had to reboot a Windows Machine beacuse netscape crashed. And having only one mousebutton is annoying no matter what you want to do...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Mac vs PC - Isn't it all just personal preference? (3.00 / 3) (#36)
by tezmc on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 10:28:32 AM EST

1. Are you transferring print quality photos between the file server and your computer? (these files are often HUGE)

Yes, the originals are print quality (anything up to 20mb) so, as I'm working the web side I usually have to batch process everything in photoshop to be smaller before I transfer them. This still isn't an ideal situation, especially when you need something of decent size/quality, but it's the best I have.

2. How does your company transfer projects to the printer?

ISDN line connected to the Mac network. They also use several external print design companies too.

Unlike my pc, the mac doesn't collapse when I drag a photoshop image into freehand :). The mac handles fonts 1000 times better then the Windows machines, although font corruption is my worst enemy.

I've never had a problem with the Windows machine falling over, But the Macs seem to fall over all the time (this could just be something to do with our setup, but it's still REALLY annoying when you have a deadline and the macs are locking up once every couple of hours). Same with fonts, never once had a corrupted font.

The other reason I really dislike macs (and this is a personal opinion, so no flames please) is that if you're doing something simple like transfering files, the whole thing will freeze up until it's finished (at least on the PPCs.

I know the PC doesn't REALLY multitask, but at least it makes an effort to PRETEND! :)

4. Are you doing web graphics?

Yes, There's just me and a co-ordinator doing the whole web thing for the company.

And yes, I'm running NT, which to be really honest.. has so far proved to be pretty stable. Except when I try to drag a huge and complicated vector between programs while having a load of other things open at the same time... To which it tries and then just gives up about half way through from exhaustion or something... "Hey!.. Listen to that Hard Disk GO!!" :)

6. Finally, a Mac based image server? what were they thinking?

Well, this I think was because when they set all that stuff up, The web wasn't even known about in 'suit' circles (I wish it had stayed that way). And as the print-based side of the company all used macs, I guess it was logical for them to use Macs for the image servers.

I'm still puzzled as to why they won't link us up to them somehow though.... Oh... wait... that might cost MONEY!... can't have that can we?

I must admit that the G4s are pretty nifty though from what I've seen, not that they're ever available to use (damned print designers hogging them :) ), I have to go on the old PPCs

,Tez


The eight legged groove machine
[ Parent ]

Is that a fair comparison? (2.00 / 3) (#38)
by driph on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 01:37:14 AM EST

I've never had a problem with the Windows machine falling over, But the Macs seem to fall over all the time ....I must admit that the G4s are pretty nifty though from what I've seen, not that they're ever available to use (damned print designers hogging them :) ), I have to go on the old PPCs

What kind of Windows machine are you using? Unless you are on an old Pentium 200mHz or something, there is really no grounds for comparison, since the macs you are using are 3 to 5+ years old... and freezing with file transfers? Are you using System 7.5? Either way, if they are pre G3 macs, they are probably running 8 or 8.6 at the most... While those old 60x machines have had a nice longevity, in stock condition they really can't stand up to the newer Intel/AMD boxes and G3/G4s...



--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
well...then don't do that! (2.00 / 3) (#39)
by tmckain on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 06:38:35 AM EST

.. has so far proved to be pretty stable. Except when I try to drag a huge and complicated vector between programs while having a load of other things open at the same time... To which it tries and then just gives up about half way through from exhaustion or something..."

Then don't do that. Not on any system would I try such a foolish thing. Besides, you shouldn't be dragging vectors anyway, rather importing them or copy/pasting them. On either platform you'll bring them to a dead stop doing such an operation, beyond all the other stuff you're trying to do at the same time--cut that poor old thing some slack, will ya. ;0)

Oh, and btw. Most likely the reason that you aren't getting hooked up to the print server is because of the print designers and rightly so. They always have first dibs and because of the work that they do, they've got politics behind 'em. Besides, your work is a threat to them so don't expect even a hello. Good luck



[ Parent ]
hmmmm...well... (3.00 / 4) (#35)
by tmckain on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 05:02:25 AM EST

How can you be a graphic designer if you hate macs? and yes I do want to make something of it. Unlike my pc, the mac doesn't collapse when I drag a photoshop image into freehand :). The mac handles fonts 1000 times better then the Windows machines, although font corruption is my worst enemy.

Believe it or not, graphic design existed long before computers were invented. So, unless I've missed something, there is still no prequisite that states to be a designer you must fondle over a mac. It is strictly a personal preference because graphic design, by and large, is not very taxing on most systems built for the purpose--most especially web graphics which could almost be done on a properly configured calculator <blatant exageration>.

Besides, if you were actually looking at this from an objective standpoint you'd realize that both systems suck. If you think otherwise, wait about few years and revisit this question. Why you ask? Because you apparently have no frame of reference beyond what is commercially available and you believe what the marketing heads tell you. My own perspective, I use them both for their strengths alone, choosing to work around their weaknesses 'cause they serve me nothing. And considering that I've been dicking around with these two clap-forms (disease-like) for nearly 2 decades, I'd say their is suffiecient perspective going on here.

Basically, the only operating system war is all the b.s. marketing, speak loyalty crap that's swimming around in everyone's head. Combined of course with the silly habit humans have of being committed to their choices for fear of admisssion to deliberate self-deception--but what else is new? Take apart a computer. Build one from scratch. Repair an old broken one. Work with the dealers for parts and learn operating systems and peripherals and the idiosyncracies that they possess. You'll very soon have the same perspective. So say it with me this time:

Both platforms suck. Both platforms suck. Both platforms suck.



[ Parent ]
could be a good discussion for future reference. (1.60 / 5) (#31)
by no carrier on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 07:35:43 PM EST

I voted this +1 front page not because it's a well written review (as pointed out in other posts) but rather because it has the potential to be a good discussion thread. Post what you use for what, what you think about it and why and we'll have a good reference for monitor purchase in the future.

that said, i have a POS ctx 19 inch at home that i use mostly for browsing and some programming. I'm very happy with it and it only cost me ~$300. At work I do website design, advert layout and design, admin duties and little programming on a generic dell 17" that's gets the job done, though not well (I use frontpage, pagemill, photoshop, quark, publisher, freehand and whatever else i can get my hands on, I had a sony trinitron 19" until it died about 6 months ago, it was amazing except for that line for less than ~$600).

I prefer low cost/medium quality cause my eyes aren't that good after years of staring at various flickering screens, but then again i'm not doing any intensive design, mostly editing other people's design's so my boss is happy with them, I'm very rarely creating something so my hardware requirements wouldn't be the same as someone who's job depended on them makeing some stunning graphics.

now what do you use and why?



I stab people.
my 29 inch monitor monitor.... (2.50 / 4) (#33)
by 0x00 on Sat Nov 18, 2000 at 11:43:14 PM EST

NEC Multisync.

Has a 2 VCRs, an N64 and a computer plugged into it. Doubles as a tv. Great to watch DVDs and other multimedia files. Its only problem is it has a max resolution of 712 x NNN, but looks better than having some sort of TV out card. It requires two men to lift and is a pain to take to LANS :)


--

0x00

A clown with a very large monitor.

commodore 64 (1.00 / 4) (#37)
by AtomZombie on Sun Nov 19, 2000 at 02:02:52 PM EST

my commodore 64 plus disk drive cost 10$us at goodwill! it's so powerful i find myself unable to tear myself away from the amazing graphics of full color pong and double dragon!




atomic.

"why did they have to call it UNIX. that's kind of... ewww." -mom.
Xinerama and Panoram proposed cards don't marry (2.00 / 2) (#40)
by sventon on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 09:07:29 AM EST

Neither the S3 Savage 4 based card from colorgraphics nor the 3dlabs Oxygen (glint chipset) have XFree 4.x.x drivers. These cards are shipped with the HP PCs on their website. There are plenty of other cards to choose from though.
--
I am a vegan bastard.
Why not just use a projector? (3.33 / 3) (#41)
by johnzo on Mon Nov 20, 2000 at 05:58:37 PM EST

A boss at an old job just used one of those travelling- salesman type portable LCD projector as his primary display; he got a perfectly stable and readable 1024x768 screen about 10' from his desk.

(He also hacked his screensaver to display backwards, and would shine messages on the frosted glass of his office window while he was out. Cool guy.)

Granted, you're not in the megapixel range with it, but it's certainly cheaper and easier to install than the hardware cited in the article.

Also, it accepts multiple inputs out of the box, which we took fine advantage of during Babylon 5's heyday..



Prices on such things... (2.00 / 1) (#42)
by gromm on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 09:48:23 AM EST

I did a bit of research and noticed that such projectors start at around $3500 US, going up to about $10,000 or so. The resolutions aren't spectacular, (800x600 at 24 bit color at the lower end) but probably worthwhile for such applications as TV, DVD's and Quake and such. :)
Deus ex frigerifero
[ Parent ]
I like the screensaver trick. (!msg) (none / 0) (#43)
by static on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 05:15:55 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Mass Multiples (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by systmc on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 07:52:21 PM EST

This reminds me of the flat panel multi-screen displays over at massmultiples.com. They have both 15" and 18" screens in various arrangements - such as a quad 18" display.

- systmc
Lets get naked.

Monitors worth taking a look at... | 45 comments (29 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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