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I am looking to get a new widescreen monitor (my 2nd monitor gave up the ghost a while ago, leaving me with just one old ViewSonic nearly square one which is awkward with palettes open in PS). I have been told ACER is good and they certainly look impressive and reasonably priced. Does anyone have experience of how well their native colour profiling system works? The other thing I need to try and find out is if I can connect it to my slightly ageing (early 2008) Mac Pro - so if anyone knows, that would be great, though I can probably find this out by reading the spec more carefully! Any experience or ideas with new monitors (on Mac) would be nice. Thanks in advance!
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I had an Acer monitor. It was cheap and pretty basic. I wanted a cheap widescreen monitor and it fitted the bill at the time. Acer colour management is ok but I found it hard to set up my monitor correctly because it was way off optimum settings. I paid about £80 for mine but if you are prepared to pay a bit more for one with an IPS screen then you will notice a big improvement over cheaper monitors. I now have a Dell U2412 and it's excellent.
I am considering an NEC now, which is a lot more expensive and does a load of things I don't really understand, so I probably won't use - but the colour out of the box is supposed to be very good, and it is fairly easily adjustable plus you can use colour management devices. I had one years ago, and the only thing I didn't like about that one was the adaptive brightness (which I think I switched off). Now I need to find out what picture in picture is!
An expensive NEC will probably give you hardware calibration, which is a decent thing to have if you need ultimate image quality - generally it means the calibration settings are loaded straight into the monitor LUT using high-bit colour depth, which results in extremely smooth gradients with very little likelihood of banding. In cheaper monitors you don't get this - all the adjustments are made through graphics processor, with the exception of brightness (which is usually a hardware adjustment).
Software profiling can never really produce a great profile - it either borrows from generic onboard data or it uses an sRGB profile - neither of which are going to accurately characterise your monitor. That said, some of the high-end displays do use a factory-set onboard software solution that accommodates the expected degradation of the screen over a period of time and adjusts accordingly. Even in those cases, it's better to stick a calibration device on the screen.
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