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Apple 30" Cinema Display Monitor


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There's a guy I know whose selling his mint, extremely low hour 30" Apple Cinema Display for $300. I've seen it upfront already. The display is bright and crisp, power supply works perfectly, and there are no cosmetic defects. The only problem it has is the USB hub causes the screen to black out when it is connected to a Mac. This appears to be a common issue with these monitors and Apple never issued a fix for it. 

 

I recently purchased a Mac Pro 1.1 and the only external monitors I have are CRTs - my 1999 17" KDS, and my 1996 Apple Multiple Scan 17. I've never purchased an external LCD monitor as there hasn't been a need to do so. 

 

With this defect and the age of the monitor in mind, is it worth purchasing this Cinema Display? What are your experiences with the 30" version?

 

 

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Not to offend but is it hot? That is an insanely low price for a 30" ACD. Even with that issue.

 

I had an 30" for about a month. It was beautiful but funny enough my main issue was the resolution was , 'just too darn high'  . She was glorious.

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A new Dell U3014 IPS LED backlit 30" 2560x1600 on newegg.com is $999 currently. Apple Cinema Aluminum 30" displays were made from 2004-2010 so they can be pretty old, who knows how long the backlight will live.

 

You can get comparable size monitors or comparable resolution monitors for considerable less then the $999 I quoted.

 

Examples:

 

ACER K272HUL 27" 2560x1440 $318

ASUS PB287Q 28" 3840x2160 $479

SAMSUNG U28E590D 28" 3840x2160 $499 on sale.

 

Guess it depends how much you want that specific monitor.

Edited by Unknown_K
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Not to offend but is it hot? That is an insanely low price for a 30" ACD. Even with that issue.

No. The guy was a graphics designer and bought a whole ton of Macs and then later decided to pursue something else. He has two 30" Cinema displays - one that has no issues at all (but he wants to keep) and this one. Both have extremely low hours and are literally fresh-out-of-the-box. 

 

 

Guess it depends how much you want that specific monitor.

It was designed to work with the early Mac Pro towers and it would be a perfect match for it. I've never owned an Apple LCD monitor before, besides whatever was bolted onto their laptops. If there is a way to repair that issue with the USB ports, and if the feedback regarding these monitors is generally positive here, then I'll purchase it. 

Edited by Concorde1993
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You can always skip using the USB connection. I have owned multiple 30s and both the original version and the "white box" second version that had some spec revisions and I never saw that hub problem. Generally, the monitors work and then they don't. The price is not bad, and you won't miss anything by not using the USB. 

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The price is not bad, and you won't miss anything by not using the USB. 

The guy was telling me that in order to control the brightness and volume control from the computer, the USB had to be connected. Those controls can be adjusted directly on the monitor, but I'd still like to know if there is a way to solve that problem. 

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What an interesting 68k Peripheral!

But, for realsies, to be very perfectly honest, I'd put money on the folks at a site like MacRumors or another modern Mac site (is there like an /r/Apple?) being able to solve this more effectively. If I had to guess, more of the people on a site like that will have owned these displays.

That said, these things are now up to eleven years old. If your goal is to get a "good monitor" (especially for color sensitive work) then buying an eleven year old display (especially a CCFL backlit one) isn't a good idea. If your goal is just to have a big giant monitor, I suspect you'll end up with this one regardless of whether or not the USB bits work.

 

Just as a hilarious thought from back in the day. In 2006, I was using my TiBook sitting on top of a kind of blurry 17-inch CRT display, after the internal display kicked it. I was planning on purchasing a first generation Mac Pro (which at the time were brand new) and using it with this monitor that I already had, just because I did not want another laptop, nor was I completely confident in iMacs, having seen a few repeated capacitor bulging offenders in the iMac G5 family.

 

I ended up swapping the TiBook for a Pismo and getting a Core2Duo iMac a year or so later.

 

So, if it comes down to using a Mac Pro with a CRT display, that's far from the end of the world.

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I think that if I really, really wanted the 30" screen, and I had $300 spare, I'd buy it and see if a replacement for the USB board could be found. A new board might just cure the problem, and if not, then the screen could be used without USB.

 

Speaking personally, however, I have never wanted a 30" screen, as they seem somehow... overkill. I can understand the value for working in something like InDesign, or CAD, but for me, a couple of smaller screens seldom, if ever, have any meaningful limitations. One smaller screen, mind, is not enough -- I like to have two.

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So, if it comes down to using a Mac Pro with a CRT display, that's far from the end of the world.

Oh yeah, I really don't care if I'm still running a CRT monitor. I've had my Multiple Scan for over 10 years now, and it has never given me any problems whatsoever. Same with the KDS, which has been in the family since new. 

 

I've read some reviews about the 30" on Amazon and CNET, just for reference. The CCFL can be a problem; some have burnt out as early as 18 months, others still work perfectly. I wouldn't be considering this monitor for that asking price if it were high mileage. These monitors also tend to run quite hot, but that doesn't surprise me (all modern Apple products do). 

 

This monitor would be purchased solely for the "fun" factor. My Mac Pro is being used just to store my old Rosetta programs as I decide what to do with my MacBook Pro. 

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That middle display is an ACD 30, the frame grab is from December 2015. Fascinating that after all these years, they are still used even at Apple.

 

apple-60-minutes-1.jpeg

 

Aesthetically, the ACD 30 are pretty damn nice, I have yet to find a monitor to match the overall quality in the LED or 4K realm. 

 

One thing that could cause the blackout could be the video card, I had that happen with an ACD30 on a G5 Tower, but on a Mac Pro 1,1 thru 5,1 the same monitor worked. Plus the 5770 Radeons work just fine in the 1,1 models. 

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I own one of these monitors and even though mine so far as I can tell still works perfectly I wouldn't touch one with a ten meter cattle prod for that price, particularly given you *know* the electronics are broken.

 

The LCD in those displays was totally awesome by 2004 standards but there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then. I'd still rate them as "nice" but the blacks aren't as black as you get on a more modern IPS panel. And the CCFL backlights in those things get *hot*; I mean, seriously, I'd say they easily put out heat comparable to a 20" CRT. (They may run a hair cooler than the smaller 23" ones of the same vintage but it's just a matter of degree. I had a pair of those on my main production machine for years and kept a Pentium 4 heat sink taped to one as a joke. Eventually one of the pair flaked out and died; it *looked* like just a power supply problem because the supply wouldn't drive the other one, but further experimentation revealed the supply took the controller board out with it... or vice-versa. Inherited the 30" after that.)

 

The guy may claim it's low mileage but the fact is that any monitor of that age is getting to the far end of the bathtub curve AND you know it's already broken so... yeah. No. And even if it weren't broken there's still another problem: the dual-link DVI interface is *exceedingly* limiting at this point. Video cards with DVI ports are a dying breed and simple "cable-only" DisplayPort/HDMI->DVI adapters only handle single-link. When used on a single-link port these monitors can't even make the best of a bad situation: single-link DVI is capable of running resolutions up to around 1920x1200 but these panels won't do anything better than 1280x800, which looks comically bad blown up that large. I've been really annoyed by this since I was forced to upgrade my work laptop to a model without a DVI port because it rendered my best home monitor useless unless I wanted to buy the $130 active conversion box Apple was selling for a while, which itself had *very* mixed reviews concerning reliability.

 

You can get a perfectly decent 25-27" 2560x1440 monitor with an IPS panel, LED backlight, and a whole slew of ports from VGA and DVI up to Displayport for about that same $300 and you'll actually be able to use it on your next computer. Seriously, steer clear. Finding out they sell for what they do is seriously tempting me to dump mine.

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Good points, Gorgonops. This is the type of feedback I was looking for.

 

It's unfortunate that these Cinema displays are plagued by various reliability problems with no easy fix. What's even more surprising is the premium they command. I guess it's because Apple hasn't produced a large matte screen since?

 

I doubt the seller will lower the price further, but I'll give it a try. How's the rest of Apple's Cinema display line?

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I have two of the 20" aluminum ACDs (one I bought new with my Mac Pro, the other was bought second hand from LEM Swap). The one I bought new has *lots* of hours on it, but aside from a second or two of weird static if I switch it off and on really fast, it still works as perfectly as the day I first plugged it in (perhaps a slight bit dimmer than I remember, but it's still plenty bright), so I think they're *relatively* reliable.

 

c

Edited by CC_333
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If I had the money, I'd buy it, but only because I've always wanted one for some odd reason.

 

For my daily computing needs, two 20" displays seem to be good enough.

 

Though, if one of them dies and I happen to have the money, I might get either a 24" or 27" LED Cinema Display (since I have a card with Mini DisplayPorts now), depending on cost. Not sure I'd like the glossiness, but I'm sure there's ways to address that.

 

However, it's more likely that I'd just pull one of my several 20-something-inch PC LCDs out from storage and use that, given my budget.

 

c

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I doubt the seller will lower the price further, but I'll give it a try. How's the rest of Apple's Cinema display line?

 

I genuinely think passing on it is the right decision. Like I said, mine is still kicking, but the previous owner only used it intermittently with a laptop *and* I've also only used it very sporadically myself for the last few years. I fully anticipate it blowing up one of these days.

 

Regarding the rest of the line, I only have experience with the 23" and the scuttlebutt is that they're probably less reliable than the 30"s. They came with a 90W power supply and the general consensus is that was insufficient, particularly if you started hanging things off the USB ports. (Even when they both worked one of mine could sometimes act a little "weird" with regard to the USB hub; pretty sure that's the one that eventually died.) There are threads on the Apple support forums where people claim to have solved issues with them by hooking them up to the 150W supply that came with 30" units, and some even say that the same monitor that works fine when connected to the 150W wouldn't work at all when connected to a known working 90W. (I did actually try a 30" supply on my dead one when it failed, no love there.) That said, *one* of my 2006 vintage ones still works and sees a few hours of week service on my kid's computer (a generic tower rather than a Mac)... but I again wouldn't recommend paying more than fun bucks for one.

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

Has anyone ever figured out a solution for the USB problem described in the first post here?

 

"The only problem it has is the USB hub causes the screen to black out when it is connected to a Mac."

 

I have a 30" that I use daily -- it has this problem. Could it be caps on the USB board?

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