About a month ago I bought a new MacBookPro with retina display. Until then I had been using a (late 2009) 21 inch iMac.
I wanted a display that would make use of the high video resolution of the MacBookPro (through the Mini DisplayPort compatible Thunderbolt port) and if possible use it as a second monitor to extend the desktop of the iMac which I still plan to use for music production.
I looked at the Apple Thunderbolt 27″ display but it is expensive and has only a USB2.0 hub. (On the other hand it does offer many other features such as an iSight camera, Firewire and Gigabit ethernet). I checked out other monitors, the one I liked best being the 27″ Asus PB278Q. It is about $300 cheaper, has good reviews but lacks the USB3.0 hub of its 24″ sibling. The 24″ (PA248Q) has the same ports, includes a USB3.0 hub, but its adjustable stand takes up 23.5cm of the width of desk. I also looked at the LG IPS277L-BN monitor which had some good reviews and a thinnish bezel. It was cheap, light and had a narrow (non-height adjusting) stand but only 2 HDMI ports.
Then I saw that Dell had a announced a new monitor using the LG ea93 display. The u2913WM has a 29″ hi-res (2560×1080 dpi) IPS display, adjustable height, swivel stand, 4-port USB 3.0 hub, as well as display port and mini-displayPort connections. Best of all it was only 40,000 yen (around US$500*) including tax and shipping. * For some reason the list price is higher in the US.
I placed an order and 5 days later it was delivered. While waiting for it to arrive I watched a couple of videos on uTube and found a Japanese blog which shows a lot of photos including the unboxing.
After flicking through the meagre documentation and snapping in the stand I plugged in the DisplayPort cable that came with the display and turned it on, whereupon I was greeted, not with a stunning super-widescreen view of the Mac OS X desktop, but with a black bouncing box saying “No DisplayPort cable found”. Oh well I thought, I’ll try the HDMI cable. Yay, a picture! Woah, it looks terrible. A quick google search turned up a lot of issues with the HDMI output on MacBook Airs and Pros.
I tried unplugging the displayPort cable, and went through all the settings looking for something that might make the DisplayPort work. I tried the CD that came with the monitor but it was only for Windows. I figured it must be the cable and ordered a new one online. The next day I managed to find a cheap mini-DisplayPort to mini-DisplayPort cable and that evening I plugged it in and the MacBookPro’s desktop appeared in full width. Success! The text looked jaggy at first but turning the sharpness all the way to zero fixed that.
I plugged the new mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable into the iMac and switched to the DisplayPort. Nothing again. Now I thought it must be the monitor. I wondered whether I should put up with it or send it back. The next day while browsing Dell’s web site looking for support I remembered something important. The display has a second display port for daisy chaining a second monitor. It suddenly clicked. I had been plugging the cable into this second connection. So, back home and the third try is the charm. The iMac and MacBook Pro are both connected and the display looks amazing.
This morning a took these photos and wrote this to help others avoid my mistake and show what a nice monitor this is for Macs and PCs. (I also tried connecting my Acer laptop via HDMI and the colors look very good but there is a black border on both sides of the screen due to the 1920×1080 pixel resolution).