Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Apple Cinema 23" on a PC Desktop - Compatible?

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I've always wondered if I could use an Apple Cinema on a normal PC Desktop. Since the power button usually means "shut down" for any Mac plugged into it, does that imply it would load the shut-down screen on a PC? The brightness controls make those cool visuals on screen in that opaque white that everyone loves on a Mac, but what about on a Core 2 Duo PC desktop?

Bored at work one day, we were all curious to if it would really work. After rummaging through the millions of wires, we finally got it plugged into a Dell Optiplex at one of our demos. Here are the running differences and possible annoyances that you may run into if you plan on running an Apple Cinema on a PC:

1) You cannot power off the monitor. As long as it is plugged into its power outlet, it will stay on. I'm not sure if this was because we unplugged the monitor as it was powered-on from the Mac, or if this is just the way it is. We did not have time to further test this option.

This does bring up a particular concern, however, which is bulb life. If it must be turned off manually, or if the PC's power options fails to force the AC to turn off, we have a problem.

2) Brightness controls, as we expected, did not work. It stays at whatever brightness it was before we took it off the Apple PowerMac G5. Thus, if you really did need to adjust the brightness, I wonder if you would have to plug it into a laptop of some sort in order to do the adjustments. Again, a minimal, yet significant nuisance if you're looking to make it your primary monitor.

Onto the plus side of things:

3) We found the USB and Firewire hub worked perfectly and was picked up by Windows XP drivers immediately upon connection. We did not actually plug anything in, but we're sure that it would pick up any USB 2.0 devices if we did plug something in.

4) Seeing XP run on the AC feels like you're running Bootcamp or Parallels. A real good 1337 feeling. We did not have time to test gaming, but the refresh rate seems far better than many LCD's we've put on floor showcase. As for movie performance goes, it looked excellent - no ghosting whatsoever.

There you go for now, if anybody was interested. I know I was!


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