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06 October 2008 @ 09:32 pm
Nerdy mac question from the clueless  
(xposting elsenet)

So I've got this old(ish) mac laptop with a shattered screen.  (Yeah, I'm kinda tough on laptops.)  It's a powerbook G4 and is capable (had it a screen I could see anything on) of running some older software that my new mac won't deign to look at.  I was thinking I'd get a nice big separate screen to go with the old mac, be able to use my old software, and also have it sitting in the livingroom as a household DVD player, and perhaps community access to the interwebs or something.

I've realized that all screens are not created equal - e.g., I can't go get one of those big screen tvs and just plug in my mac.  But the guy at Radioshack said that PC screens won't work, either (he said they didn't have anything in the store that would work with a mac).  I wandered in to the mac store, but all the people who worked there were hanging out in the back behind a closed door, having a party or something.  I'm usually pretty happy about that - I prefer to just look at stuff without a salesperson trying to 'help.'  I looked around, but only saw one screen that wasn't also a computer.  It was $900, which seemed like far too much for what amounts to little more than an extra play-toy.

Is it true that I need a mac screen, and a PC screen won't work?
Are there nice-ish decent size screens out there for a lot less than $900?
Danielknshnhmr on October 7th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
You should be able to get any screen and use it. You'll need a VGA to mini-DVI adapter though. The adapters are 20 bucks or so, and decent sized non-Apple LCD starts around 200-300 bucks.

The Adapter:

Just make sure the screen you buy is uses a VGA cable.
ghostrider157 on October 7th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC)
You don't actually need this because you have an old 17 inch PowerBook, which does not have the mini video port. On top of that you can look around and find a decent sided LCD for less then 200 bucks.
Biston Betularia: dnapepperedmoth on October 7th, 2008 11:38 am (UTC)
BULL. SHIT. that you 'can't use' a PC computer sceen! Remember when I ran over my (mac) laptop with my car while on plan? I grabbed an old computer monitor (yanno, the enormous heavy ones) that Marlboro was throwing away, and just plugged an adapter in between the laptop and the monitor.

Too bad I threw out my adapter . . . I would have given it to you. I'll do a little rummaging today just to make sure I don't have it; if I find it I'll call you.

You can ALSO plug in PC mice and keyboards; that's another little adapter (USB to something-complicated).
ghostrider157 on October 7th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
Any screen will work. you may just need to get a DVI to VGA adapter but your MacBook Pro should have come with one.
ghostrider157 on October 7th, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
By the way the Radio Shack guy was a moron. If you can make sure that the TV has a DVI or VGA out, a big screen TV will work just fine.
alex_m_nemethalex_m_nemeth on October 7th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
Comp geeks is where I buy lots of stuff.


If you need a DVI-VGA adapter let me know and I'll send you one. They were throwing them out at work ( my old job ) so I have a few spares.

If I remember the G4 laptop has a VGA adapter. If you need the DVI adapter it'll be for the monitor/display and I think the max resolution you can go on the G4 video adapter is 1024x768 ( it's been awhile, memory is a bit rusty :-) ).
flarenutflarenut on October 7th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
What they all said. The radio shack guy has flaming pants.
After the adaptor or not, a decent screen should run you $200 or less from any of the usual suspects. Are there any box stores near enough?
dr_bratdr_brat on October 9th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
Box stores. Oh, gag me.
betonicabetonica on October 9th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
Yeah, well, I do my best to avoid them, and there's only one nearby (your source for cheap plastic crap) but I have been known to pop over to Keene when I can't find things here.

I think I'm being more ethical by avoiding the box stores, and I suppose I am... but if I buy the same item from Radio Shack, is that really any better?

Anyway. I'm still thinking on the whole screen thing. Maybe some student has a spare one and needs a few bucks.
flarenutflarenut on October 9th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
Rat Shack is certainly no higher on the food chain than a box store (some of the stores still have electronic parts, but the selection is now tiny). The nice thing about box stores is that you can actually see the object in question and make judgments about how it would work for you. Then you can order it from smalldog...