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Gadget Rewind 2004: Apple Cinema HD display (30-inch)

Jon Turi, @jonturi
03.16.14 in AV

You managed to pick up one of the aluminum G5s or PowerBook G4s back in 2003, but that bubbly polycarbonate Cinema display was ruining the whole look. Enter Apple's 2004 display refresh. This time the monitors were wrapped in a sexy anodized aluminum skin to harmonize your workstation's vibe. The line included 20-, 23- and 30-inch models with varying resolutions, but the big boy of the bunch was rocking 2,560 x 1,600 and would vastly increase your screen real estate (and geek cred). Always the salesman, Steve Jobs said, "you can even run two of them side-by-side to get 8 million jaw-dropping pixels." If you did that, you'd be down about $6,600 (the 30-incher was a wallet-scorching $3,299 at launch), but your digital workspace would look good.

There was little, if any, competition for 30-inch displays at the time. Apple claimed that its model was the "largest LCD ever designed for the personal computer." And if you wanted to run one of these super-sized displays, you'd have to be in the Apple ecosystem. It would take a Power Mac G5 and an NVIDIA 6800 Ultra DDL graphics card to make that baby purr, but man, that screen was something you could get lost in. It took a little while for the competition to jump in, but Dell wasn't going to be left out of the massive display party. It announced its own 30-incher called the UltraSharp 3007wfp at CES in 2006 and the media made immediate comparisons between the Dell and Apple offerings. While the 30-inch display niche was still rather bare, there were some high-resolution options if you were cool with a 23-inch form factor. Viewsonic had been offering an eye-bleeding 3,840 x 2,400 resolution model called the VP2290b since 2002, but the price for this degree of crystal clarity lay somewhere around the $7,000 mark.

Did you own a 2004 Apple Cinema HD display (30-inch)? Add it to your Engadget profile as a device you had (or still have) and join the discussion to reminisce or share photos of your device with other like-minded gadget fans.

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