SGI 1600SW Flat Panel LCD Gaming and MultiMedia Ready

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The SGI 1600SW Flat Panel LCD
Finally, a Multi-Media and Gaming ready LCD

By Dave Altavilla
8/3/01

Flat Panel technology is still far from perfect, at least in this Tech Journalist's eyes.  Then again, so is CRT technology.  I guess we're a bit spoiled here at HotHardware.  However, let's face it, the display you look at on your home or work PC, is easily the most important piece of equipment in your setup.  If your monitor doesn't cut it, chances are you won't be happy using the machine that is driving it. 

Now, with this in mind, I think it is safe to say that modern TFT LCD displays are easily the best 2D Desktop image for the home user and professional alike.  The operative words being "2D" and "Desktop" here.  When you enter Multimedia, DVD/Video and Gaming into the picture, that's when the line blurs a little.  No pun intended but literally, it can blur.  More on this later but it is safe to say that Desktop imaging is only part of the story here.

What is ironic with our showcase product in this article, is the fact that this LCD specifically has been around since late 1998!  As we all know, that is a "dog's age" in computer gear.  However, the Silicon Graphics  1600SW has garnered so many awards, even recently, from industry press and analysts, that we just had to see for ourselves what the buzz was about. 

Specifications and Features Of The SGI 1600SW Flat Panel LCD
Wide angle fun, sleek, stylish and pretty

 

Technical Specs

Viewing area size 17.3"(4 cm) diagonal (19"CRT equivalent)
14.7"(37 cm) horizontal, 9.2"(23 cm) vertical
 
Resolution Maximum true resolution of 1600x1024 pixels at 60Hz
Supports 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, and 1280x1024 at 60Hz; BIOS modes 720x400, 720x350, 640x400, and 640x350 at 70 Hz;
ANSI/SMPTE 296M-1997 1280x720p HDTV resolution (requires HD to RGB converter)
 
Aspect modes Scaled with retained aspect, scaled and stretched to wide aspect
Dot pitch, dots per inch .23 mm, 110 dpi
Screen type Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display (AMLCD)
Image controls On-screen display controls brightness, contrast, color temperature, aspect ratio, and screen position in English or Japanese
Display colors 16.7M (2 -bit true color, no dithering)
Viewing angle 120° horizontal, +45 °/-55 °vertical with antiglare surface
Brightness 235 cd/m2 (maximum)
White balance User adjustable from 5, 000 K to 7, 000 K
Contrast ratio 350: 1 (typical)
Connectivity with MultiLinkTM Adapter
Video interface input DVI-I, supporting analog VGA and digital DVI and DFP via bundled cables, 720p HDTV
(with RGB converter)
Video interface output Digital: LVDS
Supported platforms Any Windows® , Mac OS, or Linux® systems with a VGA, DVI, or DFP video connector
 
There is one thing for sure, if the 1600SW's image quality is as good looking as its exterior, we're in business.  This is one great looking LCD monitor.  It has very sleek lines with a black and cobalt blue casing.

 

 

When you first get a look at this LCD, live and in person, your first impression is that it is very wide and a little short.  Versus a standard 19" CRT, for example the glass on our reference Sony GDM400PS measures about 11" tall and 14.25" wide with an 18" diagonal.

 

The 1600SW is 9.2" tall by 14.7" wide, so you lose about 1.25" inches overall versus a standard 19" CRT.  Or, if you are a "glass is half full" type, it is significantly larger than most 17" LCDs or CRTs.  Either way, if you are use to a 19" screen, the size of the 1600SW will feel a little tight at first but it did grow on us, at least in a figurative sense.  If you are use to looking at a 17" display, the 1600SW will seem huge.  Finally, the 1600SW has an amazingly tight .23 dot pitch and high "wide angle" resolution of 1600X1024.  Most 17 - 18" LCD displays in the market are anywhere from .26 to .28 dot pitch and top out at 1280X1024 resolution. This tight dot pitch makes for very crisp high resolution images.

 

 

 

 

 

The native interface input for the 1600SW is LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling) DFP.  The DFP connection that was designed for this display back in '98 is all but extinct today.  DVI is the standard now for digital flat panels and of course analog as well.  As a result, SGI has decided to bundle in their "Multi-Link" adapter, which gives you both a analog and DVI interface and is even HDTV compatible.

Height and position adjustments for the panel, are made with a lever on the back of the unit.  The display also is detachable from the base with two machine heads that can be loosened with an included alan wrench.  This allows the user to mount the display on the wall or any surface for that matter.

 

 

 

When we pulled the 1600SW from its box and packaging, our first impression was that this was one very stylish display.

 

    

Good exterior looks are plus for sure but on screen display is the real yardstick of measurement for us, in this review.  In the LCD space versus CRTs, there is an entirely different metric for judging image quality.  We'll try and cover what we feel is important in the pages to follow.

 

Get the SGI 1600SW At Computers 4Sure!

The Multi-Link Adapter and Setup

 

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