Review: Dell 2405FPW LCD Display

Bottom Line: Don’t let the bargain basement pricing fool you, Dell’s large-screen flat panel is a quality piece of hardware.

Verdict: Recommended.

When selecting a computer, many people spend much of their time poring over specification such as processor speed, RAM, hard disk space, etc.. While these are all important factors, it is the monitor that we spend much of our time interacting with. A large, high quality monitor can make everything we do on the computer seem faster and easier. Most new monitor purchases are targeted at LCD displays, and with good reason. Modern LCDs are bright, easier to use for long periods of time, and have a rich color palette. The downside of LCDs, until recently, has been the relatively high premium paid for large sizes.

The Dell 2405FPW was one of the first displays to break that pattern. Like its less expensive cousin, the 2005FPW, this 24-inch display brought large, high quality wide-screen excitement into the realm of affordibility. With frequent discounts available on websites like SlickDeals, these monitors frequently drop into the sub-$800 price range.

Dell 2405FPW

Can a new monitor really change your life? Yes. Do you really need a 24-inch display? Of course you do. This display offers a 1920×1200 resolution, which is better than the highest-quality HDTV. At 24 inches, multitasking becomes a reality. You can have two full web pages open simultaneously, or easily use two different programs at the same time. As you can see from the image above, this monitor is not restricted for use on Dell computers, or even PCs in general. The optimal input is DVI (Dell includes the cable), but VGA, composite, S-video, and component video inputs are all available. You can even connect a device to each input and switch between them with the push of a button.

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Running Windows on a Mac

Got an Intel-based Mac and need to run programs written for Microsoft Windows? Although Apple’s free Boot Camp software is certainly an option, it pales in comparison to the relatively inexpensive Parallels Desktop software. Parallels lets you run a copy of Windows at the same time you are running the Mac OS X operating system. You’ll need to purchase Windows seperately, but it prevents the need to reboot to run a copy of your Windows software. Because it runs on Intel-based Macs, the speed is almost identical to a regular PC. Downsides? It’s not free and it does take a little while to load up. On the other hand, it runs peacefully in the background, so you can keep it running while it’s not in use. Download the demo to check it out. Remember: this only works on the newer Intel-based Macs.

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Speeding up and slowing down

The 17-inch Apple PowerBook G4

My 17-inch Apple PowerBook G4 has served me well for the past 3 and a half years. As new, faster models appeared, I thought many times about upgrading, but even the current models look essentially the same without any significant changes. I love the screen real estate, but with the addition of an external monitor to the setup, the advantage of the large screen (especially when I was at home) was limited. The cost was a heavier, bulkier computer when I was not at my desk, which has become increasingly common. I thought about upgrading to the MacBook Pro released earlier this year, but early models were reportedly buggy, and the design was still quite similar to my now dated model. The arrival of the latest (and quite inexpensive) MacBook, however, has persuaded me the the time to upgrade is now. The PowerBook, like many of its predecessors, has now been eBayed. Farewell, my friend.

The Techno returns

My Reneka Techno is back online

Despite the happy face I put on to my friends and family, like the archetypical sad clown, I have been masking my true feelings. The truth is that I have been suffering in silence for the past few months since my Reneka Techno espresso machine decided to die in an impressive display of noise and steam.

A glimmer of hope appeared last week, when a box of replacement parts arrived from France, and I began to rebuild the machine, hoping it would one day return to the greatness I knew it was capable. That day is today. I had my first home-made cappuccino in months today, and the Techno is back in operation. Armed with some freshly roasted beans, I look forward to a new golden age in the months ahead.

Techno pumps

I’m continuing to work on getting my Reneka Techno espresso machine back online. This French contraption first came into my world in December, 2002. Since then, it’s been a reliable producer of top-quality espresso drinks, at least when I feed it with my freshly-roasted beans.

My trusted friend has suffered his share of health complications over his short life. The boiler temperature probe has failed twice, once recently. In the past month, the pump started failing as well. No matter, a quick email to Just Espresso lead to the arrival of a new pump and probe. Now the only thing standing in my way of espresso nirvana are two small adapter pieces that I need to move from the old pump (pictured left) to the new pump (on the right). Despite my best efforts, they are impossible to remove. An email is in to Just Espresso. Hopefully, they can come up with a solution soon??????


I’ve done it again…found a new hobby to waste what little free time I have left. My latest venture is an attempt to have fresh herbs available at all times by taking advantage of an approach to growing called hydroponics. Instead of soil, this technology bathes the roots of the plants in a nutrient rich solution to optimize growth while minimizing, well, bugs.

I have an elaborate contraption circulating water on my balcony right now, but I may be foiled by the prolonged winter that seems to be plaguing the area.

Back in black…or grey

I’ve begun restyling the site with a slick new look. While I have plenty of other chores on my plate, I’ve managed to waste yet another perfectly decent weekend hacking around with css, html, and Photoshop. At least the content from my iWeb site is back and soon I can actually get around to writing new entries other than self-referential site updates.