Silicon Graphics 1600SW LCD monitor

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Silicon Graphics launched the 1600SW TFT display in 1998, in response to graphics professionals needing a high quality digital screen, to help them manage increasingly complex and high definition images.

Winning a number of design awards, the 1600SW was an immediate hit. Support true 16:9 aspect ratio, it was capable of displaying two pages of text side by side, at it's native 1600x1024 resolution. Silicon Graphics called this new resolution SuperWide, and defined graphics cards that would support this resolution as SuperWide Savvy.

At the time of the 1600SW, there were two emerging digital standards - LVDS and DVI. LVDS was higher quality, but it was DVI that eventually won out, and DVI is what you'll find on modern graphics cards and screens. LVDS lives on today, being used extensively internally in laptops, and in in-car audio/visual display units.

Silicon Graphics decided to use the superior LVDS on their 1600SW screen, and this can limit it's usefulness today. There were only three machines made by Silicon Graphics which could natively drive the 1600SW:
  • the MIPS based O2
  • the Intel based 320 Visual Workstation
  • the Intel based 540 Visual Workstation

Each machine required a special digital daughterboard, which attached to the motherboard and presented an LVDS interface out the back of the machine.

Additionally, a number of PC graphics cards also had an LVDS connector:
  • 3D Labs Oxygen VX1-1600SW
  • Number 9 Revolution IV
  • Formac ProFormance 3 (an Apple Mac card which was a re-badged VX1-1600SW)

Due to popular demand, Silicon Graphics also produced the MultiLink Adapter (MLA), an external converter which took a DVI input and gave LVDS output.

Aftermarket adapters, like the PIX Solutions PIXLink adapter, and the internal PCI based GFX-1600SW, are also available to convert DVI output from modern graphics cards to LVDS.

Despite it's age the 1600SW remains an impressive and stylish display, more than capable of coping with current display demands. Due to the LVDS connector they can often be picked up very quickly, sometimes bundled with a PC graphics card or external adapter.

Screen specifications:

Brightness                     170 Cd/m2 min., > 235 Cd/m2 maximum
Colour Resolution             16.7 million true colors
Contrast ratio                 350:1 typical
Display area                 14.6 inches (H) x 9.3 inches (V)
                            (369.6 mm (H) x 236.5 mm (V))
                            17.3 inch (44 cm) diagonal
Dimming range                 35% to 100%
Dot pitch, dots per inch     0.23mm, 110dpi
Pixel resolution             1600 H x RGB x 1024 V
                            (4,915,200 subpixels)
Response time                 40 ms typical combined rise and fall
                            13ms Rise
                            27ms Fall
Viewing angle                 Horizontal: ±60°
                            Vertical: +45°/-55°
White balance range         5000° K to 7000° K, adjustable through software on                   
                            the host computer

You can read more about the Silicon Graphics 1600SW monitor, including FAQs and links to reviews, at
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