I finally got a new computer monitor this week. It’s a Dell 27 inch 1920×1080 monitor and it replaces my decade old Dell 27 inch 1920×1080 monitor. I didn’t go for any of the newer higher resolution monitors because I’m still running a 2008 Mac tower. Yes, the computer I work on every day is 12 years old but it still gets the job done.

I bought the old monitor back in 2009 and if I remember correctly it cost around $600. It was a top of the line graphics monitor with lots of bells and whistles. It had three different video connectors, a built in SD card reader, and a USB hub in it. It was a really good monitor for about four years. Then it got a line in it.

When most monitors get a line through them it means very bad things. It means the monitor is going to fail soon. I checked around on the Dell message boards and found out that the line was actually a flaw in this particular model. It developed in a lot of them. Dell was mum about it and there was nothing to be done. But at least the monitor wasn’t going to fail.

I worked with that single red line running from top to bottom of the right side of the monitor for a few years. Then other lines developed. By earlier this year I had about five yellow lines on the left side and five more on the right side. Plus a couple of red and blue ones. They took up about an eighth of an inch total screen space on either side. I ignored them the best I could but often would have to move things out of that area so that I could work on them. It was getting too annoying.

So earlier this year I started looking on line for new monitors. I knew I wasn’t going to spend $600 on a top of the line Dell graphics monitor again. Besides the fact that my computer’s video card probably couldn’t take advantage of that higher resolution I just plain didn’t want to be let down again.

Surprisingly there were a lot of 27 inch 1920×1080 monitors out there for about $200. What was top of the line eleven years ago is now the bottom. I was looking at all different brands. I kept finding this one and that one and putting them on my Amazon wish list. Surprisingly a lot of them were quickly sold out after just a week or two of being on my list. Or the price would jump by $100 and then it would disappear. I think there were a lot of people buying monitors because of Covid-19.

I must have settled on six different monitors over a six month period only to have them not be available because I wasn’t ready to buy. It was really weird. One model would disappear so Amazon would suggest another only to have that one disappear in a week too.

I was also looking at small monitors because I needed a second monitor to go with my laptop when I teach Zoom classes. I actually had a small TV that I wanted to use for that purpose but it wouldn’t work. I hooked it up via a VGA to Lightning connector but the TV wouldn’t see the connection even though it had a “PC” button in its menu and it was built for just this function. Failure.

Then as I was looking at small monitors that had HDMI connectors I decided to buy a HDMI to Lightning connector adapter in advance of getting the actual monitor. After that was sitting around the house for a week I tried it out on the TV and it worked fine. Then I had no need for a new small monitor. Money saved.

That put me in the clear to look at bigger monitors again. This time it was a Dell monitor for about $250 that caught my eye. It didn’t have the SD card reader like my old one, and I’d miss that, but none of the newer monitors had that anyway so it was no big deal. I ended up putting that one on my wish list and my sister bought it for me as a birthday gift.

I thought I’d have an easy time setting up the monitor. It was only a power cord, a USB hub plug, and a VGA connector. I figured I’d be able to unplug the old VGA connector and plug it right into the new monitor. Turns out my old setup had an older type of VGA connector. Then I checked my pile of wires and saw I had the right wire to plug into the tower plus the right adapter to plug the other end into the monitor. I was good to go. Then it didn’t work.

Turns out that was the same wire and adapter setup that didn’t work with the small TV. I wonder if the adaptor is bad? Either way I decided to grab the HDMI wire and adapter from the small TV setup and lo and behold they got my new monitor working.

Plugging, unplugging, and running all those wires took more time than I wanted it to but I was happy to get things working. Of course then I had to order a new HDMI cable and adaptor for the small TV setup.

The weird thing about the new 27 inch monitor is how much smaller it is than the old 27 inch monitor. The screen size is actually the same width but about an inch shorter in height. That make it slightly smaller in usable space but the space around the monitor is smaller too. There was about an inch and half of plastic on all four side of the old monitor. The new one has about a quarter inch on three sides and a half an inch on the botton. That make it visually a lot smaller.

One odd thing I ran into just today was with my SD card reader. I always used the built in one on the old monitor but I have a separate one that I used before I got that monitor. I hooked it up to the USB hub on the new monitor but it wouldn’t read my SD card. A light came on indicating there was power to the card reader but nothing showed up on the desktop. No card. I plugged a second card reader right into the front of my computer and that one wouldn’t read my card either. I have no idea what’s going on with that but the SD card reader on my old 2012 MacBook Pro still worked. I figure it out another day.