View Full Version : What Mac should I use with my Portrait Display?

March 14th, 2010, 11:08 PM
I have two of the (I assume) rare Apple Portrait Displays. I only have one of the unique cables for them, and the one I've tested so far works brilliantly. I've really fallen in love with this display, and ordered an adapter (so I can try it out with various PCs) from eBay. ;)

Anywho, I also attained several Macs, and am wondering what the best model and System Software would be for black and white usage?

What's the first version of System Software to include support for color anyway? I could go one prior to that.

As for systems (that can take external monitors): I have the following:
Mac IIci
Mac IIcx
Mac IIsi
Mac LC 475

If my understanding is correct, System 6 was the last black-and-white-only version? Is there any advantage to using a newer version with a black and white display as far as games would go? I've found several games that refuse to run on non-color displays such as Wolfenstein 3D (though I bet that a PC will push it onto a monochrome with no issues, since it won't know.. ;D).

Anyway thanks.

Anonymous Freak
March 15th, 2010, 06:54 AM
Well, none of those Macs can run a System earlier than supported color. The day the Macintosh II came out, so came out "System Software 2.0" came out, supporting color. And that is the oldest that will run on a Macintosh II.

Of your systems, only the "II" labeled ones are capable of running System 6 at all. And System 6 supports color, it's just that the System itself has very little of it. System 7 added more color, but it's fairly black and white still, and nothing major is lost running in B&W mode. The IIci has a major bonus of having fast onboard video combined with support for the Portrait Display built-in. (The rest of your built-in-video systems will also will support it, but it's a little slower on the rest.)

For the most 'classic' use, the IIcx would probably be your best bet, though, with a proper Portrait Video Card, as the Portrait Display came out at the same time (http://lowendmac.com/displays/mac-portrait-display.html) as the IIcx. Then, for proper 'launch' feeling, System 6.0.3 would be your System of choice. (The launch System version for the IIcx.) For most 'usable', the LC 475 (if it has more RAM than the IIci,) would be best, as it has the fastest CPU, and therefore can be used with the most software. Also, the LC 475 should be able to run the display in "color" mode, even though it's only B&W. This will fool software into thinking it's running in color and allow you to run it.

March 15th, 2010, 07:50 AM
Also, the LC 475 should be able to run the display in "color" mode, even though it's only B&W. This will fool software into thinking it's running in color and allow you to run it.

I like the sound of that - how do I set it up to run it in color "mode"?

Anonymous Freak
March 15th, 2010, 09:07 AM
Just go into the Monitors control panel, and choose 16 or 256 colors instead of grays. It still displays in grayscale (obviously,) but it will tell apps that it's running in color. (I should say that while this works on some of my grayscale PowerBooks, I have not tested it on a grayscale-only external display, as I don't own any. But I do remember it working on a IIsi with 12" Monochrome Display many years ago.) The big visible difference is that the Apple Menu gets drawn larger in multiple shades of gray instead of the plain black one, since it thinks it's drawing it in color.

March 15th, 2010, 09:13 AM
I just found that panel, actually right before I read this. Anyway my LC 475 won't show a picture when hooked up to the portrait display. It made a startup chime though, so I pulled out my only Color Mac display and hooked it up, which I thought died last night, but that worked fine. Clearly there's some level of a lack of autodetection or compatibility between Macs and monitors. With it booted with the color monitor, I set it to grayscale and then tried to boot it with the portrait - no go. Any ideas?

March 25th, 2010, 04:39 AM
I ended up giving up on LC475 + Portrait, and am using an LC III with it, for the records.