I have a Dell U2410 monitor hooked up to two computers: a Windows machine via HDMI, and my MacBook Pro (running Lion) via DisplayPort.

The output from Windows is great: colours are true and text is sharp as a tack, but from my Mac it's a bit different. The colours differ from what is shown on my MacBook's display and anti-aliasing on text is a bit dodgy.

I'm a complete newbie here, so I was hoping someone could give me some tips on calibrating this display to get it to display with high fidelity to what's appearing on my MacBook display. (Software/hardware) tools, techniques, etc.


Unfortunately, the monitor you have cannot be H/W calibrated and I have no idea what it does with its internal LUTs. You have two options at this point:

  1. Return it for a calibratable monitor. My recommendation is the NEC P241W which I own two off (New they are $450 but I about them refurbished for $237) in addition to one of NEC's 30" model (LCD3090WQXi).
  2. Calibrate the display on each computer and that means finding a H/W Calibrator solution which works on both platforms. There is a good description of calibration (and miscalibration) for your specific display here. It even says that banding issues are minimal which is great considering that you have to calibrate at the graphics card level.

Never used that display but if it is calibratable as the technical specs suggest, then you only need to calibrate it once to the sRGB color space and make sure the color profiles of both machines specify sRGB.

To calibrate it you need a color-calibrator, I use NEC Spectra View but I suppose Spyder 3 (as already suggested by @dpollitt) will do as well. The only thing you have to make sure is that you are calibrating the display, not the graphics card. Otherwise you have to calibrate twice and will have banding and perhaps even inconsistencies, particularly considering you use HDMI on Windows.

Now, if you want to take advantage of non-sRGB colors, you can but it will be more work. Also, only color-managed application will show color colors. Everything else, including most web-browser (color management is supported by some modern browsers but there is no guaranty since files often come with the wrong profile) will show distorted colors.

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    I don't see anything in the technical specs of that screen that state the "display" can be calibrated to one color space or another. It simply states that the display is CAPABLE of 100% sRGB coverage and 96% AdobeRGB coverage. You would still have to calibrate both "systems", the combination of OS, video card, and screen, with a common device like the Spyder 3 (which actually allows you to create synchronized profiles to maximize the similarity between different system calibrations). – jrista Jan 1 '12 at 21:09
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    It states 12-bit processing which hints at a calibratable LCD. Such monitors have internal LUTs (between 10 and 14 bits) and calibration is done by setting those tables. This avoids the banding which occurs when calibrating a graphic card. – Itai Jan 1 '12 at 23:01
  • Its true that many 10-14bit screens have internal LUTs, however all of the ones that actually do have always made a specific point about stating as much, as having an internal LUT is a big selling point. Having a calibrateable display via a LUT usually results in higher cost as well, however that screen is only $500. I can't definitively say it does not, on the flip side I don't think one can say definitively that it does. – jrista Jan 2 '12 at 3:53
  • Additionally, just for information, not every calibrator or calibration software is capable of updating the monitor LUT...I think only the Spyder 3 Elite (or the Spyder 3 Studio kit) with the v4.x software is capable of it, and the regular Spyder 3 Pro or Express are not capable of it. I do believe most of the iOne calibrators and their software are capable of calibrating a monitor LUT. Many monitors with LUTs also have their own calibration software that must be used, however they usually work with a variety of calibration devices. – jrista Jan 2 '12 at 4:01
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    And for reference, according to TFT Central, the U2410 does not contain an internal LUT (look at the commentary in the Standard Preset Mode calibration section). – jrista Jan 2 '12 at 4:10

You would want to get a hardware calibration tool such as a Datacolor Spyder 3, and use it to calibrate both machines on the same monitor. If you are switching back and forth between two machines regularly, this may become a hassle. Not sure if you can do some type of profile to switch between for each machine, but I would look into that.

Also, if you are just thinking that the built in laptop display is not matching the monitor, either one could be off. They are different types of monitors, so they could easily not match. Calibration is key especially when working with different machines and displays.

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