Amdek AM/738+. (Evaluation)
by Tom Benford
If you needs are moderate, the 14-inch Amdek AM/738+ may well be the Super VGA monitor for you.
The monitor is a multiplatform unit, which means you can use it for IBM-compatible PCs as well as the newer Macintosh II-series computers.
You'll find no controls mounted on the front of the monitor; in fact, the only adornments on the unit's face are a small Amdek logo and a green LED power indicator in the lower left corner. Look for the power switch and the brightness and contrast controls on the right side of the monitor, close to the front. Instead of having the knob-type controls usually found on monitors, the AM/738+ uses rounded "trackball" controls for the contrast and brightness adjustments, while the power switch is a flush-mounted button about the size of a nickel.
At the rear of the unit, you'll find standard slotted-knob controls for adjusting vertical size, horizontal size, and horizontal position. There are no other user-accessible controls or adjustment mechanisms.
Amdek has a very stable and highly adjustable tilt-swivel base for altering the monitor's position so that it provides optimal viewing. However, the tilt-swivel base isn't detachable on the AM/738+ as it is with most other monitors I'm familiar with.
While in general the color and resolution of the AM/738+ video are very good, I did notice moire patterns any time a fine dot pattern was present (as with the standard Windows Program Manager screen or in Microsoft Works' toolbars and borders). "Blooming" (thin lines getting thicker at their ends, resulting in a nonuniform and slightly defocused image at these points) was another undesirable trait the AM/738+ exhibited in some applications. This was particularly noticeable whenever groupings of fine lines appeared in the video image, such as with intricate graphics or paint files.
I also found it impossible to run Windows 3.0 with the AM/738+ in the 1024 x 768 256-color mode when using my Truevision Video with VGA Overlay board; in this mode, what I saw was an unacceptable, severely darkened image devoid of color. I didn't have a problem, however, with the 800 x 600 mode. While this 1MB board with its Tseng 4000 chip set does incorporate some nonstandard timings at the higher resolutions, other monitors I've used it with don't have any problem in the 1024 x 768 mode. The AM/738+ runs in the interlaced mode at 1024 x 768 resolution, but it runs in the noninterlaced mode at 800 x 600 resolution, which is undoubtedly the reason for the incompatibility I experienced at the higher resolution with this noninterlaced board. If you intend to use a noninterlaced video adapter in 1024 x 768 resolution, be forewarned that this monitor isn't capable of noninterlaced displays at that resolution.
If you're on a budget, work predominantly in text and numerical applications rather than graphics, and don't need 1024 x 768 noninterlaced resolution, the AM/738+ is worth a closer look.