MAG InnoVision MX17F. (computer monitor) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by Tom Benford
When I first opened the carton containing the MX17F, I expected to see a bigger version of MAG InnoVision's 15-inch monitor, the MX15F. While there's an unmistakable family resemblance--both share the same clean lines, for instance--there are other differences besides size and weight that soon became apparent.
This larger-screen unit boasts a fine .26-mm dot pitch. Like its sibling, it's capable of 1280 x 1024 noninterlaced resolution. The MX17F also comes with a detachable tilt-swivel base and rubber-tipped feet (in case you decide to forgo using the base).
At the rear of the MX17F, there's an AC power socket, along with two D connectors for inputting the video signal. The input used with PCs and PS/2 machines is an elongated 15-pin D connector (two rows of holes instead of the usual three) that looks like a joystick connector rather than a video hookup.
A standard 15-pin D connector (the familiar three rows of holes) is also present, but this one's used for connecting the MX17F to Apple Macintosh II computers! If you want even more flexibility for using the MX17F, you can also use the five discrete BNC connectors for inputting your video signals. A high/low (75-ohm) impedance selector switch is also located on the rear for tailoring the input signal strength.
All the real action takes place at the front of the monitor, however, since that's where you'll find all the user-adjustable controls. A flush-mounted power switch nestles comfortably beneath the display at the right side, flanked by an unobtrusive LED power indicator. At the left side you'll find rotary dials for adjusting brightness and contrast. Next to these dials is mounted a two-line, 32-character backlit display, with a drop-down door next to it concealing all the image adjustment controls.
The LCD keeps the user constantly informed of the currently active video mode, with the top line (16 characters) displaying either Interlaced or Noninterlaced and the lower line (also 16 characters) showing the resolution and frequency (for example, 1024 x 768 70 Hz). This is a nifty feature that gives you instant confirmation of the mode you're running in.
The control panel next to the LCD contains a push-button switch for degaussing, along with eight additional push buttons divided into four pairs (decrease/augment) of controls. One pair is used for each of the following: vertical size, vertical position, horizontal phase (position), and horizontal size. Another single push button to the right of this bank is used for storing and recalling memory settings. Next to the memory button is a two-position slider switch for selecting either user-programmed or factory-preset timing modes, and another slider switch for selecting either the BNC or D-subconnector inputs. The MX17F's nonvolatile memory comes with 13 preset modes and can also accommodate 8 user-programmed modes.
The monitor has an FCC Class B compliance certification for input signals with horizontal frequencies of 58 kHz or lower. It should be noted that this monitor isn't certified Class B for frequencies above 58 kHz because of a lack of Class B-compliant input devices that operate at such frequencies. In other words, monitors that operate in the MX17F's frequency range didn't exist when the Class B compliance standards were set. My, isn't it amazing how technology has progressed!
The image quality and overall performance of the MX17F is more than acceptable, especially when the higher resolutions (1280 x 1024, 1024 x 768) are run with a video card capable of running in noninterlaced mode, such as the Renoir Ultra-SVGA I used. If there's a monitor in your future, the MAG InnoVision MX17F may fit the bill nicely.