Do I need an AdobeRGB-capable Display?

I’m getting ready to do a major equipment upgrade for my digital painting setup. This will include a new Mac Pro, a new monitor, and for the first time, a professional inkjet- probably an Epson 4880. In addition to my usual digital illustration workflow, I plan to make “fine art” prints of my work.

While researching all of this new hardware, I realized I had some general questions about a color-managed workflow appropriate for my objectives. Keeping in mind my new printer will print some colors I cannot see on my display, and the display will show some colors I cannot print-

Is it really worth it to purchase a 5K high-end display like an Eizo Coloredge, or will an 27" Apple at 1K suffice?

Will I see detail in my digital paintings on a high-end display that I won’t see on the Apple display?

Assuming good calibration/profiling- will a high-end Adobe RGB display significantly narrow the gamut gap relative to the Epson printer?

If Photoshop’s soft-proofing simulation shows what my print will look like (again, assuming good calibration/profiling), isn’t that level of predictability enough? Or is an Adobe RGB display a total game-changer?

Hi George,

I recently faced the same dilemma I had Apple 20 inch display which by all accounts is a great display for accurate color. After talking with Rick I decided to purchase the CG241W monitor. It has made a big difference in my ability to make accurate adjustments of images, especially in the shadow tones. Previously I would always struggle to not have the shadows in all my prints turn out muddy. I would often have to lighten the shadows several times just to get any detail to show. Now what see on the EIZO is practically the same as what I am printing.

Also I am very rarely getting any gamut warnings while editing images which previously was almost always the case when ever the image has any deep saturated tones.

Buying the EZIO was the best upgrade I have made.


Hi Louie,

Thanks for the reply, and your experience with the CG241W.

Ideally, I could find a way to actually see a comparison in person- but certainly, hearing that the detail is better makes a compelling case to go for the high-end monitor…

In delving into the specs of these wide-gamut displays, I’ve become aware that the graphics application (ie. Photoshop), the OS, the graphics driver, the GPU, and the GPU’s hardware connection to the display supposedly must all support “10-bit color” in order to take advantage of the display’s 10-bit capability.

Is this a correct assessment, or does the CG241W not require the above to display that gamut?

Louie, are you getting 10-bit color in your system? What graphics card are you using?

I read somewhere that PS CS5 only “partially” supports 10-bit color, but have no idea if that was an informed statement or not.

So far, I’ve not been able to find any definitive info as to whether Mac OSX Snow Leopard supports 10-bit color, which available powerful GPUs- namely the Ati 5870 or the nVidia Quadro FX 4800- support 10-bit color, whether the “display port” itself supports it, whether the current graphics drivers for SL and those GPU’s support it, and even whether Photoshop takes full advantage…

Any enlightenment on this subject would be really helpful!


There are a number of limitation in the current implementations of wide gamut color. I don’t recall the specifics. I do remember that it was the reason I opted for the less expensive CG241W over the more expensive models.

It is my understanding that much of the color magic is done inside the EZIO display and it does not require a fancy GPU and OS support to get to the 95% Adobe RGB gamut.

I suggest that you call Chromix Sales and talk with Rick Hatmaker as he was the one that pointed me in the direction of this monitor and was up to date on 10 bit support issues that you mention.

I recently replaced my ATI Radeon X1900 (starting to show strange lines) with an ATI Radeon HD 4870. It was the only video card still available that I could find for my older MacPro. While it has the newer display port I am using the DVI gain at Ricks recommendation.

I hope that this helps.


George I notice that you are working in fine art reproduction, which is one of the most demanding of all printing services. A typical photographer who goes to print wants to have his work reproduced in a pleasing way, but reproducing fine art goes a step further and requires the utmost in accuracy for what’s being printed. If this is the case for you, then you would definitely benefit from a display that gives you (almost) all of the gamut you are likely to print.

The CG241W does not require a full 10-bit workflow path in order to give you its wide gamut of colors.
10-bit color refers to the resolution of color definition, and has nothing to do with the actual gamut ability of the monitor. By way of analogy, you can think of a measuring stick. If a 12-inch ruler is like a regular gamut monitor, and a 3-foot yardstick is like a wide gamut monitor, the 10-bit color corresponds to how many lines are on the stick. 8-bit color has 256 tics on the stick and 10-bit color has 1024. A yardstick has a pretty big “gamut” compared to a ruler, and 256 lines would not give you as much resolution to define your measurement as 1024, but it is still 3 feet long.

As you have probably been reading, it is technically now possible to get a full 10-bit color resolution from the computer to the display if you have all the components in place. This is not very common, and is sort of on the cutting edge of things right now. The biggest bottleneck seems to be the graphics cards required to do this. There’s only a handlful that support 10-bit processing and they are pretty expensive.

FWIW, I have come across the following from a site in Australia:

Thanks Louie for the additional info.

So you are running your 4870 with the DVI connection rather than Mini Display port to Display port…

So, from my reading- that negates 10-bit capability into the Mac Pro. I assume since you have all other “10-bit” factors in place, you’re connecting this way to avoid a stability issue? I thought the mouse cursor jumping was solved with an Eizo firmware update?

Hi Pat,
Thanks for that cogent explanation of where we stand on 10-bit, and the advantage of the wide-gamut monitor independent of a full 10-bit workflow.
The article from the link is excellent, and I now have a much better understanding of the entire issue! :smiley:

Yes, there’s a firmware update for the Eizo’s to fix the jumping mouse issue with DisplayPort. Anyone who wants this can contact Eizo tech support and have them send it to you. Incidentally, we had the Eizo folks in the office recently, and from their perspective their upgrade is actually a workaround for Apple not implementing their own DP protocol correctly.

The CG241W only has a DVI. At the time I purchased it there was virtually no support for 10bit color so I opted to save a little and stay with the 8bit DVI but still get the expanded gamut. That has been well worth it.

The choice of the 4870 was a separate issue because of my failing X1900. It does give me a display port for future upgrade. But I still have about 4 years on my warrantee so I expect to stay where I am for a while.


Thanks Louie, got it… Hey, it sure sounds like the wide-gamut appearance on your display is 95% of the game-
I’m guessing the actual visual appearance of a full 10-bit setup with a wide-gamut display would be only slighter “better”…

It sounds like if I purchase a new MP system now- and a wide-gamut display with a DisplayPort connection, the only unknown (for a complete 10-bit path) will be the currently offered GPUs and their drivers for Mac…

One would think if the ATI 4780 hardware & drivers support 10-bit, the 5770 or 5870 would do the same- but I haven’t come across a verification anywhere of that…

Here is a discussion where it would seem the 5870 does not currently support 10-bit.

Another on-going discussion re Photoshop and 10-bit- more on the Windows side of things…