Amiga monitors have never been especially easy to find, but as time moves on, they get even harder. In a pinch you can use a television, but that has some drawbacks. Fortunately there are some other modern alternatives. The Dell E1912HF is a good example, though not the only one.
Amiga compatible flat panel monitors
It turns out some flat panel displays from the current century will accept a 15 kHz signal, like the one produced by Amiga, Atari ST, and Apple IIgs computers. One early favorite was the Dell 2001FP, but that monitor is starting to become hard to find in its own right. It was a high end monitor so it existed in limited quantities compared to its contemporaries. Fortunately, many more recent lower end monitors that did sell in large quantities will sync down to 15 KHz, even if they officially want a 24 or 30 KHz signal at minimum. The Dell E1912HF is one good example of an inexpensive low end LED flat panel that works well with an Amiga, Atari ST, or Apple IIgs. If you can find one of the right vintage. I’ll let you in on the secrets.
Fun fact: Dell considered buying Commodore, but didn’t think of it soon enough to conduct due diligence so they never made a bid. But it’s just a coincidence that some modernish Dell monitors work with Amigas. Amiga hasn’t been on Dell’s radar since 1994.
The Dell E1912HF and Amiga, Atari ST, and Apple IIgs
The Dell E1912HF is a 1366×768 18.5 inch VGA only LED backlit monitor. It was on the market for several years, so be sure to look for revision A00. Revision A01 doesn’t work at 15 KHz. But if you can find a rev A00, it’s a good monitor for this purpose.
It has adjustments for screen formats so you can switch it from 19:9 to 4:3 or even 5:4. In PAL, 5:4 will look more correct than 4:3. It can do PAL or NTSC without a problem.
If you find a cheap Dell LED flat panel in the wild or on an online listing, look at the labels underneath the power connector and the VGA connector. The model number is under the VGA connector. It’s in tiny print, but once you know what to look for and where to look, it’s not hard to find.
The revision number is under the power connector, underneath the serial number and next to the country of origin.
Online, expect to pay around $50 after shipping. There’s usually at least one or two available on Ebay. Just examine the listing so you know what you’re getting. You’ll need to get an Amiga-to-VGA adapter too if you don’t already have one.
With patience, you may be able to get one cheaper locally, since there’s nothing special about these if you use them as a PC display.
You want model# E1912HF and revision A00.
Why not a Commodore 1084?
For an authentic experience, there is no match for a vintage RGBA monitor like an Amiga 1080 or Commodore 1084. They are outstanding retro monitors anyway, because in addition to working with an Amiga, they can also work with a Commodore 64, any other computer that outputs composite like an Apple II or Atari 800, and any system uses digital TTL RGB, like a Commodore 128, a Tandy 1000, or PC CGA.
The trouble is, there was a finite supply of those monitors produced, they are dying, and while replacements for some parts are available, if the tube or the yoke dies, your options are limited. Last year, one retro YouTuber set out to make a video extolling the virtues of his 1084, and the monitor suffered a catastrophic failure during the video, turning the video into a eulogy.
So for that reason, if I can pick up a relatively modern panel at a reasonable price and use it instead, I’m inclined to go that route.
How the Dell E1912HF/Amiga compatibility was discovered
And while this specific model of Dell monitor works well, it’s far from the only one. And if you want a more modern display for your Amiga, ST, or IIgs, nothing says you have to rush out and buy one of these. The way this monitor was discovered was from someone having one on hand and trying it out. So there’s nothing wrong with getting a 23 to 15 pin adapter and trying out any random LCD monitor you have laying around. If it doesn’t work, you’ll just get a message saying the signal is out of range. You may find it works, but not especially well. Or you may find the next hidden gem.
Works on Amiga 500 and other Amigas without a scan doubler at 15 KHz, as long as you get Rev A00. Check any listing you see online to make sure it’s an A00. With a suitable cable it also works with an Atari ST or Apple IIgs.
A lot of similar VGA only monitors from the early 2010s will go to 15 KHz, but the E1912HF rev A00 gives a better display than most of them. It can even display interlaced modes and they look good.