Advice wanted about buying a monitor.
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Thread: Advice wanted about buying a monitor.

  1. #1
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    Advice wanted about buying a monitor.

    My current LCD monitor (an oldie) is a bit sucky when it comes to low contrast stuff. When I print something I often see there were actually smudges that I'm not able to see on the screen.
    Before I started digital art I didn't even notice that stuff. But now I'm getting more serious I want to be able to trust what I see.

    My wishes are that it's flat (no crt), high definition and large.
    That's stuff I can find. But what should I look for to ensure good color quality and contrast?

    Enlighten me.

    Life is like a box of chocolates, when you're a fat glutton it lasts shorter.
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    this is a decent one for contrast ratio.
    this one is fairly largish.
    20k:1 contrast and 2ms pixel response on this monitor.

    Quote Originally Posted by consumer reports
    Here's what experts say to consider when choosing an LCD monitor:

    LCD panel types make a difference. A monitor using VA panel technology is a great choice for business use as it reduces eye strain when working on documents or spreadsheets for long stretches of time. If you have the budget, they are great for multipurpose use as well. A monitor with a TN panel is cheaper. But it's also faster, and therefore best for gaming. TN panels aren't the best, but they are more than satisfactory for most general purpose uses. IPS-based LCD monitors are best for image editing but are very expensive.

    Widescreen displays have weaknesses. Experts say that lighting, brightness and viewing angles on widescreen monitors are often not uniform throughout the display. Reviewers frequently mention distortion around the edges. The technology also introduces video noise. Conventional shapes avoid this problem. Furthermore, experts say that quality declines as size increases with monitors larger than 20 inches.

    For gaming, get a monitor with response-time compensation. A monitor's response time is the speed with which pixels change color, and therefore how quickly the picture can be redrawn. A shorter response time means sharper moving images, which is especially important in games. X-bit Labs says response time compensation makes a big difference in performance.
    Resolution consists of the number of pixels displayed in a horizontal row multiplied by the number of pixels displayed vertically. More pixels means you can see more information on your screen at once. Most monitors allow you to adjust settings to lower resolutions, which can be necessary for people with vision challenges. However, unlike cathode ray tube monitors, LCD monitors usually work best at what's called their "native resolution."

    A monitor's contrast ratio is the difference in light intensity between the brightest white and the deepest black. This specification can help you determine how rich the color will be in on-screen images. Unfortunately, this is another specification without an official standard, so be suspicious of vendor claims.

    The viewing angle is how far you can move to the left or right (or above and below) of the screen's center and still see a satisfactory image. This specification is important if you are using the monitor for presentations, or if more than one person is viewing at a time. It is also more critical for larger monitors. Again, because there's no official standard for this specification, it's best to try out the monitor yourself if this might be a concern.

    Consider adjustability features. Some LCD monitors are height-adjustable. They can tilt forward and back, swivel from side to side, pivot between landscape and portrait views and mount on a wall. These features are critical for some users but unimportant for others. Most individual users will set up the monitor and have no further need for any adjustments. Families with multiple users, however, may prefer a monitor that is easy to adjust.

    Except for entry-level models, most LCD monitors provide both analog and digital (DVI) connectors. While both connectors will generally provide acceptable performance, if you have a video card with a DVI output, DVI may produce a better image.
    Look for a three-year warranty. Although three-year warranties are standard, some manufacturers only provide one-year coverage for some or all models. Manufacturers use warranties as a marketing tool: Longer warranties are often meant to indicate better parts and build quality. A short warranty can be the catch behind a low price.

    Extras like video inputs and USB ports are nice, if you'll use them. Video inputs make it possible to feed a monitor a signal from sources such as a DVD player. A few newer monitors have HDMI inputs.

    Look for Windows Vista compatibility if you plan to watch high-definition movies on your monitor. Vista incorporates a content protection scheme called HDCP, which stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. Its purpose is to prevent video piracy by encrypting the signal between the source and the display device. If you play a high-definition video from a Blu-ray Disc or a computer file, Vista will first check to make sure your monitor is HDCP-compliant. If it isn't, Vista will reduce the resolution. This is only an issue if you plan to use the monitor to view high-definition movies and other content on a Windows Vista system. Look for monitors with a "Works with Windows Vista" logo on the packaging. Vista imposes no special requirements on monitors for most other purposes. HDCP-compliant monitors will have an HDCP-compliant DVI input or an HDMI input (all HDMI inputs are HDCP compliant).


    Last edited by Grief; June 9th, 2009 at 11:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by David F. View Post
    That's stuff I can find. But what should I look for to ensure good color quality and contrast?
    As far as tech specs go I've found (with my limited knowledge) that you can spend days trying to learn in-depth what all this stuff means but the best way to evaluate a monitor is to go have a look at one. The second best way is to read the reviews, both consumer and technical.

    I can't really advise anything else because you don't say what your budget is, or how large you want your screen, or at what resolution (check your graphics card supports the resolution you want - no point getting a 30" 2560 res monitor only to find your card can't go above 1600!)

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