What should I consider when choosing a Cheap Computer Monitor?
There are certain features that affect the performance of a computer monitor such as aspect ratio, display resolution, dot pitch, contrast ratio, refresh rate and response time.
Aspect Ratio is the ratio of the horizonal length to the vertical length which means a screen with an aspect ratio of 4:3 would have a width of 1024 pixels and a height of 768 pixels. Similarly, a wide screen aspect ratio of 16:9 would be 1024 pixels wide by 576 pixels high.
Display Resolution determines the amount of information a monitor can display and is measured by the number of horizontal and vertical pixels. A pixel is the smallest element on the screen.
Most new monitors can display a resolution of at least 1440 x 900. The monitor and video card must be able to display the same resolution.
For viewing graphics a high resolution monitor is great for providing sharper and more detailed viewing.
For surfing the Internet and doing other basic computer work such as email you do not need a high resolution monitor.
Dot Pitch is the distance between pixels on the screen. The dot pitch determines the sharpness of images on the screen and is measured in millimeters (mm).
The smaller the dot pitch, the clearer the image. For example, a cheap computer monitor with a dot pitch of .26 mm will display crisper images than a monitor with a dot pitch of .30 mm.
Contrast Ratio is the ratio of the luminosity of the brightest color which is white to the darkest color which is black that the monitor can display.
Refresh Rate is measured in hertz (Hz) and tells you the number of times per second the image on the screen is redrawn. The higher the refresh rate the less flicker on the screen. 72 Hz is a common refresh rate. The optimum refresh rate is affected by the response time.
Response Time is the time a pixel takes to travel from active which is black to white which is inactive and finally back to active which is black. This is measured milliseconds and the lower the numbers the faster the transitions hence fewer artifacts.
Size of a cheap computer monitor is measured two ways. The nominal size is measured diagonally across the picture tube inside the monitor.
The viewable size is measured diagonally across the screen. The nominal size is usually greater than the viewable size. The larger the size of the monitor, the easier it will be on your eyes. The lower the dot pitch, the crisper the picture will be.
Multisync - A cheap computer monitor can display information using only one resolution and refresh rate.
A multisync monitor can display information using different resolutions and refresh rates.
A multisync monitor can detect which resolution and refresh rate the video card is using and then automatically adjust to the appropriate settings.
Non-Interlaced - A non-interlaced monitor greatly reduces screen flicker. Non-interlaced monitors are more expensive than old-interlaced monitors but help to reduce eye strain.
A flat screen monitor eliminates reflections. Purchase the largest LCD flat panel monitor you can afford.
Your refresh rates and resolutions should be as high as possible - You never want to see low refresh and resolution specs. Your computer monitor should be able to support high refresh rates (85 Hz and above) at its highest resolution settings (1920 x 1440).
Refresh rates below 75 Hz can cause flickering that will eventually strain your eyes.
There are three types of monitors - CRT, LCD and Plasma.
Reviewing Computer Monitors
This cheap computer monitor uses Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) technology to display information. This is the same technology used in old television sets.
CRT technology uses a beam of high speed electrons called a Cathode Ray to draw images on the end of a glass tube. The end of the glass tube is the screen. Anyway, these 'old faithfuls' are no longer being manufactured. They were very good during their 'time'.
LCD is an acronym for Liquid Crystal Display. It is the same technology found in the displays of most digital watches.
The screen of the LCD monitor is made up of liquid crystal between two pieces of specially treated glass. Electrical impulses cause the liquid crystal to change color. These colors make up the images on the screen.
In the past, LCD monitors were only used on portable computers but are now available for desktop computers.
LCD monitors are light, thin, easy to clean, consume less electricity and have a nice appearance. They are also easy to read (less eye fatigue), require less space than the old CRT monitors and are not susceptible to screen burn-in.
LCD monitors sometimes could have dead pixels caused by use or during production. These monitors are also called flat panel Monitors.
Earlier LCD monitors were not recommended for playing computer games since there was noticeable blurring when there was a lot of action and movement on the screen. This problem has now been corrected.
Computer Monitors and 3D
The new craze in consumer electronics is 3D Displays. 3D is otherwise called Steroscopic Vision. nVidia is the leader in the stereoscopic vision and names its version 3D Vision. 3D Vision uses a pair of shutter glasses that only functions with computer monitors that generate frame rates at 120 Hz.
At first this technology was computer oriented and required high performing nVidia video cards. But slowly and surely TV manufacturers such as LG and Samsung have developed 3D technologies for LCD.
Choosing a Computer Monitor - Final Thoughts
No disrespect to CRT users but, due to the technological advancement in computer monitor designs, the LCD is the monitor of choice.
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