Advice on new monitor -- what good specs should I look for?

By Sarmad
May 10, 2011
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  1. I'm looking to buy a new PC widescreen flatscreen monitor to replace my old 4:3 CRT and would like to know what specs I should be looking for, eg what measurements are considered as good contrast ratio, image brightness, response time, resolution, number of supported colours, refresh rate, etc, to make sure I get one good enough for my needs? (I never needed to consider those terminologies before.) I'll be using it for playing games, watching videos (DVD, Blu-Ray, DivX, etc) and photo viewing/editing, so these uses will need a monitor of higher specifications than one I'd use for normal home office use. Is there much noticeable difference between image brightness of 250 cd/m2 and 300 cd/m2 ? Are LED screens the way forward rather than LCD? HD monitors are 1920 x 1080 resolution whereas my old 4:3 CRT allowed me to play games at 1900 x 1600 resolution, so will I be losing anything by switching over to a 1920 x 1080 screen which seems to be lower resolution?

    Sorry, my current monitor is a CRT which I purchased more than ten years ago, it came as part of a ready-built PC, so back in those days I never needed to know the meaning of things like contrast ratio, response time, etc. Any advice please would be greatly appreciated.

  2. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,185   +208

    If your switching from a 1900 x1600 to a 1920 x1080 you will not notice much of a diffrence in quality. It will be slightly lower quality though.

    Resolution is propably the most important things to look out for.

    Higher resolutions are always better but will make your graphics card work MUCH harder in games and lower your framerates.

    Response time is not so important imo, lower is better, High response times can cause input lag and an effect known as ghosting, Though in real life its barely noticible.

    Im not too sure about led vs lcd to be honest. Though IPS panels are considered to be the best type of LCD as far as i know.

    Heres a great and cheap ips for an example.
  3. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,034   +55

    What to look for in a new monitor

    If you have been using a CRT monitor for 10 years, it will have been using a blue VGA connection, monitor and graphic card ends.
    The biggest difference you will notice is if you connect the new monitor (whatever it is) with a DVI cable, using, obviously, DVI connections on the monitor and graphic card. If your PC only has a (blue) VGA output then it will be worth buying a new graphic card with a DVI output.
    (You can buy cards with 1 VGA and 1 DVI output, or 2 x DVI outputs, and possibly HDMI as well.) The reason for this is that VGA has to do a conversion of the video signal from digital to analogue, then back to digital again. Using DVI means the video signal is digital all the way from graphics card to monitor, therefore less losses, and a sharper picture.

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