Re: Flat screen recommendation (PC) for high res graph

Subject: Re: Flat screen recommendation (PC) for high res graph
From: "David Neeley" <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2007 07:34:02 -0600


A few comments to amplify a bit on what you said:

> From: William Gaffga <WilG -at- GibbsCAM -dot- com>

> Honestly, as much as I dislike the company, Dell produces a good LCD
> at very reasonable prices.

Dell produces nothing in screens. Like other brands, when it comes to
flat screens they buy them from an OEM manufacturer...just as they do
for CRTs.

If you are truly interesting in "high res" graphics, there are a few
out there primarily used in medical imaging that are in the 110 pixels
per inch range, compared to the 90-95 that are common otherwise.
However, they do carry a price premium, partly because there are so
few sold and partly because producing the higher-res screens without
visible artifacts is difficult and costly. Some of you may remember
the flat screen SGI was selling a few years ago--that was one of these
high-res monitors.

> Things to factor in:
> • Contrast ratio - the higher the ratio the better. Generally
> speaking, those with higher ratios will last longer, for as the
> monitor ages it will lose contrast and having a higher ratio will let
> you keep those whites white longer. Also, for the "look" of the
> image, high contrast monitors are better.


> • Brightness - the higher the value, the better. Similar reasons to
> above.

Brightness in an LCD monitor comes from a fluorescent light tube
within the monitor and the design of the illumination area that
reflects the light through the screen. LCDs themselves have no light
of their own--you are looking through the liquid crystals to the light
field behind them.

(If you have an LCD that goes dark, it is usually quite possible to
have the fluorescent tube replaced to be 'good as new'. I have done
this in several laptops, for example.)

Over the next few years, I expect to see larger screens made from
OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes) begin to appear. These use less
electricity than LCD screens, and the color is brighter and more
intense--because the OLED cells themselves give off the light, there
is no fluorescent tube or reflector required.

Meanwhile, a few LCD screens are beginning to appear in which the
light is produced by LED cells rather than fluorescent tubes.

The better LCD monitors are simply better engineered when it comes to
the illumination field behind the actual LCD screen. However, that is
not always a function of cost.

> • Response Time - the "amount of time a pixel in an LCD monitor takes
> to go from active (black) to inactive (white) and back to active
> (black) again. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). Lower numbers
> mean faster transitions and therefore fewer visible image artifacts."

Image artifacts from motion should obviously be less of a concern if
you aren't viewing video or animation on the screen. However, it is
quite true that the higher-quality screens typically have faster
response times anyway.

> • Native resolution - LCDs look best when run at their actual pixel
> size, not interpreted. Typically a 19" will be something like
> 1280x1024. If you plan on running a big monitor at a low resolution
> it may not look as good or is a waste, conversely, running a low-res
> monitor at a high resolution will look like ... garbage. Look for one
> that closely matches what you will be viewing it at or learn to work
> in a new resolution.

Be careful in that many screens operate at a higher resolution than
you may find comfortable. A 14" LCD with 1024x768, or one with 1280 x
800 or so if it's in widescreen format, may be very hard to read when
text is displayed over many hours of work. As you know, constantly
zooming an image is something of a pain, too.

> • If you can, get a look at the monitor before buying that model,
> just to see if you like it.

Indeed. Not only get a look at the monitor, but arrange for a demo
running *your* applications. Most computer store displays run "demo"
programs or video, neither of which is necessarily indicative of how
the screens will perform in your case. Really good text display is
rarely an issue on those in-store displays, but obviously is very much
an issue for us.


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