There are many kinds of computer monitors available. Today we have a choice between flat-panel/LCD and traditional (cathode ray tube or CRT) monitors. Here are some tips on choosing the right monitor for your home or office computer.
Factors To Consider
* '''Size and Space'''
** How much deskspace do you have?
** Is your desk space deep enough to accommodate a large CRT monitor?
** Some CRT monitors have stands; take this into account when calculating the size of the monitor.
** If you do a lot of multitasking, you might want a large screen for the increased desktop area you'll have at your disposal.
** CRT monitors are the cheapest. A decent 17" CRT can cost less than $200 and often are included in package deals with new computers.
** LCD monitors are slightly more expensive. A quality monitors can be bought for $200-500, but a very large LCD can cost upwards of $1000.
*** If you plan to use your computer for visual projects (photo editing, graphics design, etc.) you'll probably want a large, sharp screen. Try and strike a balance between monitor size, your budget, and a moderate to high resolution LCD monitor.
*** Likewise, using a computer for more than computing (say watching movies or TV) you'll want a better resolution monitor.
* '''Built-In Speakers'''
** Built-in speakers are a handy feature for saving desk space that reduces desk clutter and number of wires.
** For average office use, a monitor with built-in speakers may be sufficient.
** For home use, especially if you do a lot of gaming or use your computer as your main music player, you probably want to consider separate, high-quality speakers and a subwoofer. For more information, please see the Computer Speakers Guide.
** How long is the included warranty?
** For LCD monitors, what is the warranty policy with individual pixel damage? Some manufacturers like Samsung emply a zero-tolerance policy with dead-pixels, but most manufacturers will replace an LCD with more than five or six.
Types of Monitors
HD LCD Monitors
These monitors are the latest models of this cutting edge technology. What you will notice, is that many of them differ in very little other than size. The current industry standard of 1920x1080 resolution and HD 1080p is consistent across all of these monitors.
* Resolution is the number of pixels used to draw an image.
* For perspective, 640 x 480 is a low resolution; 3200 x 2400 is a high resolution.
* Higher resolution results in a sharper image.
* The best resolution varies depending on the size of the monitor; when comparing resolutions, be sure to compare between monitors of the same size.
* Resolutions are sharper with smaller screens. This means that if your screen gets bigger, make sure to increase your resolution as well.
* Typical resolutions for certain size LCD screens are:
** 17 inch = 1024x768
** 19 inch = 1280x1024
** 20 inch = 1600x1200
* LCDs measure their screens with the diagonal of the screen size.
* CRTs measure their screens with the diagonal of the entire front, including the casing.
* In short, an LCD and CRT monitor with the same screen size really have different size screens. The LCD monitor will always come out the the victor, often by an inch or two.
* How often the image is redrawn on a CRT is expressed in MHz (megahertz), or cycles/second, and how quickly light pixels can change on an LCD is measured in ms (milliseconds).
* A refresh rate of 60 MHz is considered the minimum to prevent eyestrain; 75 MHz is considered a "good" refresh rate.
* Higher refresh rates make video and game image movement smoother instead of blurry LCDs with more than 16ms response times.
* Make sure that if your computer needs a 15 pronged parallel port, your monitor supplies one.
* Ditto with the digital cable, called DVI-I or DVI-D.