Computer Monitors Buying Guide 

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Anyone who has spent even an hour staring at a computer screen  knows that choosing a monitor  with a crisp, clear picture is certainly a worthwhile investment.  We are here to help you choose the best computer monitor  for your environment and for your budget. 

Learn the Lingo

First, let's break down all of those terms that come with buying a monitor. 

  • Aspect Ratio:  This refers to the width of your computer monitor vs. the height of your computer monitor.  The average monitor has an aspect ratio of 4:3 , but some wide-screens  can be as wide as 16:9 .
  • Bandwidth:  This determines how quickly a screen can refresh its picture, based upon how much data it can process at once.  Lower bandwidth means the screen will refresh less frequently, which will increase the amount of flicker that you will see.
  • Dot Pitch:  A computer monitor displays an image which is made up of millions of pixels (dots).  Dot pitch refers to the distance between each pixel.  The lower the dot pitch, the closer the pixels and thus the sharper the image.
  • Refresh Rate:  This refers to how many times per second the computer screen can redraw itself, or "refresh."  To avoid the flickering, a screen much have a refresh rate of at least 72 Hz .
  • Resolution:  Resolution is based upon the amount of individual pixels on the screen, measured horizontally by vertically.  Resolution will remain the same no matter what the screen size, so a 17 inch screen  with a resolution of 1024 x 768  will show a clearer picture than a 23 inch screen  with the same resolution, due to the lower dot pitch.

Types of Monitors

CRT Computer Monitor 

This has been known to be a very reliable standard, as televisions  have been using the CRT model for a long time.  It works by moving an electric beam across the back of the screen, lighting up points on the inside of a glass tube, which result in a sharp, clear image.  

Pros:  CRTs are reliable, affordable and provide a great picture.  A flat CRT monitor  combines the benefits of an LCD screen  with the benefits and affordability of a CRT .  

Cons:  CRT monitors  can take up a lot of desk space .  They are also very heavy and tend to give off a lot of heat while they are in use.  If the screen is curved, there may also be a glare.  With these monitors, you may find your eyes straining.    

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LCD Computer Monitor 

This type of monitor is commonly used in laptop screens, though it has made its way into the world of desktops as well.  The preferred form of LCD technology  is the active matrix , as it uses a thin film transmitter (TFT) to produce a more secure picture with a wide angle of view.  It provides the best resolution of all flat-panel  technologies. 

Pros:  These monitors require little desk space  and consume less power than CRT monitors .  They also give off less heat during use.  LCD monitors  have a long life span and work well in bright conditions, as there is virtually no glare on the screen.  They are better for your eyes! 

Cons:   The image quality and colour can sometimes be compromised when viewing the monitor from different angles.  These monitors also come with a steeper price tag than the CRTs do. 

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Related Guides

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Desktop vs. Laptop

Desktop Computers

Computer Desks

Software