Buying some new screens...

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DurAlvar
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Buying some new screens...

Postby DurAlvar » Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:53 am UTC

Alright, so the 17" CRT I've been running since the dark ages has finally gone to the giant dumpster in the sky (aka, the tip near my place). Anyway, in the interest of turning this disaster into an opportunity, I've decided to upgrade in style - going to go for a dual screen setup. At the moment I'm thinking one uber 19" for gaming, movies and the like, and another 17" or 15" for displaying documents, websites and amusing anecdotes. However, its been a very very long time since I've looked at screens, so I'm hunting for any general or not so general advice you people can give me;

What sort of specs should I be looking for in either screen? What sort of price should I be paying? Will running two screens produce any serious performance hits? Are there any specific screens any of you can recomend?
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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby Larson » Sat Nov 10, 2007 4:31 am UTC

Once you go dual screen, you will never go back :D

The trend in monitors is leaning towards widescreen (16:10) these days, which will be the most noticeable change if you're coming from a CRT. Wide screens behave no differently in a dual screen setup, but some people prefer regular aspect ratios when using 2 screens. If you're going with 2 screens, the most popular setup uses two identical monitors. This is not required but it simplifies things greatly.

Things to consider when buying monitors:
-Resolution: Number of pixels on the screen. You'll find that there's basically only one resolution per screen size. (ex 19in = 1280x1024, 24in = 1920x1200)
-Response Time: 2ms to 8ms is the average, the lower the better.
-Contrast Ratio: 700:1 to 1000:1 is the average.
-Inputs: D-Sub, DVI, HDMI, etc - What does your video card support? In the event that you might use one of these screens for another input (DVD player, console, etc) HDMI might be good to have around.

Performance:
There shouldn't be any performance decrease by running multiple monitors for everyday use.
**The only performance hit I've seen is when running games in windowed mode on one screen and running applications on the other (for the sake of moving your mouse directly from the game to your applications, completely unnecessary unless this is important for you) There is no performance hit when running games full screen on one of the monitors.**

Newegg has a fantastic selection of LCDs that should fit any needs you might have. Dell also offers a good lineup at a bit of a premium.

Expect to pay around $400-500 for 2 brand name and decent 19in screens.

If you run windows, I recommend UltraMon. It's an excellent manager for multiple screens, allowing a lot more control than Windows alone. It also lets you extend your task bar across both screens 8).

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Axman
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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby Axman » Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:41 pm UTC

Gaming on big monitors is difficult, since there are few video card setups that can push the pixel density while getting high FPS.

But for tasking, big monitors can't be beat. Multi-monitor, I could take it or leave it. I'd rather just use a 1920x1200 display and leave it at that. You can always scale games down to 1440x900, although they tend to look a little pixellated if it's 24" or bigger, and you're close to it.

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b.i.o
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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby b.i.o » Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:24 pm UTC

I would recommend getting 2 of the same monitors as I think it's easier to switch back and forth (I use a laptop and a separate monitor together, so I don't actually have 2 of the same, but it is nicer). You can get 17"s very very cheap (~$120-140 for some of the ones on sale when I last took a look) on Newegg. And as others have said there's not much of a point to getting a big monitor for gaming if you don't have a good graphics card. I have an 8600M GT 512mb and I can run games on medium at 1680x1050 (which is standard resolution for 20-22" monitors). If you have an equivalent or better I wouldn't worry about it too much, but bigger monitors are actually better for productivity stuff (you will be amazed at the difference of just a single monitor running at 1680x1050 compared to your current one) than for gaming unless you have a very good video card.

This next part is just my opinion, but I don't like monitors running at 1440x900 because they have less vertical space compared to 1280x1024. Both my laptop and my other 20" run at 1680x1050 which I much prefer.


As far as prices go, cheaper (but still pretty nice--MUCH more so than a CRT) 20" monitors running at 1680x1050 will run you about $180-190. 19"ers at 1440x900 should be around 150-160 (although I haven't looked in a while) and 17" monitors (which are not widescreen like the other two sizes I mentioned) at 1280x1024 will be less than those. There shouldn't be a performance hit unless you're trying to play an intensive game on one monitor and have lots of other things running on the other monitor (I just turn off 1 monitor when gaming, otherwise I get distracted).

Also, know that whatever you get is going to look WAY better than your 17" CRT. I have one sitting on my desk next to my laptop and other monitor and the difference is amazing.

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby davean » Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:26 pm UTC

widescreens can sometimes rotate. I'd like to get a pair that I can rotate so the two together are more squarish. I do a lot of coding so vertical space is more useful then horizontal.

PS: actually, recommendations?

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby Larson » Sat Nov 10, 2007 10:46 pm UTC

davean wrote:widescreens can sometimes rotate. I'd like to get a pair that I can rotate so the two together are more squarish. I do a lot of coding so vertical space is more useful then horizontal.

PS: actually, recommendations?

My HP's at work swivel. I'm not a fan of HP equipment but they work well enough.

In general, if your new to widescreen monitors try going to an electronics store and seeing which one fits you best. Like someone said, the vertical real estate is reduced between regular and widescreen monitors of the same "size". (ex 19in widescreen feels way to short for my taste)

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DurAlvar
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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby DurAlvar » Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:38 am UTC

I'm currently running a raidon X850, but I'm about to upgrade my whole system and atm the 8800GT 512MB looks to be the card to have. Am I correct in guessing that it would handle a non-widescreen 19" pretty happily from now into the future?
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b.i.o
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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby b.i.o » Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:35 am UTC

DurAlvar wrote:I'm currently running a raidon X850, but I'm about to upgrade my whole system and atm the 8800GT 512MB looks to be the card to have. Am I correct in guessing that it would handle a non-widescreen 19" pretty happily from now into the future?


Yeah, an 8800GT 512MB should be great for that.

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby Axman » Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:34 pm UTC

Dell and Samsung deliver some of the best price:performance on displays.

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby lazarus89 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:06 pm UTC

NEC 90GX2, 1280x1024 LCDs.

Dual setup, $440 shipped from newegg.
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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby taptap » Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:24 pm UTC

I'm bumping this older thread instead of creating a new one asking for help and comparison- I'm in the market as of now to replace my 19" dell CRT in favor of, well, a 19" Acer Widescreen LCD ($169), OR a Dell 22" Widescreen LCD ($310.00!!)

Now after reading this, I don't think my GPU has enough meat to push good graphics on the Dell. Thanks for the advice!

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby Larson » Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:20 pm UTC

taptap wrote:I'm bumping this older thread instead of creating a new one asking for help and comparison- I'm in the market as of now to replace my 19" dell CRT in favor of, well, a 19" Acer Widescreen LCD ($169), OR a Dell 22" Widescreen LCD ($310.00!!)

Now after reading this, I don't think my GPU has enough meat to push good graphics on the Dell. Thanks for the advice!

If you look around hard enough, I got my Acer 24in widescreen for $300. It's at the low end of 24's, but its a fine monitor for the price (in addition to that oh so nice 1920x1200 resolution).

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby b.i.o » Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:51 am UTC

I've seen 22" widescreens at just over $200 with rebates on Newegg.

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby failed assertion » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:07 am UTC

I personally prefer 4:3 (square) ratio monitors, wide format is basically pointless for coding IMHO. Standard resolutions are:

15": 1024x768
17": 1280x1024
19": 1280x1024
20": 1600x1200

Since 17" and 19" monitors usually have the same number of pixels, I consider 19" monitors to be a waste of money. If you're going to go bigger than a 17", go for 20". And go for a 20" at 1600x1200.

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby EvanED » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:30 am UTC

failed assertion wrote:I personally prefer 4:3 (square) ratio monitors, wide format is basically pointless for coding IMHO.

I only agree with lower resolutions. At higher resolutions you can start putting code side-by-side (or documentation and code side by side), which I think is more useful then having more vertical space. You can also turn some widescreen monitors upright if you disagree and want the vertical space.

Since 17" and 19" monitors usually have the same number of pixels, I consider 19" monitors to be a waste of money. If you're going to go bigger than a 17", go for 20". And go for a 20" at 1600x1200.

I do agree here. I never understood why 19" LCDs never went higher than 1280. I have a 20" LCD now (on loan for the year), but when I was running a 19" CRT I ran at 1600x1200, and that has a smaller screen size than a 19" LCD.

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby b.i.o » Thu Dec 13, 2007 7:35 am UTC

EvanED wrote:I do agree here. I never understood why 19" LCDs never went higher than 1280. I have a 20" LCD now (on loan for the year), but when I was running a 19" CRT I ran at 1600x1200, and that has a smaller screen size than a 19" LCD.


My 15.4" laptop screen is at 1680x1050. It's awesome--the clearest computer screen I've ever seen. The 20" LCD sitting next to it is also at 1680x1050. :lol:

And while sometimes I do agree that vertical space is helpful for coding I often find myself with 2 or 3 separate windows open when coding and the horizontal space comes in much much handier then.

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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby enk » Fri Dec 14, 2007 3:33 am UTC

I've tried dual screens twice. First time was with 1280x960 + 1024x768, then I bought a 21" wide and tried 1680x1050 + 1280x960. It was just too much hassle, but then again I have yet to try two identical screens.

My 1680x1050 Samsung can be rotated and 1050x1680 is just incredible for looking at hi-res pics of photo models 8)
It's also good for wysiwyg reading/writing. Viewing the whole pages while still being able to read the text clearly is win. But it's usually too much hassle.

For coding and working in a terminal I think I'd prefer 1600x1200.
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Re: Buying some new screens...

Postby b.i.o » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:03 am UTC

I only use 1 monitor most of the time. I use the 2nd when I'm doing work mostly as it's most helpful then. Being able to have instructions open on one screen while you do the work on the other is soooo helpful.


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