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Basic LCD and monitor questions

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February 24, 2007 7:18:32 PM

Hi, I'm building my first gaming PC, probably an AMD X2 3800 or 4200, and I'm now looking at monitors. Problem is I don't know much about what to look for. I'd like to have a flat screen monitor, but I've never used one before. With a little research I've learned that with LCDs you have to worry about native resolution, and if you use other ratios you may not get a great picture. A brief read of other threads has also implied to me that LCDs perhaps have other viewing issues, especially with games, which is what I'm wanting the computer for.
It's been years since I've had a high-powered machine, and the most advanced games I've played are probably NWN1 (without any of the expns), Deus-Ex, and Freelancer, and those I had to play on low display settings. So now I'm looking to be able to play Oblivian, NWN2, KOTOR, Guild Wars etc.
So, what do I need to look for in a monitor? I'm on a budget and would rather spend cash on RAM, CPU and GPU, so the cheaper the better for a monitor. Will a cheap LCD be OK as long as it has a decent native resolution? What other system stats do I need to look for? And what is the general verdict of the other gamers out there, will a cheap LCD do the trick for my needs? I don't need everything at max res and framerate with all the features on, but obviously I'd like it to be smooth and pretty as possible. If a CRT would be much better and cheaper I'd be willing to go that way.
Thanks in advance.
February 24, 2007 10:11:20 PM

For gaming i would get a Viewsonic VX922, it goes for like $250, 19in, 1280x1024, 16.2 million colors, super low response time of 2ms (which makes it great for gaming). I was going to get one, but i ultimately decided to get the Viewsonic VP930B since it has 16.7 million colors instead of 16.2 (color > response time in my book.). Not as good for games, but still.
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February 24, 2007 10:58:02 PM

Generally there are two types of LCD monitors 6-bit and 8-bit; which refers to amount of colors the LCD is able to reproduce. most gamers prefer 6-bit monitors because they are faster response times.


6-bit
These LCD monitors produces 64 shades of each color (64 = 2^6), Red, Green and Blue because 6-bit are used to represent each color). This means that only 262,144 colors of actual colors will be produced (262,144 = 64^3). Through a process called dithering a 6-bit monitor can produce up to 16.2 million colors. But these colors are not accurate and images and text tends to be softer/fuzzier than on 8-bit monitors. Color inaccuracies can lead to artifacts showing up on the screen. The good things about 6-bit monitors are they are cheaper than 8-bit LCD monitors because of fewer color registers and faster response times. Many manufactures states 16.7 million colors instead of 16.2 million colors in their specs to confuse consumers.

8-bit
These monitors truly produces 16.7 million colors. There are 256 shades of each color (256 = 2^8 ), therefore 256^3 or 256 x 256 x 256 equals 16.7 million (actually a little more). These monitors are generally very color accurate and produces few image artifacts than 6-bit LCD monitors. Images are sharper and texts are clearer. This is the type of monitors graphic professionals uses when color accruacy is important. The downside is that 8-bit monitors are more expensive and have slower response times. Typical response times ranges between 8ms and 16ms which generally means you are more likely to "ghosting effects" when playing games. But these monitors are better for watching movies.

Between the two, I rather go for an 8-bit LCD monitor. But that's me.
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