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Monitor/GPU needs

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March 15, 2012 5:52:10 PM

I'm planning to upgrade my whole system some time in the next year, but not right away, so I don't need specific video card recommendations (I know they will change by the time I'm actually able to purchase a card).

What I do need to know is how my choice of monitor would affect my choice of GPU.

Currently, I have a 15" flat screen monitor at 1024 x 768 resolution, and I'm planning on keeping it, since I really like it. Please do not try to convince me to get a bigger monitor. I *might* go up to 17", but all the people I see with larger (19" and above) monitors have to squint in order to see normal-sized fonts. Also, I get headaches if I'm too close to large screens.

Would the monitor affect what I need in a GPU? If so, how would it affect it? Do I need a better GPU because the monitor won't help with graphics in games like a better monitor would? Or can I do with a not-as-extreme GPU because my monitor won't be able to support the amazing things a better GPU could do, anyway? Are there certain features of a GPU that I should specifically look for or that would be completely irrelevant with a smaller monitor? I've done research already, but it seems most advice is designed for people who have large monitors or who want a dual or triple monitor set-up. What about SLI/Crossfire? Would that be wasted on a small monitor? Or does the size of the monitor not matter at all?

In terms of use, I'm mainly interested in being able to play new games as they come out, although I don't need to have everything on top settings. I'll also probably surf and do some minimal word processing (my main word processing will be on a different computer).

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a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2012 6:08:13 PM

Quote:
I *might* go up to 17", but all the people I see with larger (19" and above) monitors have to squint in order to see normal-sized fonts. Also, I get headaches if I'm too close to large screens

That doesn't make sense, larger monitors have larger fonts, not smaller ones. You're probably mistakenly attributing the effect of using a high resolution on a small screen (yes, 19" is small these days) to simply being a larger monitor. I challenge you to look at a 27" 1080p screen and tell me those fonts are too small.

As far as your question, your resolution is what matters, not the monitor's size. If you're just dead set on using a ten year old display resolution standard, then I see no reason you should get anything other than a low-mid range video card.
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Best solution

March 15, 2012 6:46:27 PM

RavenCorbie said:
I'm planning to upgrade my whole system some time in the next year, but not right away, so I don't need specific video card recommendations (I know they will change by the time I'm actually able to purchase a card).

What I do need to know is how my choice of monitor would affect my choice of GPU.

Currently, I have a 15" flat screen monitor at 1024 x 768 resolution, and I'm planning on keeping it, since I really like it. Please do not try to convince me to get a bigger monitor. I *might* go up to 17", but all the people I see with larger (19" and above) monitors have to squint in order to see normal-sized fonts. Also, I get headaches if I'm too close to large screens.

Would the monitor affect what I need in a GPU? If so, how would it affect it? Do I need a better GPU because the monitor won't help with graphics in games like a better monitor would? Or can I do with a not-as-extreme GPU because my monitor won't be able to support the amazing things a better GPU could do, anyway? Are there certain features of a GPU that I should specifically look for or that would be completely irrelevant with a smaller monitor? I've done research already, but it seems most advice is designed for people who have large monitors or who want a dual or triple monitor set-up. What about SLI/Crossfire? Would that be wasted on a small monitor? Or does the size of the monitor not matter at all?

In terms of use, I'm mainly interested in being able to play new games as they come out, although I don't need to have everything on top settings. I'll also probably surf and do some minimal word processing (my main word processing will be on a different computer).


I think you are confusing font size with pixel density, and even then there are ways to increase font size through windows. What you would be thinking is that a 17 inch laptop screen that is 1080P would have small font until adjusted, but if you were to take that same resolution and place it a 27 inch screen as suggested by willard the apparent font size would increase proportionally.

If you like the font size you currently have, figure out your pixel density by dividing the total number of pixels you have 1024*768 = 768432 pixels and divide this number by the area of your monitor and remember the 15 inch measurement is your diagonal. It is best to calculate from the actual measurements of your particular model as the 15 inch diagonal is an estimate at best. On average it is probable around 110 inch^2. So your pixel density is 768432/110 =7150 pixels/inch^2.

The hypothetical 27 inch monitor at 1080P would have way more total pixels, about 3 times, but the pixel density is only 6656 pixels/inch^2 so text would actually look bigger at native resolution than on your screen. On top of that you would have more room to work or game on.

In terms of what monitors can and can't do, all monitors do the same thing with varying degrees of accuracy minus the 3D monitors. It is your graphics card that determines what you are compatible with. The newer series cards are dx11 and dx11.1 compatible so you will get the eye candy that comes along with those standards. This has nothing to do with the monitor, it just displays what your graphics card tells it to.

I also agree with willard that if you are going to game at that low of resolution a mid range this generation card would be able to max out all of the setting at pretty much any game.

Also what cpu do you have because depending on age and series it could become a hindrance at such a low resolution? Balance is important with a PC because you could have an awesome graphics card that is hindered by a CPU or the other way around.
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a b U Graphics card
March 15, 2012 8:21:21 PM

hayest said:
The hypothetical 27 inch monitor at 1080P would have way more total pixels, about 3 times, but the pixel density is only 6656 pixels/inch^2 so text would actually look bigger at native resolution than on your screen.

Heh, I actually considered doing this same calculation, but decided to be lazy instead. Kudos to you for backing me up with math!
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March 16, 2012 4:36:35 AM

Thanks! I'm obviously new to all of this. So, it's resolution that matters, not monitor size. Good to know! So, the next question is: can I have higher resolution on a smaller monitor?

As for monitor size vs. font size, the math was very helpful. I will keep that in mind. My dad has a large monitor (not sure what size exactly but definitely bigger than 19"), and even he has to use Zoom all the time to be able to read what he has in 12pt. font.

As for my CPU - I have no idea. The computer is from 2006, and I'm planning to build a new one sometime next year. Right now, I'm just trying to get ideas on research. I am definitely planning on having balance, but I wanted to know what effect the monitor would have, if any. I think I will want to get a new monitor -- still small in size, but with higher resolution.
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a b C Monitor
March 16, 2012 6:59:13 AM

You can, and having a higher res on a small screen, within limits, is less pixel density and a sharper image. However, for 1080p, usually manufacturers use that on 21.5-23.6" monitors.
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March 18, 2012 9:55:27 PM

Best answer selected by RavenCorbie.
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