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Quality Monitor

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May 7, 2012 5:01:44 AM

*I don't think Nvidia is the right spot for this, but I figured it was the best option I could choose since it's somewhat relevant.*

Alright, well as the title says, I'm looking for a quality display monitor. Let me first say what I'm looking for out of it. These aren't numbered in any specific order of importance, just a way to organize my thoughts.

Needs:
1. Fast Response - I play Xbox 360 on this (Mainly Call of Duty), as well as occasionally a computer game, so fast response is pretty important
2. Great Color reproduction - This is one of the biggest reasons I want to replace the monitor I have. I feel like the monitor is lacking in the reproduction gamut.
3. Deep Blacks - Kind of related to the above. My monitor doesn't have that great of black reproduction (it's a TN monitor after all). Ideally (and I understand unrealistically) I want black levels that are similar to OLED or Plasma screens. I have an early local dimming LED tv which is great, but my OLED Samsung phone has ruined nearly all screens for me as far as black level goes.
4. Inputs - This is something that I'm happy with with my current monitor, I just want to be sure it will be the same for the new one. I need a VGA and DVI (I think DVI-D), and I need them to be fairly easy to switch between.
5. Size - Similar to above, I want it to be at least 23". I could go higher, but don't want to go lower. I am happy with the size I have now, though. EDIT: Ideally must be 1920x1080, if not, higher resolution.
6. Price - This might be the most important of all... I want to keep the budget for this monitor to under $300. I feel like this limitation is what is going to make this search tough. Not too flexible on this though.

Now let me go over what I have now, because maybe it's not my monitor that is the limiting factor in this (though I think it is). I built my computer in the summer of '09. I've had no issues at all with it and am still very happy with the performance. Only thing I've added since was another HD for storage.

Current Setup:
Monitor - Acer H233H 23" TN monitor (Using DVI for computer and VGA for Xbox)
CPU - AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz AM3 (With unlocked 4th core)
MOBO - ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 ATX
GPU - XFX GS250XYDFC GeForce GTS 250 512MB Core Edition 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
RAM - OCZ Platinum 4GB DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
HD - Western Digital Caviar Black 750GB (for windows and programs) & Caviar Black 1TB (for music, movies, pictures, etc)
Sound Card - M-Audio Delta 1010LT connected to a pair of KRK Rokit 5's
OS - Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
PSU - Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W
DVD Burner and Bluray Drive

Steps taken:
What I have done to fix my problem is use the calibration tool in Windows to try to make my display look it's best. I've done what I can, and it looks alright, but I want something better. I compared the results to the results of my calibration of my TV (which I also have hooked up to my computer and calibrated using the same tool), and the TV looks so much better (a 42" LG LH90). Brightness of the monitor is not a big concern. It's going to be in a mostly dark room, and most of it's usage will be at night anyway, so it will just have to compete with the artificial lights in the room.

So based on my initial search, it seems IPS or e-IPS has most of what I'm looking for, except for the response time. I didn't see many VA monitors during my search, but my research shows they have a similar problem to IPS. I don't care about brand or looks really, I just want something that will function how I want it.

Thanks to anyone who responds, ESPECIALLY if you are the one who finds the winning monitor for me!

More about : quality monitor

a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
May 7, 2012 6:40:13 AM

Hi:
First of all, the rumour mill is indicating that quality IPS monitors of 27" and 2560x1440 resolution will drop to $500 by the end of 2012.

Other points:
1) Black levels. This is indicated by the TCR, or True Contrast Ratio (ignore DCR). No computer monitor exceeds 1000:1 so black levels are NOT as good as an LCD/LED HDTV which can easily get 5000:1 or a Plasma which is essentially not even an issue.

FYI, all "LED" HDTV's are LCD. "LED" refers to the backlight. Older HDTV's and some newer use the CCFL backlights. The filter at the front which passes the desired colours is the LCD portion and its the same on all computer monitors and LED/LCD HDTV's. I get pissy when Samsung for example has "LED" and "LCD" HDTV's. It should be LCD-LED or LCD-CCFL. (reminds me of "x86" vs "x64" which have no direct relationship. "x86" is the CPU architecure. When they say x86 vs x64 they really mean 32-bit vs 64-bit. Sigh. Even Microsoft does this. Sorry.)

2) colour reproduction. There are differences of course. Unfortunately the colour reproduction differences between monitors aren't as important as the low TCR issue which makes screens like slightly washed out.

3) I've got a Dell U2711 (2560x1440, 27") which is one of the best monitors you can buy. I was quite shocked when the picture quality was far lower than my 10-year-old CRT monitor but that's the TCR issue again. The U2711 also has an unfortunate sparkling to the anti-gloss coating. Sigh.

At any rate the U2711 was still the best monitor I could buy if I wanted that size and resolution. The Apple version is better IMO but it has a glossy coating so it needs to be very dark.

4) Glossy vs anti-gloss. Glossy is best for dark rooms. The anti-gloss coating makes it look like there is dust on the screen but if any light is on a glossy screen its washed out. Better anti-gloss screens in the future.

It sounds like you want a GLOSSY SCREEN. Be warned that it talks very little natural light to screw up a glossy screen.

5) RESOLUTION - 24" is the maximum size recommended for 1920x1080 monitors. 27" at this resolution is NOT recommended because the pixels become too obvious. I've seen it and it's not great.

6) example of possible monitor: http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=69328&vpn=S23A350H&man... (probabl anti-gloss coating but can't find details)

*The difference in quality of computer monitors hasn't changed much in the last few years. It's hard to get around the issue of light leakage which causes poor black levels. OLED computer monitors will be amazing but are at least two years away probably.

It's expected that OLED monitors will be offered at resolutions up to 3840x2160. Note that the new GTX600 series from NVidia supports this resolution now in anticipation.

**I have no more time to help. You may wish to browse through NCIX but basically I'm recommending these guidelines:

- 23" or 24"
- $200 to $300
- two DVI inputs (or DVI and HDMI)
- 2ms

I hope this helps.
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May 7, 2012 7:30:59 AM

Thanks for responding. I've been looking at the Dell Ultrasharp monitors and have read some great things about them. You're right, I am leaning towards glossy, if only for the slightly better black levels.

I also completely understand your frustration with the LED and LCD descriptors. I'm in a basic electronics class for school (easy A for my lab requirement) and I wanted to bang my head against the wall when my teacher started describing the three types of flat screen TV's as Plasma, LCD, and LED.

The higher contrast is one of the biggest things I want. I know most are rated at 1000:1, but there have got to be some that are better then others, right? You would think some of the newer LED monitors would use local dimming to help a bit. I don't know why they haven't gone that route yet. I guess there isn't that much of a demand for higher-end monitors. TBH, with so much Dynamic Contrast numbers being thrown around and the general misleading nature of most contrast measurements, I have a hard time trusting any of these numbers. It's just like with audio equipment and peak power ratings.

I really am leaning towards sticking with 23", maybe moving up to 24", but I don't think I'll go much higher.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/766411-REG/Sony_P...
That is what I really want, but the price really doesn't work for me :D 

I guess my question sort of comes down to this. Based on my needs and wants, what type of panel should I be looking for? IPS/e-IPS, VA/MVA, or just a higher quality TN panel?

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a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
May 7, 2012 11:54:17 AM

I strongly suggest you print this. There's some good stuff at the end for optimizing.

1) black levels are based on the True Contrast Ratio and nothing else. This is due to the back light leaking through the front LCD filter. The entire LCD design is seriously flawed though I'm baffled that a $1000 27" monitor can only get 1000:1 and a 32" HDTV can get 5000:1. Sigh.

2) Panel type? Well this is dictated by your budget. You may read reviews that make it seem like there's a HUGE difference but in reality it's hard to detect. Unless you professionally deal with photos or video it's hard to differentiate.

Again though, once you start filtering by budget, then the other features you won't have that much choice.

3) DCR, again, is a useless spec.

4) HDMI inputs probably all use the TV standard which basically means you setup the graphics card as 1080p_NTSC_60, not simply making it 1920x1080 like normal. This LOCKS you at this resolution and it can't be changed in a game.

Still, if you wanted to hook up a BluRay player or XBox it's a good idea.

5) Speakers. Don't get a monitor with speakers, they all suck. However it's a nice idea for some to have HDMI and then hook the desktop speakers to the audio output (if you have a BluRay/XBox installed.)

6) input switching. might be a standard thing now, I don't know but my dad's older Sony monitor can switch between its two inputs (two different computers) manually or if one computer is turned off it automatically jumps to the used input.

7) INPUTS? You mentioned the XBox so I strongly recommend at least one DVI and one HDMI input so the XBOX should use an HDMI cable and pass the audio through to the audio outputs to the desktop speakers. So be careful to pick a monitor which has both HDMI input, audio outputs, and NO speakers. Not sure of your speakers though, may only support stereo.

8) Speakers? Depends on budget. IMO the best value are the M-Audio AV30's for $100.

SUMMARY:
Read through all this and actually write down a NEED and WANT list, then start looking at NCIX and other sites. When you finally narrow it down, make sure to read at least one good review. Samsung makes good monitors but Asus and other brands might make similar monitors for less money.

Other:
- don't forget to install the driver for your monitor so Windows knows it's capabilities (otherwise it applies generic settings)

- make sure you don't have Advanced Video Settings enabled in your graphic cards control panel (flesh tone correction etc) they screw up videos. If in doubt, compare a good quality video with hardware acceleration enabled, and disabled in WMP-HC.

- do install the K-Lite Codec Standard package which also adds the program WMP-HC (Windows Media Player Home Cinema). During setup use the quick setup method for K-Lite and enable the DXVA options when prompted.

- do enable "GPU scaling" for AMD Catalyst or the NVidia equivalent (does all scaling on the card and then outputs at the maximum monitor resolution so your monitor does not have to scale itself. GPU scaling does not affect game performance as it's a post-process function.)

- do enable EDID. This forces your computer to use the proper colours. It made a HUGE DIFFERNCE to me. When it was disabled everything was BRIGHTER but that's not a good thing. Faces in movies looked slightly sunburned.

EDID needs your monitor drivers to be installed so it knows your correct colour pallette.

- do NOT change your monitors default brightness and contrast if possible as they can actually screw up the colour. My greys turned pinkish. If you want to experiment fine.

- 3D monitors are another story altogether and many have issues such as low brightness ( you need a monitor that auto increases the brightness in 3D mode).
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a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
May 7, 2012 12:29:08 PM

XBox 360, and audio:

If you use the HDMI cable and have audio outputs on the monitor you can then hookup the audio to your desktop speakers. You may have a STEREO output in the form of two RCA ouputs or a digital output. Desktop STEREO speakers probably only have the 3.5mm stereo input whereas 2.1 and surround may have BOTH.

You'll also want to hookup your main computers audio to the desktop speakers so unless you have multiple inputs you'll need a simple splitter (as little as $4).

So the setup in total might look like this for STEREO speakers:

1) HDMI cable from XBOX 360 to monitor

2) RCA (red and white) to 3.5mm cable attached from monitor to 3.5mm splitter, then to the speakers

3) Computer output: 3.5mm Male->Male cable, attached to 3.5mm splitter, then the speakers

*If you require a splitter, make sure to get one that HANGS at 90deg or else gravity will bend it where it connects to the speakers. They seem to be hard to find. You could also get a single cable with 90degree bend on one end, and add a normal 3.5mm splitter but that adds another cable.

(I do recommend the 90deg bend in the PC's 3.5mm output as well as a normal 3.5mm connection often bends over time causing problems.)

I can't find the right-angle splitter but here's the type of cable I use to attache my sound card to my speakers:
http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-MU3MMS2RA-3-5mm-Righ...

Note that the weight of gravity on the right-angle cable ends prevents bending over time.

**I should add that you'll likely ALSO use headphones so this adds another issue. If you just wanted them for your PC then you'd need an audio card, like the Auzentech X-Fi Forte that can support two audio outputs, or use the case' front panel output but that only works with onboard audio. I'm baffled that dedicated sound cards don't support this since it seems a pretty big deal to me. Maybe some do. However if you want your computer and XBox 360 to work it gets more complicated. You can use the headphone output on the desktop speakers but they probably only work if its on. That's the easiest method but my speakers put out a lot of heat so it seems a waste for them to be on just to pass through audio that's already coming in the back (seriously WTF does it work like that?).

A 1-to-3 audio splitter at the back of your speakers is another option for stereo headphones, though if you don't have volume control you'll need to unplug them when using the desktop speakers or you'll hear the sound.

Anyway, plan accordingly.
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May 7, 2012 1:10:43 PM

I know where you're coming from, but honestly, you want what everyone wants and it just doesn't really exist right now. You want a fast, wide gamut and high contrast ratio panel for under $300. Sorry my friend it just isn't going to happen. At this time you need to decide which is really the most important and go with that. If gaming is tops, then go after a nice 120hz panel. And if color reproduction work tops your priority list then look at ips'. Although I'm not sure if you heard or not, but there are some Korean monitors that you can buy on ebay that are basically the same panel as the apple cinema display for like $300. I've even seen in some forums of people claiming they can get them up to 90-100hz (with nvidia cards I believe). They are glossy ips panels, 27in, 2560x1440 res. Catleap and Simian are the two brand names I believe.
Good luck and cheers
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a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
May 7, 2012 6:30:23 PM

rdzona said:
I know where you're coming from, but honestly, you want what everyone wants and it just doesn't really exist right now. You want a fast, wide gamut and high contrast ratio panel for under $300. Sorry my friend it just isn't going to happen. At this time you need to decide which is really the most important and go with that. If gaming is tops, then go after a nice 120hz panel. And if color reproduction work tops your priority list then look at ips'. Although I'm not sure if you heard or not, but there are some Korean monitors that you can buy on ebay that are basically the same panel as the apple cinema display for like $300. I've even seen in some forums of people claiming they can get them up to 90-100hz (with nvidia cards I believe). They are glossy ips panels, 27in, 2560x1440 res. Catleap and Simian are the two brand names I believe.
Good luck and cheers


"get them up to 90-100Hz..."
Monitors can only show a certain number of frames per second. Most can only show 60FPS. It doesn't matter if the graphics card pumps out 90FPS you can't force your monitor to work any faster.

120Hz:
That's basically for 3D which he doesn't mention an interest in and he seems fairly knowledgeable. I did mention this anyway already. You can game 2D at 120Hz but generally most people don't because it requires a much better graphics card or a significant drop in quality to get there.

3D monitors also get complicated because many don't put out enough light in 3D mode (when you block each eye every other frame the overall brightness is lessened.)

Catleap/Simian glossy 27" 2560x1440
http://www.amazon.com/YAMAKASI-CATLEAP-2560X1440-Comput...

It's hard to find a lot of information, but I get nervous with the huge price difference between this monitor and other 27" 2560x1440 monitors. I suspect the build quality will be very poor with light bleeding and a higher than average failure rate. I suppose it's worth investigating but without at least one good official review and several customer reviews I'd be nervous.

*On the other hand, the rumour I mentioned of a quality, name brand $500 monitor that is 27", 2560x1440 by then end of 2012 seems more likely.
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a b Î Nvidia
a b C Monitor
May 7, 2012 6:42:03 PM

http://www.avforums.com/forums/monitors-webcams-externa...

I did some Googling and saw a trend on this and similar monitors:
Many or all seem to be built using the LCD panels that Apple rejected. Getting at least one dead pixel seems common (probably because they are rejected panels).

In the article a guy had a "Hazro", apparently almost identical to the other monitors but it died on him and he had to send it back.

I found another link and one of these monitors had light bleeding.

To the best of my knowledge this is what's going on. While some seem "happy" with this I wouldn't be. While a single dead pixel isn't probably covered in ANY warranty I don't think I'd want to buy a large 27" 2650x1440 screen if I knew the odds of having a dead pixel, or other issue were relatively high.

Which brings the saying, which is often, but not always true:

"You get what you pay for."
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May 7, 2012 7:11:56 PM

How at what response time does the speed not matter. What I mean is, at what point does the speed of a monitors response time not affect what you can see. I understand all monitors except 3D and some higher end monitors run at 60hz, which I also understand is about the same natural "refresh rate" of our own eyes. 1/60th of a second = .0166666 of a second, which is 16.67ms. It seems to me that as long as the monitor has a faster response time than 16 ms, there would be no noticeable differences between monitors with faster response times.

Nearly all of my gaming will be from my Xbox 360 that will be hooked up to the monitor through VGA. The Xbox I'm sure puts out 30-60fps (definitely not higher than 60fps), and obviously the monitor could only show 60fps, so I want to figure out how important that response time is as long as it's under 16.67ms. I know they measure response times in different ways (black to white and back, and gray to gray), so maybe to ensure all of the various response types end up under 16.67ms, it would be a good idea to find a monitor with the fastest response times.

IPS monitors are known for having slower response times, but it seems most IPS monitors have 12, 8, or 6ms response times. Since they have superior color reproduction and on paper should have better black levels then TN monitors, why would anyone consider a TN monitor (besides for the cheaper price tags)?

I could be completely wrong with all of that. There could be a noticeable difference in practice for whatever reason. In your experience, have there been noticeable differences between say an 8ms monitor and a 5ms or 2ms monitor?
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May 7, 2012 10:24:41 PM

photonboy said:
"get them up to 90-100Hz..."
Monitors can only show a certain number of frames per second. Most can only show 60FPS. It doesn't matter if the graphics card pumps out 90FPS you can't force your monitor to work any faster.

120Hz:
That's basically for 3D which he doesn't mention an interest in and he seems fairly knowledgeable. I did mention this anyway already. You can game 2D at 120Hz but generally most people don't because it requires a much better graphics card or a significant drop in quality to get there.

3D monitors also get complicated because many don't put out enough light in 3D mode (when you block each eye every other frame the overall brightness is lessened.)

Catleap/Simian glossy 27" 2560x1440
http://www.amazon.com/YAMAKASI-CATLEAP-2560X1440-Comput...

It's hard to find a lot of information, but I get nervous with the huge price difference between this monitor and other 27" 2560x1440 monitors. I suspect the build quality will be very poor with light bleeding and a higher than average failure rate. I suppose it's worth investigating but without at least one good official review and several customer reviews I'd be nervous.

*On the other hand, the rumour I mentioned of a quality, name brand $500 monitor that is 27", 2560x1440 by then end of 2012 seems more likely.



Getting over 60fps is not that tall of an order. Especially since current gpus decently exceed the requirements for the console ported pc games that we see now days, except for a handful. And I really doubt that over a combined post count of 5000 between these two threads that people are not enjoying what they've been receiving. They're not rejected panels lol.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1675393

http://www.overclock.net/t/1215866/reviewed-400-2560x14...

These panels are often made by the same manufacturer.

Anyway, I do agree. I'm completely satisfied at 60fps. Anything more is pretty much moot. That 90-100 was just something thrown on top that people were excited about the quality and capability of these monitors. They are at that price because they are bare bones. One single DVI connection, no scalar, no osd...things of that nature that an Apple cinema display will have. But they are the same panel.
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May 18, 2012 5:05:14 AM

Best answer selected by Nirvalica.
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