Should I ditch my 19 for a 17?

Hi there,

I'll get right to the point. I bought a Dell 1905FP earlier in the year, knowing nothing about LCDs really. Have been very happy with it, until recently I noticed that any fast graphics such as videos and games (Warcraft III especially) have considerable ghosting. I did some research recently, including on this site, and I have some questions that I'd really love your opinions on:

I have a P4 2.66 with 512 333Mhz RAM, AGP GeForce 4 MX440 GPU. Would my system, especially GPU, be slowing down or causing some of the pixellating on videos? (I haven't tried using my screen on a system with a faster GPU yet).

I read that 17" screens are faster and have better picture quality than 19". ( Is this true? If both a 17 and a 19 are rated at the same ms speed, from the same manufacturer, will they refresh as fast and be the same in terms of ghosting? Will the picture quality be noticably better on a 19 than a 17, all things being equal? The Dell Ultrasharp I have has a 20ms response rate, and I'd love something with about 8ms if possible, but only as long as it's going to be noticably faster and less ghosting...bearing in mind what I've read in reviews here about response rates being a bit arbitrary.

Would it make sense for me to sell my 19" and go for a better quality 17", if the answers to the above question indicate that a 17" has a better, faster, picture? I'm not too fussed about the $ as it's all tax deductible anyway, and I can get good pricing as I work in IT.

Does the extra luxury of size outweigh (in your opinions) the speed and picture quality issues that 19s may have, even in terms of games?

I use my PC for all and sundry: MCSA study, MS office, picture viewing, movies, mp3s, and some games (try to keep it to a minimum cos of the study, but time allowing I like all sorts of games) I'm keen on something relatively high-end, with a good crisp picture, that refreshes faster than my Dell.

Finaly, if your recommendation was to trade my 19 in for either a better 19 or a 17, what would you suggest? I'm quite partial to Viewsonic, and Philips are another big brand down here in New Zealand.

Your help much appreciated.

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  1. If your monitor has ghosting (i.e. moving objects leave a trail behind them), it is purely a fault of the monitor, and has nothing to do with your computer or video card.

    17" screens are virtually all TN (twisted nematic) panels. These have a few advantages going for them:

    1) Cheapest to produce (hence cheapest to buy)
    2) Fastest natural (i.e. without things like overdrive and other hardware techniques) response time
    3) Most developed LCD type

    However, other panel types (MVA, IPS, etc.) are mostly 19" and above, and have other things going for them as well:

    1) Better color quality
    2) Virtually limitless viewing angles
    3) Any dead pixels tend to be dark (rather than bright for TN)
    4) Tend to be full 8-bit (TN panels tend to be 6-bit)

    So essentially, other panels are generally considered better for everything except for response time and price. A 17" tends to be faster only because they are almost exclusively TN panels. Generally, if you are into gaming but don't care as much about color quality and stuff (they can largely be adjusted anyway via the OSD), you should go for TN as they are the cheapest. If you don't care about minor video artifacts in movies and stuff, you can buy a 6-bit and it'll be even cheaper. But there are also 19" TN monitors too, and more and more 19" MVA and IPS monitors these days come with overdrive, a technique to overcome their slow response time.

    I'm pretty much "if it works, it works" so I don't care much for the latest technology. So I personally go for the cheapest *good quality* monitor I can find; fortunately, I used to work at such a company (Amptron, which sells CMV and Polyview monitors in the United States). Whatever you choose, though, I'd recommend going to a store and seeing if it matches your expectations, even if you're not planning on buying it at that store.
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