The nitty-gritty on LCDs

I'm considering getting myself a new lcd monitor for gaming. My current one is a Sony 17" that I would guess is pretty good but only supports a 1280x1080 maximum. I notice my refresh was only 60 Mhz (finally figured out that's why I was only getting 60 fps, lol 'vsync'). I wanted to get a higher one but then learned that that's one of the drawbacks to lcds- they have slower refresh rates. I play fps's, oblivion, and hopefully starcraft 2 in the future (who knows when that will be...).

It took me a while to research the crazy world of graphics cards and computer building. This time around I'm gonna cheat and just ask here about these things. So who are the top manufacturers today in quality lcds? Are they roughly all the same, depending on the individual monitors specs? Am I gonna have to pay a premium for a 75 Mhz display? Do you end up sacrificing something else when you choose a 75 Mhz lcd, like perhaps quality? I'm kinda liking those wide-screen monitors a lot- are they recommended for gaming or is it just a personal preference for the individual? And is there anything else in an lcd's specs that I should look for when deciding if a particular lcd is good or not? I do know I want a higher native resolution.

So far I've only learned there are two kinds of technologies going into displays. One is TN and one being a nicer, but much pricier, S-PVD or something along those lines. I can't afford those nicer ones. I can spend maybe 250-300 tops. If someone can explain these things or point me to a consumer guide on this that would be great.
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More about nitty gritty lcds
  1. CRTs and LCDs are different.

    CRTs relies on refresh rates because the cathoray guns inside the monitor shoot electrons at the screen to excite the phosphores on the screen itself to produce the colors and images. The guns start at the top and work their way down to the bottom, then they start at the top again. So the faster the refresh rate, the more frames per second you can see.

    LCDs are illuminated by florescent lamps at the back of the monitor. They are always on. The small LCD crystals in a LCD screen bends and twist to let the light though and determine the color. The crystals will hold it's shape until it needs to display a different color. Refresh rates of 60Hz or more will have no effect on how fast or slow the crystal will change shape. LCDs relies on response time not refresh rates.

    TN panels tend to have lower response times than other LCD panel techs, and they are also cheaper. But they have a few draw backs like 1) poor color accuracy, 2) poor black levels, 3) poor viewing angles, 4) low contrast ratio. TN panels use dithering to estimate the 16 million colors, thus colors are not very accurate.

    P-MVA / S-PVA panels are the next step up and should satisfy most people. They are more expensive than TN panels and have slightly slower response times. However, monitors using these types of panels have 1) better color accuracy, 2) better black levels, and 3) better viewing angles than TN panels. Text and images are generally considered clearer on these type of panel tech compared to TN panels because TN panels uses dithering.

    S-IPS panels are considered cream of the crop and depending on your budget, you may find them excessively expensive. But they are better than P-MVA / S-PVA panel tech. I won't bother going much into this panel tech.

    With a $250 - $300 budget, the best you can get is a 22" LCD monitor which uses the inferior TN panel. The Leveno ThinkVision L220x is the first consumer level 22" LCD to use a S-PVA panel and have 1920 x 1200 resolution instead of 1680 x 1050 of other 22" LCD monitors.

    A good namebrand 24" LCD monitor that uses P-MVA / S-PVA starts at about $600. Anything costing less will be using TN panels. The only exception would be a DoubleSight 24" LCD monitor, but that's a no name brand.

    Below are some links you may want to check out:

    AnandTech - The LCD Thread
  2. Ah thanks Jaguar especially for the links. It's too bad the nicer technology is so much more expensive.

    Love the avatar.
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