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Should I buy a 22" monitor or a 24" monitor?

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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June 18, 2008 9:23:15 PM

Hi there everybody. I'm going to be putting together a pretty high-end build in the next few weeks, and one of the last components I need to pick out is the monitor. Here are a few specs:

Intel Q9450
4 GB DDR2 RAM
DFI DK-X48 T2RS
ATI Radeon HD 4870 (quite possibly two for Crossfire)

It's going to be one very powerful build, but I'm curious about whether or not it's a good idea to make the jump from a monitor with 1680x1050 resolution to one with 1920x1200 resolution. Those extra 2 inches add a decent amount of cash to the price tag, but they also give you a much larger resolution to game/watch movies on. Also, if I'm using Crossfired 4870s, wouldn't a 24" have higher multi-GPU gains anyway? I know that the benchmarks for the 4870 aren't out yet, but all the news I've heard about it so far appears to be pointing in the direction of it being one very powerful card for its price range.

So again, my question is whether I should just stick with a 22-incher or jump up to a 24-incher. I'll be doing quite a bit of gaming on this computer, and I may throw in a Blu-Ray drive in the future as well for movie playing capabilities. Thoughts?

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June 26, 2008 9:40:20 AM

I'd say get the 24". If you don't mind spending more money. Because it is full high definition, and will be nice if you choose to get blu-ray.

Pretty much, you'll be using this monitor for a long time, so you might as well get a nice one. You really will appreciate the extra space, and games will look better. I'm sure crossfired 4870s could handle games pretty well at that res.

If you go with a 22", I think you'd end up regretting it later.
a c 195 C Monitor
June 27, 2008 4:03:05 PM

If you are going XFire (or SLI) with high end cards, then I would go with a 24" LCD since games usually takes advantage of two cards at higher resolution.

However, not all games benefit from multiple video cards, many do, but I recall seeing and reading of a few situations where two video cards either has a very minor boost, or actually lowers performance. Again, that's a few games.

In case you plan on watching Blu-Ray, then going 24" would be the better choice because HD video is 1920 x 1080 resolution. A 22" monitor must down size the video to fit on a 1650 x 1080 monitor. The only 22" monitor with 1920 x 1200 resolution is the Lenovo ThinkVision L220x which sells for around $400 - $450.

Additional, the L220x also uses the "better" S-PVA panel tech instead of the cheaper TN panel which generally has poor viewing angles, poor color accuracy and higher levels of backlight bleeding. A 22" LCD monitor using S-PVA is more expensive and slightly slower; 5ms response time, but it is better than TN panels at everything else.

You could opt to search for a monitor with 1:1 pixel mapping if you are concerned about poor performance at high resolution, but you don't want to degrade image quality by playing at 1650 x 1080 instead of 1920 x 1200 on a 24" or larger monitor. 1:1 pixel mapping basically tells the monitor to only use the exact number of pixel when displaying an image on the screen. That means if you play a game at 1650 x 1080 on a 24" monitor, you will see a black border around the "playing view" because those "extra" pixels are not used. Only a handful of monitors have this ability, the ones I know are:

1. BenQ FP241WZ (discontinued)
2. Dell 2408WFP
3. NEC LCD2490WUXi - at over $1,000 it probably more than you want to (I have it's bigger brother, the LCD2690WUXi)

I'm sure there are others, but you need to do your research. Also, the Lenovo Thinkvision L220x that I mentioned before does not have 1:1 pixel mapping (sometimes referred to as "Aspect Ratio").
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a b C Monitor
June 27, 2008 5:20:41 PM

I'd go with the 24", and if you have the budget for it, the Dell Ultrasharp 2408WFP is a stunningly good monitor - colors will practically pop out of the screen, and it is very sharp. I would highly recommend it.
June 28, 2008 6:12:15 PM

jaguarskx said:


Additional, the L220x also uses the "better" S-PVA panel tech instead of the cheaper TN panel which generally has poor viewing angles, poor color accuracy and higher levels of backlight bleeding. A 22" LCD monitor using S-PVA is more expensive and slightly slower; 5ms response time, but it is better than TN panels at everything else.



What are the differences and how do you find out which monitor has what?
a c 195 C Monitor
June 28, 2008 7:38:52 PM

You need to do a lot of research to find out what type of panel an LCD monitor uses. In other words: GOOGLE. I probably spent in excess of 50 hours doing research over the course of 9 months before deciding on the 26" NEC monitor I bought last November.

TN Panel:

+ Inexpensive
+ Fast response time
+ Generally good enough for most people and gamers

- 6-bit panel tech *
- Poor color accuracy = bad for professional graphics
- More likely to have image artifacts in both pictures and video
- Poor viewing angles (anything less than 178/178 viewing angle is TN) - images washes out or turns negative.
- Poor black levels
- Seems to be more prone to backlight bleeding. (all LCD panels suffers some level of backlight bleeding)

S-PVA / P-MVA Panels:

+ 8-bit panel tech **
+ Great black levels
+ Good color accuracy - good enough for professional graphics (but IPS panel tech is even better; more expensive too)
+ Good viewing angle (178/178) - colors starts to wash out at more extreme angles than TN panels
+ Less prone to image artifacts in pictures and video


- More expensive
- Slower response time

==============================================

* 6-bit panel tech means 6-bits are used to represent each color (red, green, blue) in binary. That means "2 to the power of 6" = 2^6 = multiply the number by itself 6 times = 64.

There are 64 shades of each color (R, G, B); to determine the number of colors simply multiply the number of shades 64^3 = 64 x 64 x 64 = 262,144 colors. That works out to 256K colors (1k in "PC language" = 1,024; 262,144 / 1,024 = 256k).

There for a 6-bit panel can only produce 256k colors, not 16.7 million colors. Thru a process called dithering these 256k colors are basically blended together to estimate (guess-timating) the remaining 16.2 - 16.5 million colors. This is why a TN panel is:

1. Poor choice if you are a graphics professional.
2. Image artifacts in both pictures and video (especially HD video)
3. Poor black levels
4. Possible color banding - Shades of colors do not transition smoothly from dark to light. For example, black transitions to white from left to white on the screen. You should see black smoothly turning to dark gray, medium gray, light gray, then finally white. Color banding will mean you will see actual columns (bands) of colors shifting from darker to lighter colors.

Note: Sometimes manufacturers will actually list "8-bit" instead of "6-bit" because it "adds" an extra 2-bit for dithering purposes and is sometime referred to as Frame Rate Control (FRC). Not absolutely sure if FRC is related to dithering, but nevertheless it is still a "6-bit" panel for all intents and purposes. Manufactures are simply trying to confuse the consumer.


** 8-bit panels - 8-bits used for each color (R, G, B) that means 2^8 = 256 shades of each color. Multiply shades to get total number of colors = 256 x 256 x 256 = 256^3 = 16.7 million colors.

8-bit panels generally have slower response times than TN panels because they need time to actually "calc and display the other 16.5 million real colors" that a TN panel cannot display.

======================================================================


June 29, 2008 3:01:23 PM

Thanks. I cannot see any LCD monitors advertising > 180 viewing angle, so the only distinction seems to be the response rate, 2ms or 5ms. Can I safely assume that all the 5ms ones are not TN ?
a b C Monitor
June 29, 2008 8:59:57 PM

Not necessarily. The best way I have found is that if they advertise >175 degree viewing angle, it is probably not TN. The reason that you can't see any advertising >180 is because then you would be behind the monitor :) 
a c 195 C Monitor
June 29, 2008 9:06:11 PM

TN panels are usually "rated" at a max of 170/170 viewing angle. But at that extreme angle there will be lots of color distortions.

S-PVA / P-MVA / IPS are "rate" at a max of 178/178 viewing angle. These panels also suffer from color distortions at extreme angles, but less so than TN.

There are TN panels that are rated at 5ms or slow. The general rule is if response time is faster than 5ms, then it is definitely a TN panel.

Without spending some indepth research, if a monitor is inexpensive compared to other monitors of the same size then it is a TN panel. The only tips are as follows:


1. If a 22" LCD monitor is not the Lenovo ThinkVision L220x (~ $400) or any one of 22" LCD monitors made by Eizo selling for over $600, then it is a TN panel.

2. In General, 24" monitors selling for less than $550 is built around a TN panel (unless it is on sale at an online store).

3. Only non-TN panel will provide 8-bit colors (aka 24-bit color) or 16.7 million real colors.

4. A non-TN panel will have viewing angles rated at 178/178.

5. TN panels can have viewing angles ranging from 130 to 170 degrees.

6. Non TN panels response times are no faster than 5ms and can be slower.

7. TN panels response times are as fast as 2ms, but can be slower.

====================================

There is no such thing as a LCD monitor with 180+ degree viewing angle unless the LCD monitor is curved. At 180 degrees you are looking at the side edge of your monitor. Over 180 degrees and you will be seeing the back of your monitor.
July 1, 2008 3:08:28 PM

LOL! I never thought about the 180 degree! You could have said, "go look for 230 degrees" and I would have blindly listened :) 

OK so 99% of all 22" monitors at the 200 ukpound range ($400) are TN. And what's worse, it means they are all 6 bit, so they are also cheating pretending they have 16.7 million colours? Is that false advertising or what?
July 2, 2008 5:50:50 PM

i have a 22" and have no problems, IMO its amazing (especially coming from a 16" crt XD) but i think that you might as well go with the 24", i mean all the other components are amazing in your build so why not? right?
July 4, 2008 6:24:29 AM

I also have a 22" 6bit panel that looks just fine.
If you're watching BluRay movies on it get a 24". If you're playing games only and sitting pretty close to it then save a few dollars and get the 22". Of course if you're spending over 2 grand on a PC you really should be getting the 24" just because you can. :D 
!