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What is monitor contrast ratio?

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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April 20, 2009 10:18:32 AM

I am looking to buy a new monitor for gaming. I dont understand what the Contrast ratio is and what would be better for a gaming monitor. On some monitors i see "Contrast Ratio: 800:1" and others are "Contrast Ratio: 2000:1". What is the better one out of these?

I was also looking at response time, i noticed on some of the gaming monitors they are "8ms" but on some non gaming monitors they actaully have a faster response time, Why is this and is there a big difference between response time?

More about : monitor contrast ratio

April 20, 2009 2:26:10 PM

Contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest black and the whitest white that the monitor can reproduce.
I highly recommend googling, since lots of people already investigated on this.
The market converted it into a "marketing hook", so people think that "more contrast is better". I recommend between 1000:1 and 3000:1, but that depends a lot in the environment where you're gonna put your computer.
The darkest the place, the more dynamic range the human eye has. So in those conditions the eye would be capable of differencing between 15000:1 and 20000:1, maybe more.

Response time is the time that every pixel takes to change its color/value. There are different types of measures and I don't know which is the standard displayed in the boxes. I do video editing and color correction, so I really don't care about that. But I know that gamers look for lower and lower response times. I don't know if it's because the market has determined them, or if there is a real difference.

I recommend you to take care about the viewing angle (some LCDs change their color if you move your head from the center of it).

Luck
Rodrigo
April 20, 2009 3:11:43 PM

Does the brightness mean anything? I see this on some monitors:

400cd/m² Brightness and Brightness: 500cd/m²

What would be better?
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April 20, 2009 5:12:14 PM

Yes, forgot about that. Most of the displays have a good brightness level (I think 300cd/m2 is ok). It depends on your environment, if you're going to use your monitor in a very lit place, you might need a brighter monitor.
"More is better", but if you're going to use your display in a low lit place, you will lower the brightness to the minimum (using the monitor's settings menu).
So, it doesn't affect the image quality. It is good only if you'll use it. If not, it's the same.

Rodrigo
April 21, 2009 7:17:18 AM

There are so many different makes to choose from and i have no idea what to get really. I will be spending up to £400 ($600) for a 24 inch. Any makes or monitors you can recommend?
April 22, 2009 5:58:04 AM

I think it just depends on where you are and what models are available for you.
Brands: Eizo, LaCie. :D 
Dell, HP, Samsung, ViewSonic, LG. every brand has their good monitor line. Even BenQ has some "better than TN panel" monitors (I think they're called MVA).

If I had to choose for you, I would have chosen a NEC P221W-BK, just for its high color gamut. Or a Dell one with high color gamut also.
Go to an electronics house, compare them, watch their image, write down models, search for reviews, then decide.

Rodrigo
April 22, 2009 8:51:43 PM

What does "TN panel" and "high color gamut" mean?
April 23, 2009 1:25:50 AM

Bidybag said:
What does "TN panel" and "high color gamut" mean?

The color gamut is the range of colors the eye can see. Search for images of "color gamut" in google and you'll find a colorful graph with triangles inside, showing the range of colors a camera can capture, or a range of colors a display can reproduce.
They are standards of color, like NTSC or ADOBE RGB, which consist of a portion of colors from the gamut (represented by a triangle inside that graphic).
This means that if a device has 100% NTSC color gamut, it can reproduce all the colors defined by the NTSC color gamut; its best red, blue and green are the ones defined in that standard.
More color gamut, more saturated colors. This is good if you're working with graphics, photos or video. And also to have a better viewing experience.

LCD displays are made mainly of a backlight (a white bright square panel) and an LCD panel, which is a kind of glass with pixels that get opaque or transparent.
Most backlights are lit by CCFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), and CCFLs can be made with different color reproduction indexes. This means that different displays can have better color gamut depending on the CRI of the lamp. New professional LCDs are lit by RGB LEDs. A standard LCD display can be around 70% NTSC color gamut, while a professional one can be around 115%.

The LCD panel is the part which mixes the colors. Millions of pixels that get from "transparent red" to opaque, from "transparent green" to opaque, and from "transparent blue" to opaque.
There are different methods of making those panels. And the names of the most common are TN (Twisted nematic), VA (Vertical alignment) and IPS (In-plane switching). The ones actually used are variant of those, like "PVA" "S-IPS", etc.
Each type of panel has its characteristics, like contrast, viewing angle, response time, etc.
Normally, the cheap displays use TN, the in-the-middle use PVA and the professional ones use S-IPS.
I mentioned the panel type because I just wanted to say that they were the same, no big difference in that area.

Hope I could explain it well :) 

Rodrigo
April 23, 2009 3:37:35 PM

Why dont all the really expensive monitors have 2ms response time. I thought this would be one of the main features. I am finding it hard to find an expensive monitor with a good response time. Most of them are 6ms but i read that i could get a ghosting effect on games if the response time is bad.
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
April 23, 2009 9:21:23 PM

6ms is fine. The reason they have slower response times is because they are using (somewhat paradoxically sounding) better panels, which respond slower. The cheap TN panels used in laptops and cheap desktop monitors have faster response time than other LCD panels. They sacrifice in color quality and viewing angles though, and the difference in image quality is readily apparent if you set a good S-PVA or S-IPS panel next to a TN.

As for ghosting, it isn't really noticeable if your response time is below 10ms or so. Keep in mind that a single frame at 60fps is 16ms, so 6ms is less than half of a frame.
April 23, 2009 10:45:00 PM

Do all monitors come with at least 75 Hertz? I have an option in my display settings to change it from 60 to 75. I tried it on 60 Hertz and it started to hurt my eyes, it did not look as good.
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
April 24, 2009 5:14:03 AM

Bidybag said:
Do all monitors come with at least 75 Hertz? I have an option in my display settings to change it from 60 to 75. I tried it on 60 Hertz and it started to hurt my eyes, it did not look as good.

Almost all LCDs are 60Hz, but if you are referring to a CRT, it is different. CRTs hurt your eyes at 60Hz because they actually flash bright and dark with each cycle, which can cause eye strain. LCDs are always on, and do not have this flickering issue. Because of this, they also don't cause eye strain and similar problems at 60Hz.
April 24, 2009 6:19:39 AM

I was talking about LCD. My LCD has the option for 75 Hz and when i change it to 60 it hurts my eyes.

Is the monitor i linked any good?
!