I am currently in the market for a multi-purpose monitor. I have 2 main priorities with this purchase -- I am a graphic designer, so I need a monitor that will display color accurately when used in conjunction with my PC. However, I am also planning to double it as a gaming “HDTV” of sorts by using the HDMI input with my PS3. I’ve done a decent amount of research (Cnet, PCMag and PCWorld reviews + User reviews on Amazon, Cnet, Newegg, etc) into this and feel I have narrowed down my options to 4 different, potential monitors that suit my needs.
I’m definitely open to other options, but these are the 4 I’ve narrowed it down to:
What I am looking for in the monitor:
1) $500 or under
2) Between 23” and 26”
3) HDMI, DVI and VGA capable (To support both my PS3 and PC)
4) Quality contract/color display and performance (for movie viewing, crisp gaming and Graphic Design purposes)
5) No ghosting (pretty crucial for gaming purposes)
6) 5ms or lower (for quality gaming response time)
Things I don’t care as much about:
1) Monitor ergonomics (I don’t have much room on my desk or place to hang it anyway)
2) Display/menu controls (they’re nice, but as long as it performs well, I’ll sacrifice convenient UI)
3) TV Tuner (It’s a nice perk and I wouldn’t mind it, but it doesn’t out-way performance for me should I be forced to choose between the two)
4) Speakers/Audio (as long as it has audio output, I’m fine with poor speakers)
I’m having a lot of trouble making a choice mainly because I have no real way to see these monitors in person before making a decision. Visuals are, for obvious reasons, everything. I’m hoping that those with more experience might have some information that would help me make an educated decision based on my needs, narrow these options down further or suggest something different altogether.
Any help, advice or insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot!
All monitors listed above use TN panel which are generally the worst for color accuracy if that is high on your list of requirements. They probably will be good gaming LCD monitors though. By it's very nature in design, their pixels cannot create 16.7m colors because they use 6-bit pixels instead of 8-bit pixel. The bits are used to represent different shades of a primary color (Red, Green, Blue) which are then combined to create the entire available color pallet. Sometime it is referred to a 18-bit color because there are 6-bit for each of the three primary colors. The number of colors works out as follows:
# of shade for each primary color = 2^6 = 2x2x2x2x2x2 = 64 shades
Total available color pallet = 64^3 = 262k
Note: Some manufactures refers to TN panels as "8-bit" because these 6-bit also have another "2-bit" for temporal dithering purposes.
To create a color pallet of roughly 16.7m TN panels are forced to use temporal dithering to quickly flash between two colors to create a color the TN panel cannot normally create. For example, assuming it cannot create purple, the pixels need to quickly flash between blue and red. Flashing between different intensities of the colors is generally not good for color accuracy purposes.
IPS and MVA/PVA panels are 8-bit panels and can truly create 16.7m colors without using temporal dithering. These monitors panels are more costly to manufacture because there are more registers used to create colors. 16.7m colors works out as follows:
# of shade for each primary color = 2^8 = 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2 = 256 shades
Total available color pallet = 256^3 = 16.77m
If color accuracy is critical, then I highly recommend you increase your budget for something good. However, since money doesn't grow on trees you can consider the following NEC EA231WMi (roughly $350 - $400) which is probably good for graphics, but not really for gaming: