When buying a monitor, what's most important?

I'm an avid gamer, I watch TV and DVDs; and I stare at the screen for more hours in a day than I'd like to admit.

I'm looking into getting a 17"-19" CTR. My question is:

What's better?: .20mm dot pitch, 1280x1024@85, Horizontal Scanning @ 96kHz


.25mm dot pitch, 1600x1200@85, Horizontal Scanning @117

I understand that the .20mm dot pitch will give a sharper image... and that a higher scan rate will be easier on the eyes...

Am I asking too much to get a really great picture with vibrant colors... but is also easy on the eyes?
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  1. I suggest you read some of my white papers on monitors and monitor technologies at this link. They may help you decide.


    Personally I like the higher resolutions.

    Jim Witkowski
    Chief Hardware Engineer
    Cornerstone / Monitorsdirect.com

    <A HREF="http://www.monitorsdirect.com" target="_new">MonitorsDirect.com</A>
  2. Jim, you are everywhere. Your store is competitive with some models. The Sony cpd g520 is pricey. I can get it at frys for $699.99 with a safer return policy. Too bad everyone is price gouging the g520p for it's more elegant casing.

    As for divine wrath, get higher rez. Dot pitch is an abused spec. They measure it differently. Theoretically and somewhat in practice, lower is better. The truth is there are so many ways to simply interpret dot pitch. First there different types of "dot pitch". You have your standard shadow mask equilateral triangle, then your isoceles triangle (somewhat tighter vertically), and then then your trinitron stripe (veritically unlimited). There may be others as well (I don't know all. I'm not an expert). Then, even amongst the same technology, measurements are different. Some are from center of the phosphor to the center of the next, others are from the center to the mask or grille. On top of that, the electron beam is usually way larger than the dot pitch (not sure on this one, also the shadow mask or grille may actually hide the beam). Generally, though, smaller pitch is better than an exceedingly large pitch (i.e. 0.22 vs. 0.30). Most monitors these days are ~0.22-0.25 and probably not significant.

    I'd go with a higher rez too. Also, for any kind of graphics, be it motion or still, aperature grille is generally superior to shadow mask for colors and brightness. Trinitrons alos have excellent dark screens which creates a good blacks. The whites are good too due to higher brightness of ap grilles. Sony, mistsubishi, eizo, iyama are some good ones. I hear the eizo flexscan980 is a very good shadow mask. Of course make sure lines are okay for you if you go with ap grille. Though it is generally agreed that shadow masks produce crisper text, I don't completely agree. I find shadow masks to be grainier than trinitrons.

    Rather than the horizontal scan, look for the refresh rate at the desired rez. There is a calculation for the refresh if you know the scan rates and dot pitch, anyways it simple enough to find out directly(see manuf. site). 72-75hz seems to be the minimum for most folks. 85 is the norm these days. Even if you can't see it, your subconscious may notice and fatigue your eyes. So go for 85hz at your rez. Also, never buy a monitor with intent to view at max rez, instead check out the recommended rez as a guide. Usually the max rez has inferior refresh and poor picture quality.

    Flat screens are a must. They tend to have slight geometry issues, but imho, it's better than curvature distortion of shadow masks.

    One more thing. Identical tubes do not yield identical picture. Apparently the electronics, aside from the tube, influence the picture greatly. For example, KDS uses trinitron but are generally inferior in quality to sony. Monitor choices are best left to name brand selection, but even then you can get a dud, and if you spend a lot of money, you are prone to be more picky about a perfect picture even though it meets manufacture specs. I think the basic larger monitors cost more due to size rather than the advanced picture quality.

    What's most important is what looks good to you. If you can't tell, go cheaper. After owning a couple or visiting stores, you develop a sense of what is pleasing to you. For me, it's absolute flatness, great text sharpness, great color and brightness, and finally size. Size is especially important if you stare at your screen all day. However, make sure you raise your chair or lower your desk, unless you want be staring upward all day. Trust me, it's a big difference in height if not depth.

    Finally go to pricegrabber.com or pricewatch.com after you've decided what you want. If you want mitusibishi, check out the website for a list of local vendors. You may find a gem of deal with these otherwise hidden vendors. Maybe even in your backyard for a picku rather than a delivery.

    Quality is better than name brand, even regarding beloved AMD.
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