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Benchmark Methodology And Test Setup

Acer, Dell, LG, And Samsung: Four 23" LCD Monitors, Rounded-Up
By

It's a new year, and we're taking the opportunity to look back at our testing methodology and try to simplify it to make it a little more accessible. We're not changing the hardware we use or the way we use it, and we still think that test patterns are too subjective.

That’s why we’re still relying on our spectrophotometer and monitor calibration software (specifically, a Spectracal-certified i1Pro, Spectracal's CalMAN [luminance and gamut measurements], X-Rite's i1Match [default state], and ColorEyes Pro [calibration] to examine specific performance characteristics).

Spectracal Certified i1ProSpectracal Certified i1Pro

Previously, our display benchmark suite generated a ton of results, and that density made the benchmarks difficult to cut through. In order to make our measurements and analysis more intuitive, we’re only recording the non-calibrated performance of luminance and contrast. At the end of the day, those are the only two variables that matter to folks who plan to buy a monitor, but don't anticipate calibrating it.

Unfortunately, when it comes to color production, we do have to calibrate our displays in order to offset other variables like brightness, color temperature, and gamma.

If you, personally, want to see other aspects of display performance measured, let us know in this story's feedback thread. We read through all of the commentary, and will try to accommodate requests where it makes the most sense. In the meantime, our current suite gives you a good idea of what to expect, whether you are gaming or just watching video on Hulu.

Test Hardware
Processor
Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge), 32 nm, 3.1 GHz, LGA 1155, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD7-B3
Memory
Kingston Hyper-X 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333 @ DDR3-1333, 1.5 V
System Drive
OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s
Graphics
Palit GeForce GTX 460 1 GB
Power Supply
Seasonic 760 W, 80 PLUS Gold
Calibration Tools
X-Rite i1Pro
System Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 x64 Ultimate
DirectX
DirectX 11
DriverGraphics: Nvidia 270.61
RST: 10.6.0.1002
Virtu: 1.1.101
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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    Flying-Q , February 22, 2012 7:27 AM
    I've noticed that Tom's seems to be focussing its attention on 23" 16:9 monitors. For the previous 3 years the most commonly advertised large monitors were 24" 16:9 with a noticable number of 24" 16:10 panels in the mix. I upgraded from a 19" 4:3 monitor 2 years ago to a 26" 16:10. At that time the market seemed to be flooded with 16:9 monitors.

    I have a friend with a 26" 16:9 monitor and he always wishes he had followed my choice for the vertical real estate gain. Going from 1080 pixels to 1200 pixels is just over 11% more space. That means MS Office can display two A4 pages side by side at life size even with the 'ribbon' showing.

    When gaming, the 1920x1200 resolution gives a greater feeling of being there due to the extra vertical space whilst maintaining the 'widescreen' ability to keep eye-attention.

    It seems that the computing world is beginning to be dictated to by the panel manufacturers who are geared for widescreen TVs in the same way that 4:3 computer moniters were originally just converted TV tubes. I have spent a lot of time in front of computer monitors over a great many years and I have found the 16:10 format to be the most satisfying to the eyes and the best for productivity.

    With these points in mind it seems that the computing industry is on the verge of losing a significant asset in the 16:10 format.

    Therefore,

    Toms Hardware will you please investigate the availability and future of this format.

    Q
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    compton , February 22, 2012 3:24 AM
    I thought the LG used not S-IPS but e-IPS, 6 bit + AFC. I actually thought it was almost identical to the CCFL backlit Dell U2311H (except the module is for LED backlight in the LG's case, not CCFL).

    I guess I was wrong.
  • 0 Hide
    compton , February 22, 2012 3:24 AM
    ^ I mean the panels, not the two monitors themselves.
  • 2 Hide
    klyzet , February 22, 2012 4:14 AM
    Im not sure if that input lag test is accurate.
    Why dont you guys test it the usual way? with a CRT monitor side by side running a timer (with ms ofc) and take some photos?
  • 0 Hide
    illusiongamer12 , February 22, 2012 4:26 AM
    why no review a viewsonic monitor they have a 150$-180$ monitor with these same specs
  • 4 Hide
    tlmck , February 22, 2012 5:34 AM
    Also noticeably absent is the ever popular ASUS brand. I don't have one myself, but it seems a lot of people do. Would have been an interesting comparison.
  • 2 Hide
    Eman25th , February 22, 2012 5:42 AM
    Can anyone tell me why the prices haven't dropped? i bought my asus 24" screen 2 years ago for 178$
  • 2 Hide
    acku , February 22, 2012 6:12 AM
    Quote:
    I thought the LG used not S-IPS but e-IPS, 6 bit + AFC. I actually thought it was almost identical to the CCFL backlit Dell U2311H (except the module is for LED backlight in the LG's case, not CCFL).

    I guess I was wrong.




    LG's QA website.
  • 2 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , February 22, 2012 6:12 AM
    I own the LG IPS236V, and I find your numbers completely non-believable. The contrast ratio is not that abysmal, and it can reproduce decent (though not the best, I admit) blacks. Also, on a review of the IPS226V, while being the 22" model, it is otherwise identical, and DigitalVersus found it to have a contrast ratio of over 1000:1. I'm wondering where the huge disparity in numbers is coming from, and I don't think it's DigitalVersus mussing things up.

    Question: did you go into the Menu > Picture and change the Black Level setting to Low? It defaults to High for some unknown reason, and at that setting the blacks are indeed terrible. At Low, the blacks are much, much better, and the slight decrease in white levels isn't much of an issue given that this is an extremely bright monitor.
  • 0 Hide
    kyuuketsuki , February 22, 2012 6:18 AM
    Also, what was the Gamma setting on the IPS236V?
  • 1 Hide
    acku , February 22, 2012 6:29 AM
    Quote:
    I own the LG IPS236V, and I find your numbers completely non-believable. The contrast ratio is not that abysmal, and it can reproduce decent (though not the best, I admit) blacks. Also, on a review of the IPS226V, while being the 22" model, it is otherwise identical, and DigitalVersus found it to have a contrast ratio of over 1000:1. I'm wondering where the huge disparity in numbers is coming from, and I don't think it's DigitalVersus mussing things up.

    Question: did you go into the Menu > Picture and change the Black Level setting to Low? It defaults to High for some unknown reason, and at that setting the blacks are indeed terrible. At Low, the blacks are much, much better, and the slight decrease in white levels isn't much of an issue given that this is an extremely bright monitor.


    Gamma set to 2.2. We did set to low. And as you know we measure luminance (nits) not illuminance (lux). Maybe this unit sat in the review pool too long... Not sure, but those were the readings that we achieved.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 22, 2012 6:56 AM
    Please test also the absolute input lag of a CRT (you only have to do it once, I guess) for reference.
  • 10 Hide
    Flying-Q , February 22, 2012 7:27 AM
    I've noticed that Tom's seems to be focussing its attention on 23" 16:9 monitors. For the previous 3 years the most commonly advertised large monitors were 24" 16:9 with a noticable number of 24" 16:10 panels in the mix. I upgraded from a 19" 4:3 monitor 2 years ago to a 26" 16:10. At that time the market seemed to be flooded with 16:9 monitors.

    I have a friend with a 26" 16:9 monitor and he always wishes he had followed my choice for the vertical real estate gain. Going from 1080 pixels to 1200 pixels is just over 11% more space. That means MS Office can display two A4 pages side by side at life size even with the 'ribbon' showing.

    When gaming, the 1920x1200 resolution gives a greater feeling of being there due to the extra vertical space whilst maintaining the 'widescreen' ability to keep eye-attention.

    It seems that the computing world is beginning to be dictated to by the panel manufacturers who are geared for widescreen TVs in the same way that 4:3 computer moniters were originally just converted TV tubes. I have spent a lot of time in front of computer monitors over a great many years and I have found the 16:10 format to be the most satisfying to the eyes and the best for productivity.

    With these points in mind it seems that the computing industry is on the verge of losing a significant asset in the 16:10 format.

    Therefore,

    Toms Hardware will you please investigate the availability and future of this format.

    Q
  • 7 Hide
    amigafan , February 22, 2012 7:56 AM
    Tom's hardware readers are mostly developers who need 16:10 (extra vertical space) not 16:9 (for movies). I would like to see 16:10 monitors reviewed.
  • 5 Hide
    dww , February 22, 2012 8:37 AM
    I'd like to add to the call for reviewing 16:10 monitors.

    I love my 1920x1200 Samsung 2443BW but worry that when it needs replacing there won't be any affordable replacements. Tom's can't tell manufacturers what to do but perhaps more reviews would result in more sales and hence more interest in making 16:10 displays.
  • 2 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , February 22, 2012 9:24 AM
    Eman25thCan anyone tell me why the prices haven't dropped? i bought my asus 24" screen 2 years ago for 178$

    it reached the lowest price point. you can't expect to buy an LCD for 1$.
    remember CRT TV's. they were produced for over 50 years, yet the price remained the same for several years after reaching a certain minimum.
    It will be the same with OLED and AMOLED. currently you can buy a 17" OLED for 4k$. in some years in the future you can buy a 24" OLED for 178$. Just like you did for your LCD.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , February 22, 2012 11:03 AM
    I suspect the truth is - a display is a display is a display. For all but the very specialised applications
    around - they are probably all more than good enough. I'd rather someone warned me that my
    black samsung bled light round the edges - had a dark "reflected shaddow" along the top edge of the image about 4mm down if it was slightly higher than my eyeline (caused by the shiny black plastic case - not as I originally thought - by dead LCD electronics - its a weird effect)

    I'd like reviewers to get out of the tech details and into the real world.

    Another example of this is video cards. I neither know nor card how they work. For all intents
    and purposes the only reason to have a better graphics card is to play games. Very little else
    has any reason these days.

    And I dont want to know how many pixels a second in mode 2 with X operaing system and Z memory
    it can do.

    I want to know where the new card sits IN RELATION to my existing card for ease of play.
    Nothing else anyone says helps me choose. And no one seems to do that.

    I read the review here this week to see if upgrading my GT320 card would play Far Cry better.
    I still havn't the faintest idea. Not a clue. I'm getting the sense that others are reluctant to upgrade
    just to get the newest thing on the block these days too. Just because its newer and even performs better doesnt mean its worth having.

    And guess what. I design electronics for a living so I'm not dumb to tech talk. So whats the point?
    Lets have reviews targeted at users not specification matching.



  • 1 Hide
    spookyman , February 22, 2012 11:51 AM
    lol...

    Why not buy ASUS 24" LED monitor over these? The picture quality is better and you can get it less then $200 sometimes on New Egg.
  • 1 Hide
    Marcus52 , February 22, 2012 12:11 PM
    There have been some new 1920x1200 monitors released in the last 6 months, so the format is far from dead.

    ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    jgutz2006 , February 22, 2012 1:29 PM
    Why arent more monitors shipping with DisplayPort? need more non legacy displays out there for Eyefinity/Nvidia Surround!
  • 4 Hide
    warezme , February 22, 2012 1:42 PM
    I'm tired of cheap (as in quality) 1920x1080 monitors. The industry is stuck on making a cheap product for a quick buck.
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