We scrutinized nine of the latest LCD monitors from the likes of LG and Iiyama and saw what new contenders from BenQ and Dell had to offer. See what LCD graphics and game performance is like today at a price range of $600 to $1,300. The selection includes low-end TN 17" monitors to 20" IPS monitors aimed at CAD/CAP applications.
Attractive Specs Are Not Enough
As we've said in the past, we no longer take manufacturers' monitor specifications into account. For a better idea of what things like response time, dithering and contrast ratios really mean and how these specs translate into performance value see (LCD Technicalities: Do Contrast Ratios Matter? ). The tutorial also offers a good background to take full advantage of this review as well.
Whatever their cost or target market, all monitors are submitted to the same initial round of tests. Whether designed for graphic designers, gamers or for general-purpose use, they are all tested for color rendering, game rendering, interpolation and movie play. Our take is that CRT monitors suit all purposes and that high-end LCDs for graphic designers must have a sufficiently high response time to allow 3D designers and developers to do their work. For the gamer crowd, monitors with skewed colors are unacceptable.
Minimum testing for all monitors consists of running video games Unreal Tournament 2003 (and 2004 from now on), Wolfenstein, GTA Vice City and Command & Conquer. It also comprises playing the Matrix movie, some color charts - professional ones and others we developed. These include at least two color temperature calibrations at 6500K, 5000K (for monitors aimed at graphic designers) and 9300K, with an X-rite spectrograph used by LaCie. Finally, we take apart all of the monitors to see what is inside. That's it for the basics.
It's worth mentioning that the test computer is based on a P4 1.5 GHz processor, with an i850 chipset motherboard and, more importantly, a NVIDIA Quadro FX 3000 graphics card with double DVI output.