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Choosing Extras 3

Monitor

Introduction

The monitor is your window to the computer, so it makes sense to choose a good one both in terms of function and quality. For most people, when it comes to choosing a monitor size matters. Larger monitors will usually have higher resolutions giving you more room to work and a larger area to immerse yourself. However larger screens will not necessarily produce a better picture, so it's worth finding a balance between these two factors that suits your needs and your budget.

Almost all consumer screens are now Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD). They are much easier on your eyes than older CRT technology because the images they produce are pin sharp and do not flicker. There are also very cheap to produce, weigh much less and most importantly take up a fraction of the space on your desk. CRTs still have the edge when it comes to colour reproduction, so some professional artists still use them but some of the more expensive LCD screens from the likes of Apple and Dell can also produce very good colour accuracy.

For most users colour accuracy will not be a priority, far more important is the general quality of the image. One of the key factors in image quality is the 'Contrast Ratio'. This determines how dark the colour black will be displayed (it will never be absolute black, but varying shades of dark grey). These days a screens with a 1000:1 should look good enough for most uses, and values higher than this are usually achieved using what is called 'dynamic contrast' ratios where the screen brightness changes to darken the image.

Response time is important for displaying fast moving imagery, either in a game or movie. Shorter response times reduce this blurring that is apparent on almost all LCD screens to a point.

These days good monitors are relatively cheap, but there are also a lot of mediocre ones so its worth reading reviews of potential choices. Check out the links below or shop around, find a monitor you like the look of then search Google for its model number + 'reviews'.


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