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Aliotroph?

Computer Monitors

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Well, my big monitor just died after close to four years. It was a 22" Samsung LCD. It has a power issue where it will only give power to the panel for about 1-2 seconds before going black regardless of what it's connected to.

I may have been crazy (smart?) enough to buy four years of in-store product replacement, but barring that I should probably get another one.

Looking at the ones available at the local store (memoryexpress.com]Memory Express I came up with some things that would be nice:

  • Dimensions between 22" and 24" (what I'm used to working with)
  • 1080p
  • Screws for a wall mount (really for using a nicer stand)
  • Less than $200 simply because I'm dirt poor atm. :(
  • Reliable
Honestly I find the range of choices that don't manage to differentiate their descriptions and ads to be totally bewildering. I noticed they have stopped talking about colour gamut in these things (despite the fact that I still see loads of panels that can't display reds correctly). They like to babble about dynamic/adaptive contrast (meh), and half of them try to make their response times look more appealing by fudging the measurements (grey to grey vs. white to white).

Is there a real way to sort through this crap without reading a thousand reviews or actually spending a month testing monitors? And is there any difference in reliability with different brands/models anymore? My experience with these is they tend to be random.

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Aliotroph? said:

Is there a real way to sort through this crap without reading a thousand reviews or actually spending a month testing monitors

Since you want to spend less than 200 it doesn't really matter what you buy, it will all be shit.

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Yeah, that's a distinct possibility. What bothers me is you can easily spend a pile more money and get stuff that's still shit. This seems true of most products these days and with electronics it's tricky to figure out which aren't garbage.

Well, at least it's usually straight forward to figure out which hae a nicer picture -- if you have a month to waste doing it.

EDIT: Got sniped my Mr. T.

I forgot about Dell monitors. The weird thing about that one is they list a bigger one with otherwise identical specs right above it for the same price.

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That's pretty good as long as the display itself is at least as good as the one I bought four years ago.

I have to say I've been pretty mad at Samsung's design choices. They have been pioneers in areas like touch-sensitive buttons you can't see, stands that don't move, and even monitors with no apparent visual adjustments whatsoever. That and the last two I worked with have died. That's probably why I didn't even notice that one before.

Hmm, that one solves the stand problem somewhat. Might have to go to the store and check it out. Memory Express is a stupidly good store in most cases. They are extremely prompt about honouring those product replacement deals being advertised (must remember to call them tomorrow and see if I still have one on mine...).

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Well, my current monitor is actually a television screen, that has VGA input. Only issue I have with it is that the resolution is rather strange, at 1440x900. I've been using it now for over a year as a PC monitor and it works fine. It's not even a more known-of brand, it's a brand called "Swisstec".

If you can find a cheaper HD LCD TV that has VGA input you should be sorted.

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I recall there were some panel codes typed at the back of modern "TFT" (actually superdriven TN) monitors which could help you find out if they used premium or second/third rate panels.

The failure rates and modes of LCDs are a whole different beast than CRTs though: usually you need a lamp or PSU replacement and you can't just give them to you local TV repairsman (usually) like you could with CRTs.

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I dunno, there are a lot of things that you can fix by yourself with an LCD. For example an inverter cable or board.

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Mr. T said:

For example an inverter cable or board.


While I have a reasonable experience working with electronics, I would go nowhere near a switching PSU without several precautions and a fully equipped lab (old iron-core transformers and their rectifiers are much more easy to troubleshoot and safe to work around, in comparison).

The worst are those that are integrated on the main circuit board, although they are not at all uncommon on recently-made CRTs too.

As for actually replacing or repairing a board, that you can do only if you have a) access to a stock of specific spare parts or b) mad surface soldering skillz and gear (and a lab with oscilloscopes etc. to troubleshoot specific components). Unless you have a LCD so old that uses discrete components...not even very recent CRTs are that easy to troubleshoot anymore.

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@Maes

Definitely A. Anyone with the skillz to do it "blind" should have enough cash that they don't have to fix their monitor. Lol!

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The person to do hardware repairs on it won't be me. Electronics repair and being half blind don't mix I've discovered.

Well, Memory Express has no record I (or anyone else) ever bought the thing at all. Oddly enough, I don't have one either. I remember buying it there. Bought a RAM upgrade for my friend the same day.

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Could always look into an Acer. I've heard a lot of positives on Acer monitors, and I can attest to that opinion based on my desktop's 17" 5:4 monitor.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009255
This one covers everything but the wall mount, which based on the one suggested on the page, will run the overall total up a bit beyond the $200 upper bound you wanted.

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I should point out Newegg doesn't ship outside the U.S. ncix.com NCIX does, though I lack a credit card right now. bleh

Turns out I only had a two-year IPR on that thing. They couldn't find the serial number before because Samsung and BenQ put an N on the end that they don't put on their boxes. All the entries in Memory Express' DB thus have incorrect numbers.

Thanks for all the eyes, guys. Now I have stuff I can wander around and compare. :D

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Aliotroph? said:

I should point out Newegg doesn't ship outside the U.S.


There's also newegg.ca but the prices and stock are different.

I always try to get hand-me-down monitors, because even though they suck it doesn't matter when they're free.

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That's how I got the monitor I'm using now. At one point I had a huge collection of CRTs. I gave one to a friend who needed one, but the rest were basically useless.

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Aliotroph? said:

TI gave one to a friend who needed one, but the rest were basically useless.

Useless like the one I plugged in a while back that made sparks start appearing nearby it? ._.

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My main system's monitor and the one I use at work are both Samsung don't seem to suck (one is new, the other acquired used from a friend). I also bought a 19" Acer on sale for $100 a few weeks ago and it hasn't exploded yet.

Aliotroph? said:
NCIX does, though I lack a credit card right now.

NCIX is quite awesome, I ordered a hard drive last Tuesday around 3pm to replace one that was dying and had it the next morning before noon. (I picked shipping by air mind you, but their processing time is still pretty amazing.) They also accept payment by PayPal, Interac Online and bill payments through online banking, if any of those are helpful...

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Funny enough, my Dell P780 is the most reliable monitor I've seen. It works perfectly after I don't know how many years. There is also an IBM monitor (that I don't know the model of) that I have had for...must be almost 10 years now. Still works great. It's surprising how well all this old hardware still works, even more so that it works better than most of my newer stuff.

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Well, don't forget that CRT monitors are a mature -although sadly declining- product. When something is being built for over 50 years, they tend to have ironed out most flaws. Especially those produced in the late 90s and early 00s, both TVs and computer monitors hit technical and reliability excellency that we're unlikely to see in any modern consumer electronics product.

For one, no display technology sticks around that long anymore before some breakthrough -or rather, cheaper industrial process- dictates that things must "move on". So we were force to use those crappy TN LCD screens for the early 00s, and now that they're slooooowly catching up in quality with CRTs, they're already near their own phasing out.

Fuck that, and save some good analog CRT monitors. You're gonna need them when all you will be able to buy are digital-only TN displays with "HD DRM" built in.

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Most of our CRTs were either damaged or dying. It was funny watching the picture turn yellow on one of them. Giving it a good smack would restore it for a time.

The main thing I like about LCDs is they come in widescreen, which is just excellent when you need to zoom web pages in to be able to read them. Same goes for programming.

My friend working at Memory Express is checking to see if she gets any worthwhile employee discounts on those things.

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They did make widescreen CRT TVs for a while, but they were unwieldy and too heavy for the picture size offered, seeing how a 31" widescreen TV looks like a midget when put near a standard 4:3 31". Perhaps that was yet another catalyst towards the adoption of LCD display. Widescreen CRT monitors were even rarer.

I never said that CRTs don't ever malfunction (they do) but brand ones may go literally for decades without flinching, and even if they do develop an issue, ever your average neighborhood TV repairsman can fix them with run-of-the-mill repairmanship. When TFT/LCD monitors malfunction, if it's not the lamp or an easily replaceable PSU, most of the time they are junk. Maybe more on par with the times, but sad nonetheless.

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I have a Benq BL2400PT that I ordered from a German website. It's not sold in North America for some reason. Other than some ghosting, it's awesome. It makes engineering design work and programming a lot easier than on my old 19" CRT.

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If it works better than newer shit, I don't see why not ;-)

In my book, "newer" has stopped meaning "better" a loooooot of time ago, at least as far as manufacturing quality goes.

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The main problem with CRTs is that they have a huge ass. I dunno how big you guys desks are but I def couldn't fit a big CRT on mine.

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I think it's the fault of all those yuppie designer type ad campaigns that show metrosexual males in their 20-somethings living in polished metal lofts taken straight out of a Mac desktop. They and their paper-thin iMacs. We real, hard-working, working class grunts can only afford manly, square, bulky CRTs that take up A LOT of space and need big muscles to carry, grrrr.....

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