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The acronym LCD stands for “Liquid Crystal Display” and TFT is an acronym for “Thin Film Transistor”. While both of these terms are commonly used, they both refer to the same technology and are interchangeable. When one uses the term TFT, they are often referring to desktop displays. LCD, however, is more commonly used when describing televisions. LED, on the other hand, refers to the backlight technology that is used behind a liquid crystal panel (or an LCD/TFT screen).
A monitor’s contrast ratio is the difference between the darkest black and the whitest white. Most people will do well with a monitor that has a contrast ratio of 1000:1 to 3000:1, but that depends a lot on the environment where you are going to put your computer. While you can get computer monitors with a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 or more, the way in which the contrast ratios of these monitors are measured doesn’t always paint an accurate picture of the monitor. For example, you can buy a monitor that has a contrast ratio of 10,000:1, but if the monitor has poor pixel pitch then you’d be better off getting a monitor with a lower pixel pitch and a lower contrast ratio. When it comes to image quality, it will not be a single feature that makes the difference between one monitor being good and another being bad – it’s a combination of the features combined.
LCD computer monitors, for the most part, use three different panel types including TN, IPS and VA.
TN, or Twisted Nematic, panels are the most common and are also the oldest. These panels tend to provide shorter response times and high brightness as well as low prices, but they also result in color shifts at different viewing angles.
IPS panels offer better color reproduction and better viewing angles, but they tend to have lower contrast. These panels also tend to be slower and more expensive. However, the color display and the options to calibrate the colors and keep the colors sharp and consistent, even at angles, make them a good choice for those who are in the graphic design profession.
The VA panel types fall into two categories including MVA and PVA. MVA panels tend to provide good viewing angles and greater contrast than the TN or IPS panels. Response times are also good, although some of the lower-end MVA panels do produce ghosting effects. PVA panels are very similar to MVA panels, but PVA panels have better contrast.
Response time isn’t always an important factor when purchasing a computer monitor, but oftentimes it can be. The term “response time” indicates how quickly the monitor can display moving images. If you need faster response times, you need to look at both the rising and falling response times. If a monitor has a fast rising response time and a slow falling response time, it’s going to result in a ghosting effect. The optimal situation is to purchase a monitor with fast falling and rising response times.
Most computer monitors come pre-set with settings that may not be up to par with your standards. The majority of computer monitors feature front panel buttons that allow you to adjust the brightness and contrast settings of your monitor. If you do decide to adjust these settings, make sure you write down the pre-set settings so that you can return the settings to their factory-defined settings should you need to do so.
If you purchase a computer monitor with a higher refresh rate than your graphics card, you can clock your graphics card to maximize the performance of your monitor so that the graphics card will run at the same speed. For example, if your graphics card is only capable of 75Hz and your computer monitor can run at 80Hz, you can clock your graphics card to run at 80Hz to get the most out of your monitor’s performance.