Display monitors, or monitors for short, display computer data and images for the user. They come in two basic hardware configurations, cathode ray tube (CRT) and flat panel.


General Tips for Buying a Monitor

  • SPLURGE on a GOOD monitor
  • Get the largest monitor you can afford
  • Buy the highest resolution on that monitor size you are comfortable looking at.
  • 72 Hz refresh rate or better for CRTs.
  • 60 Hz refresh rate for Flat Panel Displays

Monitor Sizes

Monitor inch or centimeter sizes indicate the distance diagonally across the screen. However, not all monitors that say they are a certain size are a certain size. For example: a 17-inch monitor is never actually 17 inches, it's usually between 16.1 and 16.9 inches. The measured distance used for most monitors is the physical size of the plastic case across the diagonal, not the screen. Thus, you should always read the fine print and bring a measuring tape.

You should also be careful about a monitor that is not a standard size or resolution as you will have to install custom software to make that monitor work. Apple, Gateway and Dell sell flat panel monitors that are non-standard sizes; these monitors are often used for watching DVD's and movies on the computer.

Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio is simply the vertical measurement to the horizontal measurement expressed by a ratio. All standard monitors are have a 4:3 aspect ratio--that is, for every 4 pixels of resolution in the horizontal, there are three pixels of resolution in the vertical. Any monitor that does not comply with this ratio and is of a non-standard physical size or whose primary operating resolution is not a standard 4:3 ratio is going to require special software to run.

Standard Sizes

  • 15"
  • 17"
  • 19"
  • 21"
  • 22"
  • 24"

Standard Resolutions

  • 640 x 480
  • 800 x 600
  • 1024 x 768
  • 1280 x 1024
  • 1152 x 824
  • 1600 x 1200
  • 1920 x 1440
  • 2048 x 1536
  • 2560 x 2048




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