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Suggestions for Purchase of a new Graphic Design Monitor

Posted on 2007-11-26
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I need to purchase a new 19" monitor for graphic design and desktop publishing use on a PC. What suggestions do you all have, in terms of brand/model, features, quality and experience using?
It must be a CRT, because we plugged in an LCD on one of our graphic design computers once; the colors were so different from what the rest of us see and from our print-outs that the boss was not happy with it, and I don't think I could convince them to try again.

Since this is somewhat subjective on my part, as to which answer(s) I award points, please let me know if it is an inappropriate question.
I will probably either split the points among people who answer similarly, i.e. in the majority, or to the answer(s) which seem (to me) to have the best "integrity" (purely subjective on my part). e.g.  if 3 out of 5 all say "Monitor X",  then the points go to those 3. However, if I really like answer 4, because they explain why "Monitor Y" and even lead me to a solid review, then I'll award all the points to 4.
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Question by:universalglove
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LVL 9

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unassassinable earned 375 total points
ID: 20354701
I have always used NEC monitors when working at scrapbook.com as their digital online image editor.  However I would say any good brand named monitor that is calibrated correctly will work for what you need it for.  Even LCD monitors.  I now use the Dell 24 inch LCD monitor I got on ebay brand new with 3 year warranty from Dell for $430.00.  It has an excelent contrast ratio of 1000:1 which is greatly needed for good design.  it has one of the best brightness levels in its class of monitors, only surpassed by NEC's 24 inch monitor, however look at paying 700-800 for that one!  I agree, LCD monitors are lower color quality, yet if you calibrate them through your video card control pannel (ATI and NVidia both use one) you can set the colors to match esactly as they will be printed.  
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

by:nizsmo
nizsmo earned 180 total points
ID: 20355557
Being honest, not many people are using CRT monitors anymore, but if you were to use a CRT monitor, then my personal suggestion would be an LG model, I used to interact quite a lot with the Graphic Design class, and before they upgraded all their monitors to LCD, they were all using LG branded CRT monitors, apparently (and it actually looks like it too) that the colours displayed are more clear/crisp compared to any other branded monitors.

Just my suggestion though, everyone is bound to have different opinions!
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by:ArtieG
ArtieG earned 195 total points
ID: 20359367
To be completely honest, the technology for CRT monitors is very evenly spread out. What I mean by this is that as long as you don't get a monitor made my Joe Bob's Monitors you should be fine. Any brand name monitor that is a 19" CRT should work very well for you. If there is a specific resolution or aspect ratio you need then verify that whatever brand you are looking at has those requirements. Other then that, I personally think that you would perfectly fine with any good Brand Name.

With that said I run a Samsung 21" LCD Widescreen in cooperation with a simple Dell 19" CRT. They both have served me well and look great (Samsung has a few extra features, but that's to be expected with a new LCD) for the web development and image design that I have done.
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Author Comment

by:universalglove
ID: 20360152
I would like to upgrade to systems that would be more standard at this point (LCD), but we don't have the money to do them all at once, and having one monitor different causes a lot of frustration, since the primary users aren't very tolerant of technological differences/difficulties ; ) If the photographer takes her photo and sees it on one screen (using Windows Picture Viewer, since she's not computer savvy and isn't going to learn Photoshop), then goes over to our designer's computer, and sees a whole different looking photo in Photoshop, frustration ensues. Since this is already a problem, I don't particularly want to throw an LCD into the mix, unless it seems an LCD will be superior and inevitable.
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LVL 9

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by:unassassinable
unassassinable earned 375 total points
ID: 20360259
As mentioned in the first post, possibly the most important feature you will NEED is to calibrate your monitors to display correct color palets.  There is free software on the web to do this:  you may want to look through these links:

http://www.google.com/search?q=calibrate+monitor&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

By calibrating your monitors you can synk LCD and CRT monitors to look nearly identical to each other as far as color goes.  
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Author Comment

by:universalglove
ID: 20362718
unassassinable:

When you say calibration, do you mean going through the black/brightness and gamma/contrast tests, and then looking through various sample photos to eyeball colors? or do you mean more, like actually buying colorimeters, profiling, matching printer output to monitor output, etc.?
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Author Comment

by:universalglove
ID: 20377019
I'll post what I'm starting to find, reading through various sites and specs. However, it's mostly irrelevant to us for now, because we've decided to go with a switcharoo in the studio here, rather than buying something new.

Just to sum my general understanding, in the short amount of time I spent on it.
It's not really going to matter at this point, CRT and LCD, and CRTs, as stated above, are pretty much going away.
CRTs have better color reproduction and ranges (hardware measurement-wise), but LCDs "look" better and less strenuous to look at, have sharper pixels, are less weighty, take up less space (obviously), and use less energy (plus a smaller magnetic field). Sounds like LCDs generally require more configuration upon setup, whereas CRTs turn on ready to go (old data?).
Eizo is the "Rolls Royce" of LCDs, so... expensive. Apple, NEC, LaCie are excellent, as well. Samsung (since they make the screens some of these monitors use) must also have good models. Dells have many desirable specs and seem affordable with good warranties.
IPS type technologies are desirable, but many have no problem with S-PVA. The issue, or part thereof, seems to revolve around actually reproducing the full range of claimed colors (16.7 million often).
20ms or faster response time is good. I had no problem finding monitors with 16ms or 8ms gray-to-gray.
160°-178° viewing angles were also common.
Depending on lighting conditions, 110 cd/m² is, according to some, more than sufficient and is appropriate for viewing comfort. Most LCDs are way beyond that (220+). Some have sensors to adjust backlighting according to ambient lighting (some Eizo models, for example).
Some rotate for portrait layout. Cool! Some apparently don't come with the software to make the image also rotate... ? Not sure.

I appreciated all the comments, since each had useful aspects for me to consider.

The links below each had useful aspects, as well:
Void Pointer, Buying an LCD
http://textblog.anands.net/archives/11

LCD vs. CRT, part 1
http://americanprinter.com/mag/lcd_vs_crt_0305_1/

Comparative Test: CRT vs LCD
http://www.behardware.com/articles/511-1/duel-ecrans-lcd-contre-crt.html

Best LCD Monitor
http://www.graphicdesignforum.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-14044.html (quoted below)
(sukkapatta:
For graphic design, especially desktop publishing, stay away from TN,PVA,S-PVA,MVA Panels. Mostly made by Samsung & Au-optronics.
Your choices are limited(S-IPS, AS-IPS,H-IPS) panels made by LG.Philips, Hitachi but they are almost 100% higher than PVA and MVA pannels as PVA,MVA are 100% higher than TN panels, those you always see everywhere in big box stores.
So close to $1000 you can get decent NEC, Eizo, Lacei, Apple Cinema or view sonic VP series.
Go for latest IPS technology, highest resolution and digital inputs. EG. DVI-D,DVI,HDMI,HDCP
Hope this info is helpful)

LCD TVs and Response Times
http://www.flattvpeople.com/tutorials/lcd-response-time.asp
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Author Comment

by:universalglove
ID: 20377069
Oh! and contrast ratios varied from 500:1 to 1000:1, with 500:1 and 800:1 being common.

Aspect ratios are potentially important, too, since some claimed 4:3 was necessary for proper, undistorted display. So it seems you usually have to figure out the widescreen ratios, since most aren't stated directly (just in terms of dimensions).
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Expert Comment

by:janey1lee
ID: 20452048
would you mind telling us what monitor you got? i was going to ask a similar question. would love to know what you ended up purchasing
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Author Comment

by:universalglove
ID: 20497203
We didn't end up buying a monitor at this time. We just shuffled our in-office monitors around, since one of our vacated accounting monitors was the same as the one I use. So it surplanted the photographer's monitor, and that monitor went to the graphic designer (since it was our best monitor).
Fortunately, I do believe we're convinced that going with LCDs is no longer an impediment once we are able to buy new monitors.
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