Since the dawn of the personal computer, a screen has been needed to view and help the user interact with the computer. This post will be generic and not comprehensive but a brief overview of the various types of monitors. My goal today is to enlighten the average shopper with information about monitors and how they can change the experience of being on your new shiny PC.
In the beginning of modern day and everyday use PC's we all used the CRT (cathode ray tube) that took up a lot of desk space and took time to turn on due to their vacuum tube setup:
Today we all use the commonly found LCD TN (Twisted Nematic) panel that when we think of a thin and wide LCD screen we visualize a TN panel. A good TN monitor can provide a crisp and vibrant image with respectable contrast – typically 1000:1 with any ‘dynamic contrast’ mode turned off. The main drawback for TN is the poor viewing angles.
Another panel type is the VA (Vertical Alignment), which to keep this simple is a panel manufacturing style that helped eliminate backlight bleeding. This gives deeper blacks and higher contrast ratios of around 2000:1 – 5000:1 with ‘dynamic contrast’ turned off. This type of panel also adds an improved viewing angle in comparison to a TN panel. However the main weakness to a VA panel is its response time slowness.
Lastly our pride and joy that we all want to see in front of our faces and frankly looks the best compared to TN and VA panels are the IPS (In-Plane Switching)/ PLS (Plane to Line Switching)/ AHVA (Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle). Most of the time when you are browsing these monitor types online you will mostly see 'IPS' as the panel type. The big difference between these three panel types are the manufacturers. LG designed IPS, Samsung designed PLS, and AUO designed AHVA. IPS seemed to stick better to our vocabulary so the IPS panel type it remains. The real selling point of these are their superior color accuracy, consistency and viewing angles compared to any other panel type. This makes IPS panels great for ‘color critical’ work in particular, such as photo or video editing. It is also common for larger IPS monitors to feature higher resolutions than most of their TN and VA panels; reaching 4096 x 2160 4k now, 2560 x 1440 (2k) and 1920 x 1080 (HD). IPS panels have an improved contrast ratio which will vary panel to panel and dynamic contrast turned on.
Okay cool, there are 3 major panel types but is that all that makes a panel awesome? Good question! No that is not just all. We also have refresh rates and response times that also factor in on if the panel is worthy of your hours of use.
Response Time is a displays ability to change its pixels from black-to-white or gray-to-gray. A panel while turned on usually shows a black screen when nothing is being shown on it, and the time it takes to display a gray or white pixel from this state is recorded as its response time. So those pretty logos you see on the boxes of monitors at the store that state “2ms” or “6ms” are talking about response time.
Refresh rate is what most gamers covet when they want a panel to make their game shine which is typically measured in frequency (Hz) which in nerd terms is the number of times per second your monitor can redraw the entire screen. Thus a refresh rate of 60Hz means that your monitor can redraw the entire screen contents 60 consecutive times during a single second; 120Hz is 120 times, and now for some monitors 200 times.
Disclaimer for you gamers out there. Buying a fancy new panel with a high refresh rate comes with a need and that need is a graphics card that can render your games at or above the panels refresh rate. If your computer can't render a game at 120 fps then a 120hz, 144hz monitor you see these days from BenQ or ASUS wont give you the image fidelity that you want.
RJM Computers considers what is the best bang for your buck and sells the panel that fits the average user, from 19” TN panels to 27” panels. However if you want that sleek sexy looking IPS panel to sit on your desk, RJM Computers can definitely get one for you. If you have any more questions about monitors or any other personal computer product, or our repair services, please contact us by phone at 208-472-2800 or stop in at 4524 W. Overland Road in Boise.