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PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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Monitor Characteristics

Here are the important characteristics of monitors:

Screen size

Screen size is specified in two ways. The nominal size—the size by which monitors are advertised and referred to—is the diagonal measurement of the tube itself. However, the front bezel of the monitor conceals part of the tube, making the usable size of the monitor less than stated. Various consumer lawsuits have resulted in monitor manufacturers also specifying the Viewable Image Size (VIS), which is the portion of the tube that is actually visible. Typically, VIS is an inch or so less than nominal. For example, a nominal 17-inch monitor may have a 15.8-inch VIS. Small differences in VIS—e.g., 15.8-inch versus 16-inch make little practical difference. The smallest monitors commonly available are 15-inch, although ViewSonic still produces a 14-inch model in their economy OptiQuest line. 17-inch remains the most popular size, but 19-inch models are now so inexpensive that they may soon overtake 17-inch models in unit sales. 20-inch and larger monitors are still quite expensive, and are used primarily by graphic artists and others who require huge displays. Table 16-1 lists monitor size and resolution combinations that most people with 20/20 vision find optimum (++ is optimum; + is suitable; - is generally unsuitable; — is completely unsuitable)

Table 16-1. Monitor size and resolution combinations

Monitor Size (inches)

Resolution

15

17

19

21

640 × 480

+

-

--

--

800 × 600

++

+

-

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