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

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Choosing a Flat-Panel Display

If you have weighed the trade-offs carefully and decided that an FPD is right for you, use the following guidelines when choosing one:

  • Regard TFT as a minimum. STN panels are not acceptable for desktop use.

  • Current FPDs are available in analog-only, digital-only, and hybrid analog/digital models. Analog input is acceptable on 15-inch models running 1024 × 768, but on 17-inch models running 1280 × 1024, analog video noise becomes an issue. At that level of resolution, analog noise isn’t immediately obvious to most users, but if you use the display for long periods the difference between using a display with a clean digital signal and one with a noisy analog signal will affect you on almost a subconscious level. At 1024 × 768, we regard an analog signal as acceptable. At 1280 × 1024, we regard a digital signal as very desirable but not essential for most users. Above 1280 × 1024, we regard digital signaling as essential.

  • Insist on full 24-bit color support. Most current FPDs support true 24-bit color, allocating one full byte to each of the three primary colors, which allows 256 shades of each color and a total of 16.7 million colors to be displayed. Many early FPDs and some inexpensive current models support only 6 bits per color, for a total of 18-bit color. These models use extrapolation to simulate full 24-bit color support, which results in poor color quality. If a monitor is advertised as “24-bit compatible,” that’s probably good reason to look elsewhere. ...

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