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It has been almost a year for me and I have updated graphics cards, ram and even my entire system and have reaped unimaginable rewards in inworld performance. I have learned countless ways to further tweak adjust fiddle with and enhance my experience. What I have not done is change my monitor.

I would be curious as to what monitors others would recommend as far as size, resolution, pixel count etc.

Please do not turn this into a forum of whose monitor is better than whose, it can simply be, this monitor is wonderful because...or, this monitor is not so well because...not, your monitor is lame. Ok? Yay!

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I have a 24" monitor and I can tell you one thing, it's not big enough! (In general, not specifically for sl) SL does look great on it tho. One word of warning, the bigger the monitor you have the faster the video card you need to get the same frame rate. (i.e. more pixels that it has to draw)

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if you get anything below 24in (cross corner) I recommend a 16:10 aspect ration (sometimes listed as 1.6) with a native resolution of 1680x1050, LCD especially if you are moving up from an old 4:3 CRT.

the extra width is easier to adjust to, converts HD video seamlessly, and doesn't feel squished top to bottom... they are also much cheaper than many of the other options at that size.

you probably won't be able to find the same ratio in larger models... they are almost exclusively 16:9 cinematic (1920x1080, great for movies, not much else IMHO) and can tend to feel kind flat if you are changing up from an old 4:3 CRT.

regardless, most of the web is still built for 4:3, and you'll notice a lot more wasted space at the sides, or conversely, REALLY long lines of text, and really short paragraphs. 16:9 is the worst for it.

other things to take note of.... most monitors you'll find have a refresh rate of 60hz.... don't bother with anything above that... seriously. and unless you are a rabid high speed gamer (SL does NOT count) then 5ms response time is plenty fast enough (that's 200 times per second)... 2ms monitors are hardcore speed gamers.

the things you will care about are contrast ratio and brightness... unfortunately the newer "dynamic" backlit models report ridiculous numbers for these based on maximum an minimum, but can't actually get those values when both are on screen at the same time.. so always look for "effective range" values, or eyeball them yourself.

viewing angle is a minor concern, as long as the monitor can be made to face you directly flat from its center you should be fine.

ETA:
Skip the speakers if you can... they are almost universally tinny crap, even compared to the $20 bargain speakers with a sub-woofer you can get at places like walmart.

ETA:
I recommend that it have HDMI  *and* VGA (sometimes called D-Sub) inputs at a minimum... DVI is dying, almost everything comes with HDMI now (get the cheap cables), and VGA makes it compatible with older computers forever... as an option, check for one that aulse have component video (sometimes listed as RCA) for compatibility with pretty much everything else that was ever made

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i would recommend looking for a monitor that can handle at least 100 Hertz in refresh rate in a resolution you feel comfortable with, because a slow drawing of your screen can hurt your eyes, imagine having a light bulb flickering slowly in front of your eyes, after a while, you will feel pain, the faster the flicking is, your eyes recieve it better as a solid image, causing less eye strain, making you see your screen more comfortably, with more solid colors, a more solid image also help with the coordination of your both eyes, helping with the 3D effect.

another thing to consider, size of monitor is not equal to resolution, if you want a fast experience, you can lower the resolution of your big screen, you can also increase the resolution for more details but it will make things slower and it will be difficult to have your refresh rate at healthy levels.

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Rarely do I have anything technical to contribute, but I wish to share a story. When my BF built my computer several years ago, he bought a Samsung SynchMaster 226BW. It is a wonderful screen, but after about three years it began to flicker strangely. BF puzzled over it for awhile and made a discovery. There was a bad batch of components in circulation at the time the screen was being produced. Those faulty components were causing the screen to fail. Fortunately, BF is good at this sort of thing and he found a solution on the internet and fixed it for a couple of dollars. So, if you have this screen, don't throw it away. Follow the instructions here:

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If you have space on your desktop, don't throw your old monitor away - most modern video cards and operating systems will support two monitors, and the benefit of having your virtual world on one while you're doing all other other stuff (web, email, texture creation etc..) on the other can't be overstated. They don't even need to be the same resolution - I have  a 1280x1024 and a 1920x1080 side by side, and they work perfectly well together.

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Canoro Philipp wrote:

i would recommend looking for a monitor that can handle at least 100 Hertz in refresh rate in a resolution you feel comfortable with, because a slow drawing of your screen can hurt your eyes, imagine having a light bulb flickering slowly in front of your eyes, after a while, you will feel pain, the faster the flicking is, your eyes recieve it better as a solid image, causing less eye strain, making you see your screen more comfortably, with more solid colors, a more solid image also help with the coordination of your both eyes, helping with the 3D effect.

another thing to consider, size of monitor is not equal to resolution, if you want a fast experience, you can lower the resolution of your big screen, you can also increase the resolution for more details but it will make things slower and it will be difficult to have your refresh rate at healthy levels.

That is only an issue with old CRT monitors. Modern LCDs and plasma displays no longer need a fast refresh rate. Their typical refresh rate of 60 Hertz is more than enough to produce a steady, flicker-free image.

As for monitor resolutions, those are pretty much fixed on modern LCD / plasma screens. While it's possible to use a a different resolution than the native one, it will look pretty strange compared to a lower resolution on a CRT monitor. I wouldn't recommend using anything than the native resolution of an LCD monitor, since this is the only one that will produce a sharp and crisp image.

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they really need to develop LCDs and Plasmas with the same flexibility of customization that CRT has.

they offer a limited refresh rate and it looks weird if you dont use the resolution they want you to use, bummer :(

an increased refresh rate makes a big difference in image in a screen of 240Hz  vs a 60hz, i dont know if you seen the comparison.

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refresh rate isn't going to make a difference to LCD tech, because a pixel lit, stays lit, unlike in a CRT.

the difference is simple and can be seen in most digital clocks... each part of a number stays lit in between changes... it never gets turned off unless it needs to be off. a CRT works by flashing really fast on the same pixel, with the same value.

CRT with a refresh below 85hz give me a headache, and I can actually see the flashing as high as 78hz if I look for it. 60hz on a CRT limits me to an hour tops. The same 60hz on an LCD is undetectable, because the pixels stay lit, and it's only changes that occur at that rate. and even those are less detectable since the pixel still tays lit and only the color changes (in general).

Knowing the refresh requirements I had for CRT's I freaked out a little when I first started shopping for LCD's because nothing was above 60hz (and generally still isn't), but then as I got to looking at them in use I noticed none of the old problems, no flicker, no eyestrain, no headaches. the only thing that one might be able to detect as a difference between 60 and 120hz on an LCD (slightly better chance on plasma of TFT) is a little less motion blur on highspeed movement, which incidentally the human eye adds back in to some degree... an effect used to great extent on earlier racing games to trick the eye into thinking you were going faster than the game could render by using blurry low rez scen elements for stationary objects, and even in some cases compressing their length.

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I would recommend a monitor arm. Basically you pull the base off your monitor and attach the arm to the back. The other end of the arm attaches to your desk or wall. It frees up all the desk area used by your monitor and lets you position it at any height, angle or distance.

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Thanks so much for the idea of the monitor arm and the discussion of refresh rates! I had been considering getting a larger desk and I still may, but having that extra free space will be invaluable!

Thanks for the recommendation of keeping my current screen and running two monitors! 

Thanks Void for your info on the connection types and benefits of having them.

Here I thought I was just gonna get a more modern replacement, sounds like I am going to get a Second Life enhancement, which as always, is gonna spill over and improve my RL as well, yay!

Thank you Kolby, Ishtara, Canaro, Arkady, Deltango, Bree, and Knutz. All of your suggestions and comments are greatly appreciated. :D 

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Arkady Arkright wrote:

If you have space on your desktop, don't throw your old monitor away - most modern video cards and operating systems will support two monitors, and the benefit of having your virtual world on one while you're doing all other other stuff (web, email, texture creation etc..) on the other can't be overstated. They don't even need to be the same resolution - I have  a 1280x1024 and a 1920x1080 side by side, and they work perfectly well together.

 

I seriously have to echo this advice for a second monitor. As of a couple of weeks ago I now have two monitors at work, and I can't even begin to tell you just how many times since I got that new setup that I've wished for a 2nd monitor at home. I would LOVE to be able to have SL open on one monitor and my browser or email open in another instead of switching back and forth.

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side note on connectors... s-video = dead, there's plenty of adapters to switch to component video, so even supporting old equipment is easy. HDCP (which many video cards still have along with DVI) is also dead, with plenty of adapters (including to VGA and HDMI).

and the nice thing about having multiple connections is not needing to swap cables if the monitor is also used for tv, or game systems etc... I've got 3 different things hooked up to my own (and double yes on the multiple monitors... the boost for working in multiple windows at once is nothing short of amazing)

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Void Singer wrote:

side note on connectors... s-video = dead, there's plenty of adapters to switch to component video, so even supporting old equipment is easy. HDCP (which many video cards still have along with DVI) is also dead, with plenty of adapters (including to VGA and HDMI).

and the nice thing about having multiple connections is not needing to swap cables if the monitor is also used for tv, or game systems etc... I've got 3 different things hooked up to my own (and double yes on the multiple monitors... the boost for working in multiple windows at once is nothing short of amazing)

If I have SL open in one monitor and the web open in the other monitor, does it cause SL to perform better or worse?

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Charolotte Caxton wrote:

If I have SL open in one monitor and the web open in the other monitor, does it cause SL to perform better or worse?


I think that depends mainly on the video card itself - I had a 6-year old PC with a relatively modern video card which ran that combination perfectly well at a 'Good' graphics setting. As with PC's themselves, so it is with video cards - the more memory you can stuff in, the better they will perform.

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Arkady has it... that part is down to computer and vid card specs.... the vid card will control the draw rate, and the memory and processor will determine how well you can multi task (performance wise)... I regular have a half dozen other windows open on my home system while on SL, but I also turn off all those stupid auto start tray programs... I can run a good dozen windows and never notice anything, but my own system specs are beastly... my old computer, I was doing good to run SLand a browser window at the same time.

you shouldn't notice a huge difference in behavior, compared to running a single, but there will be a difference, and probably noticeable since your new monitor will be larger (I'm assuming)... which means both an increase to processing of 3d (again assuming the new and big will be home to SL) and a slight increase for application/destop drawing on the smaller. unfortunately there's little you can do to mitigate that, past dropping a few settings on SL

funny side note, my own hom monitor just blew up, out of warranty, and I'm using an old 17in CRT for back up... C'est la vie... I'll be buying a new monitor come monday too! lol (Heavens know I've been spoiled, it's so hard to see anything on this thing, dunno how I used to do it)

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nah, it's fine... I just have to wipe the nose prints off the glass and turn out all the direct lights (damn glare) now that I've increase the font size twice =X

I'd size it down to 1024x768, but then nothing fits on my screen anymore.... the perils of getting used to working in a much larger space.

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