New Monitor advice

I am looking into replacing my current 17" CRT with a new monitor. I can’t figure out whether to go with a wide screen or a 5:4 type monitor.

I have a fair amount of older games that I enjoy and I worry about them not being able to take advantage of a wide screen monitor. I am limited by the opening in my PC hutch which will limit me to a 20" or maybe a 21.5" wide screen. I would probably consider a regular 19" non-wide screen monitor as well.

Any thoughts or advice on selecting a new monitor?



What is your CPU? How much RAM?
What is your video card? What input will you be using?
What is your desired gaming resolution?
Do you like matte or glossy? Take into consideration natural/lighting behind/around you.
What is your budget?
Where do you live?

I think 1280x1024 is perfectly reasonable for modern gaming, but keep in mind that that resolution can still make non-compatible games look weird, although I don’t even think about it anymore.

If horizontal desktop workspace is used frequently, or you like to watch HD or DVD movies on your computer, definitely go widescreen.

Samsung T220 HD. I love it. And it has a hybrid TV-tuner as well.

Go with the widescreen, it’s the wave of the future. : P

Kidding aside, right now 4:3 monitors are basically unavailable at retail outlets, you’d have to special-order one or get it online. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed my Samsung.

If you decide to go widescreen, you have to decide between 16:10 (ex: 1920x1200) or 16:9 (ex: 1920x1080) monitors. 16:9 is the HDTV standard, but I have 16:10 on my desktop and laptop because I found it more pleasing to the eye, 16:9 just seemed squeezed somehow. 16:9 content (like an Xbox 360 signal) will display with letterbox bars.

Content that doesn’t match the resoltion will look less sharp, that’s just what happens with LCD displays. Either live with it or run it windowed. Some games will have widescreen support, some won’t (esp. the older ones). Check the net for info, hacks, patches, etc. A lot of monitors will let you set whether an image is stretched to fill or not, and the drivers should have that option as well.

Check out the Dell 2009WA, you can get it from Dell Small Business for $212 + Tax. You’ll need to call however.

If they ask for an order number of someone that got the deal, send me a PM and I’ll hook you up.

Make sure it has 1:1 pixel mapping if 16:10 if you want accurate widescreen movie without stretching and scaling with aspect ratio (-should- be supported in modern ATI and nvidia drivers if you use DVI) so if you play a 4:3 game it doesn’t force stretching

CPU: Intel Core i7-920 Processor (8MB L3 Cache, 1MB L2 Cache, 2.66GHz)
Video card: 512MB ATI Radeon HD
Video input: VGA or DVI
Desired Gaming resolution: Not sure, but for older games perhaps 1280x1024

I have no real preference concerning matte or glossy. The monitor is in my finished basement with overhead canned lighting. Windows are on the opposite wall and not a factor.

Budget: Under $150

I reside in Wisconsin.


The location question was just to see if you can order the fantastic deals from USA e-tailers. Recommendations from QT3ers in the recent past have been met with wails of “but I can’t get them here” but without answering where the hell they actually reside in the world.

…get a 20" Dell when it goes on sale?

This caught my eye. Not sure how good or bad it would be, but the price seems decent.



Which radeon? Check fatwallet and techbargains for deals.

Eww refurbs

My PC has the 4850.


My recommendation: Forget about that $150 budget. You just spent $899-$1050 on a computer, and it’ll be junk in a few years. If you spend half that money on a good monitor today – the U2410, a highly-rated monitor with an IPS panel, is $549 at Dell – you might still have it a decade from now, and you’ll be looking at it every day between now and then.

Spend the money on things that last.

I still don’t get how a computer is “junk” after a “few” years when every machine I’ve built for around $800 has lasted 5 years.

What IS a few years to you? Ten?

Define “lasted.” If you configured an $800 computer in 2004, it was a single-core Celeron (not as fast as a real Pentium 4) with a low-end GeForce 5-series GPU and, what, 1GB of RAM? I don’t think that’s spectacularly useful today.

I still get a TON of use from my 5+ year old Dell P4. It really depends on whether one is an early adapter or a tech follower who doesn’t need the latest and greatest. I am the latter and am more than willing to use second generation technology which usually meets my gaming and computing needs. This is much easier on the wallet and with a wife a 2 kids to support, you can guess where PC items falls in the family budget.

As for my monitor questions, I have no issues buying a $150 or less monitor as long as it works and meets my needs. My issue is trying to decide between wide screen and 5:4 formats.


Careful upgrading can extend the life of an older PC quite nicely.