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 Post subject: Monitor Advice Needed
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2004 3:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2004 4:56 pm
Posts: 38
I have an IBM x40, which is great and suits almost all of my needs alone. However, the 12.1" screen is great for travel, but is too small to use comfortably as a normal computer. As a result, I want to get an external mouse, keyboard, and monitor to turn my laptop effectively into a desktop when I'm in my dorm. I already have the ultrabase x4 docking station for my laptop, hooking all the gear into the laptop should be a breeze once I set it up for the first time.

Basically, I was convinced that I should get a 19" lcd (I'm either considering the ibm monitor for $550 or some offbrand costco model for $500). However, I have recently observed a trend that hints that eventually, the majority of tv/monitors will be widescreen.

If you were in my position, would you buy a 19" regular shape monitor or a 17" widescreen? An advantage of the 17" is many come with built in tv tuners, but at the same time, their shape may not fit msoffice programs well. Also, for the record, my "videocard" is an integrated intel extreme graphics 2 (if only it performed as well as its name suggests it does), and only supports up to xga resolution on my laptop. I don't know if this is a limitation of the "videocard," the lcd screen on my laptop, or my drivers (help on this issue would also be appreciated). I believe that finding a 17" widescreen lcd might cost a little more than the 19", but I'd be willing to fork over the difference it having a widescreen is/will become truly important in the near future.

Thanks in advance for the help


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 Post subject: My two cents
PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:45 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2004 8:57 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Sacramento, California, USA (and also San Francisco)
You should make lists for yourself to show what you spend the most time doing and go from there. In my case, I am computing several hours per day (for which I want a display with a normal aspect ratio) and only watch one or two movies per week (for which it would be nice to have a widescreen display). There are two other uses for widescreen displays I can think of but have not used myself. I am not in the loop when it comes to video and computer games, but I understand that some of them are now in widescreen. Another use of having a widescreen display is that you can view two documents side-by-side and each one is almost the aspect ratio of a regular (4:3) display. In the case of a 17" widescreen, this would not work too well, because each document would be pretty small. So with the two choices you give, I would go with the 19" regular shape.

When you do decide which aspect ratio to go with, take your time and don't try to skimp on the price. A bargain is good, but keep in mind that a really good monitor will last you through many computers. If you spend $800 and you use the monitor for eight years (I make no claims as to whether this is realistic) that is only $.274 per day. Also, is a flat-screen CRT out of the question, or would you consider one? I am sure LCDs are constantly getting better, but I understand that they still have not matched CRTs in showing true black and fast video motion, so a CRT might be something to consider if you watch a lot of movies. LCDs are great on the eyes and use a lot less power; I love my 15" Viewsonic (except for the size) but I will probably be selling it to help finance a 21" CRT. There are a couple of 21" CRT models I could suggest which have very high resolution and go on eBay for about $300-$350 (with shipping) and you can find some with a three-year warranty.

As for the video card thing, I do not have too much experience with outputting video from a laptop, but when I look at the specs for various Thinkpads, it looks like the resolution which can be output through the VGA (or DVI) port is always higher than that which can be displayed on the laptop's LCD. So you will probably want to get a monitor with a maximum resolution at least as high as can be output from your video port.

Hope this helps, let us know what you decide.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:53 am 
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 9:50 pm
Posts: 71
Location: ATL(30328) or HOU(77005)
Forgive me if this sounds harsh, but have you done any research? You say

"Basically, I was convinced that I should get a 19" lcd (I'm either considering the ibm monitor for $550 or some offbrand costco model for $500)"

but that tells us nothing. A $500 monitor could be worth $600 or $200. At the very minimum, we would need to know brand, resolution, and response time on the monitor. For $500 at Costco, I'm expecting something along the lines of an NEC, 1280x1024 resolution, and a 25ms response time. Am I right?

As to your widescreen question, it's really a matter of preference. Sure it may be a little nicer in movies, but you really shouldn't be putting down much extra for it. Again, what percent of time do you spend on gaming, working (let's say working is text editors), surfing, photoshopping, watching movies, and other? I'm personally a fan of "widescreen". My current resolution is 2560x1024, courtesy of two 18" Dells (I believe they're rebadged Samsungs). Even then, when I use my laptop at home, I don't bother hooking it up to a monitor. Maybe I'm just weird :) What kind of resolution are you after? If you don't know what resolution is, don't bother answering: it won't be important.

As per widescreen LCDs having TV tuners, those are LCD TVs, not LCD monitors. I would highly suggest against getting an LCD TV, unless you/your parents are loaded, as a decent one is too expensive for most college students. Were I inyour situation, I would either get a nice 19: CRT (if you have room) and save some money, or if you're not paying for it/need more space and are a hardcore gamer/movie fan, a nice Samsung: http://www.samsung.com/Products/Monitor ... 72X_sp.htm

The 171 has a 16ms response time if you don't want to spend all that money on the 12ms time ;) Or if you just want a solid performer for everything, my 1800FPs from Dell are very nice.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 9:37 am 
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Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 10:32 am
Posts: 631
Location: Philadelphia
I myself have an X40 2371-AV0 for $2200 CAD, equipped with the ultrabase (included), Samsung 172x ($400 CAD), wireless gyration keyboard and mouse ($75 CAD), and some speakers I found, ($0 CAD :D). To me, one of the BEST deals I have gotten! 8)

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Phil
IBM X40, 2371-AV0
Lenovo T61, 6458-AB1
En route: X61t


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