Tag Archives: lcd

LED and LCD Monitor Questions and Answers

Graham Walters has a series of monitor questions (some of which are near impossible for anybody to answer with objectivity):

Do you think Eyefinity will be released for the Mac Pro anytime soon?

I don’t think I can answer that question. You’d have to ask AMD / ATI.

What aspect ratio is best for eyefinity? (two 24in monitors)

According to AMD’s Shane Parfitt: “ATI Eyefinity technology is incredibly flexible in its setup options. We can support a wide variety of aspect ratios and resolutions. For the best experience, we recommend widescreen monitors. For gaming, the most popular display configuration is three widescreen monitors in a 3×1 landscape configuration. In this configuration, we can support individual display resolutions up to 2560×1600, for a total resolution of 7680×1600 (a 48×10 aspect ratio). We’re seeing many people choose 1920×1200 or 1920×1080 displays for budget reasons – this also works very well, and looks great.”

Is $300 – $350 a good price range? (Apple LED Cinema display is $900)

“Good” is relative. Apple’s displays are (indeed) wonderful, but you’d likely be paying ~$100 more for the brand on that particular piece of hardware. It’s more accurate to compare their Cinema Display to something in the $800 range. If your budget is in the $300 range, you’ll still get a decent monitor, but it may not have a high optimal resolution, decent response time, or DPI.

Are LED-backlit displays worth the money? (seem to cost twice as much)

Depends on what you want from a screen. Looking for a wider color gamut, better illumination, longer display life, better power efficiency, etc. – go for an LED backlit display. If your needs are meager, LED-backlit displays aren’t worth the money. If you favor quality, spend the money.

Do you have any other monitors in mind?

I’m looking at one right now. Is that what you mean? 🙂

Do you have any advice on buying LED monitors? (specs you look for)

Yes. Do your research! Read reviews from a variety of sites, try to observe the exact model in person, and be wary when a sale sounds too good to be true. That, and you know I set up http://coupons.lockergnome.com/ to help you save money on anything you happen to buy online.

I’ve never had the problem of having a dead pixel; how obvious are they?

Sometimes, painfully obvious. Other times, hardly noticeable. Understand that a dead pixel (a point on the screen which will never illuminate) is different from a stuck pixel (a pixel which is stuck on a single color). I suggest reading more about it on the Wikipedia page for defective pixels.

Do you know of any websites which accept returns if there is a dead pixel?

That’ll vary from OEM to OEM, vendor to vendor, etc. Again, do your research. I appreciate you reaching out to me to nudge you in the right direction, but unless you’re going to pay me to be your personal shopper, this is where I tip my hat and send you on your merry way.

Tips for Buying the Best LCD Monitor

This post was actually written by Jeroen De Mol, another intelligent community member-at-large. If you have any further tips about hardware or software, feel free to send ’em in!

After looking at some of your videos on YouTube, I came across: “I want to buy a monitor. This video has some great tips, but it was missing something that might be important to the people who are considering buying a new monitor.

The only real tip missing in the video is the one about different LCD Panel Technology. At the moment there are 3 different technologies used in LCD displays: (1) TN Panel; (2) VA Panel; (3) IPS Panel. When buying a monitor, it is pretty important to know what technology you want, and what is the best for you.

TN (Twisted Nematic) is the technology that is used the most. Monitors using this technology are cheap and have a great response time. The low response time is great for gamers. However, they do have a downside. Color reproduction, viewing angles, and contrast ratios on these panels are the worst of all the LCD panel technology. They are unable to display the full 16.7 million colors that 24-bit has to offer. They can gimmick it, but the result is not the same when you use an 8-bit VA or IPS. TN only offers 6-bit. Pro: cheap. Con: lesser-quality display.

VA (Vertical Alignment) is better than TN, but not as good as IPS. They have beter color reproduction and better viewing angles than TN panels, but the response time is often terrible. They are almost the same as IPS, but the response time is holding them back. The contrast ratios are better than any other panel technology, and because
of that, they are the leaders when it comes down to levels of black. The biggest problem these panels have is color shifting. When you view from an angle, the image looks to have different brightness levels across the screen. Cheaper than IPS, more expensive than TN.

IPS (In Plane Switching) are considered to be the best of the best when it comes down to image quality, color accuracy, and viewing angles. However, all of this beauty comes with a price. These panels are the best for graphic designers. Gamers might not be so fond of them, since the response time is slower than TN panels.

How to Fix a Laptop LCD Screen

Geek!This is Sarah’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

There can be many difficulties when fixing a laptop. Problems can arise with a laptop at any time, including with the screen. People simply buy a new computer when the screen burns out because it is too expensive to replace the screen. What people don’t realize is that fixing a laptop screen can be quite simple. In order to perform such a task as fixing a laptop screen, you have to be somewhat familiar with circuitry. Any electronic hobbyist can learn how to fix the backlight of a laptop screen.

First, you must gather the necessary equipment and hardware to perform this task successfully. You will need solder and a soldering iron with the soldering station to be able to properly set the temperature of the iron. Also needed is desoldering braid to remove excess solder; you will need an open area such as a kitchen table or workbench to be able to spread out the parts. Be sure that you are not worried about damage to the area you are working on because hot solder can damage work areas. The final equipment needed is an anti-static wrist band to prevent damage to the circuitry, screwdrivers to disassemble and reassemble the screen, and a micrometer or caliper to measure the backlight.

Second, power down the laptop and remove any power supply from the laptop; this would include the power cord and battery. Connect the grounding wrist strap to a grounding point. A grounding point may consist of metal pipes in the house or even a metal window sill; wearing this strap prevents any static damage to the circuitry of the laptop. You will now need to take the bezel or plastic piece off the front of the laptop screen. In many cases, the screws holding the bezel together are covered with rubber feet on the front of the bezel; in order to remove the rubber feet, simply take a flat head screwdriver and pry lightly underneath the rubber foot; the rubber feet are magnetically attached to the screws. Once the rubber feet are removed you can start to remove the screws from the bezel. Once the screws are removed from the bezel, take a flat head screw driver and gently pry the front of the bezel from the back panel of the screen.

Third, you will need to remove the cover plate above the keyboard. This cover plate will sometimes have the power button mounted to it as well. In order to remove the plate, you will need a flat head screw driver. On one side of the plate, there will be a small cutout next to it; this is where you place the screw driver to pry it from the laptop. Remember to be gentle; not a lot of force is needed. With some laptops, you will need to tilt the screen all the way back to remove the plate. Once this is removed, you can proceed to unplug the screen from the motherboard. In order to unplug the screen, the keyboard will have to be removed; remember that this depends on the brand and type of laptop. To remove the keyboard, you can remove several screws located at the top of the keyboard. After the screws are removed, you can gently pull the keyboard away from the motherboard which is under the keyboard. You can now proceed to trace the screen cable to the appropriate connector and remove the connector from the motherboard; some additional screws may need to be removed.

Fourth, you can remove the screen from the back panel of the laptop. Depending on brand and type of the laptop, some screens will be attached to the back panel with a few screws. If the screen is attached to the back panel, remove the screws before removing the screen. Once all the screws holding the screen into place have been removed, you can proceed to remove the screen from the back panel.

Next, you will need to disassemble the screen itself, a laptop screen, also called a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), consists of several layers within a housing. The housing consists of a metal or plastic frame with a plastic plane located on the back of the LCD. This plane also holds the backlight control circuitry. Proceed to remove the screws from the side of the frame in order to gain access to the internal parts of the LCD. When the screws are finally removed from the side, you may have to cut the tape from the top or bottom of the LCD and frame. Be careful not to cut the wires that lead to the LCD; if these are cut, the LCD will be irrepairable and a replacement will need to be purchased. After the screws and tape are removed, proceed to find the backlight, which is located on the top and bottom of most LCDs. The backlight will have a metal casing to protect it and this can be simply pulled out without having to remove any attachment methods.

Now you will have to determine the type of backlight used. Many laptops have Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps or CCFLs. A CCFL looks like a miniature straight fluorescent light used in ballasts in houses and office buildings. The CCFLs are attached by a couple of wires. Turn on the soldering station to approximately 500 degrees. You will also need the desoldering braid. Use the solder iron to heat up the solder on the cable and backlight. Hold the braid to the solder on the cable to remove it. Once the backlight is completely removed from the cables, use a caliper or micrometer to measure the diameter as well as the length of the CCFL; the measurement must be taken in millimeters. You must find a company that sells CCFL backlights. One company that distributes CCFLs is Digikey Corporation. Find a CCFL that matches the length and diameter of your previous CCFL; you cannot order the new CCF until the measurements are taken. Wait for your order to arrive. Once the order has arrived, proceed to replace the old CCFL by soldering the new CCFL to the cables and place it back into the metal casing.

Finally, you can start to reassemble the screen. Place the metal or plastic frame back onto the screen; attach the screws. Before reassembling the laptop screen with the bezel, plug the screen into the connector and plug the laptop into power and power up the laptop to verify that the CCFL works. Once you have verified that the CCFL works, turn the laptop off and reattach the screen into the back panel with the proper screws. Once the screen is on the back panel, snap the bezel to the screen and back panel and insert the appropriate screws and then attach the rubber feet onto the screws. Reattach the keyboard with the appropriate screws and attach the cover plate. Now your laptop is ready to have the battery installed and power applied. Start up your laptop and enjoy your new and bright screen.

Reasons to Have a Second Monitor

Geek!This is Taylor Brazelton’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

  1. A second monitor is a way to expand your desktop interactivity. You can work faster and you’ll be able to see more than one application (in a maximized mode) at the same time. This insures the most enjoyable desktop experience.
  2. Are you a professional video editor? You don’t have to be one to enjoy the use of a second monitor (or more, if you wish). A second monitor is almost essential to a video editor, as it allows you the best work environment for your editing by allowing you to expand your video editor software’s timeline across both screens. This gives you the most workspace – so that you can easily see the spot at which you are editing in a more detailed position.
  3. What about web designers? Well, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you – for I am one, too. The second monitor might sound like a stretch, but it is actually a good thing. You know when you’re developing and you have to switch back and forth between your source editor, your web browser and maybe even your database tools? Well, with a second monitor it is simple to switch between your web browser and your source editor. Using the second screen you can put your source editor on one screen and your web browser on the other screen. That way your OS doesn’t have to re-draw the GUI for the applications each time you want to switch windows. This gives you more time to work on your project instead of waiting for the GUI to load. Assuming your computer is as slow as mine. 😉

Now that we’ve talked about the top 4 reasons on why you should have a second monitor, I think it is time we talk about why you shouldn’t or why you can’t.

  1. A second monitor is a great thing to have, but what if you have a slow computer? How will this give you a better experience? Well, the hard reality of it is… it doesn’t truly help THAT much. If you want to use a second monitor to it’s fullest extent, I would suggest you buckle down and buy yourself a new computer. I know times are tight right now, but when I was a 13 year-old, there was always a lawn that needed mowing.
  2. What if you don’t have enough room for a second monitor? There is always the option of getting a new desk or cramming a monitor on the desk you already have. This isn’t really the ideal place to have a second monitor. If your desk is always cluttered and messy then this is probably not a good option for you (if don’t want your monitor to fall off your desk). I have seen this before, and it’s not a good thing. It took my friend and me about two months to clean up all the shattered pieces of broken monitor! Every time you walked in with bare feet, you’d get a small piece of glass or a different part of the monitor stuck in your foot. 😛
  3. “Okay, so I have enough room for a second monitor but what about money? I don’t have enough.” This is a common problem for everyone today, although there is always a way. Try doing odd jobs for your friends, family, or around town. Maybe mowing the lawn for a friend or helping the computer illiterate fix a problem with their computers. You can find a job just about anywhere you are, just find one that suits you and what you can do. Also, remember when saving for a big item like a monitor, that you do not spend / waste all the money before you’ve reached your goal. I suggest that you put away 90% of your earnings and then carry around the other 10%.

Don’t forget that no matter what you want, you always have to work for it. Nothing in life is totally free, so be sure to save every penny you can because somewhere down the road you may want to use it. Like… if you were to buy a second monitor for your computer.

How Do You Clean Your LCD Screens?

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Spit-shining is probably not the best way to clean your monitor. That would be disgusting. How often, if at all, do you clean your screen? What do you use to clean your LCD screen? If you’re looking for something different that works well, I have found something for you. The La Fresh Tech Pack is a great way to clean all of your gear.

Users beware. These ain’t your average geek-approved tech accessories. The Tech Pack by La Fresh contains 3 types of on-the-goer-worthy road-tested products that are designed to enhance your performance while working on your digital gadgets.

No, they will not make your computers roll any faster. We are talking about a more basic and practical solution to help you focus on added productivity.

Instantly take care of cleaning needs for all your gadgets, glasses, and hands with the Tech Pack!

I’ve used several different types of screen wipes in the past. What I love the most about this Pack is the fact that it comes with gadget wipes, hand wipes and glasses wipes. It works really well, and you’ll end up needing each of those at some point. They worked so well on my glasses, I saw things in my office that I didn’t even know were there!


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One Big Monitor or Two Smaller Screens

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The first time I ever plugged a second monitor into my system, it was interesting. Of course, issues arose… as is usually the case with anything new. Having two monitors in many cases is better than one. I had an email the other day, asking me if I would suggest using one large monitor… or two smaller ones.

I would go with two separate monitors any day, over one large one. Having two monitors can cause issues, as I said. Some of your software may run differently. Your computer may need to have minor configurations made to it. It can be a headache to get correct… but it’s well worth it. On one monitor, I have my email and work open. On the other monitor, I have all my “widgets”… for IRC, IMs, RSS feeds, etc. It makes it a lot easier for me to keep things organized, and be more efficient with my work.

You’ll actually have more “screen real estate” within two 17″ monitors side-by-side than what you would have with one huge screen. As I said, this can help you stay much more organized. Having one monitor made things too cramped, and too jumbled. I had to search for things, or keep them hidden when running.

What do you all think? Is dual cool? Or is it better to stick with one monitor?


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Should you buy an LCD or Plasma HDTV?

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It’s really a matter of personal preference when choosing one of these over the other. I personally prefer the Plasma screens, but I know many people who like the LCD more. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between the two.

With an LCD screen television, it has a much thinner screen and a smaller footprint. This means that it takes up less space generally on a tabletop or in an entertainment center. The Plasma screen tv’s tend to be much bigger. Be sure to keep the size of the space available in mind when shopping.

I feel that the image colors are much sharper and natural on the Plasma screens. With the LCD, they seem to be just not as realistic. They are either too saturated, or not saturated enough. I could never seem to find a balance that I liked.

Budget is a huge concern for most people. Always stick with what you can afford. Try to never go with “payment plans” for these items. Wait until you have enough money saved up to just go out and purchase one.

Most importantly, do your research. If you primarily watch sports, try watching a bit of sports on one of each of these televisions before deciding yourself which one is better. What’s best to your eyes, may not be best to mine, and vice versa. Never take my word for it, or anyone else’s. Make up your own mind, based on your likes, needs and budget.

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Tips for Buying a Monitor

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A couple of my friends joined me to discuss their tips and tricks when looking to purchase a new monitor. Size is important, yes. However, there are several other things you should keep in mind.

Jason is a gamer, so he is more interested in the response time of a particular monitor. The formal definition characterizes response time as the time it takes for an LCD pixel to change from completely active black to inactive white then back again. For now, to view your games at their best, look for a monitor with the fastest time possible; it does matter. Keep in mind that display quality is also important, so look for a high contrast ratio and small dot pitch coupled with a powerful graphics card to give you the best view possible.

Kat has something different in mind. She has serious trouble with her eyes, despite wearing glasses. Since she works from home on her computer, and does a lot of volunteer work online, she spends many hours a day in front of her monitor. For Kat, it’s all about size. Good contrast is also important to her to help prevent eye strain.

For me, there are a few things I look for in a monitor:

  • Color of the Bezel The Bezel is the plastic case that surrounds the actual monitor. If all of your components are silver, you aren’t going to want a green Bezel on your monitor.
  • Type of connection availableI lucked out when I bought Ponzi’s new monitor. It happened to have a VGA connection. Thankfully, Ponzi’s computer also had one. Do your research, and make sure you know what kind of connections are available on your computer for the monitor to plug into.
  • Be aware of your desktop footprint. Make sure you have room on your desk or workspace for the monitor you are wanting to buy. This is especially important when looking for a second monitor, such as I have.

What things are important to you when buying a new monitor? Leave me a comment, or send me an email to [email protected] to let us know!

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Using HDTV as PC Monitor

I have my HDTV (a plasma screen) set up as the monitor for my Mac Mini in my home office and it works quite well. “Velislide” contacted me this afternoon with issues related to his LCD HDTV connected to his PC, however:

I recently bought a 32″ LCD HDTV (Panasonic Viera Black) to replace my 17″ Dell LCD that I’ve been using. This beast has 2x HDMI In so Im using one with a DVI to HDMI cable that connects to my Geforce XFX 8600GT. Now if I look at text @ 720p resolution, with Sharpness at the middle point or turned up, the text looks VERY pixelated, and VERY hard to read, almost unreadable. I can also see like 3 or 4 mouse “shadows” around the mouse, overlapping each other. Basicly I have to turn down the Sharpness to -30 and it kinda of cleans up the pixelated crap, and makes it readable but not near what my friends 32″ LCD HDTV looks, and his is a VERY cheap one.

From what I understand from lots of reading and research, it has something to do with my Horizontal and Vertical refresh rates, and setting the Video card to match up to my TVs to get a HD quality picture. My xbox 360 looks about 100x better hooked up with Component, but sadly my video card doesnt have the Component out feature. I’ll take a high resolution picture of my screen sometime and see if I can get what the stuff looks like in the picture to give you a better Idea.

Also I read that the current drivers from Nvidia for the Geforce 8 series cards dont allow you to change the Vert/Horiz refresh rates w/ software? Not sure if this is true, but I’m all out of Ideas and have been trying steady for 3 days now to get this thing to come in clear.

I’m hoping I can get my 900$ 32″ LCD to looks at good as my friends 500$ LCD, otherwise I’m going to go insane.

Jake (Ludington) suggests: “Turn off any noise reduction built into the TV. Noise reduction does nasty things to text and is meant for use with video content only (if at all). Make sure the video card and television are both set to 1366×768, which is the recommended resolution from the manufacturer. Having either or both set incorrectly will result in nasty image quality.”

HDTV Deals:


LCD Monitor Problems

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Vince has a 17″ wide screen LCD monitor, and an NVIDIA graphics card. Windows update detected a graphics card update and installed it. Suddenly, Vince no longer has his native resolution option for his monitor.

Vince normally ran at a 1280×720 resolution. For some odd reason, this is no longer available. He’s wondering whether he should just stay with the lower resolution, or roll back the driver to the earlier version. Dude, don’t stay with it! LCD monitors were designed to run at one resolution… and one only. If you run them at anything lower, your picture won’t be as clear. There are a couple of things you can try:

1. Check the Gateway site to see if there are any newer updates for your monitor. Yes… I said your monitor. Not your graphics card. The information needed to detect your resolution comes from the monitor’s .inf files, not from your graphics card. Those are two separate things. Now, I’m not saying it could NOT have happened, and I’m not saying that the updates or Vista aren’t to blame. It’s hard to tell at this point.

2. If you have the CD for the monitor that came with the computer, try reinstalling that. The needed .inf files could somehow be corrupted or missing.

3. If neither of these work, then I would definitely try rolling back the update. Your monitor needs to be running at the resolution it was designed for.

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