[PLUG-TALK] [PLUG] Runt monitors

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Wed May 27 14:38:34 PDT 2009

Thanks for moving this to PLUG talk, as it has gone beyond Linux.

My rant was about lack of availability - locally.  I buy lots of
stuff mail-order, but there is significant variation in monitors
(for example, off axis viewability) and I used to be able to 
compare multiple monitors and buy the one with the most value. 
For my last two desktop LCD purchases, I carried a USB key with
test patterns. to find the one that looked best.  Although local
is usually more expensive than mail order, for items like
monitors, cases, etc. it is important to be able to return/replace
these things.  Not a problem with small items, a big problem with
large/fragile ones.

Note that for Newegg, the policy is "LCD Monitor Limited
Non-Refundable 30-Day Return Policy".  That means if it arrives
broken, you can spend big bucks to get another of the same 
model.  If it looks ugly (for any of a number of reasons) then
you are stuck with it.  That said, there are about 8 suitable
models on newegg (decent quality, DVI, good specs), and a
couple of them are from locally-headquartered Planar.  Maybe
I can look at some there ...

One person makes much of "two pages side by side" - and I suppose
that if you are looking at the output of an IDE inside a GUI, that
is so.  I'm looking at two xterms side by side right now on a
1024x768 laptop - 54 characters high, 80 wide, 0.28mm pixels. 
That is the environment I spend 80% of my time in.   5x13 pixel
characters (6x14 frames) render crisply on it, and the bigger
pixels n these older screens make the characters big enough to see
with older eyes.  Smaller pixels usually means I have to use a
much bigger font size to see crisp non-aliased characters, and
less fits on the screen.

On my last purchase, I looked at the test pattern on a dozen
monitors before I found one that looked good (A Viewsonic vg2021m,
20 inch, 1400x1050, 0.29mm pixel size, $280 at Frys in 2006).  A
surprising number of problems with other screens - moire patterns,
bad off-axis, dim, no DVI, etc.  To get that same pixel size on a
1920x1080 display means a 25 inch diagonal, or larger, display. 
Those start at $400 at Frys.  Most places don't even have them
that big, or have huge home-entertainment monitors for kilobucks.
I know mail order is cheaper - if you know exactly what you want. 
But it is far more expensive if you end up getting a second monitor
because your first guess didn't work.

I'm glad that many of you are among the 80% that prefer widescreens
and can see small pixels.  Lucky you.  But some of us are not so
lucky, and it is a pain in the tush that 100% of the locally
available product is made for the 80%.

What is really scary is this is a harbinger of what I can expect
when I purchase my next laptop, and expect it to drive my 1024x768
computer projector.


Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com         Voice (503)-520-1993
KLIC --- Keith Lofstrom Integrated Circuits --- "Your Ideas in Silicon"
Design Contracting in Bipolar and CMOS - Analog, Digital, and Scan ICs

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