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QUESTION: To Bobbert:

I am in need of a new Monitor for my Desktop Computer.

Hardware: Intel(R) Pentium (R) Dual CPU E220@2.20 GHz
1.98 GB of RAM   Physical Address Extension

System:  Microsoft Windows XP Version 2002 Service Pack 3

System supports Currently:

800 x 600
1024 x 765
1152 x 864
1280 x 600
1280 x 720
1280 x 768
1280 x 960
1280 x 1024 Pixels
Envision 17" Old style Monitor (10 years Old)

Do I need to be aware whether any new LED/LCD 1920 x 1080 Pixels will work with my Computer?

I am being told the software support of the new monitor will use the new screen fully.

My brother in law led me to believe I need to be careful on what I purchase.  Therefore my apprehension to move forward.

Thank you very much for your anticipated response.

Orrin

ANSWER: I would need more information about your computer - specifically the graphics controller (you've provided general information about the CPU and operating system, which doesn't tell us much; the resolution list you've provided very likely is drawn from the EDID reported by the 17" monitor).

In general, the actual technology behind the display (be it CRT, LCD, Plasma, etc) does not matter at all - the computer does not "see" that, beyond any abilities such technology can bring to the table (e.g. if the specific model supports 3D playback). So from that perspective, no, you don't need to worry what technology the monitor is based upon. What you do need to keep mind of is what resolution the display will natively run at, and what resolution your computer can output. Next in line in importance will be how the display connects to the computer (in general, adapters aren't problematic (e.g. a computer with DVI-I out can connect to a simple DVI-VGA adapter and connect to a VGA monitor). It should also be noted that "LED monitors" are somewhat of a misnomer - ultimately they're still LCD displays, they simply use a series of LEDs as their backlight (while conventional LCD displays use a series of CFL tubes as their backlight)) - with the exception of some very high-end monitors and televisions, there is generally no advantage to LED-based displays over conventional LCD models; I would buy whichever is most cost effective given your requirements.

In order to get the information you need:

1. You will need to determine how the computer connects to the monitor - I'm guessing the CRT you presently have uses VGA (as almost all CRTs do), this is a blue D-sub connector. It looks like this:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Vga-cable.jpg (cable end)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/92/SVGA_port.jpg (connector end)

The vast majority of modern displays will connect via VGA with no problems, however most LCDs do not have a hard-wired cable (as most CRTs do), so if the monitor you select does not include a VGA cable, you will have to purchase one (they only cost a few dollars).

However, your computer may also support DVI, which is a white connector, that looks like this:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Dvi-cable.jpg (cable end)
http://images.highspeedbackbone.net/SKUimages/enhanced/DVI-info-callout001-im.jp (connector ends; DVI-I is nearly standard for DVI output on computers)

DVI is supported by a number of newer flat-panel monitors, and if your computer is equipped with the dual-link variety, can support higher resolutions than VGA supports (both VGA and DVI can handle 1080p with no problems, however larger resolutions do exist). There are other types of connections (e.g. HDMI, DisplayPort) but generally these do not appear exclusively - if you have other video output ports next to where your current monitor is plugged in, feel free to list them.

2. The kind of graphics adapter in your system. Based on the CPU, you probably have a relatively modern graphics adapter that should have no problem with a 1080p monitor, however it's still worth checking. To do this, right click on the desktop, select Properties, select the Settings tab (farthest right), click Advanced, and then select the Adapter tab - what is listed there?

From there, you can move on to deciding what kind of monitor you'd like to purchase (and I can assist with this, if provided with some information about budget and if you'd like to upgrade to a larger monitor or keep something around the size of the current display).

Regarding this line: "I am being told the software support of the new monitor will use the new screen fully." I'm not entirely following you. Are you asking about support of the new monitor by Windows? Or by applications currently installed on your computer?

In general, there should be no differences or changes (beyond that you will have a new monitor, which likely will be somewhat larger than your previous 17" display) - if you select a model with a higher overall resolution, you will have more workspace as the computer can draw more information at once. Some software applications have minimum resolution requirements (e.g. many games require at least 800x600 or 1024x768), however maximum resolution requirements are generally not a concern - if an application can only run at a certain resolution (some old games, for example, may only support up to 1280x1024 or 1440x900, which is lower than 1080p) that is what will be output, and either the monitor or your graphics controller will handle the conversion to make everything "fit" - this is often the case with older games, and other older applications that require full-screen mode (note that this may not produce the absolute best picture quality).

-bob



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Bobbert:

Thank you for all the information.

I finally followed thru and have more information for you.

Adapter Type:  Intel(R) 82945G Express Chipset Family
DAC Type:      Internal
Memory Size:   128 MB
Bios Info  :   Intel Video Bios

The monitor I am looking for could be 17"/19"/21".  I believe that would be plenty big.  Mostly, I have seen 22"/23" in the stores.  I am open to 22"/23", just seems a little bit unwieldy.

Regarding this line: "I am being told the software support of the new monitor will use the new screen fully." I'm not entirely following you. Are you asking about support of the new monitor by Windows? Or by applications currently installed on your computer?

-------------------This is what I was told at PC Richards.-------------

Hopefully this helps you.

Regards,

Orrin

Answer
The Intel 945G is a fairly modern graphics controller, and should have no issues with the higher resolutions specified by a 20-24" display (generally these monitors will have a resolution of somewhere between 1600x900 and 1920x1200). All you would need to do is ensure that the connections are compatible - many newer monitors will support both VGA and DVI (your system is likely connected via VGA right now, but may support DVI as well; VGA will be no problem as long as you don't intend to go with a monitor with a higher resolution than 1920x1200 (any higher is generally rare and/or expensive)).

I'm not following what PC Richards' concern was regarding the system - there should be no problem, however, as you have a relatively modern graphics controller. Of course things like video-games will be problematic for the 945G (it isn't designed for that kind of functionality), but if you don't have a problem with that currently, it should be nothing you will have an issue with in the future.

On the assumption that VGA is available (based on you having a CRT), something like this monitor should be suitable: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236315

-bob

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Bobbert

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I can answer questions related to monitor specifications and purchasing, and connection of monitors to computer hardware (or similar). I can also help to explain monitor specifications and how they relate to the viewing experience.

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I have been an enthusiast of PC's for many years, and can answer questions about the purchase/use of a new computer or the purchase, installation, and use of upgrades for existing computers. There probably isn't a whole lot related to the home computer that I haven't seen over the years.

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