Computer Hardware

How to Choose Good Computer Monitors

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The Computer Screen / Monitor

screen monitor sizesThe computer screen, or monitor, is the most important part of the interaction returned by your computer and is largely an question esthetic preference.  That's why it’s important to find a screen that you like watching for long periods of time, and that will not strain your eyes.  Because you cannot gauge a screen quality online, always go check in a physical store before you buy a screen.  This way, you'll make sure to find yourself the screen that displays images in the way you find most appealing.

You should look for these aspects and let your eyes be the best judge, with both screens put side-to-side, and with the same content displayed:

  • Overall Brightness and luminosity
  • Saturation of colors
  • Contrasted tones
  • Dark blacks, white whites
  • Invisible pixel grid at normal viewing distance (about 20 inches)
  • Non-glossy screen / as mat as possible, to avoid annoying reflections


Using Two Screen

For 3D work, it is strongly recommended that you get 2 screens, as there are many tools to use at once inside and outside of the 3D applications.  Once you have worked with two screens for some time, you will find it extremely useful, because most common tasks such as moving files and managing documents become much easier to do.  It also gives you the opportunity to watch videos tutorials, social media or YouTube on one screen, while you work on a second screen.


Technical Specifications

Monitor Specs


You need to get monitors of decent size to be able to see and manipulate all the small details on your 3D models, as well as split your screen in different views.  That's why laptops are not a good choice for long periods of work in the field of 3D animation.  Aim for monitors of at least 17 inches diagonally, but ideally 24 inches widescreen would be best. 



Try to find HDMI or at least DVI monitors of a minimum resolution of 1920x1080, which corresponds to the full HD resolution.  The older VGA connection does now support the full HD resolution.


Color range:

You may want to invest in a monitor that has the ability to calibrate and hold a color correction profile.  If you are getting serious in delivering projects to clients or collaborating with other people on graphic projects it's necessary.   But if you're just starting, then don't worry about it for the moment.  Just make sure the colors of a scanned photo appear similar than the physical version printed professionally.

However, you will absolutely need a screen that can display the 'real' full range of colors.  For this, you need to find a monitor that lists at least 99% sRGB as it's color space.



There are two more technical aspects to take into consideration for a monitor: the response time and the refresh rate.  The response time should be as low as possible (4 ms is good), and the refresh rate should be as high as possible to avoid eyestrain (60Hz or more). 


3D support: 

3D supports means a refresh rate of at least 120 Hz.  You don't necessarily need '3D support' on a monitor to create 3D content.  3D screens are actually rather 'stereoscopic' screens, meaning that each eye receive slightly different informations.  But the fact that they can display content stereoscopically has no real relevance to what the content is: filmed of 3D.  For the common user, you will mostly not be making stereoscopic 3D content, except in rare occasions.  The fad of 3D monitors has ended anyways, and you'd be much better off investing in a VR headset instead of a 3D-capable screen, if you really want the stereoscopic effects and total immersion as a bonus.



Expect to pay between 200$ and 300$ each, for decent computer screens, but sometimes you can find good deals starting at 150$.  Choose a trusted brand like Samsung, Asus and NEC.  For price comparison only.  You should always buy your monitor in person, in a physical store. Direct Link Direct Link Direct Link Direct Link Direct Link


Go to the 'computer hardware' table of contents:

Computer Key

Guide on Finding the Optimal Computer Components


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