- Resolution (resolution)

- Screen refreshment

- Point size (dot pitch)

- Control panel and connections

- Multimedia

- The election of the monitor

- Portable screens

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Juan Herrerías Rey

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What is... the monitor?


Obviously, it is the screen in which the information given by the computer is seen. In the most habitual case it is a question of a device based on a pipe of cathode beams (CRT) like that of the TV sets, while in the portable ones it is a flat screen of liquid crystal (LCD).

If one day it has faced the manual of his monitor (for what too many times it is necessary to know English, German or Japanese, since rarely they come in another language), it will have found an impressive foolish talk on Hz, MHz, refresh and other trifles. You know by intuition that that has to do with the quality of the device, but: what demons does it mean? We are going to try to explain it.


Resolution (resolution)

It is a question of the number of points that can represent the monitor for screen, in horizontal x vertically. This way, a monitor which maximum resolution is of 1024x768 points can represent up to 768 horizontal lines of 1024 points each one, probably in addition to other low resolutions, as 640x480 or 800x600.

Major all that is the resolution of a monitor, will be better the quality of the image on screen, and major will be the quality (and consequently the price) of the monitor. The resolution must be adapted also to the size of the monitor; it is normal that a monitor of 14 " ó 15 " does not offer 1280x1024 points, while it is the minimum exigible to one of 17 " or Superior. The following table illustrates this topic:

Size monitor

Maximum resolution exigible (not interlaced)

Recommended work resolution


1024x768 (new monitors)














The recommended values to work are the most comfortable, the most ergonomic, which are adapted for general tasks as the ofimáticas. For more specific others like CAD, or in general when it is not important for us to force a little any more the sight, it is convenient to happen to the immediately top one; for example, in monitors of 19 " it is possible to use a resolution of 1600x1200 without major problems.

The resolution is closely related to the number of presented colors, related all this to the quantity of memory of the graphic card. To understand these relations, pulsate here to go to the corresponding paragraph of graphic cards.


Screen refreshment

Also called Vertical Picture frequency. It is possible to compare to the number of stills in second of a movie of movies, therefore it will have to be the possible biggest thing. It measures itself in Hz (hertzes) and must be over 60 Hz, preferably 70 or 80. From this number, the image on the screen is extremely stable, without valuable blinkings, with what the sight suffers much less.

Formerly the monitors could only present images with a few certain and fixed refreshments, for example the monitors CGA or EGA and some VGA; nowadays all the monitors are multiscan, that is to say, that they can present several refreshments inside a certain status.

The one who provides these refreshments is the graphic card, but who must present them it is the monitor. If we put a refreshment of screen that the monitor does not support we might damage it, therefore we must know his capacities thoroughly, for which the best thing is to read thoroughly the manual or glance another parameter named Horizontal Frequency, which must be the possible biggest thing, between approximately 30 to 80 KHz. For example, a monitor in which the horizontal frequency is from 30 to 65 KHz will give only 60 Hz to 1600x1200 points, while one in which it is from 30 to 90 will give 75 or more.


Point size (dot pitch)

It is a parameter that measures the clearness of the image, measuring the distance between two points of the same color; it turns out to be fundamental to big resolutions. Sometimes it is different in vertical that in horizontal, or it is a question of an average value, depending on the particular disposition of the points of color on the screen, as well as of the type of grill used to direct the electrons bundles.

Minimal exigible in this moment is that it is 0,28 mm, without owing to admit anything top as it should not be in monitors of big format for presentations, where the resolution is not so important as the size of the image.

For CAD or in general uses to high resolution he must be a 0,28 mm minor, ideally of 0,25 mm (or less). Of all forms, the mere fact of being lower than 0,28 mm already Indian a big worry of the manufacturer for the quality of the monitor. As example is necessary to emphasize the monitors Sony, the famous Triniton, which happen for being the best of the market (and probably it be, with pardon of Nokia and Eizo) and they they all have one dot pitch 0,25 mm maximum.


Control panel and connections

Although it goes away increasingly to the use of monitors with digital control panel, at first it must not be slightly determinant at the time of choosing a monitor, although it has a tendency that the monitors with the above mentioned control panel are more forward positions of the scale.

An almost common characteristic to the monitors with digital control panel it is the control panel OSD (On Screen Control, control panel on screen). It is these messages that indicate us what parameter we are changing and what value are giving him. They are useful, but by no means essential (the quality of the monitor does not even depend including the above mentioned system or not).

What yes they usually have some digital monitors (not all) there are memoirs of the parameters of image (size, position...), therefore, on having changed resolution, we do not have to readjust the above mentioned values, which can be quite bothersome.

As for the control panel in itself, essential they are: size of the image (vertical and horizontal), position of the image, tone and sheen. They are of being grateful for those of "effect barrel" (to keep the rims of the image straight), trapezoidal control (to keep her rectangular) and degauss magnetically or desmagnetización.

As for the connections, the inexcusable thing there is the typical connector mini D-sub of 15 pines; in monitors of 17 " or more it is interesting that there exist also connectors BNC, which present the advantage of separating three basic colors. Anyway, this only imports if the graphic card also incorporates them and if the precision in the representation of the color turns out to be determinant in the use of the monitor.

Nowadays some monitors can incorporate a bay USB, for the connection of this type of peripheral. It turns out to be slightly showy, but for that the motherboard is already; I never took it as an authentic advantage.



Some monitors have connected loudspeakers, and enclosed microphone and/or video cameras. This turns out to be interesting when there talks each other of a monitor of 15 " ó 17 " whose use is going to be a servant, for games or videoconference.

Nevertheless, let's not deceive: a monitor is to see, not to hear. Not even the sound quality of the above mentioned loudspeakers is either the best possible one, the most suitable or his disposition, the quality of a monitor nor is major with the above mentioned additions. If what he wants (and he should want it) is a good monitor, first look at the image quality and then these extra; bear in mind that a few loudspeakers of average quality and resounding potency do not cost any more than 10.000 pts, and it will be able to place where he wants them.


The election of the monitor

This topic is treated more in depth in the section dedicated to the monitor in What components to buy for... Nevertheless, in general lines we might say that 4 principal types of monitors exist, bearing in mind that at present those of 14 " are not by no means advisable for any use:



Animal. recommended

Animal. maxim

Dot pitch

Economic (office computerization, games)


800x600 to 75 Hz

1024x768 to 60 Hz


Means (games, general use)


800x600 to 80 Hz

1280x1024 to 60 Hz

0,28 to 0,25


1024x768 to 75 Hz

1280x1024 to 60 Hz


Forward positions (general use, CAD)


1152x864 to 75 Hz

1600x1200 to 60 Hz

0,27 to 0,22

Exceptional (CAD, images)

19 "/21"

1280x1024 to 85 Hz

1600x1200 to 70 Hz

0,27 to 0,22

Obviously, apart from the use to which the monitor is going to be destined, the authentic factor limitante is the proper pocket. There is not he doubts that to play to Quake the best monitor it would belong to the last group, if we could leave apart 200.000 pts that the caprice would cost...


Portable screens

They are based on technologies of liquid crystal (LCD), looked like to those of the digital clocks of bracelet but very much more advanced posts.

One of the most curious differences with regard to the "classic" monitors is that the size that is indicated is the real one, not as in these. While in a classic monitor of 15 " of diagonal of pipe only one maximum of 13,5 " to 14 " they are usable, on a portable screen of 13,3 " they are completely useful, so they are not so small as it seems.

Another thing that they differs is that they do not express by no means harmful electromagnetic radiations, therefore the visual fatigue and the possible ocular problems diminish.

At present two types coexist:

  • Dual Scan (DSTN): already not much used, reasonably good but they depend on the conditions of local lighting where the portable one is used.
  • HPA: a modern variant of the previous ones, of contrast lightly top, but eye: only lightly Superior, undoubtedly worse than the TFT.
  • Counterfoil Activates (TFT): this option gets dearer the portable one, but it allows a perfect visualization be which be the exterior lighting conditions.

Otherwise, in all the cases the images turn out to be better straight ahead than of side, going so far as to eliminate if escoramos very much, although in the portable modern ones this vision angle is very high, up to some 160th (the maximum is 180th, more the screen would mean to be able to see us from the back).


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