Sunday, August 06, 2006


Samsung SyncMaster 204B LCD Monitor

This weekend, we had a sales-tax holiday in Georgia. Computer components were among the tax-free items, so I decided to buy myself a new monitor.

Up to now, I've been using a 20-inch ViewSonic CRT on my Windows machine. It was considered huge back when I bought it, but now 20-inch monitors are no longer a luxury item. That monitor supported 1600x1200 resolution, but was a bit blurry, so I usually only used it at 1280x1024. It was good for games, but I didn't really like doing "real work" with it at that low resolution.

I've really liked the LCD displays on my laptops, the iMac, and my 24-inch Dell display at work, so I decided to get one of those.

When I first started looking, I was disappointed to find that most 17-inch and 20-inch LCD monitors only support 1280x1024. WTF? For me, the point of having a big monitor is not just to make everything bigger—I want to be able to put more information on screen. Why buy a 20-inch monitor when it displays the same thing a 15-inch monitor does?

I was also annoyed to find that most LCDs with higher resolutions are only available in a widescreen aspect ratio. Are there really that many people watching HD programs and DVDs on their computer screens?

For "real work", the traditional 4:3 ratio is better, I think. I like a tall screen, so that when I'm working on source code or documents, I can see more of it. A widescreen aspect ratio sucks for that kind of work.

Anyway, after enough searching, I finally found the Samsung SyncMaster 204B. It does 1600x1200, has a quick response time, and was only $299 (after an $80 rebate). Thanks to the sales-tax holiday, I saved about $26.

So far, I have no complaints. It's a last-generation bare-bones LCD monitor, without USB hubs or other snazzy features that the newer LCD monitors have. The 1600x1200 picture looks nice, and the display takes up a lot less desk space than my CRT did. That's all I wanted.

I'm tempted to buy a second one, so that I'll have a multi-screen desktop, but then I'll have to buy a new video card. And a new desk.

Once you get two monitors, you'll understand that software development is impossible with only one.
Yeah, I have a two-monitor setup at work, and I'll definitely need one at home.
I bought a second monitor. I don't know how I went a week without it.
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