Buying a new monitor can be tricky. First, you must decipher the manufacturer doublespeak. Not all specifications are created equal, nor are they measured fairly: You truly can’t tell a book by its cover, nor a monitor by its box copy. And then there are the displays themselves. A monitor by itself might look good to you, but you won’t know what you’re missing unless you compare it against the competition.
We’re going to walk you through the basics of today’s LCD monitor technology and what it means to you, a consumer who wants the best picture for your pennies. But we’re not going to leave you hanging: We’re also going to review 10 monitors across a wide swath of sizes and prices to give you a head start on your purchasing decision.
Not very long ago, in a land not at all far away, there was a little company called Blueport. It held the copyright on a piece of software that the US Air Force liked using for logistics. Blueport protected its software with a time bomb—a bit of code that made the software self-destruct when the license expired. That date was approaching, and Blueport wanted to negotiate a new license with the USAF—and you know, get paid.
Instead, it got a bit of the ol’ shock and awe. The Air Force not only didn’t pay up, it paid big contractor SAIC ($2.5 million in lobbying in 2007) to reverse engineer Blueport’s program and disable the time bomb. The Air Force also paid SAIC to rewrite the program, and by rewrite I mean simply cut and paste any of the original code that seemed useful.
A Dream Machine graced the inaugural issue of Maximum PC back in 1998, and the tradition of building an annual no-holds-barred PC beast has continued unabated since then. True to form, this year’s rig is the most audacious, most powerful dream rig to date. Equipped with no fewer than eight processing cores, four graphics cores, and five hard drives, DM2008 is probably also our most controversial build. But as Lando said, it’s not our fault.
In the old days, we would just pick the very best hardware available. But those were simpler times, when parts vendors all got along and their sole mission was to provide you with badass gear. Sadly, the stakes are so high today that politics has an undue influence on hardware configurations.
To find out who's on our naughty list, and see an in-depth kick-ass examination of our Dream Machine, hit the jump! And hold onto your hat.
So is PC gaming hosed? That seems to be the case for games that a) are not massively multiplayer, b) don’t have “Sims” in the title, or c) aren’t played by your mom.
But it’s not really as dire as all that. Mass Effect actually made it to number 2, and Sins of a Solar Empire to number 9, on the current NPD PC sales charts.
Those numbers, however, don’t reflect where PC owners are really gettin’ their game on: with casual games. Remember when you would say you were a PC gamer and people would say, “Yeah, me too,” and you’d ask what they played, and they’d say, “Minesweeper and Solitaire.” And you’d chuckle. Good times!
A few minor flaws aside, the SteelSeries 7G is a truly spectacular piece of hardware.
Almost completely devoid of amenities, this keyboard was designed from the ground up to prevent keyboard lockup—the effect that suspends all input if you inadvertently press too many buttons at once. Lockup is essentially a death sentence for competitive gamers.
Hit 'Read More' to read more. We're clever like that.
Acer’s native-1080p display wins points for hitting the widescreen 16:9 formfactor, but the P244w treats its colors with the same unpleasantness it treats its grayscales. The monitor’s color saturation suffers from a reduced range on both the top and bottom ends of the spectrum: Colors lose their vibrancy as they get darker and become washed out as they get lighter.
Hit the jump for the full scoop on this mediocre monitor.
The Gateway FHD2401 hits a ball or two out of the park, but we’re not terribly impressed by this 24-inch panel’s overall performance.
The display’s grayscale performance favors the darker side of the spectrum. The FHD2401 is able to distinguish among shades of gray against a black background, but a below-average showing in lighter grayscales hurts overall performance.
ViewSonic’s VX2240w is unwatchable at its factory default setting—the screen’s brightness is cranked beyond the point of acceptable image quality. Fortunately, we were able to tweak the display’s settings to produce an image that was at least similar in quality to the Gateway HD2201’s. While the VX2240 matched the HD2201 tit for tat in its ability to produce lighter shades of gray on a solid white background, the former exhibited better color saturation in the lighter shade levels.
We control the horizontal; we control the vertical after the jump.