Screen resoloution?

  jake2 00:35 20 May 2006

Could someone explain to me the basics of screen resoloution please? as I know nothing at all about this subject.
I am replacing my old 19" CRT Hansol 900P for a TFT Samsung 930BF
I see that the CRT max resoloution is 1600 x 1200
and the TFT is 1280 x 1024
What does this mean?
The CRT has better / worse resoloution?
The higher / lower the numbers the better?

  ade.h 00:52 20 May 2006

1600x1200 signifies a screen that comprises horizontal lines of 1600 pixels and vertical lines of 1200 pixels. Think of it as width and height.

A higher resolution inevitably (the limited text/toolbar size adjustments available in Win XP aside) means smaller icons, text toolbars, windows.... everything.

For a real world comparison, you must divide the horizontal resolution by the true horizontal screen area to gain a true impression of what the image will look like. For example, a 17" CRT has a visible diagonal of c.16" and a true horizontal of c.14". The visible horizontal works out at about 13". Thin Film Transistor screens have a visible area that matches their true area.

A 15.4" widescreen TFT has a horizontal area of 13" and a pixel width of 1280 in its basic form (XGA). SXGA has 1600 pixels. So 1280 into 13 = 98.5 pixels per inch. A larger widescreen of, say, 20.1" (c.18" horizontal) would need nearly 1800 pixels to achieve the same object size, but in doing so, it would provide a substantially bigger desktop area. Regardless of screen size, more pixels means more room for multiple windows, but you have to ask yourself whether you will be able to use it comfortably when the objects are smaller.

  jake2 13:20 20 May 2006

Thanks for that.
So once you have set the resoloution so that the icons are an acceptable size there is no real reason to adjust screen resoloution again?

  DieSse 14:54 20 May 2006

*So once you have set the resoloution so that the icons are an acceptable size there is no real reason to adjust screen resoloution again?*

That's correct.

*The CRT has better / worse resoloution?.

That's a subjective judgement you should make yourself. It's not only about resolution . it's also about sharpness, linearity and colour purity. Sharpness is most related to resolution, in a sense. And generally "higher is better" - but because of the way Windows works, too high leads to too small items on the display - text and icons.

But there is an issue with TFTs that does not affect CRTs.

TFTs are built with a certain number of actual pixels physically part of the screen. This number of pixels is called the "native resolution" - where each dot of the picture from the graphics card matches an actual dot on the screen. And for a 19" TFT it's normally 1280x1024 dots, unless it's a wide screen.

Now on the TFT you can display higher and lower resolutions, just like a CRT - but the picture is never quite as good at these other resolutions - and some monitors do the better than others.

So, it's a good idea to see some monitors, with the resolution set to that you find acceptable - and then choose the one that works best for you. If you're happy with the native resolution, it will widen your choice of monitor.

When you get TFTs demonstarated to you, insist the "Clear-Type" is in use (a display option in WinXP) - because only then will you see the display to it's best advantage.

  jake2 17:28 20 May 2006

So if the TFT's recommended resoloution is 1280 x 1024
Why would anyone WANT to change it to anything else? When all it appears to do is adjust the size of the chaacters on the screen.
My CRT is set at 1024 x 768 at the moment and everything on screen is fine for me, yet it's max resoloution 1600 x 1200 when I looked at that, everything on the screen was far too small!
Would I be correct in assuming that when the monitor arrives it's likely that the default resoloution will be the one that fills the screen best anyway?

  DieSse 19:55 20 May 2006

*Why would anyone WANT to change it to anything else?*

Some people actually prefer the icons and text larger, particularly when older and/or no so good eyesight.

*Would I be correct in assuming that when the monitor arrives it's likely that the default resoloution will be the one that fills the screen best anyway?*

When the monitor arrives, and you connect it up, the resolution will be whatever you currently have - as it's set by adjusting the graphics card, and you have said yours is at 1024x768, so the new monitor will be at the same.

I recommend you to rest it to the native resolution 1280x1024 right away, and see if you get on with that OK.

  ade.h 20:39 20 May 2006

This Samsung 930BF - is it a 19"?

If so, its native res will almost certainly be 1280x1024, which is identical to 17" TFTs. Personally, I find that this makes objects too large and, of course, it provides no additional desk space compared to a 17" TFT. With the same pixel width in a larger horizontal width, you can't fit any more in, but it will all be bigger. See my previous comments about pixels-per-inch. The only way to see what a 19" TFT will be like before you see one is to view a monitor that happens to be using the same pixel-per-inch ratio. A 19" TFT has a visible horizontal of c.15" (based on a 5:4 aspect) which gives 85ppi. That's quite a clunky image. I look for at least 98ppi. But if you are running your 19" CRT at just 1024x768, you're obviously used to large screen objects. The TFT may actually appear a little small to you initially, but you'll get used to it quite quickly.

  jake2 21:52 20 May 2006

Thanks guy's.
I'll no doubt be back with more daft questions later!

  Cybermaxx 10:34 21 May 2006

I use a 17 inch CRT, maximum resolution is 1600 x 1200 @ 75Hz. I use that resolution for some games, but not for web browsing etc. 1024 x 768 is spot-on for that. Have you never tried any games on your PC?

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