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What is a Monitor?

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Updated June 27, 2022

A desktop computer needs a monitor in order to function properly. This fact may lead some to wonder exactly what a computer monitor is. We are here to help.

What is a Monitor?

A monitor displays images that have been fed to the video card by the computer itself. These monitors come in a number of different sizes, which you can learn about in our resource article about the computer monitor aspect ratio. Frankly, there are tons of monitor types to suit the various needs of consumers.

Types of PC Displays

There are three distinct types of monitors, each of which offers its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

OLED Displays

An OLED display is an organic light-emitting diode, also known as an organic electroluminescent diode. OLED monitors offer unparalleled color accuracy and an increased range of useable viewing angles, compared to other types of display. The only downside? OLED displays require a massive amount of power and radiate a fair amount of heat during use. In other words, having multiple OLED displays running constantly will significantly increase your power bill. They also tend to be on the expensive side.

Moreover, if you’re purchasing an expensive monitor like OLED or QLED, you’ll want to invest in a high-end computer warranty. Just make sure it covers all the best parts.

Tip: OLED displays require a massive amount of power and radiate a fair amount of heat during use

LCD Monitors

A liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a flat-panel design that uses light-modulating liquid crystals to create a stunning picture quality. They have a relatively small footprint, both in their overall size and in regard to energy consumption. LCD monitors have also significantly decreased in price throughout the years, offering gorgeous visuals at a fraction of the cost of their OLED cousins. LCD monitors can run into some quality issues, however, with stuck pixels and other ailments being relatively common.

Tip: LCD monitors can run into some quality issues, however, with stuck pixels and other ailments being

CRT Displays

CRT monitors are made with cathode ray tubes and are the oldest type of computer display, using a technology similar to what was found in the early television sets. These types of monitors have fallen out of fashion in recent years, due to being extremely heavy and larger than OLED or LCD displays. They also emit a fairly large amount of radiation, which can be a health concern. On the plus side, CRT displays are a fantastic way to play retro video games, as these games were designed with CRT monitors in mind.

Tip: These types of monitors have fallen out of fashion in recent years, due to being extremely heavy and larger than OLED or LCD displays

Tip: On the plus side, CRT displays are a fantastic way to play retro video games, as these games were designed with CRT monitors in mind

Additional Monitor Features

Many modern monitors ship with a number of innovative and additional features. These can include built-in microphones, a Bluetooth receiver, a USB hub, and dedicated stereo speakers. Laptop computers also ship with the monitor attached, making them a great choice for the computing novice.

STAT

For gaming monitors, the highest response time you’ll likely see is 5ms, while the fastest gaming monitors can have a 0.5ms response time.

Some monitors ship with speakers and other useful add-ons.

Resources: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathode-ray_tube

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLED

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid-crystal_display

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_monitor

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZwCDBBwSdU

What is a Computer Monitor FAQ

What size monitor do I need?

This entirely depends on personal preference and what you plan on using your computer for. Those in the creative arts may prefer large monitors and even may build dual-monitor setups in some cases.

What are the different kinds of monitor panels?

Generally speaking, monitor panels separate into three distinct types. There are LCD monitors, OLED displays, and CRT screens. CRT monitors are the oldest of the bunch, dating back to the beginning of computing.

What major features should I look for in a monitor?

Look for a high resolution, a decent pixel count, and vivid color accuracy. You may also want to keep the monitor’s overall size and weight in mind as you shop.
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