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Monitors and their settings

The monitor, does not take part in any of your computing functions, but displays the results of your computing actions . They do not affect your PC's performance, but can affect the usability. A poor quality monitor can spoil what is otherwise a good PC system, it can also cause eye strain.

Two types of monitors dominate the market, CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) and LCD (Liquid Crystal Display). As LCD monitors offer slimmer designs and lower energy consumption, they are becoming the number one choice of new computer buyers, but what is the difference?

CRT uses a picture tube to display the image, an electronic gun beams a combination of 3 dots of colour to form a pixel. By rapidly moving across rows of pixels, from top to bottom, constantly changing the colour of individual pixels to change the image displayed.

LCD uses Liquid crystals sandwiched in between glass. electronic pulses are used to alter the state if individual crystals, which then form coloured pixels, which form the image viewed.

Screen resolution

So the screen is made up of pixels (short for picture element), a small dot which when given a colour forms a minute part of the picture, the number of pixels your screen is set to display is called Screen resolution.

The screen resolution is set with two numbers, the number of pixels across the screen, and the number of pixels down the screen.

Common settings are 640x480, 800x600, 1024x786 and 1600x1200. Which setting you choose is a matter of personal choice from the range available from the video card you have installed.
Settings of 800x600 will use 800 pixels across the screen and 600 pixels down the screen to display the image, irrespective of whether you have a 14, 15, 17 or 21 inch monitor.
Whatever you see on your screen will be smaller as you increase the screen resolution, let me explain. If you have 800 pixels across your screen, then increase the resolution to 1024, each pixel will be smaller as your computer divides your screen into 1024 for each pixel, as opposed to 800.
This does increase the quality of the picture though.

If you do not know what your screen resolution is, Click here

A 14" monitor will only fit in 640x480 pixels, which means you will have to do a lot of sideways scrolling as many pages will be wider than your monitor. If you set the pixels to 1024x768, the images may be too small on a 14" or 15" screen,
As a general rule, you should set your resolution to the maximum your screen was designed for,
14" monitor - 640x480.
15" screen - 800x600.
17" screen - 1024x768.
19" monitor - it can be as much as 1600x1200.
To change the setting click Start and then Control panel (or Start > Settings > Control panel depending on your version of Windows). XP users will need to view the Control panel in Classic view. Double click the Display icon.

Make your adjustments on the settings tab.

For Apple Mac, click the apple in the top right corner, select Control panel then Monitors and sound. Select your preferred setting under resolution.


The number of colours are also important, The best practical settings are 16 bit, with 64,000 colours. If you work with photographs or high resolution graphics, and have plenty of available memory, you could choose to use 32 bit with 16 million colours, but for general web use, 16 bit is recommended.
Check/adjust your colour on the Settings tab of the Display properties box. (As described above to adjust Screen resolution)

Brightness, contrast and gamma

To help you adjust these settings use the grey scale card below. there should be 21 distinct squares from black to white, and back again.

These adjustments are made on your monitor itself. Check with your manufactures manual or their website.

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