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Widescreen or square?

Old 02-24-07, 07:47 PM
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Widescreen or square?

I worked quite a few hours this vacation, so next week I get a hefty (by a 17 year old's standards) paycheck. I've put the past two paychecks in my IRA, so this one I've decided gets to be spent on goodies . An oscilloscope or a nifty circuit called Grex is something to consider, and will take a good 60-70% of my paycheck.
But something I am leaning toward is finally replacing my 10 year old 17" CRT monitor! If I go LCD, I want at least a 20". The question is, do I want widescreen or square?
As far as my applications go:
I don't watch movies on my monitor, it's not my home entertainment system. I don't do image or media editing of any source. I read a LOT of PDF's, documents, etc.
Also, I use solid modeling programs. Solidworks and MasterCAM is basically it.
Thanks for your input!
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Old 02-24-07, 08:01 PM
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Get a Widescreen,if for no other reason they are much easier on the eyes.
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Old 02-24-07, 08:05 PM
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17 year olds have IRA's?
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Old 02-24-07, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Portis
17 year olds have IRA's?
Education IRA. Tax free deductions IF used for educational purposes. Interest pays really well, so I put in every other paycheck in there.
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Old 02-24-07, 08:26 PM
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Good for you. Here's to hoping my son is thinking like this when he is 17.
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Old 02-24-07, 08:32 PM
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Best thing you can do for your son is promote the idea from an early age. My mom practicly forced me to save my money from the time I turned 12. I hated it then.
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Old 02-24-07, 08:48 PM
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I loooooooove widescreen monitors when I'm playing with Excel spreadsheets. Of course, with a 20" monitor, you're going to have a ton of room either way. I'd probably go square and save some coin over the widescreen option.
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Old 02-24-07, 09:55 PM
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I prefer using a wide screen for watching movies or some video games. However I'm not sure how well it works with Solidworks. I've only used this program on a square screen. I assume it would work quite nicely.
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Old 02-24-07, 11:20 PM
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For typical documents, a widescreen is a waste on smaller size screens since most documents are designed for printing in portrait mode. However, at the screen size you're considering, depending on the resolution, a wide screen may allow you to fit two pages side by side, in which case the extra width is potentially put to really good use.
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Old 02-24-07, 11:24 PM
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Clarifying, if I can't fit a page on the screen (usually because the screen is too small in the vertical direction) I'd rather extra height than extra width. But once a page fits anyway, fitting 1.2 pages vertically doesn't really do me much good. But if I can squeeze two pages in horizontally while still fitting a page in vertically (potentially having the outer margins fall off the screen) then the extra width is golden.
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Old 02-24-07, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2
Best thing you can do for your son is promote the idea from an early age. My mom practicly forced me to save my money from the time I turned 12. I hated it then.
Depends on the son. A desire to save and invest came naturally to me. My parents had to teach me to not be too stingy. Of course, now I'm a bit too wasteful.
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Old 02-25-07, 09:42 AM
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20" widescreen LCD. I have one, and it is GREAT.
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Old 02-25-07, 11:11 AM
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widescreens make the picture seem "shorter", becase the screen is wider
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Old 02-25-07, 11:15 AM
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I'm a fan of widescreens now that I've actually used one.

The extra horizontal resolution is really nice when you are doing two things or more at the same time. Reason is it allows you to run each window wider tha normal when doing things like this...and honestly width is more important then height when doing stuff on the computer.
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Old 02-25-07, 12:25 PM
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Depends on the application. At work I have a wide screen and two square monitors. Some programs I like in the wide screen (easier to have two windows open next to each other), some in the square ones.

If you're going to be reading stuff, I'd go with the square; 1. the 20" is already pretty wide (especially coming from a 17") 2. if the documents are PDF and already formated for portrait, no need for the extra width 3. if the documents aren't formated for portrait (like some webpages, word documents), you end up reading lines all the way across the monitor which can be tiresome. 4. More height will let you read more with out scrolling, which can be annoying when you get assigned a few hundred pages of PDF's to read.

I'd go to a store and try em out and see what you like.
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Old 02-25-07, 12:42 PM
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Well, what about solid modeling programs? Is widescreen best for that? I have pretty much no experience with widescreens except visiting a friend who had one, I got to see BF in widescreen for 1 minute.
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Old 02-25-07, 12:47 PM
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For rendering? Depends on what you are rendering. For CAD, I would assume a widescreen will work fine if you can layout the window's toolbars properly.
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Old 02-25-07, 12:48 PM
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In an ideal world, 2 squares and one widescreen. But 99% of the time I am happy with 2 squares.
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Old 02-25-07, 01:35 PM
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I would love to have two monitors. I just can't justify spending 500+ on two monitors for my application. Even if I end up getting a USB based oscilloscope, I will probably just use my current CRT for that only when I need it.
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Old 02-25-07, 01:45 PM
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I've done a lot of work on 23" widescreens in my college's graphics lab, and they were great for documents because you could put 2 pages side by side at full zoom. But, if you're not doing intensive editing, that is of limited benefit, and it also requires a very large and high-res screen... dunno if a 20" would be good for that. Also, the comparatively smaller vertical resolution of a widescreen might be a disadvantage for 3d modelling... I mean by this, that you can get a square screen with 1200 lines of vertical res for about the same cost (last I checked, at least) as a widescreen with 1050 lines. But, it's really not that huge of a difference when you get to those sort of resolutions.

Honestly, if you're not doing video and don't need side by side page editing abilities, another reason for a square screen may be simple cost. Widescreens are in style now, and square screens aren't so much. I see a lot more sale deals on square screens than on widescreens.

Sorry I can't help more, but honestly for your kinda work I could see advantages either way, so personally it'd just come down to cost and how the particular screen feels, without so much consideration of widescreen vs. square.
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Old 02-25-07, 02:03 PM
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I don't see a lot of 20"+ square screens around though. Am I blind or am I missing something?
And, what does contrast ratio mean? I see some advertised as 800:1 contrast ratio, then some as low as 500:1 contrast ratio.
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Old 02-25-07, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by phantomcow2
I don't see a lot of 20"+ square screens around though. Am I blind or am I missing something?
And, what does contrast ratio mean? I see some advertised as 800:1 contrast ratio, then some as low as 500:1 contrast ratio.
I got this one for home use Acer AL2017BMD / 20". Its not the best out there, especially through the VGA input, but I put a DVI vid card in my new comp and it works great, going strong for about 6 months so far. Price is 228 at Tiger but you might find it cheaper somewhere else. I got it for 200, with a rebate of course.
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Old 02-25-07, 02:54 PM
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Dual screen is only affordable iff you are looking at 22" displays or larger. In that case you can save some big bucks and buy a single-unit dual-19" normal aspect display. That will give you a MASSIVE desktop....be ready to lose your mouse pointer.

Look at the program you are using for solid modeling PC2...if you wish you had more horizontal, get a widescreen. You have to know what you want, otherwise you will spend way too much.
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Old 02-25-07, 02:57 PM
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Hmm, now that I think of it. If I am looking at a squarish fixture or something in Solidworks, it might be a pain to have to move up always. I am leaning toward square.
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Old 02-25-07, 03:27 PM
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Here, read this... It explains contrast ratios and all the other specs... It's specifically for 19" monitors, but the information applies to all LCDs.

Still doesn't solve the square vs. widescreen issue, but it'll clear up some of the other considerations.
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