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Monitor and Visuals Tweak Guide (Page 2/4)

Posted: August 8, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan

Extending the Life of a Monitor

It is in your best interest to do everything possible to extend the life of your existing monitor - not only will it 'last longer' but it will also remain more vibrant. Here are a few things you can do:

- Disable power saving mode and manually turn off the monitor if you won't be using it for an extended period of time. Power saving modes on CRTs stress the internal components of the monitor a great deal and can wear out a monitor prematurely.
- Avoid turning your monitor on and off several times during the day - and if you do turn it off only do it for extended periods of 'away time' (at least an hour). Turning a monitor on and off frequently enhances the drift effect (making it necessary to recalibrate the monitor) and can damage the monitor.
- As I said earlier, keep the ventilation holes on the back of the monitor clear of debris to avoid overheating, as the excess heat can damage the internal components of the monitor.
- Rather than using the pass-thru cable from the power supply to the monitor (as many older computers do), it is advisable to plug the monitor directly into a port in the wall or in your power strip. This will eliminate one possible cause of power fluxuation and as such improve the overall life of your monitor.

Video Card Drivers

This is particularly important with older cards, as manufacturers seem to have conquered any and all problems in visual clarity and color vibrancy (at least in 2D -- 3D is another story), but updating drivers can still help. And even if they don't directly help, many times they will have added features that will allow you to farther tweak out your display for better visual acuity. Another option would be to download and install new firmware for the video card. New firmware can do almost anything to a card, including improve timing between the RAMDAC (which translates the internal information on the video card into information the monitor can use) and the video card as well as any number of other little things that could help the card perform better.

Resolution and Refresh Rate

Setting the proper resolution and refresh rate for your monitor is very important. If the two settings aren't set up properly, you may be either under-utilizing the abilities of the monitor or pushing the monitor (and possibly your eyes as well) past what it ought to be running at. Below is a table with the best resolution for your monitor sorted by screen size:

14" 800x600
15" 800x600 or 1024x768
17" 1024x768
19" 1152x 864 or 1280x1024
21" 1280x1024 or 1600x1200

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