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8ms, 600:1, DVI-in good enough?
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Written by saquib   
Sunday, 09 April 2006 10:03

I have been thinking about getting a LCD monitor for about last 2 years. But these products have been always been high priced, and I could never justify that fact. These days, it’s a different story. LCDs have become cheaper, and better. As being a graphic designer, and a gamer, my obvious requirements for display products are always among the top. Ever since I have been browsing the net for specs and price, to get the most out of money, I have been constantly coming back to this model. It’s a “Samsung SyncMaster™ 740B” – and it’s got all the basic functions I have been looking for in an LCD.

The most prominent reasons why I chose this specific model would be:

1. 17” at 1280x1024 @ 75Hz: I won’t ever be running games higher than that resolution, and the work space is very justified for me in desktop as well. 15” is too small; 21” is just too expensive only because of size. Besides, the 75Hz at highest resolution also means good for my eyes.

2. DV-I Input: This is absolutely something I require. Most of my graphic works look stunning (and more inspiring to me) in digital connection and that’s just something I couldn’t give up when buying an LCD.

3. 8ms Response Time: Not exactly the fastest – but definitely enough for my 7800GTX to run games at highest settings. 16ms response time is okay for many of my friends, who own a LCD screen, but having 8ms keeps me worry-free for any kind of distortion in high FPS. I didn’t want to get lower, since I never wanted to pay for something that I couldn’t find any difference in (apart from my college education).

                                                                                                     

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4. 290U$ Price Tag: I have found lower prices than this for this monitor n new egg, but the shipping and taxes adds up to this anyway. Although this isn’t exactly cheap at this range, but based on the specific features I mentioned, I couldn’t have found another quality product.

5. Samsung: Brand makes a big difference to me when buying expensive stuffs, and I am very afraid of dead pixels. Samsung has a very good reputation on monitors and display products, and also widely available – especially here in the Asian regions; I couldn’t find a better manufacturer in this region that comes close to Samsung at this price range.

Next ill try discussing my experience with this LCD monitor.

The 740B is packed in a box slightly bigger than the monitor itself. The first thing to notice about is, its light weight – especially if you are used to carrying CRTs, you’d be amazed to see how light it actually weighs. The box is well packed and upon opening you’ll find the supplied materials with the product.


The product comes with a standard 2-pin power cable, an analog VGA/D-SUB display cable, quick installation guides, and a CD ROM containing the drivers, manuals and other basic support files. The lack of proper 3 pin power cable, DV-I cable and printed manual does made me a little disappointed (even no cover was provide for the CD!), but everywhere on the internet the information about missing DV-I cable was provided, and thus I bought a separate DV-I connecting cable.


Upon removing the supplied accessories, and the packing – the back of the LCD screen was visible. The cables are connected under a covering hood of the back panel, and I left the LCD in its box while removing the back cover and attaching the cables. The back cover is extremely easy to remove, and the connections are also simple to make. Underneath the cover lies 3 connection ports for Power, DV-I connection and the standard 15 pin D-SUB connection.


The stand needs to be connected, and connection is easy. The connecting screw is provided, and it can be done without using any tool. The screen also can be adjusted up or down using the joint between the stand and the screen itself. It seems like it requires a screw to make the adjustments, but it also can be done by simply thrusting it upward or downward at the desired angle.


The slim, clean and simple looks of the LCD monitor, gives that renown Samsung feel, found in many of their products. Although I got myself a Black model, I believe the Silver version would look even better. On placing the monitor on my desk, as expected a huge lot of space was now empty. Although many reviewers have said that the monitor looks much bigger, comparing to the same sized (17’) CRTs, this is not exactly case. The monitor, although has more viewing area than its same sized CRT models - the slimness also doesn’t make the monitor look that big. Of course, once switched on, it fees like a little bit more work-space is available both in the screen and outside than my 17” CRT.

Installing driver is very easy and fast using the provided CD-ROM. The color superiority of this LCD is simply brilliant. As it was obvious from the manufacturer’s specs, Samsung did keep its promise maintaining a top class monitor. Images look extremely vivid and detailed. Of course, as its an LCD – the first thing to notice is its amazing contrast and brightness. Colors look extremely vivid and sharp – in fact at times it may seem too sharp or too bright. Especially the white color in this LCD at many times is seriously intense. If not adjusted properly, the over brightness might tend to irritate you ad give you headache. The “Internet” option mode is good for Texts and Chatting, while other modes also work great for the purposes they have been preset for. Although playing games, working on Photoshop, and watching movies were all fun, but browsing through Windows, and using Microsoft Word was not so satisfying because of the intensity of the white color (these programs have more white than any other color) – you’d have have many times move back and forth on preset settings when you switch your applications (from MS Word to Games to movies). I’m sure it can be adjusted somehow to be more precise, but so far the adjustments were not suiting all the categories of usage under one setting. Instead of using different automatic and built in settings, I preferred configuring settings manually as much as possible, it should ne noted settings vary based on Analog and Digital connection used. I’m not sure if this general with all LCDs, but spending more time with the manual, as well as trying to use the Magic Bright™ feature more accurately might give better results. The settings are not really that easy to make, and you really have to spend quite sometime with it before finalizing on a “perfect” calibration. The viewangle is good, but no way near CRTs. If you move left and lifgt more you'd notice little difference compared to a lot of difference if you move upward or downward, but compared to many LCDs its still more than enough if not perfect - you'd only need to get the habit of sitting still when looking at the LCD! So far best results were seen on NFS Most Wanted, Quake 4 and of course Battlefield 2 (under my customized settings). Testing the video quality with WMV-High Definition format also yielded classic and “noticeably” distinguishable superiority over CRTs or analog LCDs. Even DVDs look "cleaner" specially when using the nVidia's Pure video Decoder. It can be concluded that I really am exceptionally satisfied with this product and feel great that I spent the money on the right preference. A few days of calibrations here and there would make the rich experience complete.
 

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