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DVI Flat Panels? 95

David_Bloom asks: "I've been shopping for flat panels, and have found it very hard to find a good deal on an LCD with DVI. My best bet so far is probably the NEC MultiSync 1550XBK (I've heard good things about its picture quality, and I'm not a gamer, so update times are irrelevant to me), but I've noticed that for about the same cost (~$600), I could buy a 17" Samsung LCD with that TV and video input thingy, but it only has analog VGA input (no DVI). I really don't want to buy a flat screen without DVI to avoid the phasing problems (its a must for me). Any reccomendations on good, low cost DVI-compatible flat screens? Any idea why monitors with DVI support are more (it's digital, so in theory, it should cost less, because there's no need for a analog to digital conversion)?"
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DVI Flat Panels?

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  • But whenever I think about buying a monitor of any kind there are two places I go.

    First I head to
    I head to
    free shipping!
  • Check THG (Score:4, Informative)

    by FueledByRamen ( 581784 ) <> on Friday December 27, 2002 @02:24PM (#4967470)
    Tom's Hardware Guide just did a review of 17" LCD panels [] in its Display guide section. Jump to the conclusion page and you'll find a single 17" LCD that they looked at with the DVI input - the "Belinea 10 17 20". Unfortunately, it's not all that great; the brightness leaves a lot to be desired, and it has serious trailing issues. It does cost only around $650, though. At least solutions in that price range do exist, though they're lacking in quality. Good luck finding a good one.
    • The Llyama brand name is consistantly at the top in those reviews -- they seem to make good panels. If the version they had reviewed had a DVI connection, I would've snapped it up.

      Anyway, I did some research, and in the US supplies the model Pro Lite 4315UT -- which is a 17" with DVI, for about $650. Not bad.

      I don't know if the quality is as great as the one Tom's Hardware reviewed, but its a decent price from a quality manufacturer.

      It seems that most manufacturers make DVI versions, they're just rarer, and since they're in less demand, get reviewed less and less.
    • Re:Check THG (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sirket ( 60694 )

      I just bought three Viewsonic VG171b's.

      Analog and DVI input. Black Case. both inputs can be connected and switched between using a front panel button. Crystal clear output. 1280x1024 resolution. The price? $5867 each. Not bad if you ask me.

  • Why expensive? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jahf ( 21968 ) on Friday December 27, 2002 @02:26PM (#4967485) Journal
    Any idea why monitors with DVI support are more (it's digital, so in theory, it should cost less, because there's no need for a analog to digital conversion)?

    2 reasons:

    1) Market dynamics. They sell far more VGA analog models (since there are so many people with VGA and so few with DVI) and so the economics make it much less expensive to manufacture and market those models. If they sold more DVI monitors, they would be cheaper (like the current trends for HDTVs).

    2) Most people with DVI outputs are gamer and/or designer types who have spent alot more on video cards than the average user (who often spends nothing to get a VGA output since most motherboards have built-in video). They feel that if you're willing to pay for a DVI capable 3D accelerator, you would be willing to pay more to hook it up.

  • This is not ment to be a flame.

    How can you not care about update times and only worry about phasing problems? your screwing yourself if you dont get a monitor that does well on both ends.
  • i got a samsung 181t from a few months back and love it, 18" analog/digital. it doesn't seem to be available any longer, but they have a few 17 and 19's that look similar spec wise.
  • My best bet so far is probably the NEC MultiSync 1550XBK (I've heard good things about its picture quality, and I'm not a gamer, so update times are irrelevant to me), but I've noticed that for about the same cost (~$600), I could buy a 17" Samsung LCD with that TV and video input thingy, but it only has analog VGA input (no DVI).

    I totally agree. I understand all about market value and supply and demand but isn't it outrageous to pay 250.- just for the manufacturer to take out the expensive AD converter and replace it with a cheap digital plug? I mean, appart from that, some relatively simple chips and a lot of patents, there isn't a real difference, right?

    Money is the root of all evil (Send $30 for more info)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "take out the expensive AD converter"

      What expensive? Mass produced consumer junk!

      "replace it with a cheap digital plug"

      Hello? Are you an idiot? Thought so! The DVI connectors are expensive, and the cables needed are more expensive than the three coax analog job. The differential transmit/receivers needed at both ends are also expensive.

      To be an idiot like you, you'd have to be in your fourth year in EE at university? Am I close?
    • Now that I think of it...the monitor has to decrypt the DTCP encryption from the DVI signal (damn the MPAA!). That probably makes up a big chunk of the additional cost.
    • No manufacturer removes the converters. I have never seen an LCD display without analog input capability. I use DVI to a Viewsonic at home and there is an Eizo at work with DVI. Both are also analog capable. I've seen both displays run using analog and the improvement with DVI is striking. If you are spending the bucks on an LCD get DVI on your video card. GeForce2 based cards with DVI are around for ~ US$60
      • I realize that this thread is almost dead, being 7 days later than your post, but I would be interested to hear about the striking differences you noticed. Santa brought me an FPD for Christmas but I was initially forced to hook it up using the the analog VGA to DVI cable included, as no store in my area carried a DVI cable. A few days ago, the DVI cable I ordered on-line arrived and I hooked it up. I didn't notice any difference from what I had seen before.
  • (Score:4, Informative)

    by lindsayt ( 210755 ) on Friday December 27, 2002 @02:37PM (#4967578)
    I recently bought myself a 18" flat panel with DVI-D support for $500 from It's an off-brand discontinued model, so if you're worried excessively about support then it's a bad choice, but these things are *really* sweet, and they are actually under warranty for another year. I use Sun 18" flats at work and have coworkers with Dell 18" DVI flats - both are good - but the cheapo offbrand that harddriveoutlet is clearing out is better and cheaper (unless the pixels die in two months).

    Disclaimer: I'm not in any way connected with harddriveoutlet, and I'm also going to say anything more than "sorry" if you buy one and it breaks...
    • BTW, the brand is adi and you can find info about it at, though the direct link to the model is gone now... their taiwanese page still links to it directly.
    • Sounds like a great deal but there are a couple downsides. The contrast ratio on this one is 200:1 while new models are 500:1. The typical response time is 50ms while good new models are 20-25ms. This is less than optimal for games and DVD viewing (the high response time = screen tearing). I'd be happy to have it but I can't afford any of them! I can't wait for the prices to drop more over the next couple days.
      • High (i.e. slow) response time does not mean tearing. Tearing is the result of screen updates happening between refreshes - a slow response time on your LCD gets you trails and motion ghosting, which are completely different.
  • Any idea why monitors with DVI support are more (it's digital, so in theory, it should cost less, because there's no need for a analog to digital conversion)?"

    It is often a higher quality signal, and a more reliable and logical interconnect. Thus, they charge more.

    And that ADC chip that converts from VGA to digital LCD-ready signals probably costs them about $0.75.

  • by singularity ( 2031 ) <> on Friday December 27, 2002 @02:53PM (#4967753) Homepage Journal
    Finding a 15" DVI LCD is even more difficult.

    I was very happy with my Apple 17" Studio Display [] (although I did have one pixel get stuck last month) and was looking for a 15" LCD to work as my second monitor. I have a Radeon 7000 working as a second video card, so it supported DVI and VGA.

    I searched forever for a reasonably priced 15" LCD that supported DVI. They were simply not to be found. I ended up going with the NEC 1550V [] LCD that only supports VGA. Getting a similar monitor with DVI (the NEC 1550X [], for example) was going to run me at least $100-$150 more.

    In a side-by-side comparison, the Apple monitor is much nicer. I am not sure if that is attributable to the ADC connection (Apple's all-digital connector) or just the quality of the Apple monitor (it is frequently ranked as one of the better 17" LCDs).

    My only guess as to the mark-up of DVI monitors is demand (lack of it, and then where the demand is coming from).

    Most of my reading/research also indicated that, at least for now, there is a little to be gained from a DVI connection. When LCDs get even better, though, LCDs will be better able to take advantage of the all-digital connection.
  • like techbargains [] and fatwallet []

    i bought a 17" dell 1702fp (samsung/dvi+analog) for $500 with no tax and free shipping about a year ago

    recently the dell 2000fp (1600x1200 native 20" dvi/analog/svideo lcd), highly reviewed here [], was going for $800 including shipping [].
    • unless things have changed, the dvi standard STOPS at 1280x1024.

      • by "Zow" ( 6449 )

        You're absolutely right. I'm looking at this on one of the Dell FP-2000s running off a VGA connection at 1600x1200 -- didn't even bother with DVI due to the max resolution. Even with a VGA connection though, it looks great. Like I said in another comment, I haven't tried it with anything graphics intensive like games, but for general office usage like code and document editing, I think it's the greatest thing since Roomba (forget the fact that the FP-2000 came first).


        • I'm looking at this on one of the Dell FP-2000s running off a *DVI* connection at 1600x1200. I wasn't aware some people were having problems. And yes, it IS DVI -- it looks substantially better than the analog input.

          I AM running a Radeon 8500 however - at the time I bought the card I couldn't find an Nvidia that supported DVI past 1280x1024. Maybe that is causing problems?
          • I've had my 2000FP for roughly a year now and I'm using a Geforce3 Ti500 with DVI @ 1600x1200. Works great.

            At the time, the only Nvidia cards that supported DVI @ 1600x1200 were the Ti500 variants. I wasn't too fond of shelling out $350 for a fscking video card after dropping $1400 on the LCD.
      • apparently (as a few AC pointed out) things HAVE changed.

        AC's: a simple 'yes, things have changed' is all you needed to say. calling people an idiot isn't helpful; this is about information exchange and not ego stroking (sigh..)

        the single link dvi standard is still 1280x1024. and many/most dvi monitors UNLESS THEY SAY OTHERWISE will still only support 1280x1024 via the commonly-found version of dvi.

        here's a link to some pics of single and dual link dvi connectors:

        pictures []

        it still appears that unless you have a fairly new dvi card, single-link will STILL only resolve to 1280x1024.

        that dualhead matrox card I referred to (g550) is dual head but single-link per each head.

      • Actually, that's the old P&D and DFP formats-DVI goes up to 1920x1080 (1080i HDTV resolution) []
      • Um. So then why am I reading Slashdot off my 24.1" Sun LCD running 1920x1200 off a DVI Raedon?
    • > recently the dell 2000fp (1600x1200 native 20" dvi/analog/svideo lcd) ], was going for $800

      Yeap. Tweaktown had a coupon 2 weeks back. I managed to snag one for just shy of $800.

      It's a beautifull monitor. 1600x1200 *will* change the way you work.

      Still can't get the darn GeForce 3 to recognize the DVI output though. Argh.
  • Spend the extra $$$$ (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nbvb ( 32836 ) on Friday December 27, 2002 @03:50PM (#4968231) Journal
    You get what you pay for when it comes to LCD's.

    I have at home an 18" Sun LCD and a 22" Apple Cinema Display. At work I have a 24" Sun LCD.

    I'd take the Apple Cinema Display over the other two any day. Both Sun LCD's have both a VGA and DVI input (the 24" has c-video and s-video as well), but the Apple only has a single ADC (Apple display connector). The apple screen is the sharpest of the three.

    Not to say the Sun 24" is bad, but the Apple one is just that little bit crisper. The 18" Sun LCD is crap -- the colors are all wrong, and it looks _awful_ on analog.

  • Pardon the sorta off-topic post, but this isn't much of a ask slashdot question and fits a bit with this topic:

    Are there any KVM switch solutions that incorperate DVI natively?

    The only thing that put me off on getting a flat screen (Outside of price) is trying to KVM a Dell Inspiron 8100 [] portable (VGA only :[ ) and Gigabyte Ethernet class G4 [] (ADC & VGA). I know I need to get the ADC-to-DVI converter for the G4, and I would be getting the most native DVI visuals from either the G4 and espically the Dell, but if I can edge out something better than VGA on the G4, it's worth the trouble. So, anyone have ideas for sollutions? Thanks in advance for the help!
    • I haven't seen any, but I don't think it'll do you any good b/c I doubt any KVM switch manufacturer is going to convert that VGA signal to DVI, at least for less than it would cost to buy a new laptop with DVI built in (if such a thing exists). Additionally, once your laptop has converted the signal to VGA, the damage (to the signal) has already been done, so you're not really gaining anything.

      One solution is to get a LCD that accepts both VGA and DVI and allows you to switch between them, then just use a KVM for the keyboard & mouse. I did something similar years ago to use my 21" monitor (with a HD15 cable & RGB in) with both a PC and a mac with a D-15 connector. It was kind of clunky, but it worked.

      The other solution is just to accept the VGA signal. I'm using one of the Dell 20" FPs right here at 1600x1200 on a VGA signal and it looks great. Of course, this is at work, so I don't know how good it is for games and the like, but for code/document editing, it can't be beat.


    • Are there any KVM switch solutions that incorporate DVI natively?

      Yes, there do seem to be, as Google would tell you. The prices I'm seeing are something like ten times what I paid for my Trendnet two-computer switch though. On top of that, they're not terribly common at all ... I only see two or three companies with one or two models each.
    • DVI supports the carrying of analog signals...maybe a DVI KVM could pass the analog through the output DVI cable if the selected workstation is VGA. If the KVM actually converted the analog VGA to digital, it would have to handle phasing and all, which would probably not result in good picture quality. Handling phasing and all would also probably jack up the price.

      Either that, or it would have both VGA and DVI cables to plug into the flat panel, and it would output the signal through the appropriate cable.

    • You could use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to the Inspirion (I know it's an evil technology, but it really works pretty fast, supports sound and high color on WinXP, and a client is available for OSX) from the G4. This way, you would have a digital picture from the Dell as well. I have used RDC, and it runs fast enough to not have any noticable lag or slow-loading screen redraws. Still isn't practical for gaming, though, if that's your fancy.
  • has dual dvi and vga inputs. its 16" which is somewhat rare but just the right size for running two of them side by side. its great. I have a pair at work AND a pair at home.

    use the matrox g550 dual-dvi (important to ask the vendor if its REALLY dual dvi and not just dual video). then a special dual dvi cable and you're all set.

    the cable is about $50 and the agp matrox card is about $150.

    the lcd's are $529. a steal, really. and dell was offering free ground shipping when I got mine.

    the model # for the sharp is LL-T1620-H/B.

    note that its NOT a dell-branded display but really a Sharp brand with a black bezel. Dell Part# A0030174

    • Those Sharp LL-T screens are ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. They do a 18" and 20" version too. The bevel is incredibly thin making side by side operation a dream.

      The picture quality is nothing short of amazing.
    • I too have this monitor after reading a review in MaximumPC (not online?) of the 18" model.

      Amazing for a 16" 1280x1024. monitor. Sharp also just released a 20" model []. Supports 1600x1200 with _dual_ DVI -- no analog without (included) adapter.

      Sure, there are cheaper monitors, but these Sharp LCD's are quite amazing. Too bad they are so hard to find.
  • Go ahead and buy the NEC 1550X monitor. You won't be disappointed.

    I bought this monitor myself, because it had the two features that I really wanted, which were analog (VGA) and digital (DVI) inputs as well as a pivotable display.

    It took me a few weeks to make up my mind on this purchase. I usually shop on price, and this is one expensive monitor: It cost me 740 Canadian dollars while other 15" LCDs without these two features could be had for about 400 dollars.

    But you know what? Given the choice, I'd buy the same monitor again. The NEC 1550X is a well-built, top-quality monitor, and is an absolute pleasure to use.

    If you stare at your monitor for a few hours a day, then get this monitor. You won't regret it.
  • they are quite ok, relative cheap and fast, too, so no problems with games. i've got one for nearly a year and i am quite content with it. beware though, not all of them have dvi
  • In Omaha Nebraska, I shopped for months before getting a NEC model 1720M from Sam's Club for $450. It does 1280x1024, analog input only and I love this thing. I have found that I stay up later because my eyes don't get tired as soon. Would highly recommend LCD to anyone who stares at their display reading things like slashdot all day long. The other best deal I've heard about are the Dell 1600x1200 displays for around $850. Makes me wish I'd saved up for a little longer...
  • Maximum PC gave Sharp's LL-T1820 (18") a perfect 10, the "Kick Ass!" award, and called it "the best we ever tested". This was in the August 2002 issue.

    It got such high accolades due to "two new technologies that can measurably improve image quality: 10-bit gamma correction and Zero Voltage Black."

    10-bit gamma correction improves over the trditional 8-bit gamma correction, and provides much better colour gradients. As for Zero Voltage Black, it helps with the broken pixels that will of course be present in any LCD. To sum it up, instead of a broken pixel simply shining all the time, broken pixels don't shine at all. To quote MPC, "The upshot is that broken subpixels on Sharp's new displays are relatively unobtrusive. Because they don't beam glaring backlight, they appear as subtle, muted flecks that blend in with the pixels of whatever's being rendered onscreen.".

    The review is a bit old, and the price premium is high at 1300$ US. However, in august this display beat out all other comers.
  • I'm using a Compaq fp700 which is DVI only. It has a great picture and is good for gaming (IMHO).

    The only drawbacks to it for me are the crappy monitor stand that is integrated, and the fact that it only does 1024x768 (I have some software that will not even run in less than 1280x1024).

    The reason I picked this monitor is that it was DVI and it was dirt cheap. I paid $149 for it. They go for between $150 and $200 on ebay.

    Good luck!
  • I wanted two DVI monitors, great 3D support in Windows and Linux, and I wanted to do it on the cheap. My solution:

    Find two Apple Studio M7613 displays on the used market, or on eBay. You can find them for well under $200 these days. The quality is great, an the two specimens I found had no dead pixels or other defects. They are made very solidly. Manual Here. []

    Next, find a Gainward Dual DVI Nvidia 4600 card. Product Info Here. [] The Gainward card is the only "cheap" video card that supports two DVI monitors under Windows and Linux AND has good 3D performance if you require that.

    My combo of two used monitors and the card should go for under $700 these days with some careful shopping. I'll wait until larger DVI panels are under $250 to think about upgrading.

  • It's more expensive to buy a TV without an RF jack.

    Because it's specialzed equipment at that point that fewer people buy (since not everyone has DVI, but everyone [excepting the occasional Mac user, and specialised PC user] has VGA). Becuase fewer people buy it, prices are higher, ergo, it costs more to have fewer features. Stupid, but true. :-)
  • Leave something out, it costs more: low-salt and sugar-free foods, exotic dancers, Microsoft Windows...

    Yes, we see it everywhere.
  • I use a Planar 17.4" dealie. When I got it there were two types available at the same size, and with similar model numbers ... I have the dual analog/DVI input with pivot.

    It's bright, fast, and compared with the others at the time I bought it (December of last year) was a steal at around $700. Any of the other brands with similar feature sets were priced at more like $1000.

  • Any idea why monitors with DVI support are more (it's digital, so in theory, it should cost less, because there's no need for a analog to digital conversion)?"

    Yes, it stays digital, but not necessarily in the same format. Cheap older LCD's use TTL, current cheap LCD's use LVDS, and the more expensive ones use RSDS. Most of these different signal formats require different scalar chips to interpolate the image to fill the screen, how much each scalar chips costs is up to the manufacturer. Some use discrete converters to convert the format. So there are differences in being a digital signal. RS232 is serial, so is USB, but you're can't plug one into the other w/o some sort of adaptor, it's the same way w/ digital signals for the panels. Of course, "digital is better" so the market will pay more for it.

    Not really sure about what you're referring to as update times. All LCD flat panels refresh at 60 Hz regardless of how fast you set your refresh rates to. There may be differences in the latency between the video card drawing the image and the screen displaying the image, this usually shouldn't trail by more than a frame, but usually on the order of milliseconds.
    • DVI isn't smoke & mirrors....

      Digital IS better when it comes to LCD. If you run at the proper resolution, you have exact subpixel control of the display... which is the entire reason for using DVI. If you don't want that, high quality VGA conversion is fine.

      I assure you that an LCD with DVI is not scaling anything when run at the proper resolution.

    • "All LCD flat panels refresh at 60 Hz" is not precisely true. While the analog input may be running at 60Hz, the pixel refresh rate on an LCD monitor varies greatly, usually measured in milliseconds. This is the time it takes the pixel to change colors-- it's not quite the same as refresh on a CRT, where the rate is precisely controlled by the time it takes for the beam to scan back around to the same point.

      Sorry I don't have time to dig you a link.
  • It does seem puzzling that something as natural as DVI doesn't exist on flat panels... however..
    having just bought someone a 17" Viewsonic LCD, with VGA only... I was extremely amazed at how well the picture looked. Absolutely no phasing.. it LOOKS like a digital connection. It really does. Even cleartype has the desired effect... which might suggest the vga conversion circuitry is doing some really fancy stuff.

    It really does look razor sharp though... not like the older lcds I've used.
  • The best DVI-enabled LCD flat panel I could find about a year ago this time was the Sony SDM-M81, an 18.1" dual-input DVI/VGA flat panel LCD. The only gripe I have about it is its contrast ratio, only 300:1, which isn't that great with movies or games, but is just fine for computer work. They may even have some newer, better (cheaper?) models now.
  • The Sony SDM-X82 (18.1") is standard issue at my new workplace. It switches via a front panel button between two input channels. One channel has both HD15 and DVI connectors, and the other channel has only a HD15 connector. I haven't used it with a DVI video card, but it looks great when driven by an analog signal. Color is good, and if it isn't, there's a lot of adjustability. My color vision is screwed up because of childhood medical problems, but my SDM-X82's OSD lets me jack up the contrast et al so that I see what others see at more normal settings. Response time is average, which might be good enough for gaming, but I wouldn't know because I don't game at work. The unit's aesthetics are excellent.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982