why $800 items are not ideal impulse buys

desk-monitor.JPG

Someday i’ll regret having no respect for my money in my 20s.

I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, though.

2407WFP-HC. 24″. 1920×1200. For $800, if you get a good deal.

The question isn’t whether you want one. It’s what the hell you’d do with it, once you’d bought it and gotten over how pretty it is. And covering it with bubblewrap and a baby blanket to take it to netgames.

Seriously, though, 2.3 million is a lot of widescreen pixels. Proper HDTV looks incredible (720p, top left), 233mb TV eps (bottom left) look alright, Futurama is definitely watchable, a DVD (bottom right) gets stretched to 3x its normal size, your typical XviD rip (top right) will look terrible, and Sonic and Knuckles is just silly.

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(Warning: high-resolution LCD screens may cause ADSL2.)

It goes without saying they make smashing computer screens in general. Maximising windows is counter-productive – imagine a paperback novel in the shape of a cheque book. Every particular app slowly evolves its own natural place on your desktop, and Vista ends up looking like an eleet 1990s MovieOS special.

What you really want one of these things for, however, is games. Widescreen gaming is a huge improvement over my 5:4 (1280×1024) LCD – I heard somewhere recently that WS is more natural for human eyes, and I can’t disagree. It’s a bit disorienting; rotate the screen so it’s in portrait mode, and it looks a lot skinnier than you thought it would be.

Anyway…

supcom-river.jpg supcom-nuke1.jpg supcom-red.jpg

That’s SupCom, in 1920×1200, on the medium graphics preset. I only have a 512mb 8600GT and a 2.4ghz Core2 Duo (I’ll review that separately); even with the core maximizer it still needs to be that low to be what you’d call smooth.

Dan Rutter has a 7900GT and a 30″ LCD, but solved the problem a different way. If you really wanted to show off, though, you could feed the cartographic map to the screen on another input (it takes DVI, DB15, S-video, component and composite) and use PiP.

Eve Online becomes an epic thing on a huge screen. Or so I’m told. I haven’t gotten into it yet.

My brother reckons it runs fine in 1920x on his 7900GT.

ut2004-1.jpg

UT2004 is a very different experience. So many more pixels to see with. Stopping dead to watch for enemy movement takes a bit longer than usual, and makes you a great target while you’re doing it, but it evens out – you can see them coming now no matter what. Where do you want the ricochets, above or below the elbow?

I usually tie equal or thereabouts in a 20 minute one-on-one with a particular friend of mine. First time with this screen, I ended up beating him 13 to 6. There was a lot of caffeine and some vodka involved, though, and he’d forgotten to bring his gaming keyboard. Just a thought.

You’d probably want an 8800 or some SLI for Bioshock (ps. That’s not a rootkit it installs, it’s just SecuRom, and no, it shouldn’t be in a first level demo) on this screen. It wasn’t very smooth on my setup, although a friend’s 8500GT ran it okay in 1440×900.

It’d break my heart to have to play in that res on this screen, though.

So, yeah. Think before you leap.

I didn’t, and I love it.

One Response to “why $800 items are not ideal impulse buys”

  1. Jeremy says:

    You only have an 8600GT? Well, I only have a 7600GT, and I think it’s absolutely amazing. Heck, I get around 200fps playing Urban Terror at 4×AA.

    You said you switch your LCD into portrait mode. I try that on mine (17-inch, 1280×1024), but can’t stand it because when it’s on its side, the left side of the screen is bright, which gradients to a very dark on the right. Not only that, the distance between my two eyes is enough to make the same point on the screen look darker in my right eye than my left eye, making my eyes ache after only a couple of minutes. Just as bad, VRGB subpixel font rendering sucks.

    So, was yours any better in that area?

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