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Advantages of LCD Monitors over CRTs for a Stock Trading Computer System

Read LCD Monitors for Stock Trading for a more detailed and updated discussion on some of the best LCD panels for traders.

LCD vs CRT monitors for stock tradingWith the current level of prices for LCDs, this is really a no-brainer for trading computer systems. Unless you are a hard core "first person shooter" gamer requiring very quick response rates from your monitor, flat panel LCDs are really the way to go if you are currently upgrading or sourcing for a new computer system. Here are the reasons why you should dump your old CRT and get a brand new LCD:

Space, Weight and Power Savings

As many traders who are using 19" or larger CRT monitors know, these babies are behemoths. If you don't have a sturdy high quality table, one of these 19" or 20" monitors can break your table or at the very least cause permanent warping of the surface!

In terms of power consumption, a flat panel LCD consumes almost 3 to 4 times LESS electricity than a comparable CRT and consequently generates less heat. Definitely very good news for your air-conditioner also, which has to use less energy to cool your room.

CRT Monitors - Emission Issues

The basic design of a CRT monitor consists of a picture tube which produces images by shooting electrons onto the phosphors which coat the computer monitor screen. This results in the emission of dangerous "invisible" rays directed towards the user, which are detrimental to your health and eyes during prolonged exposure. Flat panel LCDs, on the other hand, have virtually zero emissions.

Image Clarity and Eye Comfort

CRTs produce images by quickly refreshing the screen many times a second, therefore giving the user the impression of a constant static image. This refresh rate is virtually undetectable to a normal human being but they tend to tire out one's eyes after prolonged usage. Some novice computer users who set their refresh rates too low i.e. less than 70Hz, will feel these effects on their eyes the most. LCDs do not have this problem because their fundamental design is different and they do not refresh the screen like CRTs.

For LCDs, it is important to operate the monitor at the native resolution specified by the manufacturer. For most 17" and 19" flat panels, this native resolution is SXGA or 1280 x 1024 pixels. Operating LCDs at other resolutions will result in a loss of clarity and crispness in the display.

Also, Microsoft has incorporated ClearType technology into Windows XP to smooth out screen fonts which give a remarkably clear output on LCDs. To enable ClearType, follow these steps:

  • Right click on your desktop and choose Properties.
  • Goto Appearance and click on Effects (on bottom right of dialog box)
  • Tick "Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts" and choose ClearType rather than Standard.
  • Press OK and you are done!

Image Ghosting Problems

Many people used to complain about the ghosting problem on LCDs. An example of ghosting is when you swing your mouse cursor against a black background and there is a white trail following it. This occurs because the screen response time is too slow to display the path of the mouse cursor thereby resulting in a white trail. This used to be a big annoyance with older LCDs but most of the newer ones have response rates of 20ms or lower so ghosting is virtually eliminated. If you also use your computer system for gaming, you'll be glad to know that sub-10ms response rate LCDs are available in the market now for even clearer outputs.

Digital (DVI) vs Analog Inputs

Many higher-end LCDs give you a choice of digital (DVI) and analog (D-sub-15) inputs. It would suffice to know that the digital inputs are highly recommended for trading systems as the picture quality and clarity is much better than analog. If budget is not a constraint, definitely go with the digital (DVI) inputs.

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