Table of Contents
- Screen Size: We recommend 24" if it will fit where you need it to be. Bigger is always better.
- Speakers: We recommend built-in speakers. If room filling sound is needed, externals will have to be used.
- Connections: The more video connectors, the better. Minimum is HDMI and one other, such as DVI or DisplayPort.
See here for suggestions regarding the type of connectors being used.
Lets talk about screen size
We recommend 24", measured diagonally, if possible. That size offers good vertical height when viewing web pages and also accomodates zooming or enlarging text, images, and programs. It reduces the chance that what you are viewing will start to disappear past the left and right edge of the screen.
19" screen were a good size also, but they are no longer available. We liked them because most web pages and programs fit nicely on the screen with good vertical height to lessen scrolling.
Monitors can come with and without built-in speakers. We always recommend, if possible, to buy monitors with speakers.
You may have external speakers which are perfectly fine. In that case, the monitor speakers simply will not be used. Monitor speakers are not "room filling" due to their size. if you need big sound, externals are the way to go.
However, if you have no need for big sound, built in monitor speakers are nice and make for a less cluttered desktop. Most will also work with an HDMI cable, eliminating the need for an audio cable.
There are 4 types of video connectors
- VGA ( Quickly becoming obsolete )
- DVI ( Also starting to disappear )
- HDMI ( Current favorite )
- DisplayPort ( Becoming more popular )
- See here for pictures of the ports.
The more connectors the monitor comes with, the better. For example, if you have an older computer with just VGA or DVI, you won't need a different cable. If you want to add a second monitor, chances are you can keep your existing monitor unchanged, and if the computer has a second video port, the new monitor will be able to connect directly to it.
However, in the event things don't match up, adapters can be used. Converting HDMI to DVI or DisplayPort is pretty straight forward. Converting from or to VGA is more expensive.
One thing to note: HDMI can also send audio to the monitor using the same cable, no audio cable needed. This is assuming the monitor has speakers and it can accept HDMI audio.
Multiple Monitors connected at once
The number of monitors must match the number of available connectors on the computer. See here for possible ports that may be available.
If the computer has two video connectors of any type, you can attach two monitors, but those monitors must have a matching connector. For example, if you computer has an HDMI port and a VGA, the monitors must have at least one of those on each one.
You can convert one type to another. For example, if the computer has a DisplayPort, you can convert it to a DVI or HDMI to match what the monitor has with a simple cable. Converting to and from VGA is more expensive and sometimes doesn't work so well.