Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am looking to get a second monitor for my home PC. I have a used Dell 2407 on hand cheap, but it's four years old.

How long can I expect an LCD like that to live ? Can I expect to get a couple of years of usage of such a used screen, or should I keep away from it ?

I know it probably has a lot to do with usage pattern and how long it's been used per day on average, but I don't have that info.

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The most probable source of trouble is the backlight. It is essentially a fluorescent light inside the monitor, and once it's gone it's gone. Newer monitors sometimes have LED backlights, but 4-year-old won't.

The amount of its remaining useful life hugely depends on usage pattern, you realize that. Occasional home use is not the same as office use.

The backlight often fails gradually, e.g. it becomes dimmer and dimmer until it is unusable.

Some tips:

  1. If you need a correct colors representation (work with graphics or video professionally) - I think you'd better get a new one.

  2. Some monitor's menu show its actual use time, in hours. I don't know about this particular one. But if it does show, you can know how heavily this monitor was actually used.

  3. See how it looks with brightness at 50%. If it looks much too dim to you, probably its backlight is not in perfect condition. But you'll need to put a second known ok monitor side by side to compare.

share|improve this answer

I've seen lots of defective computers, but monitors don't die too often. I wouldn't care buying used screens if they fit your needs.

I worked quite some time at my university's computer department and didn't see lots of dead monitors, but lots of dead computers. And these (usually multiple years old) monitors usually were in use 8h/day+, often ran 24/7.

share|improve this answer
Time , beyond a breakdown, would be relative to the time that the Phosphors last. both the Cold cathode and white LEDs have phosphors being used to for the light . Phosphors dont live forever, totally relative to not only how long it is run, but how much light it had to output also. Lowering the brightness just a bit can extend the life of either of them. I predict that a lot of CHEAP LED light items are going to be dissapointing users in a few years. but then they will just upgrade to the new stuff. – Psycogeek Oct 23 '11 at 20:02
@Psycogeek That's a very interesting point about the LEDs. Many LEDs are rated for tens or even hundreds of thousands of hours of operation but some sources at U.S. department of energy say that white LEDs lose abut 10% of their brightness after "just" 10000 hours of operation and reach about 85% of their rated brightness at 20000. Another problem is that we don't have a standard test for LED lifetime and we can't determine useful lifetime of an LED. – AndrejaKo Oct 23 '11 at 21:28
@AndrejaKo I have 1/2 the house itself light up with leds, and work with them all the time. the Ratings you see (100K) are 95% fraud. All of it heavily dependant on if it is phosphor based, operation temperatures, operation amperage, and quality. a Cruddy chinablue white led overdriven is good for as little as 300hours to 1/2 , and might last 9000 to 50% EVER, even driven below spec. "High powered" leds heatsynced, and high quality ones might ever get 20k to 85% , all depends. Huge differences in quality and drive and even ammount of phosphors exisiting. check out 10 more studies. – Psycogeek Oct 24 '11 at 19:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .