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I have been using two Dell 2100FP UltraSharp monitors side by side for several years being driven by a ATI Radeon HD 5700 graphics card; one card drives both monitors and both UltraSharp monitors use a DVI connector. One of the UltraSharp monitors finally gave out, probably bad caps. So I bought a Samsung S24B300EL 24" 1080p LED monitor as a replacement and put it next to the UltraSharp. Since the Samsung only had HDMI and VGA inputs and the graphics card only had HDMI and DVI outputs, HDMI was the only way to connect it.

It quickly became apparent that the UltraSharp was much better at rendering sharp edges on text; since I program, having sharp edges on text if very important for eye strain.

I am trying to figure out what it is about the UltraSharp that makes the difference? Is it the connector (DVI vs. HDMI), the dot pitch, or a combination of factors. I suspect it is the dot pitch but that is just from the article.

Please no "I think" or "I suspect" answers.


Since I can split a line of text across both monitors, I did this and looked closely, i.e. a few inches away, at the text. On the UltraSharp monitor the text appears without anti-aliasing while on the Samsung, the text appears with anti-aliasing. Also moving the window with the text up and down while looking at the text, on the UltraSharp the text is rock solid from one line of pixels to the next as the text moves, while on the Samsung, you can see the anti-aliasing as it moves up from one line of pixels to the next.


I did some more fiddling. The image on the monitor is not edge to edge but has a black border around the image that is not used. So I changed the resolution from 1920 x 1080 (recommended) to 1776 x 1000 and did the text movement test again. This time the text is rock solid on the Samsung as it moves up and down, just like the UltraSharp. So the aliasing is due to an incorrect screen size.

So based on this and do to the way I asked the question, I will accept an answer.


Just found ClearType Text Tuner tool

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What makes you suspect Bad Capacitors? Considering the construction, although that monitor as made during the capacitor plague, it most likely does not contain any of those suspect capacitors. How did the monitor cease working? Did you consider checking and replacing the screen inverter? Or... if you really liked that monitor, and it did turn out to be a bad capacitor... just replacing the bad capacitors? – Bon Gart Mar 29 '13 at 15:46
@BonGart Once the monitor is on it works for many hours, which leads me to belive it is in the start up with the power supply. I have had two lcd tvs and one Dell computer all fail for the same reason. Once on they worked for a long time, but it took many attempts to get them to power on, and more attempts as time progressed. I did change out the caps on the computer and it has been working as expected ever since. – Guy Coder Mar 29 '13 at 16:12
I feel you there. Had to replace a bushel of caps on a pallet of Dell GX270's for a local school system. I was just obligated to ask and/or bring it up. – Bon Gart Mar 29 '13 at 18:43
@BonGart It was a Dell GX270. Guess you also found out that those paticular caps were custom made and you had to wire in a substutite? – Guy Coder Mar 29 '13 at 19:11
All the ones I had to replace (usually between 3 and 15 per board) were all available from Rubycon ... well, not from them, but replacements made by them with the same specifications. – Bon Gart Mar 29 '13 at 20:03
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The ultrasharp has a higher resolution on a smaller screen, this increases the number of pixels per inch, making it sharper. HDMI and DVI are fairly similar in terms of capabilities so it can't be that.

I'd probably point out that the old IBM T220 had insanely high pixel pitch and was supposed to have been one of the sharpest monitors ever.

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The Dell has a better panel than the Samsung. It uses a tweaked TFT that is more similar to an IPS panel (see this Anandtech article) rather than the more inexpensive TN panel the Samsung uses.

Additionally the Dell has a higher pixel count. I couldn't find the exact specs but some back of the envelope calculations I did put the Dell at 100PPI vs 93PPI for the Samsung.

Anecdotaly I had almost the exact same experience. I've used 19'' Dell Ultrasharps for many years and wanted a larger monitor. Bought a Samsung and found the eye strain to be too great. Waited for a sale on Dell Ultrasharps and got a 23'' Dell. Sold the Samsung on eBay and have not looked back.

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Actually, nearly all modern LCD monitors are TN, even IPS ones – Journeyman Geek Mar 29 '13 at 14:35
Updated with more info. – Brad Patton Mar 29 '13 at 15:33

As you noted, the 'anti-aliasing' on one of the monitors was because it wasn't being driven at its native resolution. The monitor was scaling the input video. Once both monitors are driven at their native resolution, both appear sharp.

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