My dual-monitor system has just become a single-monitor system again when the older monitor decided it would be nice to just turn to black. It's a Samsung LCD monitor and is over three years old. Not sure if the warranty is still valid but I just wonder what option would me more efficient: 1) Have the monitor fixed for a small amount. 2) Buy a new monitor for a slightly bigger amount.

When monitors were still expensive, I wouldn't doubt about this and would just have my monitor repaired. But prices are so low nowadays, (and repairs are expensive) that I wonder if it's worth the trouble...

Of course, I'm in no hurry since I still have another monitor. It's just that I liked the dual-monitor setup.

Solved! Just ordered a new monitor. A Samsumg Syncmaster T260HD 25,5". Much more than it would cost me if I just had my old one repaired but I noticed that this one has a build-in TV tuner, plus speakers. It's way more expensive than a repair, but it's worth the additional value it provides.

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    When you say it "just turns to black", if you hold a light to the screen, can you still see a feint image? Or, is it just dead as a dodo? Does the power keep cycling when you switch it on, or does it stay on? – Kez Aug 22 '09 at 10:17
  • To be exact, at first the screen just went dark, but after a while the brightness returns. Today, it started dark, then went completely dark. Turned off, turned on, same result. Turned off, turned on again, expecting it to black out again after darkness but the brightness did return so it should be okay for now. Until I turn it off again, I suspect... Right now, it's unpredictable but when I wrote the question, it was blacked completely. (Power indicator still burning.) – Wim ten Brink Aug 22 '09 at 10:39
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    It sounds like a backlight issue, if you do decide to replace it you might still be able to sell the screen on ebay to someone who's looking to build a diy projector. – Col Aug 22 '09 at 13:12
  • Unfortunately, knowing that it's a backlight issue will not fix the monitor. My hardware knowledge tends to be limited to knowing the power-switch button and how to use it. The repair won't get any cheaper either. So I'll replace it with the new monitor I've ordered and the old one goes to a more technical friend who likes to examine hardware from the inside a bit more than I do. A friend who once managed to "fix a monitor" by taking it apart and then just putting it together again. I think he just cleaned the dust, he thinks he's a genius. :-) – Wim ten Brink Aug 23 '09 at 11:26

Electronics are priced lower these days but so are their usable lives gettin shorter. Repairing the monitor would be a cheaper solution for right now, but u never know how many times your going to need to do that in the near future. You might even land up spending more in the long run.

I'd suggest you buy a new monitor, will last you for a longer time than the repaired one anyways and will save you the time and the trouble of going back an forth to the repair shop.

P.S. I have this pendrive that I have been using for the past 6 and a half years its 256mb in capacity an it cost me a fortune then but it works like a charm even today.. the 8gb drive that i have is the 4th one in the past 2 years so you know what i mean when i say that electronics are priced lower these day but their usuable lives.. emm.. you get the picture right?

  • Heh, my first 20MB HDD outlived 2x40GB and 1x80GB from IBM :) But I wouldn't use it anyway :) – vava Aug 22 '09 at 9:39
  • I use the 256mb pendrive solely for file transfers actually and its way faster for that than my current pendrives for file transfer anyways – rzlines Aug 22 '09 at 9:43
  • Very true. However, I do realize that the lower life expectancy is partially caused by the additional features that modern hardware has, in much smaller spaces too. The first computers were as big as a house and repairing them was just a matter of changing a lightbulb-like thing. These machines were build to last but not very practical, not very powerful. Today, wristwatches are more powerful than those house-size computers. But wristwatches too have a much shorter life. – Wim ten Brink Aug 22 '09 at 9:50

I know we are living in a throw-away age, but why not have it fixed?

If the monitor is still good enough for your needs and if it can be fixed for an acceptable price, then why not?

  • Well, the things I have to consider is if the warranty is still valid. If it is, It will be repaired. But it's not, so to have it repaired I must bring it to a repair shop and wait for it to be repaired. For €100 I can already buy a new one. For €25 I can have a repair shop take a look at it but it won't be repaired then. The actually repair would cost a bit more and there's no guarantee that another part will break down. I do hate to waste a good monitor, though. (But I know someone who likes to "fix" things, although I don't have much confidence in his repairing skills.) – Wim ten Brink Aug 22 '09 at 9:47
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    why don't u buy the new monitor an let the person who likes to fix things have a go at the monitor.. its already not working it can't get any worse, but if he does fix it you get a backup monitor just in case one of the others stop working.. an u still can continue to enjoy the experience of working with 2 monitors – rzlines Aug 22 '09 at 9:54
  • Yep, that's one of the reasons why I consider buying a new one. I tend to do a lot on two monitors these days. (Including working at home with remote desktop on one monitor or watching movies on one screen while browsing on the other.) Worst of all, playing Supreme Commander with just one monitor just sucks... ;-) Anyway, if my friend fixes it, HE will have a useful monitor. My system can't handle a triple-monitor setup... – Wim ten Brink Aug 22 '09 at 10:45
  • :) i meant storing the repaired one away as a backup.. but you could donate it too.. and about the two monitors i know just what you are talking about.. its very tough to go back to using just one monitor, once you get used to working with two. – rzlines Aug 22 '09 at 11:14
  • Am going to donate it to someone who will try to fix it, once I've bought a new one. Right now, my monitor seems to work again so I guess it's lifetime just got extended a few more days... :-) – Wim ten Brink Aug 22 '09 at 12:46

The thing you have to worry about with the older monitor is that eventually the picture is going to start looking weaker (the backlight is not as bright) the pixels are not going to be as responsive, the picture is going to look washed out.

The components in a monitor do not age well, just like they don't age well in computers. They are just not made like they used to be made. In the past three years I have gone through a multitude of monitors and even fixed several monitors myself (when a cap goes bad, the wrong signal is sent to the backlight, replace the cap and it is all good again).

Yet the old CRT that if dropped from 3 feet onto a human being would crush him is still functioning correctly, and still works perfectly. Do I still use it? No, not unless I need an emergency monitor to check on a server that is for some unknown reason crashing.

I would suggest going with a new monitor, get one with a LED based backlight, there is less electronics involved in powering it and as such it is less likely that it will break and or cause you trouble down the line.


The decision is basically a cost/benefit analysis.

What's the cost? In this case it's basically the price difference between the repair and a new monitor.

What's the benefit? This is a little more complicated. The benefit of the repair is that you don't have to safely dispose of the old monitor and you're not buying something new that has to be manufactured and transported around the world with all the associated environmental issues (if that concerns you of course). The benefit of buying new is that you have something that's better than what you have now, might last longer, or even be more energy efficient.

Of course a cost on one side is a benefit on the other.

It's up to you to put a price on the various non monetary costs/benefits and decide.

Personally I'd investigate the repair option first. It might be something that can be fixed relatively easily and will confer an extra few years' life to the monitor. You can't make the final decision until you have all the facts.

  • Repair costs €25 for primary checkup plus additional costs for the repair itself. (Price per hour plus materials used.) Buying new would cost between €100 and €400, depending on the additional features that I would like and the preferred resolution and performance. My broken computer has a resolution of 1600x1200 and is therefore a bit more expensive to replace. Since I'm using a dual-monitor setup, you could even wonder if I would need certain additional features since my other monitor could provide those. – Wim ten Brink Aug 22 '09 at 9:54

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