A monitor is perhaps the largest investment that a user commits to when purchasing or building a computer. Not only can a monitor cost hundreds of dollars, it is the least likely component to be replaced. Although advances in technology quickly render CPUs, video cards, and motherboards obsolete, a quality monitor can last years.
In addition to being a long term investment, one's monitor also plays an important role in the whole computing experience. A quality monitor can mean the difference between an enjoyable computing experience and one plagued with headaches and eye strain. Think about it. How much time does the average AnandTech reader spend using their computer? Hours upon hours a day. And what part of the computer serves as the central interface point? The monitor. A fast gaming computer is easily crippled by a small or slow monitor. In the same vein, a powerful workstation is quickly brought to its knees if blurry text or a low refresh rate prevent long periods of use.
For these reasons, deciding what monitor to buy is of the utmost importance. The problem is that most users can not devote the extended period of time necessary to evaluate and compare multiple monitors. There are no benchmarks that can rate one monitor over another like other computer components, nor are there any set tests with which a monitor can quickly be evaluated. For the most part, individuals deciding what monitor to buy either choose blindly or rely on the opinions of others.
In our first monitor review, we hope to provide you, the reader, with another opinion with which to rely on. Each monitor we receive will be put though a thorough AnandTech test that will explore the monitor, discuss its features and, most importantly, evaluate its image quality using both objective and subjective tests. By doing so, we hope to successfully rate any given monitor as well as help those on the market for a new monitor decide which is right for them.
Without further ado, let's get to our first monitor review which happens to be of the Samsung SyncMaster 955DF, a flat screen monitor for those on a budget.