|Samsung SyncMaster 245BW Widescreen LCD Monitor|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Monitor | HDTV|
|Written by Ronald Tibbetts - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 30 April 2008|
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SAMSUNG 245BW LCD Monitor
We have spent a lot of time at Benchmark Reviews talking about video cards recently - and with good reason. The discrete graphics segment of the market is currently afire with many outstanding price-to-performance options. When we looked at the offerings from the two biggest players, the NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX and ATI/AMD HD 3870, we saw that game performance even when scaled to high resolution was simply outstanding. This begs the question; why with such low-cost entrance into owning cards capable of "high-rez" gaming, most users are still running a display of 19" or less? Monitors are arguably the most important component for users, getting more usage than any other component of a PC. The only reasonable answer would have to be cost, as until recently displays above the 19" mark have been prohibitively expensive. That's where the SAMSUNG SyncMaster 245BW enters the scene as very attractively priced 24" widescreen LCD monitor.
Seeing a demand in the market for a display without USB ports, card readers, or tin can speakers SAMSUNG has introduced the 245BW; a first in affordable big-screen monitors. The 245BW is a stripped down "no frills" display; however, the lack of options doesn't mean this is any less of a monitor. The SAMSUNG SyncMaster 245BW sports a native resolution of 1900x1200 pixels, advertises an impressive 5ms refresh time, 400 cd/m2 brightness, and a 1000:1 contrast ratio (3000:1 Dynamic). On paper these specs sound great, however, as hardware enthusiasts Benchmark Reviews is never quite content with what looks good on paper. As per usual we put this 24" LCD through its paces to see just how well this affordable big-screen display performs.
The SAMSUNG 245BW 24-Inch LCD Monitor is designed with intentional appeal toward a wide range of customers, from first time buyers to gaming enthusiasts and serious photographers offering a sharp ultra-widescreen image with 16:10 aspect ratio. An advertised 1,000:1 (3,000:1 dynamic) contrast ratio with 1920x1200 pixel resolution that goes beyond the standard full HD resolution of (1920x)1080p. A display ideal for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD films, games and comfortable for all types of office use such as web browsing, spreadsheets, etc - a sized that's especially well suited for photo editing. 160º viewing angle and 4-way adjustable stand accommodate for easy viewing set-up. There is also the nice hidden feature in the stand that re-enables pivoting the display allowing for portrait and landscape-oriented documents in full-screen, without the need for scrolling.
The 245BW features a double interface, which handles both a standard D-Sub 15-pin, and fast DVI connection to handle multiple input devices (i.e. PC and Laptop PC). An impressive 5ms response time reduces the "blur" effect common of slower displays, coupled with the vivid clarity of 16.77 million colors makes the 245BW an ideal monitor for rendering video and graphics, enjoying photos, movies, or gaming.
About the company: SAMSUNG Electronics Co., Ltd.
Samsung Electronics was founded in 1969 in Daegu, South Korea as Samsung Electric Industries originally manufacturing electronic appliances such as TVs, calculators, refrigerators, air conditioners and washers. By 1981, the company had manufactured over 10 million black and white TVs. In 1988, it merged with Samsung Semiconductor & Communications.
Samsung Electronics is the world's largest electronics and information technology company, headquartered in Seocho Samsung Town in Seoul, South Korea. Samsung Electronics is the flagship subsidiary of the Samsung Group, South Korea's largest conglomerate, and is the global market leader in more than 60 products, including Semiconductors such as DRAM, SDRAM, Flash Memory and Hard Drives, Digital Displays such as LCD Displays, Plasma Displays and OLED Displays, Home Electronics such as TVs, DVD Players, Blu-ray Players, Home Cinema Systems, Set-Top Boxes and Projectors, Mobile Devices such as Mobile Phones, MP3 Players, Digital Cameras and Camcorders, Computing Products such as Monitors, Laptops, UMPCs, CD and DVD Drives, Laser Printers, Fax Machines and Home Appliances such as Refrigerators, Washing Machines, Microwaves, Ovens, Vacuum Cleaners and Air Conditioners.
Features & Specifications: SAMSUNG 245BW
Built with Twisted Nematic (TN) LCD panels the 245BW is among the top displays in SAMSUNG's lineup utilizing their made in house panels. TN panels have been with us awhile now, and while they are inexpensive to manufacture there are certain performance characteristics that some dislike; specifically their reduced viewing angles. However, sitting directly in front of a TN display the loss of contrast is not be as apparent as when viewed off axis by a few degrees. Needless to say TN panels are not ideal for multi-person viewing. PVA (Patterned Vertical Alignment) and IPS (In-Plane Switching) are two of the other competing standards. Though these panel types offer a greater viewing angle and better color reproduction, they also suffer their own issues. Namely; reduced refresh rates, input lag, and due to lower volume production higher cost.
Without getting into too much detail - TN based displays ability to accurately reproduce colors, like all LCD displays, relies on the ability of the individual Liquid Crystal (LC) pixels to transition between different states of transparency (shades of grey), and to a lesser extent the light source coming through those liquid crystals. We measure these shades of grey as steps. 256 steps of grey per pixel gives us a display capable of 8-bit color (2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2), and having an 8-bit pixel for each Red, Green, and Blue gives us 16.77 million color possibilities (256x256x256).
Unfortunately, most TN panels cannot achieve "true" 8-bit (which is to say, the liquid crystals do not have 255 unique states). However, there are different methods to make a 6-bit panel look like it's an 8-bit one. The most common method is FRC (frame-rate control), where a pixel is rapidly switched between two adjacent colors to produce the desired color; also referred to as dithering. If implemented well, it is difficult to tell the difference between a 6-bit display using this and a true 8-bit display. If not implemented well, it produces artifacts like flickering on certain colors (the eye detect the pixels flip-flopping between states). LG-Philips based TN panels use FRC, and I have yet to hear anyone detect the flickering effect (although I have not had the opportunity to check out their latest panels yet). I cannot find out anything about how Samsung gets 8-bit out of their TN panels. On some of their 1st-generation PVA panels, they used what they called "Hi-FRC," which I assume means hi-rate FRC. Since Samsung is usually quite good at qualifying their LCD panel stats (especially if you go to the Samsung semiconductor website and look at the brochures they give other companies who buy their panels), I would guess they also do some sort of hi-rate FRC for TN. But I don't know for sure. Certainly, the consensus seems to be that colors look better and are more accurate on their 8-bit PVA panels than their TN panels. Samsung term their 16.7 million color TN panels "6-bit+ Hi FRC", but they still use FRC technologies rather than true 8-bit color depth.
Benchmark Reviews is currently piecing together an article that will take a more in-depth look at these different LCD technologies. For now the best indicator of what panel type is best suited for who should be decided by what the intended use will be: Gamers and Movie buffs will appreciate TN's fast refresh rate and lack of input lag, while Graphic Designers will likely look elsewhere as they typically need accurate color reproduction and expanded viewing angles to maintain consistent contrast across the display. Ultimately though, price seems to be the major deciding factor for most users - an area where other panel technologies can't compete due to TN's mature production process.
*Pivot feature requires removal of mounting stand lock screw