In the effort to tweak every part of your system, we cannot leave out one of the most important peripherals - that being the Monitor. You may not know it, but even your monitor can be tweaked, not necessarily for performance but for quality. Read on and enjoy!
let's start with the dirty work first. If you want your monitor to have superior quality you are going to have to clean your monitor at least once a week. You know we all get those pesky peoples who insist on touching and pointing to things on screen *Argh*. There is specific monitor cleaning liquid(s) around, to me its just like a Tennis Racket company recommending you use their tennis balls... BS, anyways grab some Window Cleaner liquid you have laying around the house, however make sure you DO NOT use any liquid with Ammonia in it as I have been told by various people it can wear out the outer coating (Anti-Reflective Anti-Glare) on your monitor screen. Once you have that grab a couple pieces of paper towel. Now TURN OFF YOUR MONITOR (never attempt to clean your monitor when it is on), now spray an adequate amount of window cleaner onto the paper towel (again, never spray anything directly onto the monitor screen). Depending on the size of your monitor you will need more or less spray. First rub the wet paper towel over the monitor, go over the WHOLE screen a couple times (don't let any liquid leak into the monitor insides) now with the other dry piece of paper towel dry the screen, remember to get into the 'hard to reach' spots and also try to remove dust etc. If you have the time you also might wish to clean the rest of your monitor (e.g. top, sides). Now that your monitor is clean, lets move onto the next step.
Monitor & Power
I'll keep this section short as possible, if your monitor is plugged into a power board (or anything else to that effect) you may experience undesirable effects like glowing, fuzziness, lines and even a black screen with no picture. To avoid all that, simple do not plug your monitor into a power board. Instead just plug it into a direct power source such as a plug in the wall. I've seen some people that have actually sent their monitor back saying it was faulty, but of course they had their monitor plugged into a power board.
This goes without saying...but... make sure all power connectors are connected correctly into the back of your monitor and power source.
It is also a good idea not to have external communication devices such as mobile phones near your monitor, this can also cause some undesirable effects that were listed above.
If you have done everything listed above try Degaussing your monitor (that is if you have a digital monitor), if that doesn't work try turning your monitor on and off. If none of that doesn't work it may be that your monitor is faulty, in most cases many monitors have a 3 to 5 year warranty, so there should be no troubles getting a replacement.
On the quality side of things, this is the most important step you can perform. Depending on your video card we are aiming for a highest possible Hz Refresh we can archive. If you have a old (and I mean really old) video card such as a Cryix Logic 2mb card you will be struggling to reach 85Hz... If you have a video card that is around 3 years old or less you should easily be able to get a 85Hz Refresh rate.
To change your refresh rate you can either use a option built-in to Windows or you could use a very cool program called, PowerStrip. First I'll show you how to change the Refresh Rate within windows and then with PowerStrip.
Changing Refresh Rate in Windows
1) Right click on your desktop and click Properties
2) Click the Settings tab, and advanced, then click the Monitor tab
3) Under Refresh Rate, pull down the 'pull down bar' and start at 75Hz and slowly increase to 85Hz and see how your monitor copes with each setting. As I said above, if you can reach 85Hz and looking good that is our aim, if you can't reach 85Hz, chance are you'll have to stay at 70Hz or 75Hz.
Changing Refresh Rate with Power Strip
1) First you'll need to download Power Strip if you don't already have it. Click Here to download Power Strip 2.65.03 (645kb) from our server
2) Setup and Install Power Strip by loading psbeta.exe
3) Open Power Strip, right click on the icon in the taskbar and click PowerStrip Configuration
4) In the settings tab you will see the option to choose your Refresh Rate, first increase the setting from default slowly up to 85Hz, if your monitor doesn't support 85Hz, leave it at the highest possible setting that it looks good at.
Note - While changing your Refresh Rate within Windows or Power Strip if your picture looks bad / un-viewable you'll need to restart your system in Safe Mode (at boot press and hold F8) and choose a lower Refresh Rate and reboot again. With both Windows and Power Strip after you change a setting there is a option to change it back to the pervious setting, so do so if the Refresh you choose is incorrect.
Video Card Options
Again, also depending on your video card you can increase the amount of colors Windows uses for applications and games. A common setting is 16 bit color, such video cards like the Voodoo 3 cannot handle anything over 16 bit color due to its chip. If you have a TNT1 / TNT2 / GeForce / GeForce II / Voodoo 4/5 you'll be able to use the current maximum of 32 bit color. If you have the option of 16 bit or 24 bit color, go for 16 bit color as overall things in general looks better, same with if you can choose 24 bit or 32 bit color go for 32 bit.
Monitor cooling has been around for a little while now... I believe 3DCOOL.com were the first to produce a monitor cooler. Your monitor as most of know can output some heat, too much heat can be bad and even cause your monitor to play up. I don't have a 3DCOOL.com Monitor Cooler to review, instead I have just refereed to their website for info and pics.
The 3DCOOL.COM Monitor Cooler is one of our more unique products. it's actually quite simple in nature, a clean white casing that houses a powerful fan to suck the air off of your monitor. This fan does not blow in dusty air to your monitor, it takes the air out of your monitor, keeping it clean inside! The monitors heat is reduced to little to nothing, and your monitor will live a happy happy life with this inexpensive addition to your PC.
- 38CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) of power!
- Fan spins at 2100RPM
- 27dbA loudness, a whisper is 23dbA
- Fits on any monitor guaranteed
- Blows the heat off of your monitor
- 210 x 150 x 43 mm
- Drops temperature by 30 degrees (F) average
If you have a little cash laying around I'd suggest you get a Monitor Cooler, apart from being useful they are pretty cool. Do your homework and search around the net for a decent and well priced cooler as there are many available.
Is your monitor looking any better now? Well it would want to be otherwise I'll personally come over and throw a brick through it.... err well maybe not but I'd want to if it didn't perform to the stands we were expecting. Also remember older monitors, such as 13" / 14" Analog can not really be tweaked, the older = worse quality making it harder to produce a better output quality. If you are on the look out for a new cheapish monitor I'd recommend a ViewMaster NEC CromaClear 17" (that's what I'm using at this moment). On the other hand, if your monitor is outputting a much better picture then before this guide, you'll of course look forward to better gaming experience. That can't be a bad thing one a 6 hour Counter Strike LAN...