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Samsung SyncMaster 245T

While the SyncMaster 245B (see above) represents the beginning of a new branch in the evolution of 24” LCD monitors, being the first TN-based model with such a screen diagonal, the SyncMaster 245T is a logical development of the 244T model.

The main difference between the specs of the 245T and 244T is that not only static, but also the dynamic contrast ratio is specified for the former. The 244T did not offer such a mode at all. To remind you, the high value of the so-called dynamic contrast ratio is achieve through the automatic regulation of the backlight depending on the prevalence of darks or lights in the currently displayed image. The darker the image, the lower the backlight intensity is, and vice versa. The dynamic contrast ratio is thus the ratio of white at the maximum backlight intensity to the level of black at the minimum backlight intensity.

The dynamic contrast technology is meant for movies (this depends on your personal taste, though – some people don’t like it even in movies) but is absolutely useless for work or games. It is just constantly changing the brightness of the screen in professional applications and makes dark game scenes, in which it is hard to see the lurking enemy, even darker. So, monitors should be compared by the static contrast ratio for everything other than movies, and the 244T and 245T have the same static contrast, according to the manufacturer.

Well, I have met with the dynamic contrast technology in a number of monitors already, so it is nothing particularly new. It is another feature of the SyncMaster 245T – the MPA mode – that is new to me.

To be exact, I once wrote about MPA when I was discussing the problem of fuzziness on the screen of an LCD monitor due to the non-zero response time of the human eye (the persistence of vision effect) in the article called Contemporary LCD Monitor Parameters: Objective and Subjective Analysis. One solution to the problem was to turn off the backlight lamps one by one under the part of the matrix the picture is being updated in, so when the lamp is turned on again (with a new picture on this part of the matrix) the image of the previous picture on the eye retina has had enough time to fade out. You can follow the link above for details about the theory, I’ll discuss the practice here.

MPA technology in the SyncMaster 245T is in fact the technology of turning off the backlight lamps alternately in sync with the refresh of the picture on the screen. If you enable MPA and make a series of photos of a white background on the monitor’s screen, you’ll see a dark band in each photo – where one of the backlight lamps is turned off. I cut out a vertical strip from each photo and glued them together so you could see how the dark band is running along the screen.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to evaluate the effect of MPA technology objectively. The photo-sensor shows the ordinary response time of the matrix with “slumps” due to the periodically turned-off backlight lamps. And subjective impressions are just too subjective. You cannot run a blind-test of a monitor with and without MPA because it’s clear from certain factors that MPA is turned on. So, you can’t say if the monitor has got really faster or you just think it has got faster (that’s like the placebo effect in medicine).

Anyway, MPA is definitely a good thing because this technology is enabled independently of any other monitor setting (particularly, of the matrix’s response time compensation which is referred to as RTA by Samsung). So if you don’t need it, you can just not use it. But if you feel the monitor works faster with MPA, then this technology works for you!

MPA technology can be useful in games or when watching movies, but you may want to turn it off for work because the flickering of the screen (at a frequency of 60Hz) it provokes becomes conspicuous.

Talking about technicalities, the lamps are always being turned on alternately in the SyncMaster 245T, but they do so with a frequency of 180Hz in normal mode, and the eye can’t see the flicker just as it cannot see the flicker of a CRT screen even at a scan rate of 100Hz. When MPA is enabled, the frequency is reduced threefold, to 60Hz, and each lamp is turned off once during each frame.

The monitor is alike to the 245B model externally. It’s got a stern black case that is going to look just as appropriately at home as in the office. The monitor’s stand allows adjusting the tilt of the screen and its height (from 100 to 200mm) and to rotate it around the vertical axis and into portrait mode. The stand can be replaced with a VESA mount if necessary.

The monitor has as many as two digital inputs, HDMI and DVI-D. The former can be connected to a graphics card with a DVI-I output (via an adapter) while the latter supports HDCP protection and thus suits for reproducing protected HDTV video. You can also see here an analog video input, composite and S-Video inputs, a power connector for optional speakers and an audio connector for them (it receives the signal from the HDMI), and an input of the integrated USB hub.

The left panel offers the four ports of the mentioned USB hub and a component video input. As a result, the monitor offers as many as six different input interfaces.

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