Articles: Monitors

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So, when you change your monitor with one that has a significantly different resolution or size of the screen, just open the mouse settings panel and experiment a little with its sensitivity. If you’ve got an old mouse with a low optical resolution, you may want to purchase a newer and more sensitive one. It is going to move smoothly even if you select a high speed in its settings. An extra $20 for a good mouse is a tiny sum in comparison with the price of a new monitor.

So, it’s clear with office work, let’s now consider movies. Theoretically, there may be a problem due to non-synchronization of audio (which goes without any delays) and video (which is delayed by 47 milliseconds by the monitor). But as you can easily check out in any video editor, you can only spot non-synchronization in movies when there is a difference of 200-300 milliseconds between video and audio. This is many times more than the monitor’s delay. 47 milliseconds is just a little over the period of one movie frame (this period is 40 milliseconds at a frame rate of 25fps). It’s impossible to catch such a small difference between video and audio.

Thus, it is only in games that the monitor’s input lag may be an important factor, yet I think that most people who are discussing this problem at forums are inclined to overstate it. Those 47 milliseconds won’t make a difference for most people in most games, except for a situation when you and your enemy spot each other at the same moment in a multiplayer game. In this case the reaction speed is crucial and the additional 47ms delay may be significant. But if you are anyway half a second slower in spotting your opponent, the milliseconds won’t save you.

The monitor’s input lag does not affect the aiming accuracy in first-person shooters or the steering accuracy in racing sims because it is again learned movements that you repeat: our nervous system isn’t fast enough to press the Fire button the moment the sight catches the enemy, but it can easily adapt, for example, to the necessity of sending the finger a Press command before the sight is at the enemy. So, any additional short-time lags just make the brain adjust itself once again for the new conditions. If a user who’s got used to a monitor with an input lag begins to use a monitor without a lag, he will have to adjust himself, too, and the new monitor will feel suspiciously inconvenient to him at first.

I’ve also read forum posts saying that it was just impossible to play games on a new monitor due to the input lag, but this had a very simple explanation. The user had changed the resolution from 1280x1024 to 1680x1050 but hadn’t thought that his old graphics card wouldn’t be as fast in the higher resolution. So, be careful when reading Web forums! You can’t know the level of technical competence of people who are posting on them and you can’t say beforehand if things that seem obvious to you are as obvious to them.

The input lag problem is also aggravated by two things common of all people. First, many people are inclined to search for complex explanations of simple things. They prefer to think that a light dot in the sky is a “flying saucer” rather than an ordinary weather balloon or that the strange shadows in the NASA photographs of the Moon are proof that men have never landed there rather than are indicative of the unevenness of the moonscape. Any person who’s ever taken an interest in the activities of UFO researchers and other folks of that kind will tell you that most of their alleged discoveries are the result of thinking out excessively complex theories instead just looking for simple, earthly explanations of phenomena.

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