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Author Topic: Monitors, some general guidlines  (Read 5451 times)
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« on: October 18, 2010, 02:37:46 PM »

I've been looking for some information about what features one might look for in a monitor. This is about preferred features, what's better or worse in general, this isn't for any one specific build. These are not definitions or explanations for the parts mentioned.

This is some advice I've compiled from cellofaan. I hope I haven't mangled anything:
-- External power supply is better than an internal power supply
   * Easier to construct
   * It can be placed away from the tablet (the power supply can be a source for jitter)
   An internal supply can work too, as it's not always a problem

-- Power and voltage:
   * All other things being equal, a monitor that uses less power might produce less jitter
   * A lower voltage, and therefore less power, might give less jitter

-- One controller board is better than two (big screens come with just a column board):
   * There would be no need to extend the connection (usually FFC) between the row board and column board to make room for the components
   * Some monitors have a special connection between the two boards that makes them useless as they can't be extended

-- Screen size vs. tablet size:
   * Ideally, the LCD should be slightly smaller than the active part of the tablet, or have a precise fit (see for some tablet specs)
   * Aspect ratio: it is simpler if the screen's aspect ratio matches the tablet's aspect ratio

-- a DVI connection is better than a VGA connection:
   * Gives a better quality picture
   * Gives you the possibility to re-size the  active part of the screen to the tablet's active area (it'll have black bars around it) in case the screen is bigger than the tablet. A VGA cable will always stretch the image to fit the entire screen.

-- Photoframe glass is one option for covering the screen:
   * Cheap
   * Thin
   A harder type of plastic will also work, but it might need  a replaceable screen cover to go on top (like those stickerthings you can buy for your iPhone), so you don't scratch the permanent cover.

-- LED edge lighting would be better than CCFL tubes:
   * CCFL tubes produce a lot of heat
   * LED runs on a lower voltage, which will give less interference
   * Specifically, it would have to be edge lighting, where the LED's are around the top and bottom of the screen, as an array of LED's behind the screen would block the tablet's signal
   There's no way of knowing what kind of layout a monitor has, unless the specs specifically mention "edge-lit" or something similar

-- Backlight slab: the thinner the better

I will try to add to this as I attempt to organize the information I've gotten from people. Contributions are welcome, and I will try to add them in too.
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 12:06:06 PM »


I'm a newbie doing some research before any bidding / buying.
thanks for your advice on monitors,
Does the monitor need to be IPS? as I have read the benefits of this, but they are hard to find at certain sizes.
"IPS panels do not lighten or show tailing when touched "
I'm trying to find a 19" or 20" for a Intuos 2 12x18,
any advice would be grateful.
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 02:22:00 PM »

Hi JaseBristol,

Unfortunately there is no definitive answer here since the degree of success varies dependent seemly upon which model of panel is used, this applies even to IPS screens although it would appear that there has been more success with IPS. The apparent success of IPS panels vs other technologies may be due to popularity ie more people build DIY Cintiqs with IPS panels perhaps because actual Cintiqs use this type of technology. The current Cintiq 22HD and Cintiq 24HD for example both use H-IPS (Horizontal In Plane Switching) technology screens which may be why this technology is favored, after all it makes sense to try and replicate the success of the original manufacturer. There is a nice explanation of the differences between IPS technologies here:

That said I think some people have had success with TN, VA, & PVA type panels but you'd have to search around to find out who and to what degree they had success. I would suggest that you take a look on the forums for someone that has used an XL tablet like your intuos 2 and see how they went about it - The Waco rings a bell as being one such project. I myself have tried numerous TN panels and have come to the conclusion that this type of technology isn't best suited to DIY Cintiq building so I am looking at moving away from this and am considering MVA, PVA and IPS technologies, but I do not have an abundance of cash so I'm taking my time and waiting for a good deal to appear, like they say patience is a virtue.

Also, I notice that you're looking at 19" or 20" panels, but for the 12"x18" I2 you are probably going to need a 21" 16:10 upwards panel since a smaller screen will render a lot of the tablets active area wasted, I am looking into building an I2 XL DIY Cintiq too and have decided that I will probably go for a 22" panel to make sure that most of the active area of the tablet is covered. I need to get my hands on an I2 XL first though which is another matter entirely.

See the Simtiq Planner here:, or Kubi's and SchwarzerPrinz's guide to tablet/screen sizes here: for more on matching screen size to tablet active area.
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 02:32:06 PM »

IPS is nice, but it's just not possible for many builds because it's still a bit of a niche technology in the laptop market from which we source our panels. And that's okay, even the past generations of Cintiqs have been based on cheaper TN technology. I've never looked into a build for a 12x18 digitizer, honestly all I know is that Chi Mei made an 18.5" panel that was IPS, but it was also 10-bit (meaning you'll have to buy a $400 Digital View controller) and hard to source. I'm pretty sure that the rest of the options out there are going to be TN, though again, I could be wrong.

For a 21.5"-22" panel, you have a lot more options. You can even head to your local Best Buy/Other Electronics store and pick a model off the shelf. If you can find an HP 22BW, which is some strange rebrand of another screen, it has excellent color and the panel is quite thin after being stripped.
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2013, 02:57:49 PM »

Thanks, I'm now on the look out to see what I can get ! Smiley
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