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Samsung Syncmaster 173P+ 17inch LCD Display Review

Samsung Syncmaster 173P+ 17inch LCD Display Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Pixel response times are primarily a concern of gamers, or in situations where applications do a lot of continuous scrolling.
 84% Rating:   
Filed under: Monitors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Samsung Oct 27 2005   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Monitors > Samsung Syncmaster 173P+

Evaluating the 173P+ Display Quality

PCSTATS evaluates LCD displays with Passmark Monitor Test 2.2 and Pixel Persistence Analyzer V1.011e. These software applications display a range of primary colours and special monitor test patterns which enable an observer to diagnose a variety of visual criteria, discover evidence of broken pixels, dithering readability, ghosting, and other attributes.

Broken Pixels

What we class as a 'broken pixel' can fall under any one of the following circumstances: pixels that are always on (any colour), pixels that are always off, pixels which are unable to display a primary colour or shade (red, green, blue), or pixels which only display white or black. While many manufacturers may consider a few broken pixels acceptable, PCSTATS believes the high cost of LCD displays should translate into a clear and unblemished image that does not include a single conspicuous broken pixel.

Ghosting and Pixel Persistence

One of the challenges in testing LCD displays is quantifying the subjective examinations of ghosting in comparison to the manufacturers' advertised pixel response times. Some LCD displays boast 25ms pixel response times, others values as low as 8ms. The question we face is determining the validity of these figures - are they accurate measures of the time it takes a single pixel to turn on and return to its original state (a full cycle), or is the value quoting a half a cycle, or gray-to-gray transition? The tricks of the LCD industry are numerous when it comes to shaving off milliseconds. As soon as we start seeing pixel refresh times with an asterisk* behind the number, we know it's time to cut through the PR-lingo and offer a better means of drawing comparisons.

With this in mind, PCSTATS has added Pixel Persistence Analyzer V1.011e (PPA) to its LCD evaluation toolkit. PPA is a freely available program which offers several specific tests for testing pixel persistence (a.k.a "ghosting") in LCD displays. The PPA software interprets user adjustments to its test screens, and returns numerical values for Gamma Factor, Transition Time, scrolling text Readability and a couple other criteria.

As PCSTATS is specifically interested in transition time (pixel responsiveness), we've adopted PPA's 'Chase Test' for capturing snapshots of LCD ghosting in action. The program has clear instructions on how to run the Chase Test to discover actual numerical pixel response times for Red, Green and Blue colour patterns, but due to the subjectiveness of the user interaction, consistency is difficult. The solution we have opted for is to take a photo of the Chase Test pattern, allowing direct monitor-to-monitor visual comparisons to be made. It's not a perfect solution, but it is the best we've been able to come up with thus far for tackling this sticky aspect of LCD monitor evaluation. These results do not validate the manufacturers listed pixel refresh times, but rather illustrate the visual ghosting differences between very quickly moving and static reference patterns.

Chase Test Settings
Frame Rate: 60fps
Rectangle Distance: 100 pixels
Tempo: 20

Computer Hardware and Display Properties
Graphics card: Albatron Geforce 5950
Video Connection: DVI (analog does not maintain fixed 60fps frame rates, avoid)
Display Settings: 1280x1024 @ 32 bit
Display Frequency: 60Hz (required by PPA)
Colour Temperature: 6500 Kelvin
Operating System: WindowsXP SP2

For the PPA Chase Test, the above test configuration is used for all three colour combinations; White/Blue on Green, White/Yellow on Blue, and White/Red on Gray.

LCD Monitor Model Pixel Refresh Time
(Mfgr. Spec.)
Visible Ghosting Blocks From Solid Colour Ghosting Test Pattern: Green Sample (moving left to right)
Reference Geometry N/A 0
Samsung 173P+ 8ms* 2
Samsung 192MP 25ms 4
Samsung 191T+ 25ms 4

LCD Monitor Model Pixel Refresh Time
(Mfgr. Spec.)
Visible Ghosting Blocks From Solid Colour Ghosting Test Pattern : Blue Sample (moving left to right)
Reference Geometry N/A 0
Samsung 173P+ 8ms* 3
Samsung 192MP 25ms 4
Samsung 191T+ 25ms 4

LCD Monitor Model Pixel Refresh Time
(Mfgr. Spec.)
Visible Ghosting Blocks From Solid Colour Ghosting Test Pattern : Grey Sample (moving left to right)
Reference Geometry N/A 0
Samsung 173P+ 8ms* 3
Samsung 192MP 25ms 5
Samsung 191T+ 25ms 5

Ghosting Results?

It is pretty clear by looking at the three separate colour test patterns that issues with ghosting are reduced on the 8ms (*gray-to-gray) Samsung 173P+ LCD monitor. The difference varies between 1-2 less visible ghosting blocks on the 173P+, which is a little bit less than what we had anticipated before the test was conducted against the 25ms panels. Of course, we're focusing on just the following edge of the test pattern, the reduction also lessens the visual effect on the leading edge.

Monitor Test Display Quality Observations

Brightness and Contrast: The Samsung 173P+ display exhibits excellent shading under the gray scale test. The white scale bars are bright and the black test background dark. Overall, the 173P+'s 1500:1 contrast ratio translates into non-illuminated jet-black backgrounds, and bright whites.

Colour Vibrancy: The three primary colour test screens were vibrant and uniform from corner to corner. Colour saturation was excellent, and there were zero dull or broken pixels visible. There was no light leakage from the corners of the display panel either.

Colour Shading: By displaying a static primary colour transition from solid colour to black, it is possible to see one how well the LCD panel handles colour shading. Limited to 16.7million colours, LCD screens can suffer banding to some degree, where the slight transition from one shade to another leads to a visible 'steped' appearance. The Samsung 173P+ performed very well in this test, banding was not noticeable.

Non-native Resolution: Native resolution is 1280x1024 pixels. Image dithering at a non-native 1024x768 resolution was good, and without artifacts. For users that prefer larger fonts, or need to run at a non-native resolutions the 173P+ handles text dithering gracefully.

Moire: When testing the Samsung 173P+ display on the Digital DVI cable there was no visible background noise in any of the moire test patterns. On Analog, autoadjust corrected moire lines in one pattern.

Gaming Tests: To test out the real world action of fast paced FPS gaming on the Samsung 173P+ LCD monitor we loaded up Quake 4 and put the Samsung screen through a couple of rounds of alien-deamon fragging. The colours looked crisp, and I really liked how the darker areas of the screen were actually black. On some inexpensive LCD's, the backlight leaks through the darker areas of the screen which takes away from the visual atmosphere the game otherwise creates. It's distracting and kind of makes that $500 videocard pointless. Not so with the high 1500:1 contrast ratio of the Samsung 173P+ monitor.

As to the question of ghosting in the game... well it's a really subjective observation. I'd have to say that it is not completely absent, even though the 173P+ panel boasts an 8ms gray-to-gray pixel response time. The effect is very minimal if you can even spot it, and to be frank it is difficult to see unless one is specifically looking for it. As for distracting visual elements, the blockiness of movements in Quake 4 on an LCD is what stood out in our tests with the game.

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Contents of Article: Samsung Syncmaster 173P+
 Pg 1.  Samsung Syncmaster 173P+ 17inch LCD Display Review
 Pg 2.  Magic Tune 3.6 Software LCD Properties Control
 Pg 3.  A closer look at the Samsung 173P
 Pg 4.  — Evaluating the 173P+ Display Quality
 Pg 5.  Final Words on the Samsung 173P+ LCD Display

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