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I'm ditching my 16-year-old monitor for another 16-year-old monitor



When I was younger, I always loved to read this little story in which there were 3 pigs, and and a wolf. These 3 pigs each built their houses out of different materials, and the wolf demolished all but one of them, presumably because they weren’t compliant with local building codes.


Why am I bringing up an obscure children’s story you’ve definitely never heard before in a post about monitors? Because of the similarities between the LCD monitors sold from 2006 to 2010 that featured only a VGA connector, and the straw house, the weakest house in the story. In other words, they were both doomed to disappear off the face of the earth sooner than almost anything else out there, at least until AMD decided that it’d be a good idea to release their Stony Ridge microarchitecture.


In 2006 almost all high-end and mid-range monitors featured at least one form of DVI input. The majority of low-end monitors, though, were a bit different. They were pretty much obsolete the moment they were put into boxes, as there was nothing they brought to the table that an LCD monitor from 2001 couldn’t accomplish. When the average consumer sees that their monitor doesn’t have the same connector as their new computer, are they going to go out and buy a VGA to HDMI adapter? Hell no! They’re going to treat themselves to a new monitor with that HDMI port built in, because many of them don’t even realize that old monitors can still be used with new devices. (“But if I keep using that old thing, I might get hacked if I click on that one cell in Microsoft Excel!”) Then, they would throw that old monitor away, or send it off for recycling. (note: I’m aware of the fact that DVI has kind of died out too, but there are still quite a few desktops from OEMs with DVI ports)


I’m bringing this up because I think I’m finally going to be moving on from one of those monitors pretty soon. More specifically, the 17-inch, 5:4 Acer AL1706, which was released in 2006. Mine has been in service since my parents bought their Acer Aspire T180 to replace their old beige desktop in 2007, and the only thing that’s ever been wrong with it is the fact that its only form of I/O predates the written word. This hasn't been a problem yet since I still use that aging Acer Aspire as my daily driver, but I’ve been planning on replacing it for the past few months, because its dual-core Athlon 64 has started to show its age recently. It’s not like I’m going to dispose of the AL1706, because it’s like Karl from Die Hard in the sense that it’s genuinely unkillable. I’ll eventually find a new use for it.


After I decided on what hardware I’ll be buying, it was time to figure out what I wanted out of my monitor. I have a specific set of requirements for what I’d want sitting on my desk:

  • It needs to have DVI or any other form of digital input

  • It needs to either be made entirely of silver plastic or have silver plastic accents in order to look era-appropriate

  • It needs to be 5:4, and have a 19” display since I have enough space on my desk to squeeze in a slightly larger screen

My interest in adopting the latest technologies is strong.


I looked at Dell’s brand new UltraSharp P1917S, but ultimately decided against it because of its lack of silver plastic and because even I don’t know how messed up you’d have to be to spend $400 on a brand new square monitor. I looked at slightly newer Acer monitors than my own, but decided against them as well because I had started to become obsessed with the cool monitor stands used by Dell. Then, when I was starting to question whether the ideal monitor even existed, I remembered that it did. I’m planning on getting either a Dell UltraSharp 1907FP or 1908FP, because they’re practically being given away these days by everything from insurance offices to government offices. In fact, you could probably walk up to a random person, ask to buy their Dell UltraSharp, and they’ll only want 2 gumballs and a Popsicle stick for it. Everyone is desperate to get these things off their hands nowadays. My plan is to get one from my local e-recycler with a dead fluorescent backlight, and install one of those cheap LED backlight conversion kits. This should hopefully make the monitor last longer, and mean it’ll no longer produce as much heat as a nuclear reactor.


I’m excited to take on this project soon, although it’ll definitely be a while until I can go to the e-recycler because... reasons. In the meantime, my AL1706 will hopefully keep on serving me with no issues, aside from that connector being older than most forms of life on this planet.


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