Monitor/LCD panel

This is the part you'll be looking at all day long, so it pays to get something nice. There's no point having a killer system, then finding that using it for more than 30minutes gives you eyestrain!

These days, LCD/TFT screens are "where it's at" so we concentrate primarily on those. We start with a 15 inch unit which really is 15 inches corner-to-corner (diagonally) - nearly as large as many 17 inch standard monitors.

For serious users, a 17inch LCD is the best choice. These units will be good brand monitors, and have a DVI connector for digital connection to a suitable graphics card. We usually recommend units with built-in audio capability, removing the need for most users to have separate speaker systems.

19inch units don't usually allow for higher resolutions than their 17inch counterparts, but are larger and therefore clearer to read etc. In most cases a 17inch unit is ample, but the 19inch units are available if you wish.

The big jump, both in price and performance, comes with 20.1 / 21 inch LCD screens, which offer much more desktop space - 1600x1200 desktop resolution. These are the rolls-royce of screens, and also offer a "pivot" mode allowing the screen to display in portrait or landscape mode.

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