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The monitor is quite probably the most important part of a PC. Although many PC users may disagree with that statement, choosing to place more emphasis on their CPU or graphics card, the truth is that the rest of your system can’t amount to much if you have a poor screen to display the output on. It’s also worth remembering that a really good monitor is likely to last the lifetime of several PCs, since display technology doesn’t move at the same frightening pace as CPUs, graphics cards or motherboards.

All that said, it’s also true that the monitor can be one of the most expensive parts of a PC, but what we’re here to tell you is that it can be money well spent. Investing in a good monitor will make your entire PC using experience more enjoyable, whether working or playing.

A truly great display will give you as much space as possible on which to work, and this equates to a large physical screen area and a high resolution. As things stand, that generally means a screen size between 20 and 21.3in and a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200. Not only is 1,600 x 1,200 a great resolution to work at, but it’s also the highest resolution that can be supported by a single link DVI output – of course workstation graphics cards with dual link DVI can support higher resolution, but then you're talking serious money.

So, we’ve rounded up eight of the best large screen, high resolution displays on the market in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. Every monitor in this group test sports either a 20.1in or 21.3in TFT panel and a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200. Each and every one of them will accept both digital DVI and analogue D-SUB inputs for ultimate flexibility. Some have two DVI ports, some have USB hubs, some can pivot and some have built-in speakers.

Each screen was tested and studied using the DisplayMate suite of tests and then placed on our desks and used as a primary display for several weeks to get a true idea of its day-in, day-out performance.

During the course of this test we were amazed at how much the price of these screens dropped, and you may find, as we did, that a high resolution TFT screen is more affordable than you might imagine.

So, if you’re in the market for a new display and would like the maximum amount of desktop real estate, read on and find out which monitor is our dream screen.

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