The most important and often most underrated aspect of your computer setup is your monitor or ideally monitors. That's the aspect that you're looking at all day long, so if you can get a better monitor with better picture quality, that's a major improvement to your life. If you can improve your screen real estate with more monitors or better resolution screens, you can make your productivity better. For gaming, if you can improve your refresh rate, you'll be able to play better.
For his home office setup, Avram has been working with 2 4K UHD monitors on the bottom and 2 HD monitors on the top. When the holidays rolled around, that meant time for some new monitors at a potentially great price. He decided to get some additional 4K screens to replace the HD screens initially but decided to look for some really quality monitors to go on the bottom and move the current screens up to the top. He was looking for screens with great color and brightness - ideal for the image work he does all day. But it has not been the easy task he had hoped for.
If you're looking for a really high-end monitor, such as a high refresh rate or high color replication, there are some ways to get a monitor cheaper. One way to do this is to look for a used monitor coming off of a corporate lease. You can find a few quality resellers on eBay that deal with used monitors coming out of offices when the company's lease expires and the hardware goes back to the leasing company.
Now, you might be skeptical to purchase a used monitor because, in general, used computer equipment is a sketchy prospect. Video cards and SSDs, for example, are a scary product category to get involved with used, unless you know the seller personally. However, with monitors, the risk is fairly low. LED backlighting is the component with a perishable lifespan, and those arrays can run from 80k to 100k hours. At 8 hours per day, that's over 30 years of performance before an issue. Of course, other components can go bad - like power supplies and capacitors - but a used monitor won't be any more or less likely than a new one.
However, you don't want to purchase just any monitor used. The price difference between a used monitor and a new monitor should be significant enough to be without the manufacturer's warranty. If you're saving $20, go with the new unit. But, in some cases, we've seen savings of over $300 or more, making it a great deal for high-end art and gaming monitors.
If you're building a monitor array, one feature to look at closely is the placement of the mounting plate on the monitor. Not all models place them in the center - some put them lower on the panel. If you're mixing and matching models, you'll be unable to create a proper array if the mounts are in different locations.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.