Performance Analsysis and Conclusion
As far as any 4:3 aspect ratio LCD is concerned, the ASUS performed flawlessly. The display exhibited exceptional brightness and contrast thanks to the quality panel used by ASUS. The thin bezel on the PM17TU helps maximize the rather small 17" viewable area and could very well fool many into believing it could be a 19" screen. In addition, the integrated speakers were more than capable of handling the audio from any standard everyday application. Ultimately though, anyone who has used a widescreen LCD in the past will soon feel the limitations of working with a 4:3 aspect display. Here, the lack of available screen real estate definitely constrains what you're working on as having multiple windows open at one time is anything but trivial to keep in order. Given the ASUS LCD's rather pricey cost, there are several quality widescreen panels that offer more screen space for the money. Again, the panel performed extremely well in these applications although heavy office applications users would do better spending their money on a widescreen LCD.
Again, in terms of performance for a 4:3 aspect ratio LCD the ASUS display did an admirable job in every respect. For older DVD's which were not widescreen, it was nearly impossible to find fault in this display. However, watching most DVD's which are typically widescreen the overall viewing area of the panel is decreased to painfully small sizes. Having screen real estate cropped off due to black bars on an already size-constrained 17" panel is tough to cope with. Regardless, the LCD handled itself extremely well in a variety of different films. The extremely dark scenes of Fight Club were well represented with accurate detail being preserved thanks to the accurate greyscale and contrast of the panel. Fast action sequences such as those in Jet Li's "The One" were also reproduced successfully with no hint of ghosting or streaking in any situation. We are confident that ASUS would receive top marks were this a 16:10 or 16:9 panel as the only complaint we have is in regards to its 4:3 aspect ratio.
With all our complaints regarding the panel's 4:3 aspect ratio, many might begin to wonder why ASUS chose to keep this a standard display and not opt for a widescreen model. Let us just say that after spending some time gaming on the PM17TU, one quickly realizes that this is an ideal gaming display. Ghosting is a term of the past when using this LCD and the company's claimed 3ms response rate seems to be more than accurate. Colors were sharp and vibrant with hours of gameplay easily possible with no worry of eye-strain or performance implications. As the vast majority of titles today are strictly standard resolutions, we were able to play every game we wished at the panel's native resolution of 1280x1024 with no black boxes or weird scaling issues. Multiplayer gamers can rejoice as this display's small footprint and light weight make it an ideal choice for a LAN display. Overall, we give the ASUS PM17TU top mark as an excellent gaming LCD.
In the end, we have mixed emotions regarding the ASUS PM17TU. Make no mistake, if you are a hardcore gamer that is looking for a reasonably sized and priced LCD you would be hard-pressed to do better than this display. Add to the performance the stellar 3yr warranty and 1yr coverage of dead pixels and you have a very compelling product. This is a very application-specific piece of hardware that is targeting a very precise market. Granted, the panel does a solid job on all fronts and is certainly a high quality product. However, for the casual gamer who is more focused on office applications or is wishing to also use their display to view DVD's and multimedia, we would have to recommend looking elsewhere and opting for a widescreen LCD. Taking this all into consideration, we'll give the ASUS PM17TU a rating of "8" as it is an exceptional piece of hardware that is only limited to some users by its 4:3 aspect ratio.
|•_Rapid 3ms Response Rate - No ghosting
•_Surprisingly-good integrated speakers
•_Excellent 3yr Warranty and 1yr Zero Dead Pixel Coverage
•_Clean lines and polished Looks
|•_Expensive for a 17" LCD
•_4:3 Aspect Ration limits workspace and affects DVD viewing