I often get the question why not share a color profile for a monitor that I’ve tested and have calibrated while doing the test to get better color calibration, the answer to this question is actually pretty simple. It is not wise to use a color calibration profile made on one system on another one, because of variations of the monitors even when they are the same model and of the video card as well. There are two factors that are taken into account when making a color profile for improving the monitor accuracy – the monitor itself and the video card used on the computer…
And if you make the calibration on one system and move the profile to another one with the same display the end result might not be as good as you’ve expected and instead of getting better color accuracy you may end up with a worse one. So I did a little experiment to show you what do I mean and here you can see the results. I’ve used a computer system with two video cards installed in it, both a GeForce GTX 580, with a single monitor and I’ve measured the default color performance of the display (not very good one as you can see from the results). The first image is with the first card connected to the display and the second one is from the same measurement using the second video card, the monitor remained the same and the sensor was not moved from its position between the measurements.
As you can see from the results there is slight difference in the results achieved between the two cards, but I should remind you that we have exactly the same conditions for the measurements and that we use the same model of video card on exactly on display. So with minimum variations by just using two video cards of the same make and model we get slight difference, but when we add up more variables like another monitor with slightly difference in the performance of the panel (still the same model of course) and different video card – model and brand, the difference will increase.
Again I’ll mention that these results are only measuring the display color performance, not even calibrating it, just measuring the default color performance with the two video cards. Doing the calibration and measuring it again with the two video cards will increase the differences and after that using different card and monitor will further influence the results. So if you are looking for color accuracy you should do the calibration of a display on the computer you are going to be using for your work that requires accurate color reproduction.
Why should you calibrate a monitor for better color accuracy? Obviously the reason for that is to have the display show the colors as close as possible to how they should look like, but performing hardware calibration on a monitor is usually done when you are going to be using a monitor for work associated with colors. It doesn’t make much sense to calibrate a monitor that will be used for gaming as games usually ignore color profiles or end up manipulating the gamma anyway, so even if you’ve color calibrated the display it will not make a difference in games. What makes sense however is to go for a monitor that has better color accuracy right out of the box or that has been hardware calibrated at the factory, so it will work well even without performing a calibration or having to tweak its settings for better results.