So I got myself a 21″ Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitor. Most specifically, an IBM 6558 P202, a 21″ behemoth running at 1600×1200 resolution at 85 hertz. Multiply 1200 by 85 hz to get its maximum vertical refresh rate; 102 khz.
No, it’s not a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitor. I hate current LCDs in the market, as the technology has not matured. The Dell 17″ LCDs I use at the office are very comfortable and look good, but they run at a slow 16ms update rate (thus being useless for games). The Samsung 17″ LCDs in the office, meanwhile, run faster at 12ms, but no matter how I adjusted the moire and patterns, I could never get consistent sharpness or a comfortable view. 19″ LCDs can reach 1440×900, while 17″ LCDs max out at 1280×1024 resolution. A 17″ CRT does 1024×768, which is lower… but most 19″ CRTs do 1600×1200 at 85hz (except Samsungs), and some even allow 2048×1536 at 60hz! A 21″ CRT usually has the same pixel clock and thus, same resolutions, just at a bigger scale.
I also had to keep adjusting the Samsung LCD’s brightness (when I had to use it at the office). It would be uncomfortably dim one moment and bright the next, so I had to adjust it about… each hour. I love Samsung CRTs, just not Samsung LCDs.
I see dead pixels.
LCDs are sold with a warning that says that as a part of the manufacturing process, a few pixels may be dead, meaning they stay a certain color no matter what you’re looking at. Unless there are seven dead pixels (or worse, 1%, which is 13 thousand pixels on a 1280×1024 display), you can’t get it replaced under warranty.
CRT manufacturers don’t chicken out.
L C Death
Cherrie‘s Dell laptop’s LCD died after one year of extensive usage. Edrei‘s Toshiba laptop’s LCD died after 2.5 years of extensive usage. I don’t know if this will happen to desktop LCDs too, but hey, I’ve had my good Samsung CRT for 5 years already.
Buying an LCD is not an investment for the future. I’d stay with my CRT, and buy an LCD later if it gets cheaper and better than CRTs.
Color And Gamma
CRTs also have accurate color and gamma. A major annoyance (going from my 5-years-and-20-days-old Samsung SyncMaster 750s CRT to the Dell LCD at work) is how the Dell tends to brighten the shadows, especially dark mids, giving the picture a dry, desaturated look. The Dell is already at minimum brightness, and the Samsung, its maximum brightness!
The upper picture is an example of what I’d see on a CRT; the lower one is on a LCD. It brings out the ugly compression of JPG, which doesn’t look so nice in the shadows.
NVidia’s Display Optimization Wizard helps you to set the correct color and gamma for your monitor. In my Samsung’s case, it was 70% brightness. However, if I was to Photoshop pictures to follow my Samsung’s brightness, it would be so much brighter on another CRT (on an unbranded Medion 17″ CRT, 0% brightness was my Samsung’s 100%, and 0% brightness on the Dell LCD was still much brighter than my Samsung’s 100%. But NVidia says that everything should be darker, really.)
And so, I left my Samsung at 100% brightness, and adjust gamma in Photoshop to look slightly dark (but with detail hidden in darker mids). It wouldn’t turn out so bad on the Dell. Meanwhile, on the Dell, I had to brighten the mids just a bit. If you noticed, my latest pictures all have blacker shadows; darker mids bring stronger color and more saturation, and pictures with a lot of darks also have smaller filesizes using JPG compression.
A 19″ CRT is also the same price as a 17″ LCD, and does better resolution, doesn’t mess with your colors, better gamma, and is better for games too. My computer table is the same size; we’ve always had space for CRTs until recently, so why are you all complaining about space?
P.S. I got mine secondhand. It had defocusing towards the left and right of the screen, so I got a discount, whee! The defocusing was quite annoying at 1600×1200 when reading small text, so I bumped up the font sizes for everything. (Well give it a break, it was 7 years old.) I could afford to do so at such a resolution! For games and movies, the defocusing didn’t matter, since we only pay attention to the middle of the screen. Watching a DVD full-screen has never been so visceral on a computer before! Also, such high resolution means that the DVD doesn’t look sharp enough for the screen!
Why’d I get it?
The Medion 17″ monitor, after fixing, had the same problem again. So I put it aside, moved the Samsung 17″ monitor from the primary computer (on the right) to the secondary computer (on the left), and the IBM 21″ to the primary computer. The last time I had two monitors of different sizes was in November 2002, with a shitty Princeton EO950 19″ CRT. Click here to see a 17″ versus a 19″. 😀