Shopping for an LCD monitor, Part 3

Dennis Faas's picture

This article has been a 3 part series. Feel free to read part 1 or part 2 if you missed it already. As I mentioned part 2 of my article, I don't want to use my LCD monitor in its native resolution because images and text are too small.

On the other hand, the display image at 1280 x 1024 resolution is incredibly clear.

RE: My final thoughts on purchasing an LCD monitor

Before completing this article, I received an email from Craig W. where he gives his opinion and comparison on LCD and CRT displays. He writes:

" As a full time graphics developer/ 3D modeler, I would say that I have tried a fair number of display configurations and have always found the quality of CRT far superior to anything yet available in LCD. For this very reason, our 3D modeling staff does not use LCD monitors. We do, however, have a number of administrative staff who are delighted with their 18" LCD displays.

Here are a few comparative points about both technologies:

1. CRT monitors are capable of much greater display resolution settings than LCD.

Side note: This is only for the time being. Larger sized LCD monitors are being produced which will inherently support greater resolutions.

2. CRT monitors can be manufactured with a much finer dot pitch (size of pixel used for display) than their LCD counterparts.

Side note: Perhaps this is true -- but the fact that LCD's have a near flicker-free image makes their displays far superior to a CRT with a finer dot pitch. But, that's just my opinion.

I compared my 17" Samsung Syncmaster 760v TFT LCD (.26 Dot Pitch) monitor in 1280 x 1024 @ 75 Hz to my 19" Samsung Syncmaster 900SL CRT (.26 Dot Pitch) monitor in 1280 x 1024 @ 85 Hz and the LCD's display was much easier on the eyes and produced a far superior image than the Samsung CRT.

3. While it is true that LCD is far kinder to the eyes, it is possible to set a good quality CRT to a refresh rate of above 75 Hertz which is known to be undetectable to the eye in terms of flicker. It is however a nuisance that certain OS's (Windows XP for instance) limit the maximum refresh rate to a paltry 60 Hertz at very high resolutions which is not only extremely worrying, but very damaging to the eyes (this can be rectified with a number of freeware software patches).

4. The horizontal/ vertical viewing angle on LCD displays is quite restrictive. For most LCD displays (as of now), you need to be directly in front of the display, otherwise, the image is not as clear / distorted.

5. LCD does not refresh the screen at nearly the same speed as CRT- a fact repeated by many gamers who complain about sluggish screen refreshes on LCD*.

Side note: Playing Quake 3 Arena @ 800 x 600 is no different on my LCD than it is on my CRT. LCD responsiveness to screen refresh timing has greatly improved over the last few years.

I have no problems with LCD monitors-it all depends on what they are going to be used for -- therefore, it would be better to see a balanced comparison of their relative merits. It is for this reason that I will stick to my dual Sony Trinitron 21" Displays for a little while longer (even if they weigh more than an average motorbike, and take up the space of the average fridge on it's side!)

Everything is fair in love and comparisons -- it's just the terms that are not always clear! "

Those were some good points, but I would much prefer my LCD to a CRT any day. I think most users would agree, given the opportunity to choose between the two. I suppose this true since LCD displays and big-screen plasma TV's are already starting to phase out CRT's.

I also received an email from Keith S. who suggested that I change the DPI preference in my Display Settings. This would effectively make icons and text larger for display units that have ultra-high resolution. Keith writes:

" You can compensate the high-resolution vs. tiny icons and text size by changing your resolution DPI. This is done by clicking Start -> Control Panel -> Display. Go to the Settings tab, then click the Advanced button.

In the window that pops up, change the DPI setting from Normal size of 96 DPI to Large size (120 DPI), or choose Custom settings if that still isn't big enough. Following that, restart your computer to make the changes stick. You can also fine-tune the appearance of your Windows title-bar, font, and the like in the Appearance tab under Display Properties. "

I tried what Keith suggested. I rebooted my machine and was ecstatic that I could finally use my LCD in its native resolution without a magnifying glass. Unfortunately, I ran into the same problem of "out of whack alignment" when using some programs which insist on having a 12 pt font setting.

Oh well. Back to good old 800 x 600 resolution.


There are definitely some pros and cons when deciding whether or not to purchase an LCD. I guess it all depends on your budget and what environment you plan on using it for, like Chris W. mentioned. As far as gaming is concerned, screen refresh wasn't an issue for me -- not with the Samsung Syncmaster 760V, anyway. I suppose the only way to be absolutely sure about a monitor's capability is to do some hands-on testing before you decide to shell out the $$.

Yes -- it is disappointing that my display is interpolated in 800 x 600 and it's not as crisp as if the monitor was in its native mode, but I honestly can't complain too much about the "loss of quality".

In all, I am very satisfied with my LCD display. The biggest plus for me is that I can sit in front of it for hours on end and I still don't get a headache like I used to get when I used my faithful CRT.

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