How old is the monitor on your desk? How long did you own the monitor before that? If youíre like most people, you only go through new monitors every few years. Thatís the best thing about monitors Ė as long as you choose the right monitor to begin with, youíll get years
of quality service. There arenít many other computer components that can brag about being long-term investments.
Eulogy for the CRT
When LCD monitors were first introduced in the late 90ís, they were a bit of an oddity. Images were never razor-sharp due to the analog VGA connection. Gamers complained about ghosting and blurry screens while visual professionals complained about washed-out colors. Nevertheless, the appeal of the LCD was undeniable: They were thin, lightweight, and flicker-free.
That was then. LCD monitors became affordable years ago, DVI is found even on budget video cards, and advances in LCD technology have improved picture quality immensely. Likewise, PCs are fast enough to run games and video at native 1280x1024 resolutions (or higher if youíre lucky enough to have a 20Ē+ LCD panel). So, while CRTs still have some advantages, such as color reproduction, the difference has largely become theoretical rather than practical with ďmid-rangeĒ LCD panels. For the vast majority of people, the differences are no longer significant on a day-to-day basis.
For those of you who still have a CRT monitor on your desk right now, know that it will likely be the last CRT you will ever own. Even if you arenít upgrading just yet, unless youíre in the market for exotic $4000 CRTs, your next monitor will be a new LCD. Manufacturers simply arenít putting any R&D into mainstream CRTs anymore. Your vintage high-end CRT is better than many of CRTs being produced today. There are even people ďstocking upĒ on a vintage high-end CRT for this very reason; we donít recommend doing that.
Shopping for an LCD
We all want the same thing from an LCD monitor: great picture quality at a great price. When it comes to a great picture there are two elements that come into play. You want the image to be rich in color, constrasty, and sharp. The other element that comes into play is the speed of the LCD and its ability to handle motion.
Special thanks to Newegg.com for providing the monitors and helping to make this article a reality.