CRT vs LCD: my recent experiences as a gamer

Discussion in 'Displays' started by PearlChoco, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. PearlChoco

    PearlChoco n00b

    Mar 28, 2011
    I've been gaming on CRT monitors all my life, and never experienced any problems with it.
    But now that my trusty old 19" CRT monitor is finally starting to die on me (I have to turn the brightness all the way up to 100% to get some light out of it), the time had come to buy a brand new LCD monitor.

    After ALOT of reading and investigating, I decided the Dell U2311H was the perfect monitor for me: pretty good all-round image quality, good viewing angles, pretty fast for an IPS panel, and perfect size / resolution for my gaming.

    Yesterday my new monitor arrived, I installed it next to my 19" CRT, and compared gaming on both of them.
    I assume there are still plenty of CRT gamers, and since they'll ultimately all have to switch to LCD, I thought it might be useful to share my initial findings!

    LCD - Pro's:

    1. Size and aspect ratio. There's no denying it: my once huge 19" CRT looks like a tiny dwarf next to this behemoth. All Windows/internet/office work is a lot easier and more fun. I can easily put a complete webpage next to my Word document and still read the text: a true revelation!

    2. Brightness - crispness. The Dell is really really bright. I turn down the brightness to 20% and it's still very clear and shiny. I can easily use this in sunny daylight circumstances, even with direct sunlight on the screen, which is completely impossible with my CRT. Also: very crisp/sharp. Maybe too sharp? I can almost count the pixels! The CRT is less sharp, but this gives it also a smoother, more 'real' appearance (like some native, always-on FSAA).

    That's about it for the plusses :)

    LCD - Cons:

    1. Bad contrast / blacks. This is my main complaint. No matter what some people on some forums say, the black are just horrible. I knew this before I bought the IPS, but alot of people claim this is hardly noticeable. Well it IS noticeable, in fact it is extremely obvious and it bothers me alot. This screen CANNOT produce blacks, only some kind of dark gray. All games look washed out and are ALOT less appealing than on my CRT, even less-than-dark games like Dirt 3 and Dead Island.

    2. Slow responsiveness. Having always used a CRT, I never exactly knew what people ment when talking about slow responsiveness. Well, now I know. In an FPS game, it feels like there's a heavy weight tied to the player's head, making looking around sluggish and less exact. Even on this 'relatively fast' U2311H, it's very noticeable and the difference with the CRT is day and night. Not only in fast FPS games, but also slower FPS games like Deus Ex, RTS games and even in Windows (scrolling Google maps!). I tried some BFBC2 online and I didn't get butchered, so guess I can live with it, but it's far from ideal.

    3. Sharpness and jaggies. Something I didn't expect: this screen may be TOO sharp. On my CRT monitor, everything looks very smooth and natural, without being hazy. On this LCD, all in-game polygons look terribly sharp, and introduces alot of jaggies. I didn't understand all the fuss about 8xFSAA, MSAA, SSAA, etc etc. I played 1600x1200 games on a 19" screen, so the slightest AA was enough to give me perfectly smooth images. Not any more! I'm already searching how to enable better FSAA modes in Dead Island, because it looks terrible with all those jaggies.

    All in all it seems like LCD gaming implicates alot more tweaking. Tweaking your monitor to get the best possible blacks, looking to get the best FSAA modes enabled, tweaking the FOV for 16:9 (Dead Island!),.... On a CRT it seems like life is much easier!


    A CRT monitor still rules for gaming, no doubt about that. LCD doesn't come even close. If I could walk into the store anno 2011 and buy a 23" 16:9 CRT monitor, I would.
    As long as my CRT still produces any light, it'll be my main gaming monitor, while I keep my LCD for general usage. And I keep praying one day they'll make the perfect flatscreen which renders CRT finally obsolete.
  2. Galvin

    Galvin 2[H]4U

    Jan 22, 2002
    World of warcraft has reduce input lag, since I started using that it feels very responsive. But don't know of any other games that use that. Surprised you didn't mention motion blur, that's one of the most easy things to see on an LCD coming from a CRT.

    We'll probably have to wait till 2015 before we have a monitor that can rival a CRT in every way.
  3. mathesar

    mathesar [H]ard|Gawd

    Jul 5, 2005
    Or buy a Plasma, that's the closest thing to a CRT right now (Both being phosphor based) I've been gaming on one for 3 1/2 years and it feels like a 50" CRT to me, motion clarity isnt quite CRT quality but still much better than any LCD ive seen, Also plasma black levels are great these days even in a dark room.
  4. SJetski71

    SJetski71 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Sep 6, 2002
    Good point, but one thing to consider with plasma is input lag. Most of us don't mind some, but it can drive others crazy.

    32ms to 40ish ( 2 to 2 1/2 frames) being typical for a Panasonic which currently has the lowest input lag of all plasmas. <-- this is just low enough for me to live with for gaming btw.

    PC monitors tend to have 1/2 frame to 1-1/2 frames of lag.

    Food for thought.

    I so wish panasonic, or even LG/Samsung produced a 32", or even a 37" plasma. Vizio used to have one, but it was lower rez, rectangular pixels, and poor quality supposedly.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011
  5. Cyzthur

    Cyzthur n00b

    Sep 20, 2011
    Do both TN and IPS panels have noticeable motion blur compared to crt?
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011
  6. munkle

    munkle [H]ardForum Junkie

    Jan 16, 2005
  7. Acer_Sheep

    Acer_Sheep [H]ard|Gawd

    May 18, 2007
    The things you mentioned are cons infact that's true but I guess you should get used to them, today's LCDs are very fast with a good picture quality and although they don't surpass CRTs in image quality, but they are equal replacement. Not to mention IPS panels are slightly slower than their TN counterparts. If you really are hardcore FPS gamer you should buy a TN which has lower input lag and faster response time, in cost of lower color quality.

    And if you do have the feel image is too sharp. Try to find pixel clock in OSD and try to play with it, you get it fixed.
  8. albovin

    albovin [H]ard|Gawd

    Feb 16, 2008
    No doubt CRT has better responsiveness than LCD.
    We still measure LCD responsiveness against CRT.
    As far as your other complaints are concerned..... buy a good LCD!
  9. quantum112

    quantum112 Limp Gawd

    Jan 20, 2010
    Not in my life! Haha. But really. I'm afraid that, me being a near-perfectionist, and having used (and still using, *knock on wood* hopefully for a long time) - the GDM-FW900, the bar has been raised, perhaps too high.

    I've used and seen my share of LCD's from TN to IPS, unfortunately I still haven't had a chance to use PVA. I had a 19" Medion, and after that the SM226BW. Both of these monitors were bad, to tell the truth. Still, I also spent a good 2 hours or so looking at an IPS display. While it is a lot better than TN, when you put it through it's paces, if you know what to look for, it's all there, I'm afraid.

    Proper point. LCD is an obvious winner because it can be larger and lighter at the same time. Since I got the FW900, I haven't been to that many LAN parties... :D

    Brightness is primarily going to be a factor of the age of the display and how much life is left in the tube. If you're taking these disposable, low-end consumer monitors for reference, they were designed fairly poorly and lost a significant amount of their initial brightness in 3-4 years. I have a 20 year old Goldstar, a 10 year old SEG Premium (TV's) and they are bright enough for daylight viewing at 40-50% contrast. Maybe things were better made back then? I remember high-vacuum a necessity for long life of any CRT tube, so it would depend on the design quality as well.

    Granted, they won't really compete with the new LED monitors but really, will you use 400 cd/m^2 luminance on a daily basis? Sounds painful. In my opinion, if a display can push 120-150 cd m/2 it's usable in most conditions. That said, a CRT will definitely favor some kind of controlled, or at least subdued lighting environment. The matte coating on LCD's, when done right, is a great thing.

    I also feel you on the sharpness. The LCD delivers a very high amount of detail but somehow, to me that level of detail feels unnatural. I do not really see objects in real-life with that amount of sharpness. On CRT's, I find the sharpness to be optimal (provided the focus is adjusted as finely as possible) and gives everything a smoothed out, natural look. I was using a laptop screen the other day and it dawned on me why folks actually prefer to use ClearType.

    The deal breaker for me. I guess it isn't noticeable if this is your 2nd or 3rd LCD in a row, people forget what black actually looks like. I experienced that phenomenon. It wasn't until I hooked up a 17" CRT in clone mode while playing Mass Effect 2 that I saw that space on my LCD looked blue, and not black.

    The speed and fluidity of an analog signal, magnetically controlled electron beams flying towards the screen at insane speeds 85 times per second is hard to compete with.

    The twisting crystals of an LCD always have an inherent response time, there is also a lot of unnecessary DSP on the electronics, coupled with the sample & hold design capped to 60 Hz (120 Hz panels help somewhat).

    2xAA usually does the trick on a CRT, I remember using a lot more on my TN.

    A well-argumented and well-reached conclusion, something you obtain when you remove all bias, and you won't see it often here. Too many people can not look at things objectively, as if they designed these monitors personally. I too, quite often ravenously hurl fireballs from the side of the CRT camp. I know there are a lot of people here who wouldn't touch a CRT with a stick. I can assume their priorities of what they want from their display are different and an LCD is good for them, they are certainly in a better position as far as market choice.

    The minority of us here is still hugging our 90-pound mammoths and waiting for the next big thing that will finally dethrone them, hopefully before the desk breaks :)
  10. SH1

    SH1 [H]ard|Gawd

    Jun 30, 2006
    Ability to produce black and the vividness this makes possible is also bottom line for me. (At least for my personal machine, where I can control the ambient lighting...)
  11. dowant120hz

    dowant120hz Gawd

    Jun 9, 2010
    cheaper plasmas tend to refresh at only 60hz in pc mode causing major flickering and eyestrain
    and there also is input lag and burn-in as well as some other issues...
    not really a crt alternative
  12. mathesar

    mathesar [H]ard|Gawd

    Jul 5, 2005
    Ive only experienced minor input lag in your list of cons although its not that bad overall.

    I was able to finish Super Meatboy on Xbox360 which requires pretty quick response from you and your TV lol ,No flicker or Image retention / burn in issues to speak of.

    But I only have experience with my Plasma model and just assumed newer models would be a little better or at least on par by now (Mine is from 2007) but I'd have to admit it was not cheap.

    FW900 CRT & 5080 Kuro plasma:

    Samsung PX2370 LCD & 5080 Kuro:
  13. ShuttleLuv

    ShuttleLuv [H]ardness Supreme

    Apr 12, 2003
    As an old school gamer, I do agree CRT's are best for gaming, especially twitch gaming. But gotta get with the times man, my TN panel LCD has served me great, fast and responsive, looks crisp, good colors. Sure you can't move around and get uniformness but oh well.
  14. NCX

    NCX [H]ardness Supreme

    Jan 9, 2010
    I used a CRT this year after years of LCD's and can't share the love. For daytime use my CRT was just awful thanks to the eextreme picture wash out. Getting the sharpness+screen size set up was also a major pain.

    My CRT also required calibration to to make the colors acceptable, however after calibration the picture quality was fantastic as long as the lights were turned off. The phosphor trailing during dark content was pretty bad. Whites never looked white and my CRT had those stupid vertical black bars on the top+bottom of the screen which were very visible with whites+light colors.

    For dark movies and desktop use it was great, but for gaming I'll take a glossy TN any day unless it's the Sony FW900.
  15. Evi1d33d

    Evi1d33d [H]Lite

    Apr 21, 2010
    Perhaps you should've gotten a 120hz monitor instead. The black depth will probably be worse but I think the responsiveness will be better. I know that everybody here raves about IPS but I think 120hz is better for someone that is making a transition from CRT to LCD.
  16. Tachikoma

    Tachikoma n00b

    Jun 24, 2011
    @NCX: sounds and looks more like you got a bad CRT more than anything, besides the phosphor trailing anyway. Also turn that brightness down, lol.
  17. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

    Sep 21, 2008

    Actually blacks might be even better. Modern TNs tend to have deeper blacks than IPS. IPS rarely goes below 0.15 at 120cdm2 brightness. For example BenQ XL2410T (according to TFTCentral) goes 0.12, and I remember reading even lower values on some other monitors.
  18. kalston

    kalston Gawd

    Mar 10, 2011
    0.12 still isn't that good though; and I don't think TN panels have good shadow detailing (having deep blacks but poor shadow detailing isn't very nice). I think most IPS panels may have poor black levels but at least the detailing should be ok.