Best LCD monitor for a gamer?
February 28, 2005 4:51 PM   Subscribe

What are a few of the top 19" LCD monitors in terms of picture quality? My cat destroyed my CRT.

My cat has made a habit of sleeping on top of my 19" Sony Trinitron monitor. All my attempts to get him to stop have failed save physically placing something on top of the monitor at night, which isn't really an improvement. To top it off, lately he has taken to jumping from the top of the television to the top of the monitor.

When I got up this morning my cat was happily sleeping on top of what is now a 1.5-year old rather expensive paperweight. I can't prove he broke it but having seen the thing creak and groan when he takes a flying leap onto it, that's my suspicion.

So I have to replace the monitor. I'd like to get a flat LCD for the desk space and such but I'm a fairly heavy gamer, and games run in to resolution problems because when an LCD monitor is running at non-native resolution it has to interpolate the picture or whatever. (Insert handwaving glyph here). Blurry text, blurry graphics, and so on.

My question: Are there any differences between LCD monitors that would matter for this problem, or is it just something you have to live with? Secondly, what are some of the current best 19" LCD monitors in terms of picture quality? If I have to get another CRT I'm afraid my cat will just destroy it again. I'd like around a 19" LCD to run at 1280x1024. Price is secondary to picture quality, but a close second. IE I don't want a monitor that costs three times as much for 5% better quality.
posted by Justinian to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
We use samsung monitors at work, which are very pleasant. But, brand names often are tricky, since there's plenty of monitors that are identical in terms of parts, but get different names slapped on them, and, consequently, different prices.

If your video card and games can support the native resolution of the LCD, all the better. Does your video card have DVI out? The picture on the LCD will be better if you use the DVI input, if available. If not, you might consider upgrading your video card to go with your new monitor.

Check the specifications of the monitor for the pixel response time (rise and fall) in milliseconds. The lower the number, the less "ghosting" you'll see when something moves quickly on the screen. I have an SGI monitor that does 13ms total, and there's visually no ghosting apparent to me.
posted by odinsdream at 5:17 PM on February 28, 2005

If you built a hutch around a CRT monitor, your cat could jump on top of that. (But make sure it's ventilated.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 6:07 PM on February 28, 2005

Everyone seems to love the Dell 2001FP, gamers included. Reasonably priced for a 20" (which is still quite expensive compared to a CRT).
posted by smackfu at 7:15 PM on February 28, 2005

There was a MAG 19-incher at Best Buy the other day for $379. 1280x1024 resolution, 16ms response time. I was impressed. The only problem was that they were out. I've got two 19-inch CRTs sitting on my desk, and I might just ditch them and replace them with MAGs (it would mean going from 1600x1200 on each to 1280x1024 on each, but hell, I might be able to live with that. The picture quality on the demo unit was quite good (though your blacks won't be as deep and rich as with a CRT, particularly a Sony CRT). So far, that's the best balance of price and picture quality I've seen in an LCD.

On the other hand, I have a Hitachi V900 on my right side that is only slightly inferior to the 6-year-old Gateway VX900 (presumably related models) on my left side. I got the V900 for about $179 less than a year ago.

Zed_Lopez - Unless s/he makes the hutch very, very tight, a cat may just squeeze on in there anyway.

Anyway, one of these days, I'll just get a couple of projectors and do away with these silly monitors. :)
posted by socratic at 7:15 PM on February 28, 2005

Just last week, I bought a Dell 2005FP. It's a 20", wide aspect (1680x1050) 600:1, 300cd/m2 flatscreen (the exact same panel that Apple uses in the Cinema Display), only it's $500 from Dell ($750 normally, but watch for a few days and coupon shop, and you'll see the price drop). I love that it's got DVI, VGA, S-Video, and RCA inputs, and the fact that it rotates to portrait is just the cherry on top.

I'm not a gamer, but I bought this screen on the strength of reviews from gamer-types, who love its brightness, contrast ratio, refresh rate, etc. If you don't need the wide aspect, consider the regular-proportion model (the 2001FP, I think), which is slightly less sexy, spec-wise, but has a few extra pixels, square-inch-wise.
posted by waldo at 7:34 PM on February 28, 2005

I have a Dell 2005FPW and I love it. It's the widescreen version of the 2001FP.
posted by bshort at 7:37 PM on February 28, 2005

Ooh! Does anyone know if the pivot works on a Mac?
posted by bonaldi at 8:06 PM on February 28, 2005

Have you considered the possibility that your cat will attempt to jump onto the new monitor, causing injury to both monitor and feline?
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:27 PM on February 28, 2005

RikiTikiTavi has a good point, and I was on the phone with a friend of mine when just that happened. At risk of making a horrible pun, it was a catastrophe for the monitor, the cat, and the computer: the monitor ended up with a cracked LCD, the video card ended up with some bent prongs, and the cat didn't come out from under the bed for a week.
posted by socratic at 8:57 PM on February 28, 2005

Some ATI Radeon cards do support the pivoted display on a Mac, but only certain ones. The 9600, no. The 9800, yes. Not sure about the latest Radeon models. For OEM cards, you'll need Radeon Enabler.
posted by kindall at 9:12 PM on February 28, 2005

I see those dell monitors on for 500$ regularly and I'm going to purchase one soon.
posted by fake at 6:14 AM on March 1, 2005

Just a FYI: cats + computer equipment almost always equals shorter component life, although it's usually due to cat hair jamming up the intake fans that keep the system cool. You might want to take this opportunity to clean out your computer with some compressed air and a porto-vac.

NewEgg is almost always having "specials" on the Samsung 910T (even today, for instance). It tops out at 1280x1024, however. If you don't game, or if you have a seriously kick-ass video card that can handle it, you might want something with more pixels.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:19 AM on March 1, 2005

Not sure if anyone is reading this question anymore, but here goes: Thanks for the responses! I'm checking out the recommendations.

One followup question: If you use a widescreen monitor but view something that doesn't support widescreen mode, can you set the monitor to display with black lines along the edges rather than stretching? I'm specifically thinking about games that provide no widescreen support.
posted by Justinian at 11:00 AM on March 1, 2005

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