21" monitor for 100$, or 19" LCD for 250$?

I’m not too picky about my monitor (currently using a scratched, 8-year-old Dell 17") so should I get a cheap big monitor, or a cheap big LCD? Both would come from TigerDirect, 21" is a refurb with 1 year warranty.


Depends on how much space you have on your desktop. If it’s very little, an LCD is great. I love mine.

The question is - how much does it cost to ship a 21" CRT. Must be a significant portion of the purchase price.

Actually, the real question is whether or not LCDs still measure active screen size and monitors still measure bezel size. If so, there may be preciously small difference between the 21" and the 19".

Another question is what you’re going to do with it. If gameplaying, the refresh rate of the 19" becomes important (although I think prices have dropped enough that just about anything you can buy today at a moderate consumer price point is acceptable for all but the pickiest of gamers).

I’d go LCD if the money isn’t a huge deal simply because of the PITA that moving a CRT would be, especially a 21".

It also depends on what resolution you’d like to run. All 19-inch LCDs are limited to a maximum 1280x1024. Most 21-inch displays can do 1600x1200, and usually at a reasonable (75Hz or greater) refresh rate.

OTOH, refresh rate is a non-issue for LCDs. My eyes are less tired looking at an LCD all day than a CRT.

I’m looking at this one:


8ms response, 550:1 contrast, doesn’t list the lumens. I think it would work well, and the reviews are positive. I’m thinking that 250$ is a pretty good price, and not likely to go down a bunch any time soon.


I’d personally stay away from refurbs for CRT/TVs if at all possible. Picture Tubes are usually not replaced in refurbs(since they cost the most) and they’re designed to only last so many hourss before failing…

A 19" LCD is close in actual screen size to a 21" CRT. CRT’s for whatever freaking reason still aren’t measured by the actual screen, so that 21" is probably around 20". LCD’s are measured diagonally from corner to corner of the screen.

Like others have already said, the decision should be based more on whether or not desk space is an issue and if you want to be limited to the resolution you run at. Not really limted exactly. LCDs just look considerably worse in anything but their native resolution. CRT’s don’t have that problem.

If it were me, I’d go for the LCD for $250, assuming of course that it’s a good one.

I picked up an NEC 22" about a year ago. It still sells for $600.

That said, I kind of pray it breaks to give me an excuse to get an LCD. While it’s color-fidelity is superior, I don’t really care!

Buyer’s regret advantages of an LCD:

  • Cooler running. Regret it all summer.
  • LCD’s don’t suck anymore.
  • DVI is very, very nice so I can run it through a DVI KVM with little or no loss in sharpness. I also don’t get electrical interference from this huge mess of cables I have.

Reasonabl low contrast ratio and no digital (DVI) input would steer me toward a slightly pricier LCD with DVI and a better contrast ratio (800:1 or so sounds good). No clue how that’d increase the price, though.

I’ve been waiting for the Dell 20" widescreen to go on sale, but I’m now looking at a 19" because I actually rather want the lower resolution. I’m tired of squinting to read fix sized web text because webmasters think that grey on black in 8 points is sufficient for everyone. A bigger LCD monitor at fixed resolution should increase the apparent size. A DVI LCD should keep relative text sharpness going.

In my experience with Dell LCD monitors, a DVI connection is only necessary for sharpness at 1920x1200 resolution. At 1600x1200 and 1680x1050, the VGA connection is just as sharp as the DVI connection.

That’s strange. DVI should be sharper than VGA on any LCD because DVI’s a complete digital transmission, whereas VGA has to convert the digital signal to analog to the monitor and then the monitor has to convert it back to digital. I have a 19" Samsung LCD and the VGA is noticeably fuzzier than hooking it up through DVI. I guess some LCDs just do the conversion well enough that the difference is minor.

I’ve had a 21" IIYAMA for some time, it does 1600x1200 at 85hz refresh and is still working great after 7 years. It also weighs 85lbs. So a flat screen would probably be better overall. Although I’d get a good warranty on the thing if it was up to me. I know too many people with monitor problems.


I was actually thinking entirely of the odd thing that lets Windows use partial pixels to smooth out fonts for sharpness. The other sharpness complaint should more or less settle down to whether or not the videocard/monitor can DAC/ADC the signal without bleed which is going to vary by equipment, but is probably good enough in all cases to do as you say.