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mawcor624

Which Monitor for Playing Doom?

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So I have a choice between a 17" and 19" LCD monitor. I'm leaning towards the 19", but it only has a VGA port, while the 17" has a DVI port.

Does a VGA cable on an LCD monitor cause any sort of input lag, and should that worry me in regards to playing something like Doom?

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It doesn't matter which monitor you get as long as you can afford it and get Doom to run at the absolute minimum resolution (are you planning to use a port or prefer to run it au naturel*?).

EDIT: D'oh, I should've been more clear. :(

As for the VGA cable... My old GeForce 8500GT used one and I never had any issues while playing Doom via GZDoom.


*[in Vanilla, I mean heh.]

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HavoX said:

It doesn't matter which monitor you get as long as you can afford it and get Doom to run at the absolute minimum resolution

Nope, bad advice. Assuming both monitors are modern flat-panel LCD displays and not old CRT screens, running at the minimum resolution will mean that you'll get a blurry upscale from 320x200 to the monitor's native resolution. The best option is always to run at the native resolution of the monitor if possible - either using a modern source port at high resolution if that's your preference, or using something like Chocolate Doom's scale-up code to get an "accurate" blocky upscale.

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Most likely, I'll have to use a port and run Doom at the monitor's native resolution, which shouldn't be a problem.

But as for the VGA vs. DVI thing, since VGA has to convert the signal from digital to analog, and back to digital again for display on the LCD, wouldn't that equal input lag?

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mawcor624 said:

But as for the VGA vs. DVI thing, since VGA has to convert the signal from digital to analog, and back to digital again for display on the LCD, wouldn't that equal input lag?

Not in my experience. If it did, I certainly did not notice it at all. Between my Acer and my Samsung I ran VGA for a while without any noticeable lag.

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Man, I wish there was a simple answer; if there's no noticeable difference, I want to get it, but since there is definitely a miniscule difference due to conversion, however small, it's making me want the other one.

Any last minute suggestions?

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I assume you checked reviews about color quality/black level/contrast ratio? That's the most important thing for me when considering an LCD. I'd worry about that more than conversion, unless the monitors are truly identical in every other regard.

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The 17" also has 800:1 contrast ratio to the 19" 500:1 and slightly higher brightness (300 cd/m2 to 270 cd/m2); would that make it worth picking up over the larger screen?

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Get a CRT, and there will be no input lag, nor pixel noise, and it will look better.

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If you can't have a good ole' CRT for whatever reason (normally this is due hardcore, uneducated tech snobbery) and you plan to run Chocolate Doom, get any LCD with a native resolution of exactly 1600x1200 (good luck there) for a pixel-perfect upscaled image with pixel-perfect aspect ratio correction.

Of course, you'll still have to deal with shitty contrast and shitty colors among other things, but anyone considering something as worthless as a LCD monitor must be already cool with that.

If more advanced source ports with increased internal resolution is what you're looking forward to, any monitor will do.

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Porsche Monty said:

Of course, you'll still have to deal with shitty contrast and shitty colors among other things, but anyone considering something as worthless as a LCD monitor must be already cool with that.



Not everybody's main consideration for buying a monitor is playing an 18 year old game.

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Yes, I miss CRT technology and would easily get a bulky 50-pound hunk of technological perfection from a garage sale if possible, but this computer is going to be in a very small space, and a CRT monitor isn't going to fit on the desk.

Since all current monitors (not to mention televisions) are inferior to CRTs, whether they be LCDs, LEDs, or whatever, I'm not willing to spend over $100 for a new one, and these have presented themselves as the cheapest options.

So with that in mind, would playing ancient video games be more responsive on the 19" LCD with a VGA connection or the 17" with a DVI connection?

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That depends more on the monitor than on the cable. Of course, a flatscreen with only a VGA connection is guaranteed to be an ancient thing you won't enjoy. I had such a thing a few years ago (got it for free) and it was completely unusable for playing.

Anything old and anything cheap is utter shit normally. If you want to limit yourself to $100 you cannot expect to have good results.

If you want a good experience you need a monitor with a low response time and they cost a lot more. I wouldn't recommend anything below $/€200 if you want to play games.

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Buying a bigger desk to fit a CRT still sound like a much better and probably cheaper deal.

If you own modern hardware with a modern OS, you will have to use DosBox and upscale everything to fit your native resolution, and since a lot if not most of the "ancient" stuff runs in mode 13h (320x200@70HZ) you'll be better off buying the monitor that can handle that particular refresh rate.

So here's what to consider, from most to least important:

1. Native resolution. It should ideally be 1600x1200 for proper upscaling, but there's ways of accommodating an ancient game in monitors with bigger resolutions. Avoid anything smaller than 1600x1200 if possible.

2. Refresh rate. 70hz would be perfect (to avoid most of the stuttering) but you may have to settle for a multiple. Still, I'm making the assumption that by "ancient" you mean stuff like Doom and the build games.

3. Responsiveness. It really isn't much of a deal when everything else is screwed up.

4. Size of the monitor. If you're not compromising any of the first two, the bigger the better.

Also, Graf Zahl is right, if it's cheap, it most likely is garbage so don't get your hopes up high.

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Graf Zahl said:

I wouldn't recommend anything below $/€200 if you want to play games.


So that pretty much calls bullshit on that whole flat panel/LCD gimmickry, right? Because a $200 CRT made by the peak of their maturity and perfection (circa 2005-2006) was pretty much hi-fucking-end and could handle EVERYTHING you threw at it.

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Well, all of the monitors I'm looking at are refurbished/display models and not necessarily cheap, and I specifically opted out of one with response times of anything more than 5ms.

Also, I probably wasn't clear enough in that I can't buy a bigger desk to fit a CRT, since the desk wouldn't fit the room. I'm basically stuck with getting a flat monitor.

Anyways, the VGA monitor is marketed more as a business model, though has some schtick in there about having low response time for gaming performance. Was the VGA monitor you had being useless for playing games related to picture quality, input lag, or what?

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Maes said:

So that pretty much calls bullshit on that whole flat panel/LCD gimmickry, right? Because a $200 CRT made by the peak of their maturity and perfection (circa 2005-2006) was pretty much hi-fucking-end and could handle EVERYTHING you threw at it.


I acquired a batch of 19" and 21" AOC CRT's for a lot less than $200 a piece back in 2007, and I had a hard time telling them from my expensive Trinitrons :)

Most people don't know this, but CRT's are still being manufactured and actively developed to some degree (look just how thin they've gotten in later years) because true "monitor connoisseurs" still appreciate them and shall continue to use them for as long as they exist.

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Porsche Monty said:

Most people don't know this, but CRT's are still being manufactured and actively developed to some degree (look just how thin they've gotten in later years)


Where are they being manufactured; by what company? The last CRT TVs made were of the SlimFit variety back in 2006, and I had to look high and low for a used one. I haven't seen new CRT monitors being manufactured either.

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I've heard that CRTs stopped being manufactured mid-last-decade like Porsche says. I'm interested if that's false.

And for what it's worth, in customer-grade monitors at least, LCDs already reached parity or even superior picture quality to CRTs around ~2008.

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chungy said:

I've heard that CRTs stopped being manufactured mid-last-decade like Porsche says. I'm interested if that's false.


Agreed. I love this Samsung LCD I have for using my desktop for internet and shit like that, but to go back and play Thief: The Dark Project on a screen where blacks are.... BLACK?

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Technically that's not a blame of LCD itself, but rather the florescent backlighting behind almost every LCD monitor providing a uniform lighting across the whole screen. LED backlights (mistakingly referred to as "LED monitors") are able to adjust the brightness level per pixel and provide true blacks.

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Now if only someone would buy a few hundred CRTs from that wholesale manufacturer and make them available individually.

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I've got a pretty cheap HP 21" (Might be 20", I'm not sure) LCD monitor which is nice and solid for (G)ZDoom playing at 1440x900 (native resolution is 1600x900). Chocolate Doom, Eternity and prboom+ work nicely for me too at various windowed and fullscreen resolutions. I say pretty cheap, I mean about £50, if not less. Also displays all of my newer games just fine too. I have no idea why you'd want to search for out-of-date technology or spring for a really expensive monitor.

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Honestly, it comes down to what source port you're using. If your playing the original EXE, you'd probably want a smaller screen but for source ports, you'd want to go for a larger screen.

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I know that there are still very high-end and specialty CRT being manufactured (e.g. 23" CRTs for photographers or DTPers that need 100% accurate color reproduction, or special black & white hi-res CRTs for 10-bit greyscale display, e.g. X-Ray imaging) but these are niche products costing 1000s of dollars.

For all effects and purposes, the all-purpose 17" or 19" 4:3 "People's CRT" is out of production and almost no electronics or computer parts outless will stock them anymore. You can only find them used or as NOS. Then again....market is a weird thing. The venerable 14" CRT TV is still the mainstay of low-income grunt, with a price-performance ratio unmatched by any LCD-TV, while 20" CRT TVs are still unbeatable in terms of price-performance and viewable picture area by any LCD counterpart.

On Alibaba.com I see that cassette recorders are still made by the millions, so surely somewhere there are still CRT factories pumping out TVs and monitors, not necessarily big-name ones though.

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Because phosphor wears out, I wouldn't trust much a second-hand used CRT. My last CRT monitor went progressively darker and darker, until we had to use outrageous amount of gamma in the video drivers just in order to keep things legible. Which in turn made low-contrast images turn into just a single color shape.

And brand new, properly calibrated CRT is going to have good colors and contrast, but the same after five or ten years of frequent use isn't going to feel that fresh anymore.

Of course, in that duration, the LCD risks getting more and more dead pixels.

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Seems you stumbled upon a bad one. There are TVs out there that work for decades without appreciable changes, and usually the apparent "wear" is in the electronics, not in the CRT itself. A recapping by a competent technician can usually restore brightness and fix drifting colors and the such.

Of course, I exclude monitors that literally work 24/7 displaying the same picture: those ones are indeed susceptible to abnormal wear, including phosphor burn-in. But with normal use, a decent quality household TV or computer monitor made in the 90s can be expected to deliver at least a decade or even two of near-new performance, with maybe an electronics repair or two in the meantime. If the CRT itself is failing in that period of time, then it's either due to outgassing/ loss of vacuum seal or really heavy use. Still, even 10 years is more than what you'll ever get out of most modern LCD panel.

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