Upgrade from CRT help with resolutions.

At Christmas I met up with my dad and his wife for a meal and to swap Christmas presents. I told them I was building a new computer, which I now have; I also mentioned that the oldest part of my computer was the monitor, a CRT from 1999. Anyway after a while Lesley (his wife) was asking about computer/electronics shops in town and there was some whispering and after a while my dad said “Lesley thinks I should buy you a new monitor for Christmas”, I of course thought this was a good idea as the value of one would be more than I would have been getting in cash; it was eventually decided I they would give me £180 and I would buy it myself, Lesley wrote me a cheque for £100 and there was one for £80 in a card I was going to get anyway; this was ideal as I needed the cash and of course was going to spend it on living costs and make the money back later, which I have. I am now under a little pressure to get a new LCD monitor before it is discovered I have not yet got one; I actually get to the point of this post now. My problem is the reason why I’ve had my CRT so long is because I always considered it the best picture available for how I use it, even though it is a cheapo, and only in the last couple of years have resolutions beaten it. I now have the following questions:

Is the choice of resolution in games built into the games, or is it something to do with Direct X or some API? I have lots of choices in windows control panel and in my games (I think the choices in games are the same in different games, haven’t looked properly), but none of them are 1920x1080, or what I would be getting. I assume monitors include a driver disk, or maybe Windows can tell which monitor is plugged in? Will extra choices of resolutions appear in my games and will 960x540 be one of them? I ask this as 1 pixel will be 4 of course so no anti-aliasing, this would allow me to use all the graphical features in my games and have a good frame rate (I have a Radeon HD4670 as this was the best choice for passive cooling, low power consumption and price), I currently use 800x600 in Grid and 1024x768 Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 to give you an idea of what my computer can currently do, of course this will matter less as graphics cards get cheaper/better.

I play old Megadrive/Genesis games using Kega Fusion, I use 640x480 and the PAL games look better but PAL’s 768x576 and NTSC is 720x480, did the Megadrive have its own resolution? Will old console games look right on a 1080p monitor and can I play with borders at the side or even a complete black surround?

With PC games, can I play them in full screen with no scaling? Just a black surround as mentioned in the last question.

Do many of you play games in lower resolutions than native and does it look okay?

My mum has a 37” Toshiba 1080p TV and watches normal definition using Freeview (UKs terrestrial DVB), the picture to me looks very pixelated, with text you can see pixels around it like text scanned as a jpeg (my mum says it’s because I’m too close to the telly, if you share this opinion I don’t think you should answer any of my questions); I watch standard def Sky (UK satellite DVB) using a CRT and it looks fine (I think analogue looks better, but I haven’t seen it in years) except on more obscure channels. Does terrestrial DVB have a lower bandwidth than Sky or is pixilation from scaling? Or both? Does Sky have different bandwidth on different channels?

Do old VGA CRT monitors display more than 16.8 million colours when using 32bit mode on a graphics card? If not what are the other 8 bits for? Why can you only choose 16 or 32bit in the control panel nowadays? I remember when you could choose 24bit in the late 90’s.

From what I understand CRTs have a near instant response time. Will I notice 2ms? Do all the pixels refresh at the same time or do some lag?

Refresh rates are different on LCDs aren’t they? Can someone explain?

Should I give back my £100 and stick with a CRT till LCDs get better if I’m in no rush?

Oh, and I could not find a displays sub-section so posted here. Hope that's fine.

Thanks in advance.
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  1. Yes, the resolutions you can select in windows and in games are based upon what your monitor can handle so that's not an issue.
    I doubt you will notice lag at all if you go for a 2ms display, some people can't even tell the difference with 5ms.
    Refresh rate isn't as big of an issue on LCD as they don't have the "flicker" effect at low refresh rates like a CRT which can cause eye strain. The major difference with an LCD is that for optimal image quality they really should be used at their native resolution because that is the actual number of pixels the screen is built on.
    The problem I can see here is your video card. An HD4670 while fine for lower resolutions simply isn't a capable gaming card at 1920x1080. To play modern games at that resolution you optimally want at least an HD5770/4870/GTX 260.
    What is the highest resolution on your CRT that can be displayed at a reasonable refresh rate? You may be better off using the money for a better video card and waiting on a new monitor.
  2. Thanks for the resopse. Also found where I should have posted this and put it in Flat Panel Monitors forum.
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