CCFL Versus LED: Is There A Downside To Going Green?

BenQ And Dell Power Draw

There’s no point in trying to be clever about explaining why we only have one BenQ model here. Its presence (as well as Viewsonic’s later) serve to help corroborate our observations of the semi-matched pairs from Asus, Dell, and Samsung. BenQ and Viewsonic would be more useful with their CCFL or LED twins, respectively, but there simply weren't any available to test.

Monitor Test
BenQ EW2420
Dell ST2310
Dell ST2320L
Blank screen saver
31.0 W
24.5 W
26.4 W
Video, 100% brightness
31.3 W
24.2 W
26.2 W
Video, 75% brightness
27.1 W
21.4 W
21.2 W
Video, 50% brightness
23.1 W
18.8 W
19.4 W
White, 100% brightness
31.8 W
23.3 W
24.9 W
White, 75% brightness
27.6 W
20.5 W
20.0 W
White, 50% brightness
23.6 W
17.9 W
18.0 W
Black, 100% brightness
30.7 W
24.2 W
26.3 W
Black, 75% brightness
26.6 W
21.3 W
21.6 W
Black, 50% brightness
22.5 W
18.8 W
19.6 W

From a power perspective, BenQ’s EW2420 is the highest energy consumer among our LED models. Could this be a result of the VA technology BenQ implemented to deliver a superior viewing experience? Perhaps. We’ll see if BenQ’s VA panel delivers on its visual promises in a bit. For now, it’s interesting to note that the BenQ is the only monitor we tested that showed higher power draw at 100% brightness running video and a white Word screen than a black screen saver.

Now, how about those Dells? We saw earlier that the pair showed identical power specs on paper. Dell’s 30 W maximum draw turns out to be a little pessimistic, as the highest draw we saw from either unit was 26.4 W from the ST2320L at a black screen. At 50% and 80%, the two displays are essentially identical on energy use. At 100%, though, the CCFL-based ST2310 averages about 2 W less than the ST2320L in each test.

How is this possible? Whereas every other CCFL monitor in this roundup uses four lamps, the ST2310 only uses two. The fact that we had to get this explanation from Dell, and couldn’t observe a visible difference at first glance, may give you a hint as to what’s coming.

Apart from Dell competing with itself, you’ll notice that both Dell monitors easily trounce their competition on power consumption, often by 10% to 20%. We don’t have an explanation on why Dell’s monitors are so much more efficient than rival brands, but it’s clear that the company’s growing reputation in the display space is well-deserved.

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    Top Comments
  • nevertell
    How about doing this with IPS panels ? :>
  • Other Comments
  • Anonymous
    In the "Wrapping It Up" section, perhaps you meant "LED" instead of "LCD"?
  • nevertell
    How about doing this with IPS panels ? :>
  • nforce4max
    I am going to get such a monitor later this year. Imagine the leap from CRT to Led LCD.
  • Ragnar-Kon
    I personally can't wait until the OLEDs manufacturing process becomes cheaper. Having seen Sony's new OLED displays at this year's NAB in Vegas, I can say they are VERY VERY impressive.
  • scook9
    I know that I have been rocking a pair of Gateway FHD2400's for a few years now and love them as they meet all my needs and have never left me wanting
  • g00b
    Ummm ... LED? They are all LCD :).

    "Ultimately, we’d pick LCD for media consumption, but we’d pick CCFL for editing work where detail and accuracy are paramount. LCD is more fun to watch; CCFL is more reliable."
  • Anonymous
    Please substitute "LCD" with "LED" everywhere in the conclusion section!
  • theshonen8899
    Basically the differences are very dramatic right? I'm gonna sound like a hippie for this but I'd definitely go for the greener option. Just being polite for our future generation is all.
  • Anonymous
    what g00b said. At the end you start saying LCD instead of LED, might confuse some poor soul.
  • wrxchris
    May not be too relevant here considering that this article was based around image quality, but as a gamer, I'm still plenty satisfied with my trio of 25.5" Asus TN monitors. Yes, they bleed a bit of light around the edges and the colors may not be very accurate, but they handle fast moving images with no problems and only cost $750 for the set. And my favorite feature is the 16x10 aspect ratio, which is becoming quite hard to find these days; not sure why people are so willing to give up vertical screen space.
  • haplo602
    still does not beat a high quality CRT in image reproduction. size/weight/power are another thing.
  • pirateboy
    if you check the evidence of osama's death on a ccfl screen you would discover he isn't really dead but it's just some random bearded dude they shot
  • Kisakuku
    X-Rite's iMatch software doesn't have a correction for LED backlighting. A colorimeter like i1 Display 2 is not a spectrophotometer and can't just measure any screen thrown at it. It requires corrections for LED and WCG-CCFL backlighting. Not sure how you can make far-going conclusions from these inaccurate measurements.
  • LuckyDucky7

    It's starting to look bad- if you're spending 200+ dollars you might as well be buying a REAL screen instead of these ones.
    Even 40 more dollars buys you a screen FAR superior to these crappy TN panels.

    So why aren't they being reviewed?
  • g00ey
    It would be interesting to look at which LED lit panels use local dimming and which ones do not.
  • masterbinky
    The funny thing in the opening of the article, it typically isn't the CFL that goes out in monitors. It is the power inverter, that powers the CFL. When I did dell repairs, it's funny they didn't let you just get the inverter to replace, you had to replace the whole panel.
  • masterbinky
    nforce4maxI am going to get such a monitor later this year. Imagine the leap from CRT to Led LCD.

    I image it's a leap off a cliff. You'll be dissapointed if you place them side by side. Well, depending on what your looking at, but try a dark image with detail in it,hint: you'll have to use the CRT to identify that image. Black crush sucks.
  • mcd023
    great article. thanks.
  • bildo123
    I was going to make the switch from a 24" VA panel to a newer LED panel (in which I tried two). The first was an Acer LED 23" and the blue hue this thing put off was gross. It didn't how much I calibrated it the colors were dull and the blue hue remained. The next LED I tried was the Samsung BX2450, 24"; the colors were better and the blue hue was less noticeable but it was still apparent (at least to me). I realize both are TN panels as well but I think I'll wait it out until a nice LED-IPS panel comes out for sale in the States.
  • haftarun8
    @ masterbinky Have you looked at top quality IPS panel LCD's calibrated compared to a CRT lately? The HP LP2475w at work beats out an old NEC Multisync 22" CRT with darker blacks even though the whites are brighter, has very accurate colors after calibrating, and has zero black or white crush - every shade of extreme blacks and whites can be discerned on test images. If you don't want crap for LCD's you still have to spend over $500 for your monitor, no getting around it.