Comparison: Twelve 19" CRT Monitors

Choosing a monitor is no easy matter because typically the mere mortal is unable to distinguish between the various technologies. We have all heard terms like Shadow Mask, Trinitron, DiamondTron, Chromaclear or EDP, but what do they mean? Each of them has a different way of deflecting the electron beams to the screen, or rather, to the mask that they must penetrate before they reach the screen. Each technology has its advantages and drawbacks in terms of cost and image quality. We shall see that factors such as pitch or dot pitch (depending on the technology) are good indicators, but they need to be clearly understood if they are to influence your decision. For instance, a monitor with a pitch of 0.25 does not necessarily have better image precision than a monitor with "only" 0.27. So, while the pitch effectively represents the distance between two dots on the screen, the way of judging this distance varies according to the monitor's technology. Some measure it diagonally, and others horizontally.

Note that a key factor in the quality of a monitor is the acceptable horizontal refresh rate. Here, we can distinguish between five classes of monitor, based on optimal refresh rate at a given resolution:

  • 85 kHz = 1024 x 768 @ 85Hz
  • 95 kHz = 1280 x 1024 @ 85Hz
  • 107 kHz = 1600 x 1200 @ 85Hz
  • 115 kHz = 1600 x 1200 @ 92Hz
  • 125 kHz = 1856 x 1392 @ 85Hz