My 3 year old 18inch Novita CRT started to show signs of old age – blurred letters and magnetic stripes, which started giving me headaches (literally even). So… I tried to decide between a new CRT and a new TFT, weighing the pros and cons for the last week or so.
In favour of the TFT were of course less radiation, less weight, less space needed on the desk, easier on the eyes, no problem with magnetic fields from TV and speakers, and last but not least: they’re actually available in the shops.
CRTs also have their advantages though: better colour rendition, quicker response rate, and zero chance of dead pixels. I have a fear of dead pixels – I think that if there would be even one, anywhere on my screen, this would irritate me immensely. Oh, and another thing in favour of CRT of course: winter is coming 😉
Shopping around though, I found about 3 CRTs, of which only one flat screen (like my old Novita), while seeing lots and lots of TFTs. If only my budget would have permitted, I could have bought a 23inch LG 2320a, a 24inch Syncmaster 244T, or perhaps even an Acer AL2423W. Alas, I don’t make enough money for that yet, so my final choice ended up to be between a Syncmaster 940BF and an Acer AL2017, which I liked because of the resolution and screen size. 20 inch with a resolution of 1400×1050, instead of the standard 1280×1024 on the 19inch Syncmaster. That’s 120 extra pixels sideways! (okay, it’s not that much, but 1400 sounds a whole lot larger than 1280, doesn’t it? 😉 )
So, after some debate with myself, I chose the Acer. My fear of dead pixels was taken away by an extra two week pixel warranty, meaning that if I see even one pixel or subpixel failing to do its job within the first two weeks, I can return the screen to the shop, and get a new one. Apparently, if a pixel doesn’t die within the first 24 hours of being used, the chances of it happening after that, are close to nihil. It’s been on for about 15 hours now, and so far so good. I’m now looking at a very crisp, non-blurring, magnetic stripe-free screen, with 1,470,000 working pixels 🙂
The only thing I hadn’t thought of before I actually installed the screen and connected it to my KVM switch, is that the 1400×1050 resolution is not native to my old GeForce4 MX440 video card.
Although the screen copes rather well with 1152×864, it isn’t quite as nice as I had seen in the shop. So, I surfed back and forth between the nVidia site and several forums, until I found the solution in manually editing a file in the latest downloadable drivers for the card. I just added in the 1400 and 1050 numbers, saved it, restarted the pc, and bingo – 1400×1050 is now part of my available screen resolutions in Windows XP.
Haven’t managed to do the same for my Windows Vista installation though: when trying to install the drivers for Windows Vista x86, it tells me no drivers are found, and if I try to install the WinXP ones, it says the current system isn’t a Windows system. Too bad, but I’ve for now settled with having Vista on 1152×864. Same for my Linux box btw, as installing the drivers for SuSE involves booting into runlevel 3 before running the nVidia installer, and I find that too much hassle for a better screen resolution on a system I use only sporadically.
Now, what shall I do with my old Novita…
Appears I didn’t have to download any drivers for SuSE at all, as I can just go to the monitor settings and adjust everything there, for both monitor and graphics card. Custom resolution, screensize in millimeters, horizontal and vertical refresh rates… everything entirely customizable. Quite neat actually 🙂