If you are shopping for a new display, you may be considering CRT vs LCD gaming monitors. Which type makes up the majority of the best gaming monitors and which are just niche? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors are heavy, bulky, and have fallen out of favor in recent years, though they are great for playing retro games.
  • Liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors are thin, light, and able to display images in higher resolutions than CRT monitors.
  • When it comes to refresh rate, however, CRT monitors have the edge, as the design is optimum for speedy image refreshes.

Differences Between CRT and LCD Gaming Monitors

The main difference between the two is how they display images. Liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors use millions of liquid crystals to create pixels, whereas cathode ray tube (CRT) screens use a vacuum tube and an electron gun to shine light onto primary colors and, then, display images. Due to the inherent design differences, these monitor types are starkly contrasted, even more so than when considering curved vs flat gaming monitors. Here are some more ways in which CRT and LCD displays differ.

Insider Tip

You can easily find used CRT monitors on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and other online marketplaces, though opt for a local pick-up rather than a shipment.

Resolution

CRT monitors measure resolution by line, and not by pixel. This gives modern LCD displays a heads up when it comes to resolution, as 4K and even 8K displays are becoming increasingly common. CRT screens, on the other hand, typically output images at something akin to 480p, though there are some newer CRTs that display images at something closer to 1080p. However, there are certain scenarios in which a lower resolution would be preferable, such as when playing retro games on an actual old-school video game console.

Refresh Rate and Response Time

Believe it or not, even ancient CRT monitors have the edge when it comes to refresh rate and response time. It takes a long time for an LCD display to refresh its image, comparatively speaking, whereas a CRT monitor does this almost instantaneously. The electron gun that forms images with a CRT is simply much faster than liquid crystals. If an LCD’s refresh rate is a primary concern, consider 100Hz vs 144Hz and opt for the latter.

Weight

There is no way around this. CRT monitors are extremely bulky and heavy, as anyone who has had to carry one up a flight of stairs can attest to. LCD gaming monitors, on the other hand, are thin and light. It is this low weight and thin form factor that has contributed to the mass adoption of LCD displays, whereas CRT monitors have fallen out of favor.

Power Consumption

CRT monitors are absolute beasts when it comes to power consumption, and your monthly energy bill will be the worse for it. LCDs, on the other hand, do not require too much power to operate.

F.A.Q.

IPN vs. TN display – What is an IPS panel?

IPS stands for in-plane switching and these LCD panels offer a higher contrast ratio than many other types of display technology. The native resolution is good and there is minimal display lag, making them a good option for competitive gamers.


What is a pixel?

Pixels make up the height and width of an on-screen image. Pixels are used to measure resolution.


NES, SNES, Atari: CRT vs LCD/LED – Which is better?

When it comes to retro games on the original console, go with CRT monitors over LCD monitors. Modern displays are not made to play old games.



STAT: According to Samsung, the demand for the old ‘square monitors’ has decreased rapidly over the last couple of years,” and production has been halted due to lack of demand. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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