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Nav's Complete CRT Guide.

Here is the complete guide to CRT's you didn't know you wanted and didn't ask for.

First, let's clarify a few things with a quick Q/A

Q: What is a CRT?
A: A CRT is a Display that uses Cathode Ray Tubes to produce an image. AKA old monitors and TV's from the 90's and early 2000's. For the purposes of this guide we will be talking about Computer Monitors.

Q: Aren't CRT's low resolution with terrible interlacing and poor refresh rates?
A: No, nearly all CRT Monitors Exceed 720p Some even Exceed 1080p and have refresh rates over 60hz. See the specifications section for more info!

 

Q: Part's of this guide talk go into taking CRT's apart Isn't that dangerous?!
A: Yes, Don't do anything you are not comfortable doing. Don't work on a CRT without a friend just in case. Working on any electronic device (Such as the power supply in your tower) can be dangerous if done improperly. If you're not sure, don't do it.

Q: There are a lot of external links in this document. Are you making any money off posting this?
A: I wish, I don't own nor am I affiliated with any of the linked websites, products, organizations etc.

-------------

So why CRT?
Several reasons. CRT's are low cost, and as you will see are surprisingly high-performance displays that offer flexible resolution scaling, high refresh rates, superior color depth in many cases. They are excellent for retro gaming, emulation, and modern titles. When compared to LCD Displays, depending on the setup and settings they out-perform most displays in Respons Time, Refresh Rate, perceived color depth, and resolution, sometimes in the case of a good CRT all at once. Obviously, all of these things require at least some qualification and carry with them several exceptions but bare with me.

-------------

Specifications.
This will vary from monitor to monitor to monitor but here are some examples of what you can expect from your typical CRT Monitor.

CRT monitors come in various sizes the most common of which are 15" 17" 19" and 21" though many 21" monitors are actually only 19" diagonal display space. Why this was the case I don't know. The size often dictated the supported resolutions. While it was not standardized most CRT's (and video display drivers) will recognize a CRT's Native resolution as the one reported by the device as capable of 85hz. Which in MOST cases will not be the maximum supported resolution. I will cover this extensively later. CRT's worth obtaining will use at least one of the following connections. VGA(15pin Dsub), BNC, or 13w3. If you find a 13w3 only monitor it will be rough to get setup initially BUT due to SGI and MAC machines collectors will usually pay good money for a13w3 model so you may want to grab it anway and sell or trade it to someone in need. Let's look at some basic examples of common supported modes of operation.

Most random craigslist CRT's will support the following modes based on their size in FULL RGB (more on color later).
15"
1024x768p 85hz
1280x1024p 60hz

17"
1280x1024p 85hz
1600x1200p 60hz

19/21
1280x1024p 85hz
1600x1200p 60hz
(typically 80lbs!)

Here are the connectors you are looking for.
39qGsQC.png

 

You can use a HDMI/DVI-I/DVI-D/DisplayPort to VGA adapter on any modern GFX card.

Now I know what your thinking. Why didn't the 19/21" Monitors improve? Well, they did, but most will still report those resolutions as the standard. But often they will support MUCH HIGHER modes that are not listed because most computers from this time period could not push high resolutions, convergence made clarity at high resolution for text difficult and possible bandwidth limitations for color space. Back in the 90's the assumption was that you would be buying a monitor primarily for work or school. Games were considered a secondary market that had very little impact on sales. So advertising or designing a monitor to report media oriented high-performance modes was considered either irrelevant or not considered at all.

Now let's get specific. For this guide, I will be using my Samsung SyncMaster 900NF. Typically googling a model number will return excellent results for most monitors. CNET seems to have an excellent database for CRT's.

Here is a link to detailed specifications.
https://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-syncmaster-900-nf-pg19nsbu/specs/

As you can see this 21" Monitor has only 18" of actual viewable space.
It's Native Resolution is above average.
1600x1200p at 87hz!
This is a good oppertunity to talk about exactly what that means. First, this is not the MAX resolution. This is simply the highest resolution OVER 60hz that the image can perform in FULL color without any apparent flickering. (More on flicker Later) Nvidia will still report this monitor as having a NATIVE resolution of 1280x1024p at 85hz. Iis actual MAX resolution is 2048x1536 at 60hz With limited color range.

Lets summerize.
1600x1200p 87hz Full RGB (Listed Product Native)
1280x1024p 85hz Full RGB (Nvidia's Native)
2048x1536p 60hz 444 (Max Resolution)

What's interesting is unlike an LCD these higher resolutions WILL be listed in Nvidia's settings AND windows settings above Native!

HXrRyb4.png

Unlike an LCD however, the actual resolution and refresh rate capable of being achieved is determined by the speed at which the magnetic field inside the CRT can sweep the electron beam across the surface. So when you look at old websites they will actually list 2 numbers for the monitor rather. Especially if those websites are techie websites. The list of "supported" resolutions and refresh rates were considered more like "Suggestions" than hard limits.

On the CNET page it lists the "Spec" for this monitor as
H - 30khz-110khz
V - 50hz-160hz

This means the monitor will support a horizontal refresh rate (what? yes, HORIZONTAL refresh) of 30-110 and a vertical refresh rate up to a massive 160hz! So great! Let's just set it to 2048x1536p 160hz full RGB and laugh that our dumpster dive monitor blows the doors off of most modern "Gaming" displays. WRONG! :( Sadly that bit about Horizontal refresh rate is going to, unfortunately, rain on your parade. As you increase the speed the beam draws vertical lines, it MUST scan across the entire surface left to right before moving to the next line. So a higher verticle refresh rate is going to increase the horizontal refresh rate. Higher resolution ALSO increases horizontal refresh rate. If you tried to create a custom resolution this is what you would get. (More on how to do this later)


bqllKd1.png


270khz is a big oof and not going to fly. We can play with these numbers here to get our actual max setting, which Im not going to dump another screenshot but I can tell you is 2048x1536p 68hz (which works out to 108.73khz Horizontal)

Generally speaking, plenty of good modes will be available in the Nvidia or Ati control panel from the start and you won't be expected to fiddle with custom resolutions much in order to get off the ground with your CRT Monitor. So stop reading and go game already.


-------------

Still here? Great. Let's go deeper.

If you want to make your own custom resolution you will need to use Nvidia's custom resolution settings OR a Custom Resolution Utility (AKA: CRU, Freeware https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/custom_resolution_utility.html)
Let's do this with NVIDIA's driver directly as I will be able to cover many of the quirks and bugs. Also, it does a lot of the math for us so even if you abandon it later, it works as a good calculator. You COULD look up a calculator but most of them are very difficult to understand.

First, open Nvidia control panel. You must DISABLE Dynamic Super Resolution under "Manage 3d Settings" Once on the "Change Resolution Page" You may need to set a resolution first before "Customize" will become available. For some reason, if you click away from the current resolution or, frankly at random. Customize will be grayed out. Just set a new resolution and it should work. Once you can click Customize, Do it.
YIKzu2W.png


Your screen should be blank. But this is what it will look like once we start making new resolutions. Click the "Enable resolutions not exposed by the display." and then click create. That will bring you to the next screen which I will label for you.
E9rs9jL.png
Some Important notes as long as what you set here is inside your monitor spec you should be fine. Testing a signal outside the range of your monitor WILL NOT HARM IT. Simply the monitor will FAIL to display the image and may even tell you that the signal is out of range or sync out of range or bad cable whatever.

VERY IMPORTANT
Often the timing box will fail to auto-fill in all the grayed out boxes. Simply change the STANDARD dropbox from whatever it's set to... to anything else, then back to CVT. That will cause it to redo all the correct numbers.

ADVANCED AWESOMENESS!
You CAN render in whatever resolution you like. 4k, 8k, 16k even it's your graphics card you can blow it into a crater for all I care. This is useful for if you want to test out 4k on your LCD monitor and see if your PC can handle it. So this isn't CRT specific. At the top in "display mode" set your resolution, Say you have a 1080p 120hz monitor. 1920 1080 120. Then go to "Standard" Set it to CVT then back to Auto to force it to update. THEN change it to Manual. Once in manual set the Display Mode to whatever the hell you want. 3840x2160 at 60hz (higher refresh rates may not be supported) This will tell your graphics card to RENDER 4k, but output scaled down to 1080p This will not look great on your monitor. BUT the performance numbers will be real. You can also use this on your CRT to get 1080p working properly by telling the monitor to use a resolution it's comfortable with like 1280x1024 but render in 1080p. You could ALSO use this to test or force compatibility on UltraWide monitors. (See next post)

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ANYWAY
Once you get your resolution set, give it a test, if it works save it. If using interlaced mode. for the purposes of Nvidia you are effectively cutting the refresh rate in half So if your monitor CAN do a resolution at 60hz Progressive, you can usually bump that up to 120hz and set it to interlaced.

 

Some Notes on Interlacing
CRT monitor interlacing is done at a much higher speed than your old CRT TV so seeing images separate at high speeds is unlikely. The downside of Interlaced Mode on a monitor usually comes in the form of jitter text or minor loss of clarity vs the same resolution in progressive. So why use it? Well, you can increase the FPS to reduce flickering OR reduce the signal bandwidth to enable higher color standards. My Samsung monitor only supports 444 or limited RGB color mode in 2048x1536p 60hz, but FULL RGB in 2048x1536i. I could run a shooter like CSGO at 1600x1200p 85hz, OR 1600x1200i at 160hz!

 

Resolution Scaling
Earlier I mentioned that the resolution scaling on a CRT is better. This is referring to running the CRT in a resolution OTHER than native. Try setting your 1080p monitor to 720p, pretty shit huh? Your LCD has a 1:1 pixel grid matching the render resolution of your graphics card. When you run outside of that native resolution each pixel of that 720p can't be displayed precisely where it should be. So the monitor has to approximate where it should go, then fill in the pixels around it. If you have ever done the math 1080/720=1.5 that fraction means there's no way to actually align the PIXEL to the grid. Some pixels will split the difference. This is why for example on a 4k monitor 1080p will sometimes look better than 1440p. Since 3840/1920=2 AND 2160/1080=2 All the pixels land on the grid. So there is less scaling and guesswork involved by the scaler.

CRT Monitors come in 2 flavors. Aperture Grill (Trinitron) and Shadow Mask (Other)

 

Aperature Grill (Trinitron)

CRT_Phosphors.jpg
Notice the THIN black line in the middle. That is a tiny support cable to keep the columns in line. There are usually 2 of these on a Trinitron display 1/3 from the top and bottom. They are thinner than a human hair and invisible just about 100% of the time the image isn't displaying pure white. So if you see it don't worry your CRT isn't broken. It's just part of the design.


Various Shadow Masks

200px-Pixel_geometry_01_Pengo.jpg

The Aperture Grill or Shadow Mask is not a 1:1 representation of pixels (except the one on a LCD) In fact there is no connection between them. Its job is to work like a prism and separate out the colors based on the CRT being projected at the screen. each colored area has a phosphor tuned to the corresponding wavelength from the raygun. The actual pixel being rendered does not have to land directly on the grill/mask to be shown correctly. Often the "resolution" of the mask is far in excess of the actual monitor. Aperture Grill (Trinitron) is considered vastly superior to shadow mask CRT's. "Trinitron" Is a Sony brand of "Aperture Grill" that was licensed out to other companies or sold directly by having Sony produce the actual picture tubes. Both of my Sun Microsystems monitors have Sony tubes. The Samsung SyncMaster 900nf Has a Mitsubishi tube made after the patent expired. So they are "Trinitron" even if they don't say it.


Here is a picture. I put an ordinary headphone jack up next to the image to help demonstrate how fine the grille is.

AX3pRny.jpg

 

This is why regardless if your image is 240p or 1536p the image is nice and sharp. there is no screen door effect, no scaling. The image simply is what it is. Some monitors and TV's would talk about dot pitch. This could sometimes be referring to the approximate fine-ness of the grille or shadow mask. But sometimes it was simply DPI of the native resolution. So be wary when looking at "Dot Pitch" numbers for CRT displays. Just a side note, you could sort of think of this over-resolution prism layer like Sub Pixels on new LCD displays granting each "Pixel" multiple sources of each RGB color per rendered "Pixel".


A great video on CRT Tech can be found here.

 

Full RGB will grant the most color possible. However, sometimes this will over-saturate the signal and you will get artifacts.

In the above image, you can see what happens when I max out the resolution, refresh rate, and try to run FULL RGB. On the left is the original image. On the right is a photograph of the purple section. You can see some green artifacts. 

xPePiBG.png

 

 

Before you get up in arms over the color quality being inexact, I did not correct the image as I am simply interested in demonstrating the artifacts.

FULL RGB > Limited RGB > YCbCr444 > YCbCr422 and onward. Sometimes if your RIGHT on the edge you can go into the "Adjust Desktop Color" Settings of Nvidia Control Panel and nudge down the "Digital Vibrance" a few points (50 being 100% color I don't know why they scale from 0-100 with 50 being Default instead of 0-200% with 100% as default) By reducing Digital Vibrance sometimes you can get better results staying closer to FULL RGB than Limited RGB.

 

Sometimes in OTHER color modes, you can increase digital vibrance to bring a little "pop" back into the image but be careful. Moving digital vibrance too high can do more than simply oversaturate the image. It can cause some colors to move outside the range of the signal turning them into OTHER colors.


You can see what fresh hell jacking the Vibrance to 100% unleashed on my color wheel in the photo compared to the screenshot (Again photo is not color corrected or even entirely in focus that's not the point right now)

q2OZipP.png


TROUBLESHOOTING
Sometimes Nvidia won't show or allow you to set your custom resolutions. If it bothers to show it at all. If this happens you bypass Nvidia by going to Windows Display Settings. The options here are limited but if you go to advanced, OR goto device manager you can set the display properties for the selected monitor directly.

2FGRAxM.png
Simply click "List all Modes" and select your resolution and refresh rate here. THIS IS A MUST for INTERLACED modes.


OSD:
Many additional issues can be solved in your CRT monitors OSD. Here are some examples.


Weird image shape: 
You can adjust size, position, and several forms of skewing in the OSD usually under "Geometry"


Colors are off in one or more corners:
Adjust "Purity" in OSD


Some objects on the screen have red or blue shadows.
Adjust Convergence.


The image is dim.
Go into nvidia control panel under "Adjust Desktop Size and Position" and disable all scaling, override those set in games, and make sure all scaling is handled by this display. This will prevent lost brightness to blanking. (don't I could explain but it's long and technical)

HARDWARE LEVEL ISSUES:

!!!DISCLAIMER!!!
DO NOT TAKE APART A CRT ALONE. In fact, if your not 100% confident in your ability to do it safely don't even try. The caps in a CRT can kill you. Here is a video:

You can also ground an insulated screwdriver and isolate yourself from the ground by wearing rubber electricians gloves.

Convergence:
If the convergence is too far gone to be fixed by the OSD it can be manually adjusted with PHYSICAL dials on the back of the tube (yes, inside).
E2bRV7Q.png

You will need to adjust these WHILE the monitor is ON, so discharging will not be possible before performing this adjustment. These rings are often glued in place by a latex glue. You can simply peel it off with tweezers.

Damaged Screen!
The top layer of the screen often coated in anti-glare spray or plastic. The plastic is glued onto the glass. A lot of cleaning chemicals and sharp objects will harm this layer. If the glass is intact but there is a scratch or oddly colored area you can remove the frame and literally tear this coating off. This will also increase brightness but decrease black levels. Spray can be removed too with proper chemicals.
maxresdefault.jpg

Dim Display:
There is an internal gamma setting that adjusts the brightness of the ray tubes by (from what I understand) adjusting the voltage this is known as G2 some have a physical knob or screw inside the monitor. Some (mostly sony's) have to use a Serial to USB adapter to access the firmware (you can still get these easily online from enthusiasts) Try to find a PDF of the service manual.

That wraps things up! Just for the record the GOD MONITORS from back then that are literally worth thousands are as follows. There are plenty of other monitors 99% as good as these for FREE to anyone willing to take them on Craigs List but I wanted to mention them just in case you bump into one. People have thrown these out, not knowing what they have.

Sony GDM-FW900
This is a 24" 16:10 2304x1440p 80hz CRT. Expect to pay 3k Used to 7k new. IF you can even find one.

Sony BVM-D32XXXX
This is a 32" 1080i 16:9 Broadcast Monitor will work with PC or TV signals This Monster display goes for 5k-15k depending on the hours clocked in the OSD.

BOTH prices go up and down A LOT, waiting, talking to old production studios. Looking for auctions can get either one for MUCH cheaper. Both cited prices are if you HAD to have one RIGHT NOW and ran out to buy one TODAY which I would not recommend.

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Here are some great screenshots. Here it is next to my IPS monitor. Keep in mind that I'm still capturing the image with a phone which has limitations and you are looking at it on an LCD (most likely) which has its own limitations. You can't really see the additional perceived color depth in the image but it should be proof enough that it's at least in the ballpark for any skeptics out there. Also this monitor had a damaged anti-glare mask so its a little brighter and more washed out than it was designed to be. In person, it can still exceed all but my Quantum Dot monitor in black levels.

3ZFfSRt.jpg

Here is the display running in 240p Displaying an emulated Sonic 1. The scanline effect on a TV is typically caused by blank lines inserted into the image to fake progressive by only drawing even or odd lines, In this image its true 240p the electron beam of the monitor is simply thin enough to fail at filling the entire image creating a very authentic feeling experience.

v6QNl0C.jpg


Here you can see LTT running in full RGB 4k (video stream in theatre mode) at a resolution of 2048x1536i 60hz
Uj3j39P.jpg
The chromatic banding you see is a camera artifact and not present IRL. Remember the camera focus is not perfect either. You can still, even at that res, even interlaced, even though the camera focus read 99% of the text. (Note Browser zoom was 125%)..... Also yes I did purposely choose the "I can never go back" new display technology video because of irony! :D

Here is the UFO test on my CRT at 2048x1536i Full RGB 60hz. Keep in mind this is Interlaced so if there is going to be separation it will show up here!
qjeLo1c.jpg
As you can see, if you zoom in, the scanline is at the top of the middle row. The image was taken with an exposure time of 1/60th of a second (It's important to make sure your exposure matches the display HZ). 1 Frame of "ghosting" can be seen in the dark and middle areas where the scan line is. Below the scanline, you can see 0 ghosting. This means that the image persists for LESS than 1/60th of a second. 

Lets go harder. This image is 800x600p Full RGB at 160hz Exposure was increased to 1/160 of a second. (It's important to make sure your exposure matches the display HZ)
farN5Ny.jpg
Absolutely wrecked that test. Only 1 frame of ghosting visible in the top 2 bars. The scan line is JUST at the top of the yellowblack test circles of the dark blue segment. This means the ghosting lasts just under 1/160th of a second.

BUT I KNOW WHAT YOUR THINKING! How does this compare to a LCD?! Well my GT80 Titan gaming laptop has a 1080p 60hz Samsung PLS display. Let's take a look. Exposure set to 1/60th of a second. (It's important to make sure your exposure matches the display HZ)
0jSByxb.jpg

Absolutely fucking destroyed. There are at least 3 frames of ghosting visible. The warning bar is simply because it could not resolve the actual refresh rate but it is locked in at 60fps moving the proper distance. (PLS is almost identical to IPS technology) Hands down the CRT devistates the LCD display. Unfortunately I don't have a high refresh rate LCD for comparison.

Here is the CRT running KCD at 2048x1536i Full RGB 60hz, Remember the artifacts and banding is the camera not the display.
oLrLFl5.jpg

To give you an idea of how much detail is actually there. Here is a zoom of the wooden fence next to the hut. This time the vertical lines you are seeing ARE real. But not visible from more than like.... 6 inches from the screen. Remember this is an extreme close up of an area of the screen about 1.5"x1" or 3cm X 2cm in size. Compare the image below with the one above to see just how close we are getting.
xlC2B7H.jpg
 In real life when your not fighting LGv30 focus you can see even more clearly but that image there should impress.

Anyway if there are any questions, or images you would like me to take for you please post them below or DM me.

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* Thread cleaned *

 

 

Also ;

3 hours ago, direstraitsfan98 said:

I made an account simply to say this by the way.

 

Then please take the time to explain what the issues are.

 

"Just created an account to say you have inacuracies" is rather unhelpful, for the OP (so that he can issue corrections), and to the CRT community since less knowledgeable members won't know what to look for what's wrong or what needs to be developed.

 

If you're interested in helping, then please take the time to point what's wrong.

If you need help with your forum account, please use the Forum Support form !

 

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I was able to hunt down and correct small error's about part names and terms. There are things that could be explained further, like blanking, retrace, and how the green artifacts may actually be a limitation on the HDMI-VGA adapter rather than the monitor. BUT if you get those artifacts, either way, that method will still fix them so I did not revise that part.

If anyone has any questions or concerns post them here and I'll respond asap :D

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I got a question in a place that wasn't here. Or a comment... Either way.

So, "Apperature Grill" aka "Trinitron" is not exclusive to Sony, they simply invented it at a time where they managed to control the patent for the majority of time CRT tv/monitors were commonplace. So the vast majority of Apperature Grill displays are referred to as Trinitron. Think of this like Kleenex, Xerox, or Coke being used in place of Tissue, Copy, or Soda. That does not make them 'Superior' to shadow mask displays or 'Superior' to other Aperture Grill displays. The method of splitting the electron beams onto the Philosophers does not affect the refresh rate or resolution. It just gives a different character to the screen. The primary advantage from an engineering standpoint is that it let more light through. This was a major brightness advantage in TV's in the early days of Trinitron, but by the 80's and 90's and beyond it was simply a matter of how bright the electron guns needed to be in order to meet the Gamma standard. So a mid 2000's shadow mask display will not have any greater apparent brightness (unless something else is going on) to the end user.

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Its so sad that the VDU market is limited to LCD.

 

CRT, and even Plasma, were and still are in many cases, vastly superior.

 

I miss my old CRT's , i wish i never got rid of me old Trinitrons. Whilst they would seem tiny in comparison to my aging , dyeing 42" Plasma i use currently, at least they would be able to use them.

 

i cant bring myself to spend £1000+ on a LCD, they are just not worth it. Their black level performance is appalling and the uniformity is almost always terrible.

 

 

Its a shame so many people nowadays have never had the opportunity to see and use a good CRT monitor, and only have the trash LCD's that have flooded the market as any reference on what a VDU should look like.

 

 

great post OP. I dunno about you but i'm always keeping an eye out for old CRT's , especially for the king FW900. Speackign of which, iirc the FW900 was 16:10 .. not 16:9.

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22 hours ago, SolarNova said:

I Speackign of which, iirc the FW900 was 16:10 .. not 16:9.

2

Oops, and the funny part is I know this XD. I fixed it thanks!

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Great guide, if I had an HDMI to VGA adapter, how well do you think a modern videogame like Overwatch or Fortnite would run on a CRT?

Systems:

Main Gaming:                                                        Windows XP:

Ryzen 5 2600                                                               Intel Pentium 3

Asus RX 580 OC                                                     1GB DDR2

Patriot Viper DDR4 8GB                                         Asus Motherboard

Asus ROG B450-I                                                   Dell 300W

Corsair CX 450                                                       ATI Rage 128 Fury Pro

                                                                               

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Patriot DDR3 8GB                                                  HP Vectra motherboard 

Gigabyte Ultra Durable                                           500MB RAM

Rosewill Glacier 600W                                           Soundblaster 16

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Random PC:                                                         

AMD Phenom x4 850                                          Key:

Kukete A78                                                          Motherboard

Kingston 4GB DDR3                                            Memory

Dell 500W                                                            Power Supply

                                                                             Graphics Card

Other Gaming:                                                    Sound Card

Ryzen 5 2600                                                       Processor

Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming

MSI 1050 OC

Hyper-X 16GB DDR4

EVGA 750 B2

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Nice guide!

 

Many older games (and new ones too) looks a lot better on CRT's than on LCD's. For example Half-Life 2 looks really good on my cheap 17" Samsung SAMTRON 76E (made in 2004).

Bad picture because it was taken with a phone

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IMG_20170711_091419.jpg

 

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General X58 Xeon/i7 discussion

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10 hours ago, BLLDoesTech said:

Great guide, if I had an HDMI to VGA adapter, how well do you think a modern videogame like Overwatch or Fortnite would run on a CRT?

They still sell a HDMI to VGA adapter at wallmart, so you can grab one fast, but you'll overpay for it vs online. There are some artifacting issues with basic ones at very high pixel clocks, a good one online (which I will link once I have one and can verify) costs around 70 bucks. Assuming it works as advertised. Again, review pending.

As for new games on an old monitor... Some games like Fallout 4 will have scaling issues with either the background or UI similar to how ultrawide can require some mods or .ini adjustments. There's a 4:3 mod for Fallout that fix the problems with the UI. League of legends, for example, does a zoom crop thus putting a native 4"3 player at a disadvantage and finally since a lot of these monitors lack perfect convergence due to age and whatnot games with very fine text and UI details like Stellaris can also be a pain.

That being said, you can run games like league in 16:9 letterboxed, and mods or edits exist for a lot of games like fallout. But with a decent quality CRT that isn't super high hours most games particularly colorful ones will be more vibrant, have better black levels, and unparalleled anti-ghosting. You can achieve better colors on the Samsung quantum dot monitors but they have a ton of other drawbacks. (I have the Samsung 4k 32" UH850) Drawbacks include, not great ghosting, no gsync, persistent film grain, 60hz. But it's perfect for everything a CRT is awful at, like Stellaris and Eve Online

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12 hours ago, BLLDoesTech said:

Great guide, if I had an HDMI to VGA adapter, how well do you think a modern videogame like Overwatch or Fortnite would run on a CRT?

PS i have played overwatch on it, and that works fine great even! I dont have fortnite installed.

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1 hour ago, Naveronasis said:

PS i have played overwatch on it, and that works fine great even! I dont have fortnite installed.

me neither lol, imma try it some time, does it have to be a good CRT or any?

Mind recommending one I should /could buy?

I already have multiple HDMI to VGA adaptors

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14 hours ago, BLLDoesTech said:

me neither lol, imma try it some time, does it have to be a good CRT or any?

Mind recommending one I should /could buy?

I already have multiple HDMI to VGA adaptors

Well first, if you're in the Pittsburgh area you can come try out the CRTs I have laying around. I would recommend Samsung NF900 or Viewsonic. A lot more sony's exist with alternate brands on them like Sun Microsystems or SGI. The main thing you want to look for is google the model number and look up (usually on cnet of all places) the resolution and HZ. Usually nothing under 17" is any good. If you're going to pay money 1600x1200 at > 60hz. Or at a minimum 1280x1024 85hz+

Also while it won't really improve the image any from a color or resolution or refresh rate a 'Flat Screen' CRT with a flat glass front may be an easier transition although early 'flat screen' monitors have more geometry issues than alternatives. (The image is stretched over the screen by a magnetic field, and is not automatically spread evenly like a LCD)

Keep in mind when testing a CRT that they do take time to warm up. the geometry or color may be off when you first turn it on, and after a few minutes, it is fully on.

Avoid TV's although there are a bunch of 16:9 'HD' CRT's (usually 720i over Component) these use digital encoders which do add latency compared to the VGA PC counterparts.

IMO just go on craigslist, or facebook marketplace and find a free monitor someone is giving away. 99% of the time you can get a 21" for free after a week or two or at least for under 100 bucks.

Some CRT's may have bad convergence (colors separate) or low brightness, neither of these are a dealbreaker if your willing to crack it open and make some adjustments and can score you some free "broken" crt's that just need a little TLC. But pick up any craptastic one for free to play with while you search for your dream CRT since it can take a little time.

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Cool

 

Sadly not near Pittsburg, would love to come by if I was though, I'll go on Craigslist and pick up a few CRTs and test different ones

 

And you said that CRTs give better color, yet worse black/white correct?

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They usually give better both. But depending on G2 settings, direct ambient light, and scaling options can underperform.

Example, having the image scaled by the graphics card can and up adding more blanking space to the signal. This meant the image takes up less of the total available signal space but that dead space still gets traced, resulting in dropped brightness.

The screen itself is (typically) more reflective (both on the surface and internally) so having a bright light on can drop perceived brightness as well. One interesting thing you will notice with a CRT is shrinking the image with the OSD will increase brightness, this is because in many ways a CRT is like a projector, your focusing the beam on a small area, this means more intense brightness in that area (see the inverse square law in lighting).

Also the electron gun will get dimmer as its used (very very VERY slowly over years) which can require a G2 adjustment to increase voltage (i assume) to the gun.

So in good condition, it will outperform in blacks, not as often on whites but possibly. Also, color-wise, LCD comes pretty close for green/blue BUT red/yellow/orange/pink are usually no contest win for CRT. Also due to convergence and the fine-ness of the color splitting on a CRT colors feel much more natural and things like bump/normal mapping just tend to look better (obviously subjective and hard to describe how this is possible) but once you see it, you'll know what I mean.

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1 minute ago, Naveronasis said:

They usually give better both. But depending on G2 settings, direct ambient light, and scaling options can underperform.

Example, having the image scaled by the graphics card can and up adding more blanking space to the signal. This meant the image takes up less of the total available signal space but that dead space still gets traced, resulting in dropped brightness.

The screen itself is (typically) more reflective (both on the surface and internally) so having a bright light on can drop perceived brightness as well. One interesting thing you will notice with a CRT is shrinking the image with the OSD will increase brightness, this is because in many ways a CRT is like a projector, your focusing the beam on a small area, this means more intense brightness in that area (see the inverse square law in lighting).

Also the electron gun will get dimmer as its used (very very VERY slowly over years) which can require a G2 adjustment to increase voltage (i assume) to the gun.

So in good condition, it will outperform in blacks, not as often on whites but possibly. Also, color-wise, LCD comes pretty close for green/blue BUT red/yellow/orange/pink are usually no contest win for CRT. Also due to convergence and the fine-ness of the color splitting on a CRT colors feel much more natural and things like bump/normal mapping just tend to look better (obviously subjective and hard to describe how this is possible) but once you see it, you'll know what I mean.

That's cool

 

I always thought the CRT wouldn't be able to keep up with the fast-moving graphics of video games, guess I was wrong

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1 minute ago, BLLDoesTech said:

That's cool

 

I always thought the CRT wouldn't be able to keep up with the fast-moving graphics of video games, guess I was wrong

Fast moving is what it does best :3 Its ultra-fine text and having a screen larger than a laptop display that it has trouble with :( Which is funny when they support such high resolutions, but convergence and flickering at 60hz hold it back in that regard. Just see the blur-busters comparison above.

NOTE: some very cheap office space monitors have much worse ghosting because they use long persistent phosphors to make the text experience better. This is why you want to avoid monitors that have specs like "1280x1024 60hz" because a fast response phosphor will flicker at 60hz.

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1 minute ago, Naveronasis said:

Fast moving is what it does best :3 Its ultra-fine text and having a screen larger than a laptop display that it has trouble with :( Which is funny when they support such high resolutions, but convergence and flickering at 60hz hold it back in that regard. Just see the blur-busters comparison above.

NOTE: some very cheap office space monitors have much worse ghosting because they use long persistent phosphors to make the text experience better. This is why you want to avoid monitors that have specs like "1280x1024 60hz" because a fast response phosphor will flicker at 60hz.

cool, I was hesitant to try gaming on a CRT as I thought the tube might blow, now I'm hyped to try it. Craigslist here I come!!!!

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Just now, BLLDoesTech said:

cool, I was hesitant to try gaming on a CRT as I thought the tube might blow, now I'm hyped to try it. Craigslist here I come!!!!

since most of the time (at least here in 2019, hello potential future readers) you can get a CRT for free, its pretty low risk to give a try.

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2 minutes ago, Naveronasis said:

since most of the time (at least here in 2019, hello potential future readers) you can get a CRT for free, its pretty low risk to give a try.

I was just more scared ?

 

I don't see any free CRT in the local craigslist, guess I'll check other places

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Just now, BLLDoesTech said:

I was just more scared ?

 

I don't see any free CRT in the local craigslist, guess I'll check other places

Not everyone knows they are called CRT, so looking up "monitor" or "tube" can also yield results.

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1 hour ago, Naveronasis said:

Avoid TV's although there are a bunch of 16:9 'HD' CRT's (usually 720i over Component) these use digital encoders which do add latency compared to the VGA PC counterparts.

I'm pretty sure all HD CRT TV's are 720p/1080i. Though some doesn't support 720p. Sadly we didn't get almost any HD CRT TV's here in Europe.

I use a 32" 16:9 576i 100Hz Sony Trinitron KV-32FX68E CRT TV to play PS2, PS3, Xbox and Xbox 360. And I use it to watch anime and youtube (mostly for music).

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IMG_20181222_185204.jpg

 

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General X58 Xeon/i7 discussion

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PC 3: Intel Core i5-3450 @ 3.7GHz, Asus P8Z77-V LK, 12GB DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760, 500GB HDD

PC 4: Intel Xeon W3550 @ 3.07GHz, HP (X58), 8GB DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 (GPU: 1050MHz MEM: 1250MHz), 120GB SSD, 2TB, 1TB and 500GB HDD

PC 5: Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 @ 3.8GHz, Asus P5KC, 8GB DDR2, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, 120GB SSD and 500GB HDD

HTPC: Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 @ 3.0GHz, HP DC7900SFF, 8GB DDR2 800MHz, Asus Radeon HD 6570, 240GB SSD and 3TB HDD

WinXP PC: Intel Core2 Duo E6300 @ 2.33GHz, Asus P5B, 2GB DDR2 667MHz, NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT, 32GB SSD and 80GB HDD

RetroPC: Intel Pentium 4 HT @ 3.0GHz, Gigabyte GA-8SGXLFS, 2gb DDR1, ATi Radeon 9800 Pro, 2x 40gb HDD

My first PC: Intel Celeron 333MHz, Diamond Micronics C400, 384mb RAM, Diamond Viper V550 (NVIDIA Riva TNT), 6gb and 8gb HDD

Server: 2x Intel Xeon E5420, Dell PowerEdge 2950, 32gb DDR2, ATI ES1000, 4x 146gb SAS

Dual Opteron PC: 2x AMD Opteron 2218, HP XW9400, 12gb DDR2, ATI Radeon 3650, 500gb HDD

Core2 Duo PC: Intel Core2 Duo E8400, HP DC7800, 4gb DDR2, NVIDIA Quadro FX1700, 1tb and 80gb HDD

Athlon XP PC: AMD Athlon XP 2400+, MSI something, 1,5gb DDR1, ATI Radeon 9200, 40gb HDD

Thinkpad: Intel Core2 Duo T7200, Lenovo Thinkpad T60, 4gb DDR2, ATI Mobility Radeon X1400, 1tb HDD

Pentium 3 PC: Intel Pentium 3 866MHz, Asus CUSL2-C, 512mb RAM, 3DFX VooDoo 3 2000 AGP

Laptop: Dell Latitude E6430, Intel Core i5-3210M, 6gb DDR3 1600MHz , Intel HD 4000, 250gb Samsung SSD 860 EVO, 1TB WD Blue HDD

 

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1 minute ago, Pasi123 said:

I'm pretty sure all HD CRT TV's are 720p/1080i. Though some doesn't support 720p. Sadly we didn't get almost any HD CRT TV's here in Europe.

I use a 32" 16:9 576i 100Hz Sony Trinitron KV-32FX68E CRT TV to play PS2, PS3, Xbox and Xbox 360. And I use it to watch anime and youtube (mostly for music).

 

That's quite the collection of stuff!

My collection is similar just not as good...

Systems:

Main Gaming:                                                        Windows XP:

Ryzen 5 2600                                                               Intel Pentium 3

Asus RX 580 OC                                                     1GB DDR2

Patriot Viper DDR4 8GB                                         Asus Motherboard

Asus ROG B450-I                                                   Dell 300W

Corsair CX 450                                                       ATI Rage 128 Fury Pro

                                                                               

FreeNAS Server:                                                   Windows 98/95 duel boot:

I5 3400k                                                                  Pentium Pro

Patriot DDR3 8GB                                                  HP Vectra motherboard 

Gigabyte Ultra Durable                                           500MB RAM

Rosewill Glacier 600W                                           Soundblaster 16

                                                                               Matrox Mystique

Random PC:                                                         

AMD Phenom x4 850                                          Key:

Kukete A78                                                          Motherboard

Kingston 4GB DDR3                                            Memory

Dell 500W                                                            Power Supply

                                                                             Graphics Card

Other Gaming:                                                    Sound Card

Ryzen 5 2600                                                       Processor

Asus ROG Strix B350-F Gaming

MSI 1050 OC

Hyper-X 16GB DDR4

EVGA 750 B2

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3 hours ago, Pasi123 said:

I'm pretty sure all HD CRT TV's are 720p/1080i. Though some doesn't support 720p. Sadly we didn't get almost any HD CRT TV's here in Europe.

I use a 32" 16:9 576i 100Hz Sony Trinitron KV-32FX68E CRT TV to play PS2, PS3, Xbox and Xbox 360. And I use it to watch anime and youtube (mostly for music).

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IMG_20181222_185204.jpg

 

I actually intend to pick up one of these 16:9 CRT tv's to add to my collection but from what I understand... They are capable of 1080i or 720i with a max progressive resolution of half of 1080 (aka 540p). Why idk, is it true? idk. I assume I'll find out. The delay isn't significant and does not from what I understand add any ghosting, but it's not the 0 latency experience of a truly VGA direct input display. I do know that fighting games clubs and enthusiasts say to avoid them. But then again, I'm not a fighting games enthusiast. 

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