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When buying a new computer, or upgrading your monitor, you may be in somewhat of a conundrum deciding between an LCD or CRT monitor. That's understandable because for most people the difference is just size. But there is much more behind each option than just some space saving. In this article we'll outline the pros and con's for each choice and then tell you what will best suit your needs.



The most noticeable difference in an LCD vs. a CRT monitor is the size. The average LCD 15 inch monitor will run about 7 inches in depth. While on the other hand a CRT monitor can run more than two times that depth. If you are in a tight area such as a dorm room or small apartment this may make a huge factor.

Another positive side of the LCD monitor is that it is energy friendly. The average 17 inch LCD monitor will take up about 35 watts of power. That's about half of a light bulb. If you can leave a light on all day you'll have no problem leaving an LCD on the entire day. Let's take, for example, you leave your LCD monitor on eight hours in the day, five days a week. If you keep consistent with that pattern in four years you'll spend around $45 in energy costs for it. That's far less than a CRT.

An LCD monitor will also give you more life for the money you pay for it. There is one component that ages in an LCD monitor, that's the backlight. That takes around 50,000 hours to age. If we were to use the example from above that means the average lifespan for an LCD monitor is about 26 years, of course by then you might have upgraded.

There is no flicker what-so-ever on an LCD monitor. What do we mean by flicker? Basically it means the image on the screen gets unsteady or might flash. The reason for this is because an LCD doesn't refresh, like a CRT. From the minute you turn the monitor on to the minute you turn it off those pixels on the screen is illuminated.


It may seem like the LCD is just the perfect monitor, well that may not be the case. The major set back to an LCD monitor is the price. The average 15 inch monitor can start out as high as $300. However you'll probably want a 17 inch monitor, the starting prices on those can run as high as $450. If you're on a strict budget the LCD may not be such a good choice.

This con may not be the most obvious set back, but it does have an impact depending on your living conditions. The LCD monitor is easily damageable. It is unbelievably easy to scratch or damage the screen in any way, sometimes all it takes is a simple push with a finger.

This con has been corrected in many monitors but still exists in some consumer level monitors. If you are a heavy gamer, an LCD monitor may not be right for you. Because the monitor doesn't refresh it can display games in a slight lag, most of it isn't noticeable but if you play games all day everyday it can become a hassle.



If you are a graphics artists or someone who relies heavily on colors, than a CRT is the way to go. CRT's can display colors at a much richer level than most LCD screens. This pro might not be that important to the average consumer, unless he/she works with a lot of family photos, or photo editing. Then vivid color is a must.

Let's say you intend on having people from many different angles view what is on your screen. Maybe for teaching a class or showing TV or videos off, the CRT is probably the better choice in that scenario. Because of the way LCD's are built viewing angle is limited. Since CRT's are built much like TV's their viewing angle is in a wider range so people from all areas can view what is on the screen.

CRT monitors, in general, have a quicker response time than LCD monitors. This can come in handy while playing fast paced games or videos. This happens because LCD pixels respond slowly (or slower) to voltage (being turned on and off) than it takes for a CRT to redraw an image on the screen.

The price difference between and LCD monitor and a CRT monitor is hundreds of dollars. If you shop around you can probably find a 15 inch CRT starting at around $100 - $150. Even more impressive and lighter on your wallet is that a 17 inch starts at around $150 - $250, that's almost $200 less than an LCD monitor.


The most noticeable con in the CRT monitor is the size difference. Most CRT's can be up to 17 inches in depth and that can be hell on your desk space. As mentioned before, if you are in a small area, than a CRT just won't fit your lifestyle.

Energy bills can be a little bit higher if you use a CRT versus an LCD. Using the same scenario that we used in the LCD example, a CRT running eight hours a day, five days a week will cost you around $91 in four years. That's about $30 more than an LCD. Although that doesn't make up the difference between the two in cost, it can still make a small impact.

CRT monitors also tend to "die" at a faster rate than an LCD monitor. As we stated previously the LCD monitor ages in only one way, however the CRT monitor ages in two ways. First an oxide layer will form on the cathode of the electron gun decreasing the beam current over time. Second the phosphor (the organic material that produces light by being excited by the electron gun) will age and become less efficient. This can all happen at around 15,000 hours of usage, making the CRT's lifespan (using the previous example) about eight years. That's around 18 years shorter than the average LCD monitor.

What should I buy?

As anything else that you may be looking at purchasing, buying a monitor depends on the situation of your computer lifestyle. Read the following descriptions and if either one applies to you buy the monitor that coincides.

CRT Monitor

If you are low on money, need a good monitor for watching video, viewing images, or showing people around you what is on the screen, or if you are a big game player than a CRT is probably the choice for you.

LCD Monitor

If you are short on space, have the money to spend, don't mind some loss in color and game play on some PC games, and want to keep this monitor for a long time, then an LCD monitor is perfect for you.

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