Best monitor / resolution for 2000 rig?

Discussion about old graphics cards, monitors and video related things.

Re: Best monitor / resolution for 2000 rig?

Postby duga3 » 2019-6-28 @ 18:57

I would go for Trinitron or Diamondtron CRT monitors, I even use them with my main rig. As for resolution, most games from that era max out at 1280x1024 or 1024x768. Diablo 2 (year 2000) maxes out at 800x600 even (without community hacks). Then there are some games with seemingly unlimited resolutions, Quake engine games, and similar. All of those resolutions look great on T/D CRTs because there are no fixed pixel positions.

With LCDs you only get to pick one native resolution. If I really wanted to get an LCD and was able to choose only one, I would definitely look for a really large 1600x1200 LCD where x1024 and x768 would simply be displayed smaller (1:1 pixel mapping) but still cover enough real estate to be comfortable. And x600 could be doubled to x1200, assuming your software or LCD can handle it, and I would move the monitor slightly away from me as well.

Unfortunately I do not know any LCD like that because I am not in the market for one but I would imagine there would be some LCD like that. If you sit close to your monitor then 15" of real state is enough for those x768 games. If I take that into account and do some math then I would be looking for x1200 LCD with at least 24" of real estate. You definitely want 4:3 here because widescreen wasnt popular back then and you can easily display the odd 5:4 1280x1024 resolution 1:1 with some black borders on a 24" 1600x1200 LCD.

A quick visit on newegg tells me all their 1600x1200 LCDs max out at 21.3" so thats not good news and it might be hard to find a 24" one, if it even exists. Alternatively you can go for widescreen 16:10 1920x1200 24" LCDs which are plentiful for some reason - but these will show more black bars than necessary.
On second thought, 24" 1920x1200 would be a pretty good choice as well due to availability, cost and panel options. It will allow you to play those early widescreen (16:10) titles and most modern games are perfectly fine at 16:10 too.

When it comes to LCDs, pick the panel type (TN, IPS, QLED, ...) carefully because they all have their own upsides and downsides when it comes to color reproduction, refresh rates, motion blur, black levels, ghosting, backlight bleed, contrast, etc and might annoy you depending on which games you intend to play.

By the way, regarding black borders, I often see people being bothered by it. I would recommend to not be afraid of them as its very easy to get used to them, they wont feel "off" after a while, its just a habit thing really.
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Re: Best monitor / resolution for 2000 rig?

Postby kalm_traveler » 2019-6-28 @ 21:51

duga3 wrote:I would go for Trinitron or Diamondtron CRT monitors, I even use them with my main rig. As for resolution, most games from that era max out at 1280x1024 or 1024x768. Diablo 2 (year 2000) maxes out at 800x600 even (without community hacks). Then there are some games with seemingly unlimited resolutions, Quake engine games, and similar. All of those resolutions look great on T/D CRTs because there are no fixed pixel positions.

With LCDs you only get to pick one native resolution. If I really wanted to get an LCD and was able to choose only one, I would definitely look for a really large 1600x1200 LCD where x1024 and x768 would simply be displayed smaller (1:1 pixel mapping) but still cover enough real estate to be comfortable. And x600 could be doubled to x1200, assuming your software or LCD can handle it, and I would move the monitor slightly away from me as well.

Unfortunately I do not know any LCD like that because I am not in the market for one but I would imagine there would be some LCD like that. If you sit close to your monitor then 15" of real state is enough for those x768 games. If I take that into account and do some math then I would be looking for x1200 LCD with at least 24" of real estate. You definitely want 4:3 here because widescreen wasnt popular back then and you can easily display the odd 5:4 1280x1024 resolution 1:1 with some black borders on a 24" 1600x1200 LCD.

A quick visit on newegg tells me all their 1600x1200 LCDs max out at 21.3" so thats not good news and it might be hard to find a 24" one, if it even exists. Alternatively you can go for widescreen 16:10 1920x1200 24" LCDs which are plentiful for some reason - but these will show more black bars than necessary.
On second thought, 24" 1920x1200 would be a pretty good choice as well due to availability, cost and panel options. It will allow you to play those early widescreen (16:10) titles and most modern games are perfectly fine at 16:10 too.

When it comes to LCDs, pick the panel type (TN, IPS, QLED, ...) carefully because they all have their own upsides and downsides when it comes to color reproduction, refresh rates, motion blur, black levels, ghosting, backlight bleed, contrast, etc and might annoy you depending on which games you intend to play.

By the way, regarding black borders, I often see people being bothered by it. I would recommend to not be afraid of them as its very easy to get used to them, they wont feel "off" after a while, its just a habit thing really.

Thank you - you ran through pretty much the same thought process as me and same conclusion.

There don't seem to be any 1600x1200 screens made after the mid 2000s, and the one I would have wanted (Samsung 214T) seems to be ultra rare as I can't even find one on ebay. That led me to look into a more modern 1920x1200 display, and I ultimately settled on an Acer B247W, which is a 24" IPS 4ms panel. It is geared more towards photo editors for color accuracy, but with 4ms response time and a 75Hz refresh rate at 1920x1200, I'm sure it will be just fine for retro gaming too.

Another important factor for me was making sure the screen could accept both DVI and VGA signals, which this Acer can do although it has an HDMI input rather than direct DVI but they are electrically the same signal so I'll use a DVI to HDMI cable. As I mentioned on the previous page, I am slightly concerned about that as it seems many screens have problems with low resolutions coming in on HDMI ports, and even DVI in some cases.

Once the screen is here I'll report back on how well it handles old games.
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Re: Best monitor / resolution for 2000 rig?

Postby duga3 » 2019-6-29 @ 02:36

I forgot to re-calculate one thing above, it should have been 27" 16:10 1920x1200 to have roughly the same PPI as 15" 4:3 1024x768 (= 85 PPI = 0.3mm pixel pitch), not just 24" as I mistakenly wrote above. There are no 27" like that on newegg, only one 25".

The monitor vs non-native resolutions will indeed be tricky to find out before buying it. So maybe stick to monitors you can easily return? I dont know much about this topic.

I see that Samsung 214T locally for 25 bucks for example so it might be obtainable if you wait long enough.

Lets have a little PPI table:

(I think 85 is a reasonable PPI target imo, PPI any higher could feel a bit small when using x768 at 1:1 pixel mapping on larger monitor for example)

15" 1024x768 = 85 PPI (reference)
21" 1600x1200 = 95 PPI
24" 1920x1200 = 95 PPI
25" 1920x1200 = 91 PPI
32" 2560x1440 = 92 PPI (these are often 144Hz btw)

for some reason these have only higher PPI but if I look at the super popular "1080p fullhd" monitors then there is much more options with lower PPI such as:

27" 1920x1080 = 82 PPI
32" 1920x1080 = 69 PPI

Too bad these are only x1080 so no doubling of games which max out at 800x600 such as Diablo 2. So I think x1080 is a dealbreaker because x600 would be too small at 1:1 pixel mapping on these.

There are also 30" monitors with 2560x1600 (16:10) resolution. These do have 101 PPI but its not a factor in this case because these would allow you to double not only x600 but also the x768 games. And triple x480. x1200 could easily be 1:1 because thats enough vertical space. These are only 60Hz though but otherwise pretty compelling.

Now I am not sure how doubling/tripling works with old hw/sw and modern LCDs or if it even looks nice.
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Re: Best monitor / resolution for 2000 rig?

Postby kalm_traveler » 2019-6-29 @ 14:12

duga3 wrote:I forgot to re-calculate one thing above, it should have been 27" 16:10 1920x1200 to have roughly the same PPI as 15" 4:3 1024x768 (= 85 PPI = 0.3mm pixel pitch), not just 24" as I mistakenly wrote above. There are no 27" like that on newegg, only one 25".

The monitor vs non-native resolutions will indeed be tricky to find out before buying it. So maybe stick to monitors you can easily return? I dont know much about this topic.

I see that Samsung 214T locally for 25 bucks for example so it might be obtainable if you wait long enough.

Lets have a little PPI table:

(I think 85 is a reasonable PPI target imo, PPI any higher could feel a bit small when using x768 at 1:1 pixel mapping on larger monitor for example)

15" 1024x768 = 85 PPI (reference)
21" 1600x1200 = 95 PPI
24" 1920x1200 = 95 PPI
25" 1920x1200 = 91 PPI
32" 2560x1440 = 92 PPI (these are often 144Hz btw)

for some reason these have only higher PPI but if I look at the super popular "1080p fullhd" monitors then there is much more options with lower PPI such as:

27" 1920x1080 = 82 PPI
32" 1920x1080 = 69 PPI

Too bad these are only x1080 so no doubling of games which max out at 800x600 such as Diablo 2. So I think x1080 is a dealbreaker because x600 would be too small at 1:1 pixel mapping on these.

There are also 30" monitors with 2560x1600 (16:10) resolution. These do have 101 PPI but its not a factor in this case because these would allow you to double not only x600 but also the x768 games. And triple x480. x1200 could easily be 1:1 because thats enough vertical space. These are only 60Hz though but otherwise pretty compelling.

Now I am not sure how doubling/tripling works with old hw/sw and modern LCDs or if it even looks nice.


Yeah that all makes sense too. My 2011 rig used a 28" Viewsonic 1920x1200 and at the time I thought it was great but in comparison to todays panels it had poor color accuracy, a fair amount of backlight bleed, and slow response. In searching this week I could not find anything larger than 25" (most were 24") for that same resolution.

Also supporting what you said - with this ongoing process to build my ideal 98SE/Me/2000 setup I tried two HDTV sets that have a native resolution of 1366 x 768 (they can both drive it at 75Hz), but realized that although it is novel to use a 32" screen, I'd rather have higher resolution on a more normal size display as running 1024 x 768 with side bars and having giant pixels from 2.5 feet away isn't as cool as 19 years ago me might have thought.

For my modern setups I have a 34" 3440 x 1440 100Hz screen and love it post-color-calibration, and last year I ran a 27" 2560x1440 165Hz screen on my gaming-only machine. That also was great. As you mentioned, the main problem with either of those is lack of good mathematical scaling from lower resolutions.
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Re: Best monitor / resolution for 2000 rig?

Postby realnc » 2019-6-29 @ 14:49

1024x768 was the resolution I remember being the most used in 2000. If you had perf problems, you'd drop to 800x600. If you had a powerful system, or if you didn't mind lower FPS, you'd do 1280x960. 1600x1200 was only useful when playing old games. On modern games of the time it would just tank the frame rate.

1280x1024 only became a thing a bit later, when the first 5:4 TFT screens started to become popular. (Which annoyed me to no end. 5:4? Really? It was backwards. Instead of going wider than the standard 4:3, it got narrower...)
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Re: Best monitor / resolution for 2000 rig?

Postby appiah4 » 2019-7-02 @ 05:27

realnc wrote:1024x768 was the resolution I remember being the most used in 2000. If you had perf problems, you'd drop to 800x600. If you had a powerful system, or if you didn't mind lower FPS, you'd do 1280x960. 1600x1200 was only useful when playing old games. On modern games of the time it would just tank the frame rate.

1280x1024 only became a thing a bit later, when the first 5:4 TFT screens started to become popular. (Which annoyed me to no end. 5:4? Really? It was backwards. Instead of going wider than the standard 4:3, it got narrower...)


It wasn't backwards, those monitors were suited for word processing and office tasks and to this day I miss them whenever I need to read a document on widescreen shit that just does not fit 80% of office related workloads.
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Re: Best monitor / resolution for 2000 rig?

Postby kalm_traveler » 2019-7-03 @ 00:10

Well this Acer monitor looks great so far - need to calibrate it with my USB tool and get it going on the new retro rig once the motherboard arrives.

So far I was only able to test it over VGA with a Riva TNT2-powered WIndows 98SE Dell workstation I picked up recently, but amazingly enough Windows 98SE runs just fine with 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz. Don't have any tough 3d games on that machine but we all know what a 16mb TNT2 would be able to push at 1920x1200 heh...
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