I bought a new computer last year. An Apple Mac Pro. I make my living on that machine and it was time for a new one. But I still haven’t upgraded my monitor yet. I haven’t entered the world of LCD monitors and am still working on my trusty old nineteen inch CRT monitor. Since they include the part of CRT screen that you can’t actually see in such measurements it’s really a seventeen inch screen. It’s a NEC Multisync 95.

I can’t remember what brand my first monitor was. I got it in 1995 and it was a seventeen inch (fifteen really) CRT that cost me around $700. That ran nicely until 2001 when it died on me. That’s when I purchased the NEC model.

The NEC model was really supposed to be a stop gap monitor. I hadn’t planned on replacing my monitor before it stopped working and therefor had no money saved up for a new one. That’s how I usually do things. If I plan on replacing something I save up.

Monitor prices had come down a lot from 1995 to 2001 and LCD monitors were just starting to appear at nearly affordable prices. I looked around at all sorts of different monitors and was trying to decide what to buy. There were plenty of cheap CRTs but there were also some nice specialty graphics monitors. They were also CRTs but were priced at around $700. Comparable LCD monitors were about $900 at the time.

I was in a bit of a quandary. Buy a big (twenty one inch I think) graphics monitor for $700, a newfangled LCD one for $900, or take my chances with a cheaper and smaller non-graphics CRT monitor? I ended up going for the cheapest route. I figured even at only seventeen inches that was two inches bigger than I was used to. Plus the NEC was about $250. That is considerably cheaper. I figured I could make due with it until LCDs came down in price.

Now, eight years later, I’m still using the damn thing. I never thought the color on it was quite as rich as my original monitor but that never held me back. I can’t believe the thing is still running. But it is. And I’m still looking to replace it.

I’ve wanted a new LCD monitor for about three years now. But one of the questions I always ask myself before buying an expensive new piece of equipment is “What will this allow me to do that I can’t do now?”. The answer with a new monitor is “Nothing”. I’ll have more room to work but that’s it. Other things have always gotten purchased before it.

Another factor is that the LCD monitors that I would like to buy are freaking expensive. And the cheap crappy LCD monitors of today are so much worse than the cheap crappy CRT monitors of yesterday. A $250 LCD monitor is not as good as my $250 CRT monitor from 2001. It has to do with viewing angles, color reproduction, contrast, and such things but come down to the fact that I need a graphics LCD monitor.

Apple makes some really nice ones but they are pricey. I’d love their big thirty inch monitor but not for $1800. And the new twenty four inch one is $900. Plus that one has a connector that is different for the connector on my computer that I just bought last September. Annoying.

Dell also makes some nice graphics monitors that are cheaper for the size than the Apple ones but I’m still looking at spending a large chunk of change. I’d like an Apple monitor because of the color management capabilities it has, all Apple monitors can be calibrated exactly the same so a document’s color will look consistent across all of them, but I have never actually run into anyone using this capability. Clearly it’s not essential for me.

So I wait some more. Apple hasn’t refreshed their line of monitors in years. The twenty four inch one that came out last fall was made to run in conjunction with their laptops and not their towers. Hence the different connector. There keep being rumors of them updating the line but those rumors haven’t come true.

I think this might be the year I finally get a new monitor but I’m not sure. After all my stop gap monitor is still running strong as it comes up on its eighth birthday.