Question Running an old Compaq CRT monitor at 60hz causes bad screen-flicker ?


Nov 18, 2017
Hi everyone!

Ok, so... I've been watching a lot of Digital Foundry later and I decided to get a CRT monitor for my PC and consoles.
Only issue is, I've managed to get ahold of a 17" Compaq monitor from 2001, booted up fine, then I went to set my refresh rate to 60hz and... the horror!
Horrible screen flicker, like I've never seen before. Not on flat panels, not on CRT TVs (not even 50hz ones, since I'm from Europe), but this one gave me a massive headache.
It only really went away at 75hz or 85hz.

I did a lot of research, and found out the issue is almost certainly phosphor persistence, which was quite a bit lower on monitors compared to CRT TVs.
Basically, the screen doesn't stay lit for long enough while displaying a frame, so you get a few milliseconds of a black screen every frame, and this causes the screen to flash.
Thing is, on DF they talk a lot about using CRT monitors with consoles, but all consoles use 60hz outputs (also my pc isn't powerful enough to go above 60fps).

So the question is: which monitor do I have to get to be able to play at 60hz on a CRT?

I've been looking at Sony Trinitrons because those are what they use on DF, but I have no way of knowing if a display has flicker if I don't see it in person. Does anyone have any experience with this issue or knows of some models that run fine at 60hz? I just need a monitor that works as well as my CRT TVs, those don't give me any issue.

P.S. I'm definitely not getting an FW900, can't afford it. :')

Thanks to everyone in advance!
In the case of using your CRT on a PC, your best bet is to run it at the refresh rate the monitor is happy with (i.e. 85 hz) and let the game run at whatever it wants to.

You don't really have the same issue of needing perfect sync between the software and the screen when running on a CRT. That probably won't be feasible with the consoles though.