Sony CPD-1304S. (Evaluation)
by Tom Benford
Sony brings its Trinitron video technology, so popular with consumer televisions, to the world of PC computing with its 14-inch CPD-1304S Multiscan HG model. As with a Trinitron tube-based television, the CPD-1304S is a real treat for the eyes.
This Sony monitor is similar to the NEC Multisync 4FG, also reviewed here, in that its screen is almost flat and features squared corners rather than rounded ones. Also, as with the NEC, the sides of the video image seem to bow in slightly, but this is the result of the nonstandard screen curvature and actually improves viewing.
The removable tilt-swivel base makes adjusting the viewing angle easy, and you'll find all of the CPD-1304S's controls conveniently front-mounted.
The CPD-1304S appears very clean and uncluttered, with minimal adornments and controls to detract from its sleek look. Look for two knobs at the lower left front corner of the monitor, one for brightness and one for contrast. In the lower right corner you'll find the power switch and illuminated indicator. These are the only controls provided on the front of the unit. The lower left side of the monitor houses the control knobs for adjusting horizontal size, horizontal shift (centering), vertical centering, and vertical size. An "auto size" switch is also located on this panel for use with PS/2 models. This switch, when set to the lock position, automatically adjusts the timing to the current VGA mode, thus locking out any manual adjustments to the picture size or position.
As with the other monitors covered here, I used a Truevision Video VGA with Overlay board in a 486 system running at 33 MHz as the test platform. The Truevision card has 1MB of video RAM on board and is capable of 1024 x 768,256-color resolution. The CPD-1304S had no problems whatsoever in this mode, in 800 x 640 mode, or in any of the lower-resolution video modes. I found image clarity and color to be excellent throughout the various modes.
The CPD-1304S is capable of running the 1024 x 768 high-resolution video mode in either interlaced or noninterlaced mode, which makes it capable of simulating the IBM 8514a (interlaced) monitor standard as well as accommodating the numerous adapters designed to run in noninterlaced mode at this extreme resolution. Having this flexibility is a nice comfort feature, especially for PC owners who want to use the stock Windows 8514a drivers or who may be changing their video cards in the near future.
I noticed some image persistence with high-contrast, fast-moving subjects, although it was so slight as to be almost negligible. Switching from text to graphics modes under DOS also caused some slight image bouncing, although I experienced no problems of this kind running applications under Windows.
Moires weren't a problem with the CPD-1304S at any of the resolutions. Even tightly spaced vertical and horizontal line and dot patterns didn't produce moires. "Strobing" occurred with some fine dot backgrounds, but it wasn't serious or pronounced enough to consider it a problem, since virtually every monitor reviewed here displayed some strobing with these patterns.
Overall, the CPD-1304S deserves very high marks. I would select it as my second choice, after the NEC Multisync 4FG, for extended VGA and power user graphical applications.