Magnavox 7CM329 Super VGA/LE. (color monitor) (Hardware Review) (Evaluation)
by Tom Benford
Magnavox, a well-known producer of televisions, stereos, and other consumer electronics products, is also a well-known name when it comes to computer monitors. The company has been producing high-quality, affordable PC video displays for several years, and its latest offering is the 7CM329 Super VGA/LE color monitor.
The Super VGA/LE's 14-inch cathode-ray tube (CRT), which yields a 13-inch viewable image from corner to corner, utilizes a .28-mm dot pitch for tightly detailed, well-defined images in all of the standard and extended VGA modes. I tried the monitor using a Truevision Video VGA with Overlay adapter card equipped with 1MB of video RAM and a Tseng 4000-series chip set.
The styling of the Super VGA/LE is very attractive, with sleek, sculpted lines that accent the overall shape of the device. The styling theme is carried through right down to the nonremovable tilt-swivel base, which is an integral part of the monitor chassis.
All controls are conveniently located at the front of the unit under the CRT. A push-button power switch, located at the lower right corner, has an LED indicator positioned above it. Next to the power switch are the thumb-wheel knob controls for adjusting vertical shift, horizontal shift, brightness, and contrast. A permanently attached video cable fitted with a 15-pin D connector and a female AC power receptacle are the only user-accessible items located at the rear of the unit.
Despite the Magnavox reputation, I was very disappointed with the performance of this monitor. A very annoying shadow bar was constantly present at the left edge of the screen in any non-Windows application, and I found it impossible to eliminate this ghost image regardless of how I adjusted the controls. Another less-than-ideal situation was the limited range of movement the horizontal shift control provided. I found myself constantly readjusting the centering of the screen image as I switched from one application to another, and the repositioning was mandatory to avoid clipping some of the video display from either the left or right side of the screen.
Compatibility with all of the standard VGA and Super VGA modes didn't pose a problem, and the Magnavox was able to produce viewable video at all resolutions up to and including 1024 x 768 in 256-color mode using a 1MB Truevision Video VGA with Overlay adapter.
The Magnavox exhibited a marked penchant for creating moire patterns anytime there was a close dot or line pattern on the screen. Corner resolution was less than optimal on this monitor, with the corners tending to go into soft focus rather than the crisp, well-defined edges produced at the central areas of the screen.
Ghosting, streaking, and image persistence (lag) were other chronic conditions I encountered. These video anomalies, coupled with the moire patterns and flicker, made using the Super VGA/LE for extended periods less than a pleasure. These problems were much less pronounced at the lower resolutions (for example, 640 x 480), but they became major optical obstacles at 800 x 600 and higher video settings.
If you intend to spend lots of time using applications in the Super VGA modes, you might want to spend some time looking at the Magnavox video display at the store before deciding to purchase it. There were too many problems with the monitor for me to recommend it.