PDA

View Full Version : Higher resolution monitor ... redux



John Calvert
07-09-2012, 10:32 AM
Hi All

Thanks to those who cleared up the question of whether laptop and external screen resolutions need to match.

I'm going to get the screen, but another concern is how to actually implement this without having to change settings each time I connect/disconnect it. I remember hooking my laptop up to a projector once (someone else actually did it) and all my desktop icons got moved around.

So ... if I only want to use one screen at a time, but I don't want to close the lid/screen of my laptop (I'll be using its keyboard - short-term at least), can I set things up with Windows XP Pro so that I can go back and forth from higher (external screen) to lower (laptop) resolution without having to manually change the resolutions every time? (My laptop has a function key that looks like a screen so presumably that's some sort of toggle?)

Sorry if this is a beginner question but I've never attached an external screen before. I'll be using an HDMI cable.

SolMiester
07-09-2012, 12:34 PM
The different manufacturers have difference Function keys to toggle between screen, but yes, you can do that without closing the lid...

Nomad
07-09-2012, 12:41 PM
You can go thru by right clicking the wallpaper and choose the settings yeah ... or there are hotkeys you can just press successively to switch to whatever screen you want, like on my Thinkpad it is something like Fn + F5. If I press it once it may switch to duplicate or then external only or internal only ...... A screen icon pops up with Windows 7.

John Calvert
07-09-2012, 06:29 PM
Well, my new monitor arrived, and I hooked it up with HDMI and it works but ... everything's unbearably "fuzzy". Text, icons, everything.

I can't see any settings to fix this. In the settings it says 1920 x 1080, which is correct, and both "Use the device as the primary monitor" and Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor" are ticked and greyed out. I want the first but probably not the second.

I've tried various things, changing the font size and dpi and whatnot, but nothing gets rid of the fuzziness. Any ideas?

John Calvert
07-09-2012, 06:36 PM
p.s. Two additional things:
1. The On Screen Controls have sharp text so I don't think the screen is actually faulty
2. I note that there are black bars top, bottom and both sides ... i.e. not all the screen is being used.

pcuser42
07-09-2012, 07:41 PM
Is the refresh rate 60Hz?

John Calvert
08-09-2012, 11:14 AM
Thanks guys, but I've figured out what's going on. My laptop can't handle it (despite the published specs). I guess it's just getting too old and too tired.

I kept experimenting after I posted, and the fan on my laptop got louder and louder and eventually the laptop shut itself down. Around the fan vent and in fact the whole bottom left area was too hot to touch.

I let it cool down and started it up again without the external screen and it's perfectly all right.

To confirm, my mate came round this morning with his new potent laptop (Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics, if that means anything to you) and it didn't miss a beat and looked much better (although it was Windows 7 rather than XP, so not quite apples with apples). Anyway it filled the screen with no black borders.

The other thing I realised is that I greatly underestimated the space I'd need (or how big a 23" screen and base actually is), so consequently I'm sitting WAY too close (my computer desk is a small "student" type, only 55cm deep, so the laptop is nearly touching the base of the screen). If I scoot back in my chair, with my mate's computer attached, everything looks fine.

I'm not going to buy a new laptop or a new desk, so it looks like I've made a very foolish purchase, and someone on Trademe is going to get a fabulous bargain on a screen so new the "features" sticker hasn't even been removed.

Well, I can at least provide a public service to anyone who comes across this post: If you don't know a lot about screens before buying one, then (a) Find a store that has your short-listed model and try it out WITH YOUR LAPTOP, and (b) Unless you have a huge desk, find (or make) a cardboard box the approximate dimensions of the screen and plonk it down where it's going to go and think hard about whether that's too close.

8ftmetalhaed
08-09-2012, 11:27 AM
sounds like your adapter is either too old, or your drivers are out of date.

If you set it to ONLY output to the second screen, does it do the same thing?

You could also either 1- flick it to someone here, or 2- return it on the premise that it doesn't work with your equipment, it's not fit for purpose. If you were told that it would work with your laptop and it didn't, then that should be grounds enough for a refund.

John Calvert
08-09-2012, 01:15 PM
sounds like your adapter is either too old, or your drivers are out of date.
Good suggestion, but there are no newer drivers when I checked just now.


If you set it to ONLY output to the second screen, does it do the same thing?
Yeah, that was with just the external screen. As others advised, switching between 1, 2, and both was just a toggle using a command key (Func+F4 in my case) so that wasn't an issue.


You could also either 1- flick it to someone here, or 2- return it on the premise that it doesn't work with your equipment, it's not fit for purpose. If you were told that it would work with your laptop and it didn't, then that should be grounds enough for a refund.
Nah, the retailer was really great and he never promised compatibility - I never asked. I did ask him before I placed the order if he would pick up a faulty screen at his own cost and he readily agreed, but it's not faulty. The fault is mine, unfortunately.

If anyone's interested, the screen is this one here (http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=955569). Cost me $450. I'll take $100 off since it's opened/used and pay the freight to anywhere in NZ. There are loads of reviews on-line, including video reviews. Just google PA238Q. I'll even throw in the HDMI cable I bought to go with it.

8ftmetalhaed
08-09-2012, 01:23 PM
It looks like a really nice screen, why not keep it for other purposes? Hell, you could plug a console into it, or anything.

Alternatively, have you tried running it at a lower resolution? It won't look quite as fabulous as 1080 will but certainly could be usable if the scaling was set right.

What gpu have you got, anyway?

John Calvert
08-09-2012, 06:18 PM
Alternatively, have you tried running it at a lower resolution? It won't look quite as fabulous as 1080 will but certainly could be usable if the scaling was set right.

Metalhaed, you're a genius! An 8 foot genius!

I played around with the resolutions, with no real hope - haven't we all read many times the mantra that "an LCD screen looks best at its native resolution"? - and when I got to 1680 x 1050, the resolution of my laptop, the fuzziness completely disappeared! Text is sharp as a tack now.

So, in fact, in certain contexts the original advice I got (in an earlier thread) is wrong. Resolution does matter, or can at least. Of course I don't get any extra screen real estate, and there are thick black bars either side, so it's down to about a 20" screen, but it looks fantastic and I can lower the font size and get more in that way. And I do get the colour improvements and viewing angles, etc.

I was mulling over the desk size thing, and what I might do is pull the desk out from the wall and find something solid that's at least the size the of base of the screen and put that behind the desk to give me some distance.

Now it's just a question of will it still kill my laptop.