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Windows 7: Adding an external display - questions

18 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 
Adding an external display - questions

I have budget laptop that I use primarily as a desktop replacement and I've upgraded just about every piece that can be upgraded, RAM hard disk, OS... and now I would like to add a decent external monitor, and good wireless keyboard / mouse combo.

The laptop only has VGA output and a max. native resolution of 1280x800 on the laptop's display. I've used it before to watch dvds on my TV, but the resolution was something very low like 600x800, IIRC. I'm not sure why, though.

Anyway, for the new monitor, I am looking at 24 and 27inch 1080 HD LCDs, with 1920x1080 max. resolution. The 27 incher actually has really good price, so I am thinking to go for it, but I am not sure what other components I would need to be able to take advantage of it. I dont want to get it and be limited to 600x800 pixels due to the VGA output. The panel does support VGA and DVI-D interface types, so I presume I need some sort of converter to get from analog back to digital. But is VGA limited to the laptop's native resolution?

Thanks for any suggestions / input.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Dec 2010   #2

Vista 64 Ultimate, Windows 7 64 Ultimate, Ubuntu 9.10
 
 

You should be able to use a VGA-DVI converter on either your video output or a DVI-VGA converter (might come with the monitor) on the cable input side. You may also wish to read the Intel report on some issues with this chipset at Graphics — Unable to use the native resolution, such as 1920x1080, 1680x1050 and 1440x900 I seriously doubt you'd be relegated to 800x600 resolution though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2010   #3
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

Just so you know a DVI-D is digital only. You will have to use a signal converter to convert the analog VGA signal to a digital DVI signal. A dongle or adapter cable that just swaps the pins around won't work. DVI connectors can be DVI-I, analog and digital, DVI-D digital only or DVI-A analog only. Most video cards are DVI-I and you can just put a DVI to VGA adapter on them. There is no electron ices inside just wires to route the analog signal to the correct pins for VGA. On the monitor end there is a DVI-D and sometimes a VGA in connector. The digital and analog inputs are separated into two different connectors. You might be better off trying to find a monitor that also has a VGA input. The signal converter you'll need will cost you a few bucks. I haven't looked at the prices but I would imagine they are not cheap.
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18 Dec 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Thanks for the feedback... the one I'm looking at does have a VGA input as well as a DVI-D. And I have a VGA to VGA connector already, but I'm not clear if this type of connection will allow for higher resolution output than that of the laptop currently.

And thanks for that Intel link, I'll have to re-read it though!

With the latest chipset driver from Intel, I see these resolution options with the laptop's display...



And with the laptop connected through VGA only, to the TV, I now have many more options for output including the 1920x1080 I am looking for (though the tv seems to be best at 1366x768)!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Dec 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

LCD screens have a fixed number of pixels. Ideally your screen resolution should match the number of vertical and horizontal pixels in the display. The manufacturer often refers to this as the displays native resolution. Its the one they recommend you use to get the best picture. You could use other resolutions but you may end up with black boarders or a distorted picture. More often than not the video card supplied with the laptop supports higher resolutions than the display thats built into it. VGA supports some very large screen resolutions so I wouldn't get to worked up about the VGA vs DVI thing. If all your laptop has is VGA out it doesn't mater anyway. It is what it is. Your only limited by what resolutions your video card supports. As long as the native resolution of the monitor you plan to use is among the list of those supported by the video card you are OK.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Got the new monitor up and running from my old laptop... and it is really great. The biggest issue was getting the horizontal flickering to stop, which I found is due to a ground - fault loop. Simply unplugging the ac/power from the laptop solved the problem temporarily. And I now have the ac plug for the monitor plugged into a 3-into-2 adapter to eliminate the ground-prong. Any advice on color calibrating this giant monitor? Right now, it is on the default settings and it is very, very bright, and likely over-saturated. I have never done a simple calibration before, but I'm sure this monitor would benefit from it. Is there anything free out there that can give some better calibration for color? Thanks...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

Type Display in to the search bar then click Display listed under Control Panel. In the upper left you should see a Calibrate color option. Might want to also try the Adjust Clear Type text option too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Thanks - I just ran through the calibration tool, but I must say, it was difficult to make adjustments that looked better that the existing default setting, which I know can't be optimal as they come from the factory. I wonder if there is a calibration file produced by Adobe, Canon or similar that would already have the best configuration for a given monitor. Seem like that should come from the display manufacturer, though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2010   #9
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

I've done the clear type text one. I'm partially color blind so I leave my color setup at factory defaults. All I touch is the brightness.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

Jagger, did you update your driver in a way other than the automatic driver updater provided on Intel's website? I'm having trouble making a new external monitor display its native 1600x900 resolution. Intel's website tells me I have latest driver (version 8.15.10.1930) but it looks like you have a newer one from the screenshot you posted. I suppose this could be because I have a different video card (Intel Mobile(R) 965 express chipset). But I figured if that particular update worked for you, I might as well give it a shot since I think I've tried about every other option.
Thanks!
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