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Old 01-06-07, 12:21 AM   #1
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Question Can old cards do 1680 x 1050 resolutions?


I'm trying to find someplace that will tell me what resolutions a given card / driver combination will support in X (running on Gentoo Linux, using a recent Xorg version and the OPEN drivers).

My GF's parents want to give us a pair of LCD screens to replace our aging CRT's. We have decided that if we can use them with our current hardware, the best option for us is the ViewSonic VG2230wm, which is a wide-screen model that has a native resolution of 1680x1050.

This is a different aspect ratio from the standard VGA formats that we all are used to, and I'm trying to determine if the open-source (I don't use proprietary drivers!) X-windows drivers for the cards we have can be set up to support this format. It is probably a reflection of both what the driver can be set to and what the hardware is capable of.

I've looked several places, and haven't found anything useful, if someone knows of a good reference, I would appreciate a pointer.

The specific cards I'm looking for info on are: (Please don't laugh, I know they're antiques, but so are the machines they are in!) This is hardware I already have, and I'm not willing to put any money into upgrading as the machines aren't good enough to justify it.

1. NVidia GeForce 2 MX 100 DDR / 200 DDR Rev. b2 (nv driver)

2. ATI 3D Rage Pro AGP 1x / 2x Rev. 5c (on board, I believe this is a Mach 64 chip?) (ati-misc driver)

3. NVidia Riva128 Rev 10 (nv driver)

4. an old Diamond S3Virge card, I forget the exact specs on it off hand, and I don't have the box powered up at the moment to check. (I think it is a PCI Diamond Stealth) (s3virge driver)

What I need to know (I believe) is whether or not X can be set up to drive each of these cards at 1680x1050, and what color depth I can use when doing so.

If that isn't possible, would it work to do a lower resolution in the widescreen ratio? Or would they do a "letterbox" version of a standard ratio?

I know that these cards are limited, but our needs are simple, we don't game. Basically we do surfing and office type stuff

I've been all over the Xorg site, and done a great deal of other searching and haven't been able to get a definite answer.

TIA if anyone here can help me out.

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Old 01-06-07, 01:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Can old cards do 1680 x 1050 resolutions?

I have a Dell 2005FPW, which is also 1680x1050, and I've tried it on several video cards. Of the cards you listed, the GF2MX will probably work (I've used my screen with a 64MB GF4MX, although with the binary drivers). The Riva128 is a maybe, the Rage Pro is unlikely, and I don't think the S3Virge would work. The problems with supporting such a high resolution are mainly the VRAM necessary and driver support. Also, the high VGA clock rate tends to show the true quality of the video card's analog circuitry and the cabling. My 2005FPW looks okay over VGA with the 6600GT I used to use, but it looks noticeably bad with VGA to my MacBook (which uses Intel GMA950 integrated video). So, the best plan might be to just get the cheapest DVI-equipped cards you can find. Newegg and geeks.com both have a nice selection around $30 (and craigslist or ebay could get them even cheaper)
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Old 01-06-07, 04:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Can old cards do 1680 x 1050 resolutions?

Well, keep in mind that those flat panels normally run at 60Hz vertical refresh, which was low-end in the CRT days. So, an old card really should not have problems with the pixel clock rate at VGA signalling. Even very old videocards normally can do 150MHz and more on VGA, and they should be able to drive an LCD.

The amount of video memory you require is about 1680x1050x4 = 7MB. So 8MB video RAM is OK. When you have only 4MB you can use 16-bit color only.

With DVI there is another issue, but it usually becomes a problem only at 1920x1080. Early DVI outputs were rated at 135 MHz maximal pixel rate (note this is lower than the typical maximum on a VGA output which today is 350-400 MHz and was above 150 already for a long time). The monitor may require a 155 MHz pixel rate on DVI, which newer cards can provide.
(LCD panels that are even larger may actually require a dual-link DVI output)

All your cards can probably make it display something, but there may be quality differences and/or color depth issues (16-bit color only).
Indeed, a low-end DVI capable card would be a better choice in that case. With DVI it is usually less troublesome to get a "perfect" picture.
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Old 01-06-07, 02:38 PM   #4
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Thumbs up Re: Can old cards do 1680 x 1050 resolutions?

Thanks Pe1chl and Pip11, that is the best answer I've been able to find. Sounds good enough that we will go for the new monitors and see what they do with the existing hardware. If they don't work well, we will go for upgrading the cards.

Want to replace CRT's w/ LCD's, need to know if antique hardware can support.
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