Graphics card and external display confusion
December 24, 2009 8:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting a new computer. I need help understanding the video card specifications. More detail inside.

I'm getting a new computer. I'm looking at this HP laptop. The question I have is about its graphics card.

I have a 21" external flat panel monitor (measured diagonally, including the black bezel frame). Call it 20" of viewable space.

On my present laptop, the maximum resolution for this external monitor is 1680 X 1050, which is too little. I would like to be able to, for example, see two full pages in a Word document, side by side.

So, some questions:

(1) Is the maximum display resolution of this external flat panel determined by the computer's video card or the display itself or some combination thereof?

(2) I am thinking of getting the 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 for my new computer. But I am unclear as to what the maximum display resolution for an external flatpanel is. It has two descriptions: "DisplayPort output support: 24-bit and 34-bit displays at all resolutions up to 2560 X 16002" and "HDMI output support: supports all display resolutions up to 1920 X 10802."

So the bottom line here: assuming I choose this laptop with this graphics card, how do I tell what the maximum resolution available for my external flat panel will be?

If you need more information let me know.

Thanks for the help and happy holidays!
posted by dfriedman to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Best answer: As far as I know, it's a combination of the the monitor and the graphics card. Whichever has the lowest maximum resolution will be limit. I'd suspect it would be the be monitor in this case.

Does the monitor have DisplayPort or HDMI? That is an important consideration as well.
posted by PhillC at 8:13 AM on December 24, 2009

Response by poster: OK, well, the monitor's maximum resolution is 1680 x 1050. So I guess I'm stuck with this resolution unless I get a larger monitor.

Thanks for the clarification.
posted by dfriedman at 8:24 AM on December 24, 2009

Best answer: Its also worth noting displayport isnt vga or dvi. You'll probably need an adapter.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:46 AM on December 24, 2009

Response by poster: Excellent point, thanks.
posted by dfriedman at 9:24 AM on December 24, 2009

Response by poster: Not necessarily. You need a higher resolution monitor, which could be larger, smaller or the same size as your current monitor. If you just get a bigger monitor, you aren't guaranteed to get more resolution, particularly if you get a really cheap one.

Understood. I'm trying avoid having to buy a new monitor, however.
posted by dfriedman at 2:44 PM on December 26, 2009

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