Monitor size, resolution issues, with special snowflake
October 14, 2013 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Finding the right monitor setup - prefer lower rez!

I currently have a Dell Optiplex 980 running Windows 7. Its motherboard only allows 2 monitors to be connected (they run off the same card). I can run a third via USB-to-VGA adapter if I must.

Apparently, unlike almost everyone else I know, I like to run my monitors at lower resolution, and I sit further back from the screen than most. So I have a 26" LCD TV running at 1360 X 768 (native resolution), and an old Dell monitor running 1024 X 768.

My setup (png image)

But I am finally at the point where I need something a little higher rez. I've been looking at 32" LCD TVs/monitors which run 1920X1020 or thereabouts.

I understand Windows can scale text, but that doesn't take care of menus, icons, and so on--those don't scale.

So I need some direction about what do buy/what kind of setup to have that will, essentially, make stuff bigger. If I had my way, I'd run a 32" monitor with resolution somewhere around 1600 X 1200, but I never find those, everything is high-rez or labeled "HD".
posted by 4midori to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Actually, in Windows 7 you should be able to scale just about anything, particularly icons. This is kind of a brief starter. I would try those settings if you haven't already. I think getting the settings right makes more sense than digging around for an odd panel type.
posted by selfnoise at 7:11 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Can you elaborate on why a 32" TV is not a good solution for you? A lot of folks don't like them because they are too low resolution. But their "bug" if your "feature". So, what's wrong with a high-quality 1080p TV?
posted by Betelgeuse at 7:17 PM on October 14, 2013

Computer monitors only come in a fairly limited set of resolutions, since theres only a couple manufacturers of the LCD panels that get used.

You'll see 16:9 aspect ratio HD or '1080P' monitors in a decent number of sizes up to about 27" for relatively cheap.

Theres also some higher resolution 27" monitors that are 16:9 and 2560x1440 for $400-$1000, and 16:10 30" monitors at 2560x1600 for $1k-$2k.
And just recently theres some "4K" 3840x2160 31" monitors for $4k+

If you want something bigger you have to look at a 1080P tv, and make sure it works well with a computer.
posted by TheAdamist at 7:19 PM on October 14, 2013

Best answer: Running a LCD monitor at anything other than its native resolution will have terrible results...

If you want a large display that has a (relatively) low resolution, see if you can find one of the DVI-interface, 28" 1920x1200 LCDs that were for sale about two years ago. Some were sold under the Hanns-G brand, others under i-Inc. I bought three in 2010 for $250 a piece.
the same panel is still for sale as a TV, it has a 1920x1200 resolution (16:10 aspect ratio, not 16:9), and has an HDMI interface. If your computer has a DVI output, you can get a $4 DVI-to-HDMI adapter from Monoprice to drive it.

Or just buy a 40" 1920x1080 TV and use that as your display. It's not an uncommon option for older people with bad eyesight.
posted by thewalrus at 8:16 PM on October 14, 2013

Response by poster: @Betelgeuse: TVs these days tend towards the higher resolution end, especially the larger ones.
posted by 4midori at 9:26 PM on October 14, 2013

Best answer: You may be able to get a third party video card to scale everything to a different resolution than your monitor's native resolution, but it's going to look blurry.

Also, Windows 7 doesn't scale particularly well. You're really going to have to get to Windows 8.1 for correct scaling. Don't upgrade until you get your new display in-house, but keep it in mind.

Also, if you're looking for a 32" running 16x12, wouldn't a 40" - 46" running 1920 x 1080 be similar? I mean, I haven't done the math, but if you're looking to make everything big, increasing the screen size at a higher resolution should accomplish that. 46" TVs are down to less than $600.
posted by cnc at 10:09 PM on October 14, 2013

TVs don't tend towards the higher resolution end unless you're looking at 4K TVs or something.. TV resolutions are pretty well standardized; 1080p is 1920x1080 no matter what. not much sense in using a panel with a different geometry, even if you could get one, especially since the TV would have to do weird scaling stuff to make 1080p work, which would make the TV look bad.
posted by mrg at 8:55 AM on October 15, 2013

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