Will an external monitor bamboozle my laptop?
July 30, 2006 11:06 PM   Subscribe

I want to use an external monitor on my laptop, can I install the driver for it or will it confuse the laptop?

I have a thinkpad x24, and a dell 17" tft, with driver cd. I often use the dell monitor and span the display across the two. However the resolution and clarity on the dell is not as good as it is when it's hooked up to a desktop. Can I install the driver on the laptop, and will doing so improve the clarity or will it just confuse the hell out of the laptop?
posted by MrC to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Monitors shouldn't really need drivers. Can't you just adjust the resolution in the Thinkpad to the monitor's best resolution, in the Display control panel?
posted by evariste at 11:44 PM on July 30, 2006

I'm guessing your reduced "resolution and clarity" when spanning two screens is due to the physical limitation of installed video RAM. If so, drivers are the problem.

Let's say your video card has 4MB of video RAM in it. The maximum resolution & bit depth combinations it could display are (ignoring memory used for error correction, caching, other fancy stuff):

1024 x 768 x 32-bit colour = 25,165,824 bits ~= 3 megabytes
1028 x 1024 x 24-bit colour = 25,264,128 bits ~= 3 megabytes

Now if you use one video card to span two screens, then you either have to drop the resolution or drop the colour depth, e.g. 2 screens at 1024 x 768 x 16-bit colour.
posted by randomstriker at 12:24 AM on July 31, 2006

drivers are the problem

posted by randomstriker at 12:25 AM on July 31, 2006

According to this it has 8 megs of ram.

The problem is probably that you're running the LCD at a non-native display resolution So if the Display has physically more pixels then the source image, it will have to blur the image. Just like if you took a 400x300 image in photoshop and resized it to 500x375.
posted by delmoi at 3:03 AM on July 31, 2006

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