19" LCD (1440x900) + (?) + eMachines T2862 = crisp, clear, monitoring
January 25, 2008 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Please help me fit my new monitor to my crappy old computer.

I was just gifted a low-end 19" widescreen LCD monitor with a native resolution of 1440x900. My desktop PC is a hills-old eMachines T2862 with an Intel Integrated Graphics Controller that doesn't seem to support that resolution. Having looked over similar questions here and tentatively probed some other boards that cover the topic, I'm under the impression that I need to acquire a video card. Now, I've opened the case on this computer on numerous occasions, and have happily installed various plug'n'play components (2nd hard drive, more RAM), but find myself woefully clueless when it comes to graphics cards.

So, some questions:

1 - Do I really need a new graphics card? I got a vague idea from some other boards that there might be programs available that can alter the resolution options of and IGC. (Power Strip?) I suppose this would be preferable assuming that those programs are free.

2 - OK, so I probably need a new graphics card. Do you know if my computer is capable of accepting one? What should I look for in the guts to check? Which card should I get? I am decidedly not a gamer, do not watch television on my computer, and only occasionally watch DVDs. In other words, I don't need something super-elite and would prefer the bare-bones, cheap option. Please advise.

3 - Finally, should I plug in my old CRT for now? Am I ruining my shiny new LCD monitor by running it at a non-optimal resolution?
posted by carsonb to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
 
download the driver for the monitor.
posted by k8t at 3:44 PM on January 25, 2008


You may have a chance by upgrading your graphic card drivers.

If that doesn't work... try Powerstrip but don't expect any miracles.

As last resource, you'll need to buy a graphic card. However, your motherboard doesn't seem to have AGP ports, so you need to buy a cheap PCI card. PCI, not PCI-E.
posted by Memo at 4:02 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Definitely try downloading new graphic card drivers. How much memory does your machine have? Integrated graphics controllers use part of the main RAM. With an old machine (and old drivers), your computer might be setting a limit on the amount of RAM the graphics card can use, preventing the controller from getting enough memory to store the colors for all the pixels at that high resolution.

24 bit color depth * 1440 * 900 ~ 32 MB per frame. Most graphics controllers want to have enough RAM to store 2+ frames.

It's a theory, anyway. Your computer will probably tell you how much of the main RAM is allocated for video when you boot up, so you can at least test it.
posted by dehowell at 4:17 PM on January 25, 2008


You're not ruining anything (except possibly your eyes) by running an LCD at non-native resolution. If it looks OK to you at present, you don't need to do anything at all.

You probably don't need a new graphics card either, just better Intel drivers.
posted by flabdablet at 4:18 PM on January 25, 2008


Also... I don't think it's possible to do any damage to any LCD monitor by running it at low resolution.
posted by dehowell at 4:19 PM on January 25, 2008


OK, I've updated my drivers. The resolution options expanded, but did not include a setting for 1440x900.
So I installed Powerstrip and had no luck there either.

dehowell, I've seen references to allocating more RAM to the graphics controllers but am clueless as to how to do that. I'm positive there's enough RAM plugged in to allow more. Can you get me pointed in the right direction?

Thank you all for your patience. I feel dumb.
posted by carsonb at 4:24 PM on January 25, 2008


I'm positive there's enough RAM plugged in to allow more.

I mean 'I'm positive there's enough RAM plugged into my system to allow for more for the graphics controller.'
posted by carsonb at 4:25 PM on January 25, 2008


Alright.

There's 64MB Max. Graphics Memory, and the display options go up to 1600x1200. Only there's no option for 1440x900. I'm pretty sure that means I'm headed in the PCI direction. Any recommendations for a specific product?
posted by carsonb at 4:29 PM on January 25, 2008


Spend $20 on a 32MB or 64MB PCI graphics card.
posted by rhizome at 4:47 PM on January 25, 2008


Just about any currently made PCI video card should support that resolution. If your new LCD supports DVI input, I would recommend getting a card that has DVI output capability. If not, these are your options. Regardless of which card you get, I recommend using drivers from the chipset manufacturer (ATI or nVidia) rather than the ones bundled with the card itself.

btw: I linked newegg because they have a variety of options and (usually) competitive prices. I don't work for them or whatever. It helps to sort the search results by price.
posted by strangecargo at 5:00 PM on January 25, 2008


download the driver for the monitor

*snicker* ... yeah, download the driver for your computer power supply while you're at it...

According to some googling it sounds like your computer has the Intel Extreme Graphics 2 GPU which *should* support resolutions up to 1800x1440 @ 85Hz and up to 2048x1536@60Hz... now, I'm not 100% sure that the info I found matches your setup, but it's possible.

Regardless, the LCD should work with your card, but you first need to follow the suggestions of people up thread and make sure you're running current drivers.

You have tried manually changing the resolution, right? You know, right click on the desktop, select properties, and then choose settings. Right? Right?
posted by wfrgms at 5:11 PM on January 25, 2008


*snicker* ... yeah, download the driver for your computer power supply while you're at it...

You laugh, but it made all the difference for some external screens on my old Thinkpad.
posted by furtive at 5:27 PM on January 25, 2008


Don't just rely on the slider.. Below the Screen Resolution slider in the Display Properties window, Settings tab, you will see an Advanced button. Go in there, in the Adapter tab click on List All Modes, and see if you have any luck there. Maybe, maybe not..
posted by Chuckles at 5:27 PM on January 25, 2008


make sure you're running current drivers.

Done.

You have tried manually changing the resolution, right?

Right. =)

Below the Screen Resolution slider in the Display Properties window, Settings tab, you will see an Advanced button. Go in there, in the Adapter tab click on List All Modes

Ah, this is a much better way to get at that list than the way I was using previously. Unfortunately, and as before, the list goes from 1280x1024 directly to 1600x1200 with nothing in between.

Thanks to rhizome and strangecargo for the links. Time to go shopping, I guess.
posted by carsonb at 5:54 PM on January 25, 2008


The resolution options expanded, but did not include a setting for 1440x900.

Because in the world of graphics that's an odd-ball resolution. Hell, I dont even know why but I keep running into graphics cards that do this. I think its because the chipsets were designed at a time before the big widescreen revolution and the higher resolutions are usually for square screens. Who knows.

In the end the best thing to do is just spring for a budget card and stop wasting your time with hacks.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:38 PM on January 25, 2008


So which Intel drivers do you currently have installed? If it's the standard Intel Extreme Graphics driver, even the latest version, I can understand why it might be missing the odd resolution you need. The Intel Embedded Graphics driver, if I understand the thread I linked earlier correctly, comes with a configuration editor that should let you set up just about any resolution and refresh rate you like.
posted by flabdablet at 1:02 AM on January 26, 2008


OK, I've installed my new $20 graphics card and after a bit of wonkery with display settings have managed to set my beautiful new monitor to its native display resolution. Thank you all for your help, it was much-appreciated.
posted by carsonb at 3:11 PM on February 2, 2008


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