Fonts are Faint
March 4, 2008 4:19 AM   Subscribe

Graphics look great - fonts look weird - help

Got a new machine - looking rough, my friend....

the graphics rock the fonts look weak, faint and their colors against the white background of the web are purplish/reddish. The display settings are set for clear font - what else should I be tweaking or is this something more serious - like in the graphics card?
posted by watercarrier to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You haven't given much information. Is this a notebook, a desktop, a PC, a Mac?
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:26 AM on March 4, 2008

Try turning off ClearType. It could also be that your resolution is set too low.
posted by hjo3 at 4:28 AM on March 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OK - it's a PC desktop -

Intel(R) Pentium(R) Dual CPU E2140 @
Speed: 1.60GHz
Cores per Processor: 2 Unit(s)
Threads per Core: 1 Unit(s)
Type: Dual-Core
Internal Data Cache: 2x 32kB, Synchronous, Write-Thru, 8-way,
Inclusive, 64 byte line size
L2 On-board Cache: 1MB, ECC, Synchronous, ATC, 4-way, Inclusive,
64 byte line size, 2 threads sharing

Mainboard: Foxconn 945 7MD Series
Bus(es): ISA PCI PCIe IMB USB i2c/SMBus
Multi-Processor (MP) Support: 1 Processor(s)
Multi-Processor Advanced PIC (:Yes
System BIOS: Phoenix Technologies, LTD 6.00 PG
Total Memory: 1014.91MB DDR2

Model: Foxconn 82945G Processor to I/O Controller
Front Side Bus Speed: 4x 200MHz (800MHz)
Total Memory: 1GB DDR2
Shared Memory: 8MB
Memory Bus Speed: 4x 167MHz (668MHz)

Using a phillips LCD monitor

res 1024x768
posted by watercarrier at 4:31 AM on March 4, 2008

Best answer: ClearType can look a bit purple to me. Microsoft's ClearType Tuner is awesome; I use it on my home and work PCs.

1024x768 is pretty small; can you set the resolution higher? That might have an effect.

Also, ensure your refresh rate is set to the highest rate your computer can support (that's the page for Windows XP, since I don't know your OS). I know my computer is basically un-usable unless my refresh rate is as high as it can go.
posted by korres at 4:48 AM on March 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I agree with korres that you should try adjusting the text rendering, but disagree on the other points. For an LCD, stick with the native resolution (I'm assuming it's 1024x768 in your case? If not, change to match it) and 60Hz for refresh rate.
posted by malevolent at 5:44 AM on March 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Korres - you and hjo3 were right on about the ClearType - changed it to standard - rebooted and it seems better. Not perfect but ok. Is there any program to get a nice crispy edge for the fonts? Display is set to 1024x768 after much tweaking - this seems the most optimal size for this particular monitor. Refresh rate is set to highest. OS - XP Pro SP2.
posted by watercarrier at 5:46 AM on March 4, 2008

Best answer: ClearType is specifically designed to take advantage of the way LCD flat panels display at their native resolution (called "subpixel rendering": more info from Microsoft). It's a pretty clever way of sneaking some extra detail into text display, but if you aren't using an LCD at its native resolution, it will look horrible.

On preview: I would guess that your monitor can actually display more than 1024x768; try bumping it as far up as it will go (you can always boost the font sizes to compensate). You won't be able to get crisp anything if you aren't at native resolution; ClearType is just particularly bad.
posted by nicepersonality at 5:58 AM on March 4, 2008

set the monitor to the native resolution, as must for LCDs
posted by raildr at 6:12 AM on March 4, 2008

Do you know exactly which model number the Philips monitor is? Find that out, then find out the native resolution and adjust your display settings to that.
posted by ReiToei at 6:20 AM on March 4, 2008

Response by poster: Hi - the max res as per mfr suggestions are 1248x1024 - but...when the display is set to that everything - gets very tiny - workspace, windows etc. So - it might be some kind of graphics card issue that is allowing the setting of 1248x768 to be the most normal looking.
posted by watercarrier at 6:49 AM on March 4, 2008

One thing that worked well for me was using a digital connection between graphics card and monitor (i.e. a DVI cable). Depends on whether your monitor and PC support that of course, but it can make a big difference with text.

What you really don't want is a DVI-to-analogue adapter between the PC and monitor - that can really degrade the quality of text.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:55 AM on March 4, 2008

If 1280x1024 is the native resolution then running any other resolution will cause the problems you are describing. You should use 1280x1024 for best results. Get a lower-resolution monitor if you don't like the fine resolution. It might just take some getting used to; 1280x1024 shouldn't be too extreme. I am running WXGA+ on my 14" laptop (1440x900) and I love it, but I understand that personal preference may vary.
posted by roomwithaview at 8:00 AM on March 4, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'll have to take a closer look at this graphics card. In the meantime - leaving it at the current res - otherwise I'll need a magnifying glass to read the fine text and disclaimers. It's ok for now. Much better after taking off the ClearType - thanks again!
posted by watercarrier at 8:08 AM on March 4, 2008

Aw man, korres, you're describing EXACTLY what was wrong with my computer (after it had been wiped by the IT department). Sorry that it didn't help the OP, though!
posted by parilous at 9:38 AM on March 4, 2008

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