Some questions about screen resolution

Some aspects of this question are GQ material, some are IMHO. I’ll put it in GQ.

I have dual monitor setup on my computer. One is a Dell E172FP 17" LCD, and the other is a Samsung SyncMaster 997DF 19" CRT.

The optimum resolution for the LCD is 1280x1024, and for the CRT is 1600x1200.

Up until now, i’ve had both running at 1024x768, but i know that LCD monitors should be run at their optimum resolution so i decided to switch them both to 1280x1024. I have a few questions about all this.

First, once i made the change, the fonts etc. on the screen looked too small, so i went into the Display section of the Control Panel and changed the DPI setting from 96 to 120 (125%). But much of the stuff on the screen still looks too small to me, and the fonts all seem to look skinnier and not as good as before. I’m not sure if this is just a matter of me being used to the old resolution, or if i need to make other adjustments. If you are running a monitor at 1280x1024, what settings do you find optimal?

Also, despite the fact that everything i’ve read suggests that LCD screen should always be set at their optimum resolution for best clarity, i find it harder to look at the new resolution on the LCD than the older resolution. Again, i don’t know if this is just a matter of getting used to the new settings.

Also, the new setup really makes the SDMB awkward to use. If i increase the text size in the browser enough to make the text easily readable, it all looks like it’s bolded. Also, the box where i type my responses is really small, and the text in it is also painfully small to read. But if i increase the text size to make it larger, the rest of the text on the page is too big. It’s all very annoying.

Is the solution a matter of increasing the DPI even more? Am i doing something wrong here?

I also have a question about the appearance of things like videos, which have their own native resolution.

For example, if i have a video file that has a resolution of 640x480, it appears larger on a 1024x768 screen than on a 1280x1024 screen. If i play this video on my new resolution (1280x1024) and expand the media player window so it fills the same area as it did on my old resolution (1024x768), should the visible quality of the video be the same, or will it be degraded due to the resizing? (Not sure how clear that question was)

I guess, in general, i’m just looking for advice on how to get the most about of my screen resolution, because right now i’m tempted to just go back to 1024x768. While the idea of having more effective screen real estate for programs is sort of nice, i was used to the way things looked at the old settings.

Any advice most welcome.

If it isn’t comfortable to look at now, it won’t be in the time to come. I’d just say go with what you find comfortable.

– IG

Yeah, that seems llike the most reasonable solution.

The thing is, though, i use other computers (for example, on campus) where the screen resolution is set to higher levels, and they look perfectly fine to me, which makes me wonder whether there aren’t some settings that i need to adjust or something that i’m doing wrong.

Have you tried switching to “Large fonts” in the Display properties?

I hadn’t noticed that setting; thanks for the tip.

The problem is that i’m still having trouble arriving at a good overall solution, one where all the stuff i have to look at and use (icons, buttons, fonts, pages, etc.) are in reasonable proportion to one another. And there’s also the matter of getting the general desktop stuff right, and then also getting the fonts to display at a decent size within the programs that i use.

Everything seemed to be fine and in proportion on the old setup, but now it all looks fucked up and strange. Again, i’m not sure if that’s just because i’m not used to it.

I’ve had the opposite experience. A resolution switch is disorienting at the start, but I get used to it. I’ve gone from 640x480 to the current 1152x864 without too much trouble.

One caveat to changing the proportion of the font size is that a lot of software is not written to take it into account. Lazy programmers have a tendency not to query the current metrics when rendering the UI, and so you’ll find that over-sized fonts sometimes get clipped, especially on error popups or buttons.

I run my LCD in its native resolution, 1680x1050, but I leave the font size at “Normal” for the reasons given above. I got used to it pretty quickly, and now I’m not comfortable with what I perceive as cramped screens, with larger fonts or lower resolutions.

To get your 640x480 video to take up the same area, you’ll have to scale it up to 800x640 pixels. Scaling is an imperfect process, the video application has to make up the new pixels based on the existing pixels. So the quality of the image will degrade some, but depending on the original quality it may not be that noticeable.

What kind of video card do you have? I have a Dell Latitude D800 with a Sun 19" CRT attached. I have the laptop screen set to 1280x800 & the Sun to 1600x1200. Can you set your LCD to 1280x1024 but leave your CRT at 1024x768, and get the best of both worlds?