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Author Topic: I was wrong - again! (cheap monitor theory invalid)  (Read 4132 times)
nudone
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« on: July 30, 2011, 09:19:13 AM »

A few month back I bought a cheap Samsung 24" monitor. This was for a secondary machine that I only occasionally need to use (off premises). After a few days I realised the screen was hurting my eyes within a short period of use. More investigation made it obvious that the text on the screen was slightly blurred in the center of the monitor.

I immediately concluded that this was due to it being a budget priced monitor and enjoyed telling everyone (that would listen) that budget monitors where evil - even to the point that they should be given a health warning, or simply banned from sale.

I've now discovered this isn't the case - and, also realised that my memory must be failing otherwise I wouldn't have come to this wrong conclusion.


The simple fact is that it isn't the monitor that is evil, it's the GRAPHICS CARD.

I've just plugged my EIZO (crystal clear image) monitor into the secondary computer I mentioned above. And the exact same problem has happened with the blurry text.


Now, maybe I'm still jumping to conclusions; there are three possible causes as I see it:

1) It's the graphics card - an onboard intel thing.

2) It's the VGA connection (Yes, I know, maybe I should have thought about that being the cause before - as I said, my memory is going, I know I've seen similar poor signal coming from VGA before).

3) It's the operating system (though, I have reconfigured cleartype and enabled/disabled it several times without any improvement).


The onboard card only has VGA out (which is then going to DVI on the EIZO) so I'm going to stick another card in with DVI connections - which I expect will make everything work perfectly.


So, I just wanted to say, to anyone out there still using VGA connections (even to an LCD), you may like to consider upgrading your graphics card. There really is a dramatic difference in quality, well, blurred text isn't fun to read even if it's almost imperceptible.
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2011, 10:46:55 AM »

I had this experience recently which was the result of the video card not choosing a resolution that was native to the monitor.

In my case the cause of this mismatch was a fault in the monitor itself.  It was solved by gothi[c] (who got the monitor as a reward), by manually overriding the timing information returned by the monitor with good values from an identical branded monitor.

Nudone, it doesn't sound like this is the same as your problem -- but similar enough that I would investigate the resolution/refreshrate settings you have configured for your monitor, and try different ones, and make sure you have your computer graphics card settings set to something native to the monitor.
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nudone
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2011, 10:59:11 AM »

That's very interesting - but I've resolved the issue by putting in another graphics card that wouldn't be of any use otherwise.

Mouser, when you say timing, are you referring to the refresh frequency? If so, that's something I always check along with the native resolution.

I think what I pointed out above is old news to be honest. I remember reading stuff about why DVI was superior over VGA a few years back - and have seen the inferior image quality on VGA connections several times before, which were always resolved by plugging in a DVI connection (if the possible).

I'm sure there will be others on the forum that can explain the differences. One very obvious and important difference that I noticed after swapping the connection to DVI was that the monitor "settings" were nolonger available via the monitors own control menu - they are disabled because they simply aren't required anymore; the DVI signal doesn't require all the adjustments necessary when using a VGA signal.

(Again, I should have realised something was odd when I first saw all the weird options available on the budget monitor. Things I've never seen before because I've not used a VGA connetion before on an LCD monitor.)
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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2011, 02:03:24 PM »

Yes, by timing i meant refresh frequency.

To be honest I've never really noticed a difference between vga and dvi connections to a monitor, but after reading this i will make sure to avoid using vga connections when possible.
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steeladept
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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2011, 06:18:25 PM »

From what I understand, DVI is superior only because it is a digital signal and, therefore (presumably) cleaner input.  VGA connections are quite acceptable, however, as long as the components are quality components and all connections are tight.  From my electician's background, I can say it is most typically the cable connectors that cause issues.  And while the card may indeed be at fault, don't throw it out as bad until it is actually verified.  Different cable, ideally the card installed in a different computer, and particularly with two or more different monitors all reproducing the same effect would prove it.  Short of that, there is no guarantee it is the card as you claim.

With all that said, a digital input will tolerate poor connections better as they are designed with built in variability that the VGA and other analog inputs must interpret as different signals (by design).  This is the true reason DVI is considered better than VGA (or digital is better than analog).  It is the built in variability tolerance of the design.
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worstje
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2011, 06:43:56 PM »

I have noticed the difference, especially on higher resolutions with LCD screens. Since the LCDs are digital by nature, it needs to convert the analog, and it gives a very visible flickering effect that is annoying (even when watching a movie!) - not due to a lack of a high refresh rate, but instead because the signal was very sensitive to electro-magnetic noise stuffs.

Definitely use digital signals.
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fenixproductions
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2011, 07:25:38 PM »

@nudone
May be off topic but did you try to customize Clear Type?

My own LCD was hurting my eyes until I found:
http://www.microsoft.com/...hy/ClearTypePowerToy.mspx
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Edvard
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2011, 07:32:18 PM »

+1 on refresh frequency.

The first time I used an LCD screen, it was blurred no matter what I did (this was a while ago; don't remember if it was VGA or not).
I tried all kinds of resolutions, a different video card, etc.
Some settings were slightly better, many were worse, but nothing would get rid of the blur.
What did the trick?
Setting the refresh to 60 Hz...  huh

I was so used to setting frequencies of 75 Hz and above on my CRT monitors for flicker-free performance that it was the first thing I set on the LCD monitor.
I can't remember what it was that inspired me to try it, but as soon as I set it to 60 Hz the image was flicker-free and crystal clear.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2011, 06:40:27 AM »

+1^ I recall doing much the same thing back when.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2011, 09:36:25 AM »

I have been using nVidia GeForce graphics cards for a few years now - even though they have been the very bane of my existence a lot of the time! - and most often the nVidia software "reads" the monitor's requirements and sets the refresh rate accordingly. I usually peek at the various settings from time to time though I rarely change anything manually unless I read a specific thread at the nVidia forum that recommends otherwise - I just don’t know enough to change the settings my own knowledge.

One thing I have noticed is that at times (on different monitors) the refresh rate has been set at 59 MHz, and at other times 60 MHz. I never found out why but the monitors never appeared to display poorly so I guess the settings were OK. I guess that 1 single MHz can actually make a difference?

Thank you.

Jim
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tomos
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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2011, 03:56:33 PM »

One thing I have noticed is that at times (on different monitors) the refresh rate has been set at 59 MHz, and at other times 60 MHz. I never found out why but the monitors never appeared to display poorly so I guess the settings were OK. I guess that 1 single MHz can actually make a difference?

 I just noticed that yesterday - options being 59 or 60 mhz (new machine, same monitor, cant remember what options it showed on old machine) and was wondering the same, what difference the one Mhz might make...
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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2011, 04:36:21 PM »

what options it showed on old machine) and was wondering the same, what difference the one Mhz might make...
Only about 1 million waves per second  tongue 

In reality though, I think it would just depend on the monitor used.  The frequency generator probably is tuned for different voltage/frequencies and it makes it easier to manufacture a "world-wide" compliant generator at 59MHz vs. 60MHz (or vise-versa).  Or it could be something as silly as the difference between 1000kb and 1MB in computer terms - Effectively the same for most people, but definitely different amounts.
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Ath
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2011, 06:36:44 AM »

That's about a refresh-rate of 59 or 60 Hz, not MegaHz, and the rate depends on the combination of screen, it's firmware and the frequency of the power supplied to it.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2011, 08:03:12 AM »

screen, it's firmware and the frequency of the power supplied

Hi Ath,

I don't do this often enough, so thought I'd send a wave in your direction.

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Chris
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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2011, 11:22:51 AM »

Quote
I don't do this often enough,

So, you need to increase your frequency?
I'm sure some of us could help you monitor that...  Wink
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2011, 06:36:17 PM »

Quote
I don't do this often enough,

So, you need to increase your frequency?
I'm sure some of us could help you monitor that...  Wink

I think I'd better sine off!   Sad
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Chris
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