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Running LCD at less than native resolution

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 27, 2008 1:30:09 PM

I am considering changing from my 19" LaCie CRT monitor to a widescreen LCD monitor (Samsung 215TW if I can find it). I don't play games or watch movies on my monitor. I need it mainly for text and web-browsing, with some photo editing. The native resolutions of widescreen monitors will make text rather small, and my eyes are not perfect. I read the warnings about loss of sharpness if the LCD monitor is run at a lower resolution, but I don't know how noticeable this loss will be for my uses.

Can anyone tell me whether running a 1680x1050 native resolution monitor at 1440x900 will be a big loss of sharpness for text and internet, or only a slight change?

Do video cards differ a great deal in how well they can do the interpolation to drive a monitor at less than its native resolution? Any recommendation for a video card to do this, remembering that I do not do games or movies, and don't want a card more powerful than I need?
February 27, 2008 1:43:27 PM

It's said that running a LCD monitor lower than it's native resolution can be just as bad as a CRT running at 60Hz. I'm not sure about if you have, but I have tried reading text for more than 5 minutes at 60hz on a tube and it isn't pleasant. Also if you go to the display properties and go to the appearance tab you can increase the font size from there as well. I do not recommend running a LCD lower than it's native.
February 27, 2008 1:46:51 PM

Yea it is definitely a bad idea to run a lcd monitor at a lower than native resolution. IMO it simply looks horrible. You can easily make all the words and icons bigger in nearly every program in windows so it is easier for you to see, things like holding ctrl and scroll up with your mouse makes text bigger in your browser.
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February 27, 2008 1:54:54 PM

bildo, I hope you are being sarcastic. OP, I am pretty sure the loss of quality is monitor-specific. I am not sure if it's in the panel or the electronics and probably both. For text reading, you definitely lose sharpness. Whether it is acceptable or not is a matter of preference.

Btw, for LCDs the refresh rate is not as vital as for CRTs because the crystals block the light as opposed to the phosphorus glowing in the CRT (so if you don't light it, it becomes dark and gives you the blinking effect at 60 Hz, which, yes, you can feel).
a c 130 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 27, 2008 2:03:16 PM


Running an LCD monitor at less than native res will lessen the image quality regardless, not sure what russki is trying to say but you will be much better off running at native res and using the control panel or the controls in the application to increase the font size.(with or without clear type) This way you maintain maximum sharpness and the text can be whatever size you want.
Mactonix
February 27, 2008 2:16:25 PM

russki said:
bildo, I hope you are being sarcastic. OP, I am pretty sure the loss of quality is monitor-specific. I am not sure if it's in the panel or the electronics and probably both. For text reading, you definitely lose sharpness. Whether it is acceptable or not is a matter of preference.

Btw, for LCDs the refresh rate is not as vital as for CRTs because the crystals block the light as opposed to the phosphorus glowing in the CRT (so if you don't light it, it becomes dark and gives you the blinking effect at 60 Hz, which, yes, you can feel).


It's just that when I had a old compaq 15" tube the only way I could get 1280x1024 was by changing the refresh to 60Hz. Which after 5 minutes would give me a wicked headache. I'm comparing the same headache if you run a LCD at less than it's native resolution. Not as bad as the tube but reading lots of text for a long period of time on any res lower than the LCD's native will induce a slight headache.
February 27, 2008 2:37:31 PM

WTF just try it and stop asking stupid questions. It not like the monitor will catch on fire and explode. This has got to be the dumbest thing I have read yet.
a c 130 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 27, 2008 2:51:19 PM

jerryt74332 said:
WTF It not like the monitor will catch on fire and explode. This has got to be the dumbest thing I have read yet.


What on earth are you going on about ?
curlews posted a question and myself and others are giving options as to the best way to go about dealing with his problem.dont know where you got this from " just try it and stop asking stupid questions." the op only posted one question and a couple of the others are clarifying points made.
The above is an example of how to make a relevant post without being insulting or stupid. You would do well to learn from it.
Ok thats me done with being nice now either post something relevant or crawl back under the stone you came out from.
Mactronix
a c 174 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 27, 2008 2:54:45 PM

The question is perfectly valid [edit: exactly, Mactronix :)  ].
I'm not sure that bildo's analogy is a good one though. A [low-persistance] CRT at 60Hz flickers. This is a different kind of annoyance from an LCD at less-than-native resolution, at which text and images may appear blurry. The difference is monitor-specific, as it depends in part on the shape and arrangement of the dots that make up the pixels. If the monitor you buy looks crappy at your preferred resolution, then the suggestions of adjusting font size may help a lot. Another option would be to use two smaller monitors. You'd have a lot of space, but the resolution of each would allow you to see more clearly.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 27, 2008 2:57:06 PM

Overall, it's not suggested. If anything, as the others suggested, just adjust font size and such.
February 27, 2008 3:22:12 PM

Wow! This was my first post on this forum, and your responses were great. Many thanks for all your thoughtful and informative posts (well, except for that one post, of course). Your explanations and suggestions were just what I needed.
February 27, 2008 3:22:18 PM

Yup, like others said, just adjust the DPI settings and keep the monitors resolution native.
February 27, 2008 3:38:35 PM

tonyp12 said:
Get a really high resultion monitor and run it in half the native resoltion, that should still keep the text sharp.

Or get a 23" low resultion monitor and run it in native mode.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824112008


I agree with the recommendation of the low res monitor I looked at this very monitor for the same reason. Only I am looking at a dual head setup with one high res monitor (pro series LG, NEC or the like) and this very monitor Tonyp12 suggested for larger viewing. After 8 laser surgery my eyes need the rest as well. But I am a little worried things will be huge at that low res on a 23 incher. But I figured I was going to check it out in a store first.

Tonyp12 does it maintain the sharpness better by halfing the res in an even division better than just a step down? I never thought about it. And I was also going to be posting my needs and preferred monitors.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
February 27, 2008 3:55:09 PM

Like others have said changing the font size is your best bet.

FYI for games running a lower res can work fine. Try as many resolutions as you can; some will look sharper than others. Half the native resolution will probably look good but so will 3/4 native resolution.

Another factor is image latency. On some monitors (I saw this on an old samsung 213t) some resolutions update more smoothly than others, these also tend to be the resolutions that look the sharpest.
April 5, 2012 2:23:59 PM

CURLEWS maybe this can help u!!! i have a 37inch widescreen and iam a hardcore gamer, mine is lcd and native at 1280x720 at 60hz=refresh rate color depth at 32 bit i lower mine sometimes to 1176x664 doing this though on mine does not lower the refresh rate mine is suppose to be at 60hrz there is the option though to lower it to 59 i just keep that at 60 so its high as possible .Now i do this because when im about to shoot someone real far away by dropping the resolution a hair not much doesnt take much it alows me to see the image a little larger i mine is only a 720p but i run at really high or ultra settings because of my xtreme graphics card and setup and it looks amazingly clear and sharp if needs a touch of sharp just adjust sharpness sometimes ill set it for 1920x1080 but i prefer images are the native or slightly lower.
!