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9500GT shrinks text display

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
April 12, 2010 4:25:17 AM


- DEFINITION (for the purposes of this post)
"VGA Text Mode" = text the Video BIOS of a
video module displays on screen, BEFORE any OS
(Linux, Windows, etc.) or application (DOS, etc.)
installs a graphics driver.

- PROBLEM (in a nutshell)
Monitor: LCD, 24", wide-screen (16:9), DVI input.
DVI to HDMI (on the PC end) cable.

1. Integrated Video on Motherboard, HDMI output:
Perfect "VGA Text Mode", picture occupies the entire screen.

2. Add on new PCIe video card, HDMI output:
The "VGA Text Mode" picture shrinks by about 13%
(keeps same 16:9 aspect ratio, FWIW).
To put it in perspective, I lose 37mm horizontally
on each side (from a full 534mm).

3. ASUS technical support response (nonsensical, at best):
"Please remove all the VGA drivers first.
Then install the driver of EN9500 only."
"Please take out your graphic card, try to clean its golden
connectors with a rubber, check if there is any hardware issue,
and then reseat it back tightly.
Otherwise please change this card to another PC to test.
If the problem still exists after you did all basic troubleshooting,
please contact with your retailer for check."

- SUSPICIONS (personal)
The add-on video card BIOS doesn't handle the monitor EDID properly.
This particular GPU?, model, 9500GT? ASUS firmware? etc.

- GORY DETAILS (excerpts from problem submission to ASUS)

EN9500GT Shrinks VGA Picture on 16:9 ("wide") Monitor.
BIOS screen, Linux, DOS text display shrinks once the HDMI cable is
moved from the internal IGD module to the 9500 HDMI connector.

Motherboard: ASUS P5E-VM HDMI, BIOS: 0604.

Internal Graphics Display (IGD): Intel G35, HDMI output.

External Video Card (PEG): ASUS GeForce EN9500GT GT, 512 MB,
PCIe x16, HDMI output. BIOS: 62.94.6A.00.00.

Monitor: Samsung SM2494, 24in., Wide-LCD (16:9),
DVI input (through HDMI-DVI cable),
534x301mm (i.e., diagonal: 612mm).

1. Using the IGD (G35), no problem: system BIOS screen,
DOS display, Linux kernel boot-up text, console prompt work,
text editing, etc., the text (80x25) is displayed in "HD",
i.e., for the whole diagonal of the screen. In short,
any text display (picture) is 612mm diagonal (FULL screen).

2. With the new PEG (EN9500GT),
The BIOS screen shrinks to 470x252mm (538mm diagonal)
The text picture shrinks to 458x251mm (525mm diagonal).
In short, any text (VGA?) display is smaller than full screen.

I haven't found anything to change the situation.
I played with BIOS, Monitor settings, etc..
For reference, I have "North Bridge Configuration" currently at
Initiate Graphic Adapter: PEG/IGD.
Peg Port Control: Auto
Peg Port Force x1: Disabled

One would expect that by just moving the cable from the IGD output to
the new PEG output, things wouldn't change as far as displaying text
(VGA mode?).

Note: the EN9500GT card (PEG) works perfectly once in graphics mode
(whether in Linux- or WindowsXP SP3)


Any helpful comments will be highly appreciated.
a c 1367 U Graphics card
April 12, 2010 11:32:58 AM

It is recommended to remove the drivers/uninstalling the integrated card prior to installing a discrete card to avoid driver conflicts.
a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2010 12:42:01 PM

If you have other output ports than the HDMI from your 9500GT ( DVI or D-Sub), try connecting to it and see if it solves the problem.
April 23, 2010 11:04:06 PM


On Apr. 16, I received a very nice and well meant form letter
from "The TsH community team" reading in part:
<< we noticed that your thread is not active anymore.
Did you get the answer that you were seeking?
We invite you to review the answers,
and select the best one as your "Best Answer"
If you did not get the answer you were seeking,
we suggest that you add details to your question.>>

I'll skip the "select the best one" out of two
pathetic answers (are there any "razzies" available here?)
while I add plenty details as to why I left the thread
dormant all this time.

A few days after my post I managed to somehow find a person
in ASUS support (apparently on this side of the Pacific Rim)
who after performing a relatively short hesitation waltz with me
seems to have understood something that eludes many graphics users
nowadays (despite "DEFINITIONs" and all):
by the nature of things, the PC firmware graphics module (built-in
or add-on card) still needs to do some crazy stuff like splashing
the "Welcome" screen, interacting with you during the POST
(like do we go to system BIOS and if yes, painting the BIOS,
accept settings, etc.) BEFORE an OS or application video driver
takes over.
In layman's terms, they still haven't invented a PC which
_before_ pressing the Big Red Switch (and a little after),
can know what Operating System (and video drivers) is to run.

Anyway, this nice gentleman sent me "the" E-Mail on Apr. 16:

<< Under low level vga mode certain graphics cards are not
capable of scaling to full screen.
I have encountered this behavior on newer GPUs on both notebook
and desktop systems.
I will attempt to duplicate this issue within the next 2 days,
and provide you with solution by Tuesday, April 20th 2010. >>

Note: might my comment that on an older computer (still ASUS based,
P4S533-MX), a "low-end" Chaintech GeForce FX-5500 had no problems
handling the "low level vga mode" when transitioning from a
Sony 4:3 to a "wide" (16:10) Samsung monitor,
have helped him in "seeing the 'VGA' light" ??

Unfortunately, there are a few problems here.

1. I've never heard from this gentlemen since, so with the
deadline rapidly approaching, I had to RMA the card back this
morning. So physically, the case is closed for me.

However, the "moral" issues are wide open and very discouraging:

2. He confirmed what purely coincidentally and instinctively
I suspected. This problem could be more wide-spread and what with
the typical user these days, going directly from the Big Red Switch
to Far Cry 2, threatens to get buried deeper and deeper with the
passage of time (recent surveys project an ever smaller percentage
of graphics users in the future who will be bothered by,
be aware of or care about the existence of VideoBIOS – firmware
active before the OS boot up).

3. Selecting/Buying a Video Card becomes more and more of a
crap shoot for the few people who still care.
BTW, if anybody wonders, examples of such rare birds are
- folks who build their own machines and would like
to see some video activity from the system - maybe in DOS (!) -
before committing to higher levels of installation.
- Linux people who like to work in text mode (a la Unix) and
are not really interested in the latest Ubuntu release or if
the new KDE 4.x graphics paradigm is worth switching from 3.x)
- etc.

Instinctively, I had searched high and Wide the World Web
for such possible Video VGA problems on any card with no results.
Hopefully, if somebody, somewhere, maybe on an obscure
Video site keeps tabs of such issues, they can add (or start with)
the ASUS EN9500GT card
to give an "engine" a chance to dig it up.

That way, maybe my trials and tribulations would not have been
in vain, and my (too) detailed experience could be accepted as a
humble contribution to the Tom's Hardware community.

A few parting notes.
1. Thanks for the answers. (It's the thought that counts :) 

2. Seems like the Video graphics has become a very lucrative business,
judging by ASUS - a top notch _motherboard_ manufacturer - and all.
Can a Google video adapter be far behind?

3. This under/overscan ("scaling") notion must be very tricky.
I've seen nVidia Catalyst software making unusually great efforts
to adjust to a _typical_ 1080p HDMI TV screen (which is the only
game in town nowadays - I mean the kind of TV).
Paying a little more attention to writing VideoBIOS firmware might
be worth it after all.

Thank you very much.
Best Wishes.