BIOS screen resolution too big for monitor.

Need advice. I built a system based in part on the Jan 2012 Tom's article for best price/performance. Link for the article here:

However, I'm running into a big problem which is really ruining my week. I have a 19 inch VGA plug-n-play monitor that was good enough for my old system. I'd like to keep it. I can't see the point in buying a new monitor when I'm so happy with my old one.

However, it seems the BIOS for the MSI H67A-G43 (B3) motherboard doesn't want to play nice with my plugs, and it seems to be a problem at the BIOS level. The pitifully inadequate manual didn't name the BIOS manufacturer, but I'm guessing from the support page that it's some type of AMI BIOS. And based on my problems, the AMI BIOS may be too nifty to be usable.

The problem is, when I start the system (with no disk drive), the MSI logo comes up but it's in the bottom right of the screen and clipped off, as if the monitor is in 800x600 and the VGA port is outputting in 1200xwhatever. Now, my monitor (an old Pixie from Fry's) worked fine in 1200 or 1024 or 1920 in my old system with a Radeon 9600.

I tried using the onboard VGA output from the MSI motherboard, and I tried using the output from the new HIS Radeon 6870 card. Both of them give the problem described above.

I'm starting to think the problem isn't fixable with this motherboard and this bios. Am I being too hasty? If so, can you recommend a different ATX motherboard with a BIOS that's not too cool for my monitor? I want at least 4 DIMM slots, at least one PCIEx16 2.0 (better, two), and at least one or more SATA 6.0.
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  1. If I were you I would replace the monitor instead of the motherboard.

    A newer monitor wouldn't have these sorts of problems.

    You can probably even run both at once later after you get the BIOS stuff out of the way. If there isn't enough desk space you could always just sell the old one to get some of the cost back.

    The way things are these days, the next motherboard you changed to would likely have the exact same problems.
  2. Do yourself a favor and get a 1080p monitor. A 21.5" monitor cost about $150. You can always use dual monitor with the second one then. It would make you a little bit more productive.
  3. I don't want to spend $150. If I did, I'd rather spend it on a better rig.

    I hate widescreen monitors. They're great for watching football, but I don't like reading large quantities of text on them.

    I also have eye problems.

    Sorry if I'm offering up excuses, but really, it does seem there ought to be some way to upgrade to a half decent 1155 motherboard, even one a year or two old, without being thoughtlessly wasteful.
  4. You can get a regular 19 inch flat panel for a lot cheaper than 150. It would also bring you into this millenium in terms of monitors.

    Without the super wide display, reading text is much easier on the eyes. I might as well be legally blind and I do just fine with such a monitor.
  5. press del key to get into bios then hit the auto adjust key. If that doesn't work, manually set your monitor (zoom, pan, stretch) to be able to see it comfortably.
  6. I understand. I just did a search. They have 20" Acers for $99 right now at Best Buy in store I could snag tomorrow.

    But I'm personally OFFENDED by the idea that I would have to do this. It offends me aesthetically and morally. Have you ever seen the piles of computer hardware junk at a community recycling event? How much of that mercury-laden junk would have been still useful to somebody else? If there were some substantial increase in functionality to justify dumping the monitor, I could see it, but I'm offended at the idea that it has to be dumped because of a dingdong bios change.

    I would still like another solution. And it should be an interesting question as well. Which BIOSs are now incompatible with multisync VGA CRT monitors? Are they all? If it's all or almost all, how far back in time in legacy motherboards do I have to go to find one that won't have this problem?

    I'm willing to consider an older motherboard (that can use an 1155 socket Intel chip). I've already opened the I3 cpu and pasted down the fan, so there's no returning that.
  7. Auto adjust key? I'm not familiar with that. Googlin' the subject now...

    The monitor has an OSD feature, but I can't recall any auto-adjust button or feature. I've unboxed the whole system for the night so I'll have to look at that tomorrow. I can't remember ever seeing that in the OSD, but I've never needed to use the OSD for anything significant.
  8. He means that there may be an option inside the BIOS that resizes the screen.

    If so, it would change the BIOS screen around so it fits in your old monitor's settings.

    If the option does exist, it might be hard to figure out what it is, though.

    If you jump through enough hoops, though, you might be able to drag the monitor through another build.

    If you are worried about the monitor hitting the junkyard, maybe a charity would be interested in taking it instead?
  9. Good point. What motherboard would you recommend that that charity use? Perhaps I can build a system for them so they could use it.
  10. It would be easier to go to a thrift store or a pawn shop and buy one for like $50, these places usually have tons of really old computers laying around that they can't sell.
  11. I was kidding.

    I don't think my question is being understood. I think at this point I'll try ordering a different 1155 socket ATX motherboard with a different brand BIOS than AMI. I was hoping for recommendations. "Buy a new monitor" goes outside the limiting specs of the problem although I'm sure it is what most people would do.
  12. There is nothing wrong with a little philanthropy.

    That being said, I do hope your next motherboard isn't the same as the current one.

    I don't think it has as much to do with the company that made the BIOS as much as it does with industry standards, but I could be wrong.

    I would love to hear about it if it does turn out I am wrong. It could be useful in case someone else shows up in here with the same sort of information in the future.

    I do think you are right, though, that most people would probably upgrade the old monitor at this point rather than trying to make it work when all signs point to the monitor being the device with the issue.

    That is probably also why everyone here is suggesting it.
  13. More information. We just plugged it into a relatively new Dell15z laptop. Came right up, including a little setup question on both screens. The aspect was a little squeezed, but otherwise okay.

    I'm not giving up on my MSI motherboard yet. I'll plug it into my HDTV a little later and see if I can get into the BIOS that way long enough to set something that will correct the problem. If that fails, I'm going to have to fish for a motherboard with a different BIOS.

    Is there an up to date list kept anywhere of which motherboards use which BIOSes? IT used to be easy to find this info because sites like Newegg and Tiger would list it front page in their catalog, but now it's obscured. I had to go to the MSI site to find out which BIOS I'm using. Quite a pain in the ass.
  14. As far as I know, it is a PITA as you say.
  15. Back from my test with the my HDTV. It worked fine, of course.

    I hooked up to my HDTV just now and got it started. Came up fine. The HDTV reported itself to be in 1024x768 mode. I got into the BIOS settings and didn't see anything useful to alleviate the problem.

    The MSI manual didn't have complete BIOS instructions , so I had to google up meanings for the graphics settings. I copied down what I saw:

    integrated graphics device configuration [peg] (igd being the other option)
    integrated graphics share memory [64m]
    dvmt memory [256]
    igd multi-monitor [disabled]

    Just a reminder: I'm using the onboard integrated graphics for this test.

    In the bootup menu, I did find a setting for disabling the gratuitous and stupid MSI splash screen. I set that and rebooted using the old monitor, but it didn't fix the problem.

    As it stands, when I reset and tap the DEL key to get into BIOS while using my old monitor, I get a blank screen with two small white text letters A9 in the bottom right of the screen, not distorted by the wrong screen size. (maybe it was A8?) I don't know if that means something.

    When I hit escape, I get a graphical prompt in the center of the screen (note: CENTER, not off center) asking me if I want to save settings Yes or No. I got this before with my TV, but it had the graphical BIOS screen and options in the background. With the monitor, this is just Save Settings yes no on a black screen.

    The fact that the prompt was centered this time, but the screen was otherwise black, suggests that the problem is more complicated than just screen resolution size.

    Waiting for a call from my nephew who works at Boeing to have him make the final call on whether he has any last ideas.

    Nobody has been able to recommend a non-AMI bios motherboard to try, other than Dell. Which might be using AMI too, for all I know, just more smartly.
  16. if your monitor is fine, then just adjust it. auto button is usually right next to the power button (of the monitor).
    I don't recall ever seeing an LCD monitor without it.
  17. if it is not an LCD monitor then it won't have it, still different resolutions store their own settings.
  18. It isn't a LCD flat panel, it is an old 30 pound CRT.

    We don't really optimize around BIOS manufacturers very often here so it isn't the type of question we deal with a lot. First time I have personally seen it and I have seen many threads here.

    In any event, I can suggest another board just as good, but it might have the same kind of BIOS for all I know. All I know how to do is optimize for reliability, usefulness, and so on.
  19. All the discussion centres on the idea that the BIOS is at fault because it cannot put the display on the monitor screen at the correct position. But there's an important clue in the first post: exactly the same problem shows up when using EITHER the mobo's integrated graphics OR a pretty current HIS Radeon-based card. BUT a later post says this does NOT show up when the integrated graphics signal is fed to a different display device, the TV. So, the BIOS is not placing the screen data at a weird position on the screen. And I've never seen a BIOS that sets up odd screen displays with custom settings - they all just issue simple standard codes to use established VGA-type display modes to be compatible just about any simple display device. I suspect the problem may be that the monitor is not receiving the proper signals from the computer so that it knows what resolution and refresh rate it is supposed to use, and this is happening irrespective of which signal source it gets. Maybe there is a flaw in the VGA signal cable to the monitor. I suspect that a different cable was used to connect to the TV - a lot of such monitors had captive integral cables you could not switch to another display unit. Maybe a detailed check on the cable, including the connector pins and the cable's connections inside the back of the monitor, is in order. In fact, if you're opening up the monitor, you could disconnect it inside and check for good continuity on all lines in the cable, including looking for intermittent performance when the cable is bent.
  20. The way it sounds to me is that the BIOS wants to display at a certain native resolution that the monitor isn't happy with.

    The BIOS sounds like it has no idea that the monitor isn't happy with this and it sounds to me like there is no way to tell the BIOS anything different.

    It sounds to me like any device that can handle the resolution the BIOS is trying to push out natively will work. I would hazard a guess that any flat panel made in the last 7 years will probably be able to natively handle the resolution the BIOS wants whereas the pixie can't.

    It sounds to me like the pixie needs more powerful windows drivers in order to get the resolution that the monitor is capable of.

    If I were to go out on a limb, I would guess that when the pixie monitor loads the first time in Windows, it probably loads at 800x600 or maybe even 400x300 and you can move it up with a slider bar from there.

    It sounds to me like the BIOS wants to run natively at 1280x1024ish and the pixie needs better drivers in Windows to be able to pull off that display setting.

    Just wild speculation on my part.

    The parts are layered like this

    Graphics Port
    BIOS chip

    It sounds to me like the OP has latched onto the problem perfectly. My guess is that both ends aren't compatible with each other and regardless of what you switch out in the middle then it isn't going to solve the basic incompatibility between both ends.

    Again, I could be wrong and if the OP has another cable laying around of the type the pixie monitor uses to connect to the computer I would love to be proven so.

    As paperdoc said, monitors this old tend to only have a built in VGA cable and no options for DVI or HDMI and the cable on the monitor most likely can't even be disconnected from it without cracking the monitor housing open. If it is one of the sort that you can disconnect and another cable of the same sort is laying around then it would be a nice and free test to verify what I suspect is true.

    If a different such cable isn't laying around, though, I don't think it would be worth buying one just to run this test. If I were a bookie I would probably go 20 to 1 for anyone willing to bet it would work.

    Anyway, the OP seems to have it right that one end or the other needs to be changed out and he wants it to be the BIOS end that gets changed out instead of the motherboard end. I just don't know how old the BIOS needs to be for it to have a BIOS resolution natively supported by the monitor.

    Anyway, I would love to eat my own words about all of this, so please do go ahead and help prove me wrong.

    That said, there hasn't been any new developments yet that caused me to believe that my gut feeling was wrong.

    You could always buy a new Pixie Technologies 960 to test the theory out with (assuming that is the same model) stores online are selling the Pixie 960 for under $5 so it isn't a high price to pay to see if the monitor or the monitor cable are bad. Assuming one of them is bad in the current setup the new one should probably not be.
  21. Well, I don't think the monitor is the problem because I tested the monitor just in the last two days, plugging it into two laptop VGA ports. The first, an ACER 3680 (about three years old), the second a Dell z15, (six months old). And it worked fine on both systems, mirroring the image on the laptop screen almost immediately. Furthermore, I have used the same monitor with several different graphics cards over the years. Always worked fine with all of them. So the monitor itself is in decent shape and was ready to play and be happy with everything else in the computer world... until this week!

    Yes, it does have a built-in VGA cable, that goes directly to the housing. That can't be changed.

    Anyway, we're dealing here at home with arguments over my stubbornness and curiosity versus time and money. I have had it recommended over at tech-guy that ASUS motherboards have a different BIOS, so I'm going to take one more stab at this by unscrewing everything, ordering an ASUS board, rebuilding, testing again with the monitor, and RMA-ing this MSI board after the fact if the ASUS works.

    Board I've ordered now:

    ASUS P8H67-V (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

    I've shown this thread to some friends, and they are laughing their asses off at it, in particular because of my post about how this all OFFENDS me. Well, yes! Let me explain that. My MS is in Computer Sci, but more in the math and AI end than the hardware PC board end. Still, I have an engineer's sense of the rightness and wrongness of design flaws, and that is an aesthetic and moral sentiment that can run rather deeply at times.

    If a piece of hardware (or software or anything else in this world) works fine, and then a new piece of improved hardware (or software or anything else) comes along that is newer and has more capabilities, then the issue of backwards compatibility with the older hardware should be related to the difficulty of retaining that compatibility. If the new capabilities make it impossible or even difficult, for instance, different protocols, etc., then backwards compatibility is a burden worth sacrificing. But if it's NOT difficult, if it's just something you stop doing because "it's old stuff and you should buy new stuff..." that's not GOOD DESIGN. That's just offensive.

    I've been hoping that somebody would tell me why new systems can't speak to my old monitor by telling me that some new protocol has made it impossible. That would make sense to me. Perhaps such a new protocol or capability would have a name, something to be boasted about in the tech sheets. But that's not what happened here. My perhaps petty suspicion is that somebody at AMI just decided, "f*** 'em all, let'em buy new stuff. Let's rip out this thing over here that already works because nobody will miss it." That's retail-mentality lazy thinking. It offends me as an engineer.

    Yup. Comical. I know. I'm amused with myself. I feel like Alex in Clockwork Orange with his eyes pried open yelling, "This is wrong! Beethoven never harmed anybody!"
  22. BIOSs keep inflating in size, maybe a certain amount of space is needed for each resolution and not enough people use the old resolution to use the space on the extra resolution instead of something else more important.
  23. Raiddinn said:
    BIOSs keep inflating in size, maybe a certain amount of space is needed for each resolution and not enough people use the old resolution to use the space on the extra resolution instead of something else more important.

    I found a work around, sorta.

    Turn your monitor off before turning on/rebooting your computer. This prevents the BIOS from detecting your monitor. Hit delete key at the right moment, or just keep tapping on it, then turn your monitor on. Voila! You see the BIOS screen in its full resolution. It's silly, but it works for me on my DELL 1130P 21" monitor.
  24. Hi ya all!
    Ive been around since the PET16 era, and i can tell you this problem is only related to the monitors bios, YES! each monitor has a small cpu and a bios at least the monitors from around 1990 and forward perhaps even earlier too. The monitor can't recognize the newer gfx chips frequensies, and selects a default resolution wich is obviously wrong. As well as the bios contains the software for the monitors OSD a.s.o.
    Wich is logical by the way, if you consider the fact that gfx cards evolve (they become faster, better resolutions, and they are built by many manufacturers wich have their own way of creating gfx cards and their unique components as well.) the monitors has too in order to keep up. This is done by implementing a wider range of frequencies in it's bios, it doesn't represent exactly what the bios has/does but in laymans terms. And also the TTL signals is a factor that the monitor has to support also if a card outputs to low signal the screen has no idea what that is.

    I had the exactly the same problem with my newly assembled homebrew of a computer, a INTEL I5 with ASUS P8H61-V motherboard and 8GB DDR3 and a ASUS GTX550 Ti 1GB GDDR5, at first i tought it was the USB devices that screwed around with the MB resources but when i went to my father, i used his monitor and the problem dissappeared, wich led me to the conclusion that my flat LCD 20" Fujitsu Siemens wide screen didn't support this card, even tried onboard gfx, same results! When i took my 12 years old HP A4575A 19" monitor, this seemed to support it, due to the fact that i know this monitor has a more advanced control board than the 20" LCD, i have dismantled both screens so i know the difference. I had to repair my 20" LCD several times, the backlighter was going dark due to a fault in design, the high power board for the backlighter produced alot of heat and over cooked the capacitors because there was no vents in the monitors covering, but eventually the driver transistors burned, it lasted at least for about 6 years.
    So my dearest friends the best thing is to try out a number of different monitors to determine wich acctually works with the specific gfx board.

    I hope this helps you in some way! good luck.....
    And please excuse me for the bad english, hope you understand anyway....BTW i agree with you DumboDog it's bad design to have a policy that supports the ever increasing pollution of example africa where most discarded computers for the entire west world end up. (The west world using africa as a dumping ground)
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