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Monitor DPI/Windows DPI question

Last response: in Computer Peripherals
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October 12, 2011 11:04:11 PM

I currently have a 15" 1024x768 display. I'm looking to get a newer widescreen LED-lit display but want to replicate the viewing experience of text/icon size as closely as possible because I really like the size proportions on my current display. For comparison, a 17" 1280x1024 monitor displays things quite a bit smaller than I would like.

Doing some research, it seems that the best way to replicate a viewing experience is to match the DPI/PPI. I found that my current monitor is about 85 DPI, the 17" that was too small is 96, and a 18.5" 1366x768 display would also be about 85.

But then I read that Windows, which I use, apparently makes everything 96 DPI no matter what the monitor actually is. So am I already seeing 96 DPI right now even though the monitor is really 85? If so, how was everything so much smaller on the 17" 1280x1024 monitor if native 96 DPI is really that small?

Thanks very much for any help with this. I'm just trying to make sure I can really do this DPI comparison or if it's misleading.
a b C Monitor
October 12, 2011 11:24:14 PM

You were OK until you got to the Windows DPI ;) 

Windows does not have a physical desktop, so the DPI is simply a reference for scaling fonts. See this Microsoft article.

So, just buy a new monitor, and if the icons are too small alter the Windows DPI until you like it!
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October 12, 2011 11:44:40 PM

Thanks for the reply, but unfortunately I'm still confused. If I plug in a 85 DPI monitor, am I actually going to see 85 pixels per inch on my screen? I don't understand how Windows has 96 DPI but every monitor also has physical DPI and how those two numbers interact. Obviously both can't be in effect at the same time, can they? Is the physical 85 DPI of my monitor overriding Windows' default 96?
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a b C Monitor
October 13, 2011 2:28:10 AM

bluefish261 said:
Thanks for the reply, but unfortunately I'm still confused. If I plug in a 85 DPI monitor, am I actually going to see 85 pixels per inch on my screen?

Yes, and that is all you need to worry about.
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