[lug] Monitor/Card tweaking - was Re: Color tweaks
jstarkey at advancecreations.com
Fri Feb 23 12:54:06 MST 2001
Thanks Dan and Tkil. After a lot of playing around I've determined I need to
get a new monitor. Even the best color I can get still looks foggy. I swore
that once or twice I had decent color but it's hard to judge without a ref
point after all this. I did manage to get better color than Windoze :}
I was thinking one other thing which I can't try at the moment would be to
split the 60v circuits, I've got 4 computers plugged into the same 3 power
strips on the same circuit. Even the iMac looks like it might be a bit weak at
Regardless, the info you guys posted was a really big help in understanding
what I was doing. I was able to confirm that this thing sucks :}
> i remember thinking that ESR's discussion of monitor tweaking was very
> helpful to me:
> the tradeoff i tend to make is for maximum horizontal resolution,
> until i start losing vertical single-pixel lines. a toy i put
> together to help me test this, as well as color convergence, is at:
> it just draws a grid of white lines on a black background; i resize it
> to fit the screen, and then look to see that everything looks square
> (tests for aspect ratio) that there aren't any blue fringes (color
> convergence problems) and whether the vertical lines are the same
> apparent brightness and sharpness as the horizontal lines (tests to
> see if i'm pushing one of the components past its limits).
> things to think about, to make sure you have good X:
> 1. video card. for coding work, you want cards that have top-notch 2d
> display capabilities. 3d benchmarks (pixels or polys per second)
> don't matter at all; rather, it's the speed and quality of the DAC
> that matters when you're talking to most monitors. i've been very
> happy with all the matrox cards i've ever had.
> having said all that, most of the current crop of 3d-accelerator
> cards have more than adequate RAMDACs for most 2d work.
> 2. cable / interconnect. if your monitor supports it, the use of BNC
> connectors (preferable 5-tail) is a good thing; i can notice the
> difference. i can also notice the negative impact of using a
> keyboard / video / mouse (KVM) switch.
> 3. monitor. there are very good monitors available for not much money
> these days. even if you can't afford super-duper top of the line
> things (say, like a sony GDM-FW900 ... drool.), there are many
> reasonably priced ones that give a good tradeoff on usability.
> since the keyboard, monitor, and mouse are all things i use very much
> continuously, it's worth a reasonable investment to me.
> having said that, here are my tricks for getting the most out of
> marginal or out-of-date hardware.
> a. use a light-on-dark scheme for text whenever possible. especially
> if you choose a color primary on black, this removes any issues
> with color convergence, and it drastically reduces any strobing
> from low refresh rates.
> b. consider non-standard resolutions, if your monitor supports them.
> i run my Sony Multiscan 20se (GDM-20SE1, same exact hardware as
> apple two-page color display, and as the HP monitor i have at work)
> at 1360x1024, since that's closer to 4x3 than 1280x1024 is. given
> the constraints of the rest of the system, this gives me a vertical
> refresh of 78.08Hz (horizontal is 82.76, pixel clock at 145MHz).
> my mode line for this is:
> Modeline "1360x1024" 145 1360 1381 1491 1752 1024 1027 1030 1060
> c. don't use KVM switches for machines you're spending lots of time
> at. for an admin console on a couple of different machines, sure;
> for your primary development box, forget it.
> d. prefer sans-serif fonts. serif fonts are easier to read *on
> paper*; i've found that switching to helvetica and lucida
> drastically improves the legibility of on-screen text.
> e. arrange your colors so that they don't clash with each other. a
> snapshot of my current color scheme (fvwm2 and xemacs) can be found
> f. when balancing resolution vs. refresh rate, pay attention to the
> image quality. usually this will start to degrade as you get
> closer to the specified limits; i've had best results by staying
> within the bottom 90 to 85% of the specs at all levels (RAMDAC,
> monitor bandwidth, monitor hsync freq range, monitor vertical
> refresh freq range.)
> anyway. my personal recommendation would be to buy a quality video
> card (G200 PCI or AGP with 8MB of RAM is fine for development work,
> and either one is available for less than 100 USD), buy a quality
> monitor (i've had good luck even with 300 USD 19" CTX monitors from
> Sam's club, and the Hitachi "elite" 19" monitors are very nice as
> well.) finally, if your monitor supports it, buy or scrounge a PC-VGA
> (HD15 sub or whatever it's called) to 5x BNC cable. they're about 60
> USD new, but you might be able to find one lying around if you work
> somewhere there used to be lots of unix workstations.
> hope this helps,
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