[thelist] are your eyelids twitching? (tip)

Tobyn Baugher trb at cartoonviolence.net
Thu Nov 8 14:09:44 CST 2001

On 11/5/2001 4:59 PM +0000 Ross Lynch wrote:

> Check your monitor manual or in recent version of
> Windows under the Display Control Panel, there's an
> option when you're changing the frequency only to
> display supported modes. In any case, Windows will
> switch back after 15 seconds if you don't click to
> say "Yes, keep this new setting".

Sadly this method isn't always accurate. It reports, for example, that
my CPD-E500 can't do 1600x1200 at 85hz, which is its optimal resolution
according to Sony. A good program, if you've never used it before, that
is a little more accurate is PowerStrip[1]. It's also nice from a
design standpoint because you can configure a toolbar with all sorts of
different display modes and switch between them with one click. Nice
for checking if the site you designed at 1600x1200x32 works at

Since I'm writing already, maybe I should squeeze some more info in.
Higher refresh rates become increasingly more important with the size
of the monitor. While it's fairly easy to be comfortable at 60hz with a
14" or 15" monitor, it is more difficult on a 17". Once you get into
the realm of 19" and 21" monitors, even 75hz is too low[2]. If you go
monitor shopping, make sure your monitor can do the following:

75hz @ 1024x768 for 17"
85hz @ 1280x1024 or 1280x960 (I prefer 1280x1024, but it skews the
aspect ratio compared to the other VGA display modes) for 19"
85hz @ 1600x1200 for 21"

If your monitor can do higher than that, that's a nice bonus and you
should go for it, but you should definitely be skeptical of any monitor
that can't meet what I've outlined above. Refresh rate, MUCH more than
max resolution (which is irrelevant, NEVER run your monitor at its
maximum resolution on any decently large screen) largely corresponds
directly to the quality of the monitor itself.

Finally, never skimp on your monitor. This is one of the few things you
can buy for your computer that won't be obsolete in a year. It, your
keyboard, your desk and your chair are the most important pieces of
your computing experience and if they are of poor quality all sorts of
nasty ailments (and lots of lost productivity[3]) can result.


[1] - http://www.entechtaiwan.com/ps.htm
[2] - There are people who, by all accounts, can handle these things
fine. On of my roommates in college, for example, ran his 17" monitor
at 1600x1200 at 60hz for years with apparently no ill effects. I got a
headache after looking for it for more than 10 seconds or so, however.
[3] - I recently moved into a new apartment, and while waiting for my
furniture to arrive I was forced to sit in one of my roommate's lawn
chairs with my monitor on a box. I just found that I didn't want to sit
there at all and it made it a lot harder for me to get anything done.

Tobyn Baugher <trb at cartoonviolence.net>
AIM: unlewp  ICQ: 14281524  EFnet: toby/trb

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