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Old Nov 12, 2006, 9:35 PM   #1
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My uncle just gave me his old computer, which, in most respects, is better than the one I had.

A major bummer is the fact that I don't have much control over the monitor adjustments anymore. All I have as computer-based adjustments now are choices between two resolutions, a few refresh rates and either 16 or 24 bit color. At first, I thought that it was just because the computer didn't have the right driver, so, I downloaded the proper driver but have no more control over the monitor than I did
with the generic driver. So, I guess the computer adjustments that I had on the previous computer were hardware-based.

On the old computer, I could go to the Advanced button in Display Properties and have slider adjusters for contrast, brightness, gamma and RGB balance. And the adjustment lattitude was ten times what the buttons on the front of the monitor gave. Now, all I have is the range of adjustment provided by the monitor buttons which is not nearly adequate. The brightness range that I have now -- even with all controls maxed-out -- sets the blackpoint so high that most of the brightness/contrast test strips I find puts about the left third of the strip at dead black! I can open up the left end a good bit by setting a 1.8 Gamma from Adobe Gamma, but I'm on Windows XP and I hear that monitor adjustments are best made at the native Gamma, which, for Windows is 2.2.

Do you think that I need to get a video card to regain the lost range of control? If so, any recommendations? I don't need one of those gaming cards, just something that will give me back monitor adjustment control.

I've also been thinking about taking the plunge and getting a proper hardware-based monitor calibrator. Any recommendations on good websites on the subject of monitor calibration?

Grant
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Old Nov 13, 2006, 8:57 AM   #2
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All the times I've altered settings like brighness and contrast on my monitor it has been physically on the monitor.

Does your monitor *not* have not adjustments (separated from the driver in the computer?)

I've never seen a monitor that didn't let you control all those things directly in hardware.

Eric
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Old Nov 13, 2006, 10:22 AM   #3
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Sometimes, Windows Update won't give you the newest driver from the manufacturer. It even does the opposite sometimes (tries to downgrade your driver to the one in their repositories, thinking that it's an update instead).

For example, with most Nvidia cards, you can get a much better driver (with far more control) than the one Microsoft wants you to use with Windows Updates.

So, you may want to check the manufacturer's website to see if they have downloadable drivers and utilities for graphics chipset you're using.

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Old Nov 13, 2006, 10:28 PM   #4
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eric s writes: All the times I've altered settings like brighness and contrast on my monitor it has been physically on the monitor.

Does your monitor *not* have not adjustments (separated from the driver in the computer?)


All the controls that I have available are accessed through the buttons on the front of the monitor. The problem is that the range of adjustment available through these buttons is not adequate. With brightness and contrast set at 100%, the screen is still too dark. The software adjustments available on the old computer through the Display Properties dialog box could adjust the brightness/contrast WAY beyond the 100% that I get through the buttons on the monitor.

I got the driver for the new computer from the monitor manufacturer, so, I think I'll take JimC's suggestion of going to Intel to see whether there is a better driver for the graphics chipset. There has to be software somewhere that will allow me to at least adjust the brightness/contrast. If software couldn't do it, then Adobe Gamma couldn't alter the Gamma setting -- and it certainly can.

Does the software that comes with monitor calibration systems make such adjustments via their software, or do they rely on the adjustments available through the monitor's front panel?

Grant
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 1:07 PM   #5
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I would agree with JimC, that you should look into the driver directly from the manufaturer of your video card chipset (like Intel, NVidia, and others...) They do usually have more controlls.

I believe that on very specific monitors a monitor calibration package *can* adjust things directly to get the right setting. I think only the high end ones work that way, though. The one that I have (Monico XRPro) does not work that way and I have to adjust it directly on the monitor's front panel. But since the monitor is fairly new, that is all I need.

My previous monitor had a problem like yours does, I could *just barely* get it correct with the hardware controlls. But given a bit more time I bet I wouldn't have been able to.

Eric
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Old Nov 17, 2006, 3:05 PM   #6
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Over time, CRTs get less and less bright, but that doesn't sound like your problem.

I think you need a better graphics adapter. The basic controls you seem to have now may be the only controls available for thechipset your current graphics adapter supports, or the developer of the driver elected not to let you have access to the higher end adjustments.

You don't have to get a really expensive graphics adapter designed for first-person shoot-em-up games. Anything in the neighborhood of $50-$75 from ATI,Nvidia, or any of hteir OEMsshould do fine, and will have drivers that giveyou much better control of your screen.
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Old Nov 17, 2006, 8:55 PM   #7
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TCav writes: I think you need a better graphics adapter. The basic controls you seem to have now may be the only controls available for thechipset your current graphics adapter supports, or the developer of the driver elected not to let you have access to the higher end adjustments.

This is pretty much my opinion, though the original question -- with added technical detail -- is being posted on some computer forums frequented by those of the geek persuasion to get a variety of opinions.

I have the latest available drivers for the monitor and graphic controller, so, unless there is some hack of the controller software that allows control features that were not included in the manufacturer's driver, I'll have to get a more sophisticated controller.

Or, a new monitor........

I am amazed by the drop in price of reasonable-quality LCD monitors in the last year. And unless you pop for a pro-quality (mega-bucks) model, it seems like they aren't making good CRT monitors anymore. Most of the mid-priced CRT's that have gotten good reviews for graphics work are no longer available. :sad:

That's life in the megatropolis.

Grant
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Old Nov 18, 2006, 8:56 PM   #8
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The most common CRT tube (the Sony Trinitron) has been gone for some time now, so that wiped out most of the CRTs on the market. Even the really high end ones are going away so we'll only be in an LCD world (and whatever else is out there... OLED probably.)

Even some of the high end CRT makers have made the switch. Lacie no longer makes the Lacie Blue any more... really sad, actually, as it was very good for its price.

Eric
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Old Nov 19, 2006, 9:48 PM   #9
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For anyone interested, I found a shareware program called PowerStrip. It provides an amazing level of control over a monitor. It lets you tweak almost anything -- depending on the capabilities of your hardware graphic support. I don't even know what most of the adjustments are good for, but it does supply me with the brightness/contrast boost that I need, so the other stuff is irrelevant.

It's free for 30 days. Registering it costs $30.00.

Hey, that's cheaper than a new video card or a new monitor.

Grant
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Old Nov 19, 2006, 10:17 PM   #10
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granthagen wrote:
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Hey, that's cheaper than a new video card or a new monitor.
Actually, you can get a video card for less than that. lol

I'm using a old GeForce FX5200 card in my PC (not a gamer's card but fine for my needs), and they're only $31.95 at newegg.com. It uses an AGP slot. So, you'd need to buy a card that's compatible with your PC. A separate video card (versus one that's integrated into the motherboard) also has it's own memory onboard. So, you're not taking away from System Memory for the Video. My FX5200 only has 128MB of RAM. But, if you're not doing 3D graphics, it's fine.

Some of the other cards are less than that:

Video Cards at Newegg.com

Of course, you'd need to narrow down the problem to the card or the monitor. But, the drivers and utilities you can download from Nvdia give you pretty good control over the card's output (even to the point of curves).

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