Sun Ultra 1, Sparc Station 5 Video Resolution with new Planar WS231 23" LCD Monitor

Posted on 2004-09-11
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I am in a big bind!
I have purchased 6 new WS231 23" LCD Monitors to attach to a sparc station 5 and ultra 1 workstation. I had new dell 2001FP 20.1" LCD monitors on them but the operators wanted something a little bigger.  

When i attached the new Planar ws231 to both of these, i have about a 1" black border around the screen that i cannot tune out with the OSD controls on the monitor. I have never seen the ability not to resize the horizontal and vertical on a monitor, well now i have.   I called Planar, they said it only has vertical and horizontal adjustments, but no resizing of vertical or horizontal.  So, when i try to move the horizontal over to the left, i can never get it far enough over not to have a 1" border on the left side.

I started researching the video card on the sparcs, and see that you can do a
setenv output-device screen:XXXX on the card to change the resolution, but i have had no luck doing it.  

I'm unclear if this is a video card problem (all have cgsix frame buffer cards on them) or a monitor problem that will just not work with these.     I don't know if i should go get different monitors ($$$ on sending back and unclear if another model will work), or buy another video card for sparcs.  I don't even know if i can get a different video card for sparc station 5 and ultra's using the Sbus slots.

The monitor works fine on my PC.  

Can anyone give me advice if they have seen this before and what they did to solve it, or recommendations. The operators are telling me they would rather have the 20.1" monitors back, then to have a 1" black border around the left side on a 23" monitor.  I'm now gunshy about ordering a new monitor and guessing if it will work.

I do have a  13W3 to VGA converter on these.

Question by:rkneal
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Expert Comment

ID: 12035075
Whats the native resolution of the new monitor?  Thats the important thing.  Its common for lcd's displays to display black borders when they are being driven at lower than native resolutions.

Next question, what is the maximum resolution of the sparcs?  If i remember correctly, my sparc 5 can do 1280x1024 @ 256 colors or something like that.  Here is some more info that I found from here:

"The TGX/TGX+ are compatible with the GX/GX+ but are faster and support more resolutions. (The T stands for Turbo). The GX/TGX have 1Mb of on-board memory, which gives them a maximum resolution of 1152x900. The GX+/TGX+ have 4Mb of memory, which is used for double-buffering and optimisation, and has a maximum supported resolution of 1600x1280. Note that unlike some PC graphics adaptors this memory CANNOT be used to give more than 8 bit colour."

So it all depends on the framebuffer on just how of a resolution it can drive.

Now the lcd might have options for stretching.  If you can go into the menu of the lcd, you might find an option for stretching.  That would get you around the issue of the black bars, but you would still be limited to the max resolultion of the framebuffer and it might be lower than the native resolution which might give a degraded/fuzzy picture on the lcd.

Can you tell us what framebuffers are in the sparcs?

Expert Comment

ID: 12035108
Rather than setenv you should probably be using fbconfig to adjust the resolution. (or ifbconfig, or whatever suits your particular frame buffer)

Author Comment

ID: 12035156
The native resolution of the WS231 is 1600x1200.  The card is at 1152x900.  I wish that there was an option for stretching, even the planar tech support was surprised not to see that.  

I did notice one thing. On the dell 2001FP 20.1" LCD, the monitor said it was at 1152x900 at 66Hz, as expected.

On the Planar ws231, the monitor stated it was at something like 1152x840 at 65.? hz.

Neil, is fbconfig and ifbconfig something that comes on solaris. It looks like from my research on internet yesterday, i have to download these scripts.  Do these programs change the resolution on the fly, or do you have to reboot machine.  

I'm going to go to plant today and use fbinfo to determine exactly what the graphics cards are.  


Author Comment

ID: 12035249
i just ran fbinfo and got following

cgsix@2 is TGX    1152x900x66 Monitor type 0

Does this help on any suggestions?

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Author Comment

ID: 12035252
It sounds like from bobo tech's comments, i should maybe get the GX+/TGX+ card, since i would be able to set to 1600x1200???


Accepted Solution

bobo_tech earned 500 total points
ID: 12035286
That is something that I would consider.  According to this from the same website i linked to above:

"Turbo GX
1024 x  768 @ 60      1024 x  768 @ 70      1024 x  768 @ 76
1024 x  800 @ 74      1024 x  800 @ 85
1152 x  900 @ 66      1152 x  900 @ 76

Turbo GXplus
1024 x  768 @ 60      1024 x  768 @ 70      1024 x  768 @ 76
1024 x  800 @ 74      1024 x  800 @ 85
1152 x  900 @ 66      1152 x  900 @ 76
1280 x 1024 @ 67      1280 x 1024 @ 76
1600 x 1280 @ 76
The TGX (not plus) is lmiited to a maximum of 1152x900 and your new lcd supports a higher resolution hence the black bars.

Did you look at the onscreen menu of the lcd monitor to see if there is an option to strech the display?  

And yes, if the other framebuffers would work with your sparcs, that should then solve the issues since it could then go to a higher resolution.

Author Comment

ID: 12035298
Bobo Tech,

no way to stretch video on Planar ws231, even Planar tech support could not believe this.

I think i am going to go and try and find some TGX+ cards and see if they will work.   Do you have any recommendations on where to get these, i've been looking on internet, but i can't seem to find any cards that are specifically listed for the ultra sparc 1, or the sparc station 5.


Expert Comment

ID: 12035336
Honestly, I would go to to find something like that.  Also you might want to consider posting in a sun sparc hardware newsgroup.  Such as here: or .

They might be able to hook you up with some new framebuffers.

thx for the pts.

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