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Laptop gives blurred display with external monitor. Is it possible to plug in a new VGA out chip...?

Posted on 2006-05-08
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Hi all,

A while ago I bought a 2nd hand ThinkPad T30 laptop (4 years old). Its a wondeful machine, however it gives a blurred display with an external monitor. I suppose this is just from age. I have come across a number of older, quality latops that do not produce a good dispaly on an ext monitor. Does anybody think it is possible to swap the VGA-out chip for a new one....?

From my experience, it seems that the VGA card is the first thing to go in PCs. can anybody verify this?

tia

avraham makeler
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Question by:progtw
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 225 total points
ID: 16630005
Some of the newer laptops have replaceable VGA cards, but the older ones like this one are not interchangeable like PC's.  You may want to try a different VGA cable, and try rubbing off the oxidation on the port by using an old cable and reinserting a few times.
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by:progtw
ID: 16630386
>> try rubbing off the oxidation on the port by using an old cable and reinserting a few times.
Nice idea. And you made me think of something: I am using a port replicator, so I tried attaching the cable directly to the laptop. Well...I think it made some improvement. Then I in-out'ed the cable a few times as you suggest and wiggle it around and the display seems a bit better.

Also my screen is geting a bit old (an 11 year old EIZO - a Rolls Royce in its time) so the two blurring factors are maybe combining. Time I got a new screen.

I am using one screen (+ 1 mouse + 1 keyboard) displaying from two computers: the laptop and a desktop with a new display adaptor, and I flick between them using an electronic switch. The sceen displays much better from the PC+new adaptor.

(Btw, I once had a case where a new new adaptor simply did not live very well with the electronic switch. I changed the adaptor card to one from another company and now it works great.)

I have a feeling it is not that I was just unlucky with my second hand laptop. It just seems that VGA display adapters only last about three years.

avraham
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by:rid
ID: 16634074
What kind of monitor is this about? If it is an LCD, the blurryness may come from the laptop not using the full (native) resolution of the external monitor. If it is a CRT monitor, can it display a crisp screen with another PC?
/RID
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by:progtw
ID: 16636422
Response to rid:

As mentioned, my screen is an 11 year old EIZO, so it is an CRT - in it's time, it was the best. Cost $1700. At that time I was one of the first in the country to have a 17" - and a top quality one at that...

As mentioned, the screen works pretty well with another PC (an old Pentium 2 - 350 MHz, but with a brand new display adaptor).

Maybe you didn't see my earlier post.

It's definitely the fault of the laptop VGA chip(s). It's old. I love everything else about my 2nd hand T30. So little money for such a light but powerful PC. A new ThinkPad R50 would have cost the same, but they weigh in at pretty much 3 kilo...

Don't know what I am going to do now. I am using my old, backup PC to do my daily work because my laptop gives such a blurry display with my external screen.

Thanks.

avraham

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by:rid
ID: 16636825
Sorry, my bad reading. EIZO's are good stuff. I can only suggest you try out several different resolutions and refresh rates for the external screen, if the laptop allows for such options. Perhaps one combination is less blurry than another. I am not readily accepting the thought of solid-state circuitry "going old" or deteriorating noticeably over time, not this kind of circuitry, anyway. I suggest you exchange the monitor cable, if possible, before giving up on this combination. It may be a problem with signal output level and perhaps a cable that is less-than-perfect.
/RID
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by:progtw
ID: 16637541
Response to rid:

>> I can only suggest you try out several different resolutions and refresh rates
That's a nice idea. However, I don't have much more for maneuvering. I am running at 1024x768, and my laptop does not output 1100 x whatever. The next one up is 1200x1024 but at that resolution my EIZO's refresh rate can't run at any more than 75 Hz, and I need at least 85 Hz on a CRT or the flicker really shoots my eyes up. Anyway, I tried some different resolutions, and maybe there was some improvement. There is 1200x1024 in panning mode. Seemed a bit better.

>> I am not readily accepting the thought of solid-state circuitry "going old" or deteriorating noticeably over time, not this kind of circuitry, anyway.
It does. MY desktop's PC card went bad and I put in a new one, and now fine.

>> I suggest you exchange the monitor cable, if possible, before giving up on this combination. It may be a problem with signal output level and perhaps a cable that is less-than-perfect.
I am using a switch with three sets of three cables (kybd, mouse, monitor) - one set go to the periphs, the other two sets go to one computer each. The cable from the desktop gives a nice display. I could go down on all fours and see what happens if swap the sets (and make another half an hour go to waste…) butI don't think that's the problem.

An LCD screen would help now. But it will be less than best when with my laptop. I have already seen that when I went to check some new LCDs.

avraham





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Accepted Solution

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rid earned 225 total points
ID: 16638009
OK, so you're using a KVM switch.... That, in combination with an old (-ish) monitor and a laptop VGA output can very well be the source of the problem... I think trying a direct connection is a good idea. Desktop VGA output is often a bit more powerful, at least it seems so in many cases and the KVM may have an impact on signal quality.
/RID
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Author Comment

by:progtw
ID: 16638123
Ok, for the sake of curiosity, I could hook up the laptop directly to screen to see what it looks like.

But I need the switch...

Btw, what does KVM stand for?

Thanks,

avraham
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by:rid
ID: 16639087
Keyboard, Video, Mouse...
Cheers
/RID
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by:progtw
ID: 16665276
had a 'breakthrough'. Oh, I am such an idiot...

I was vaguely aware that the screen seemd more blurred recently than when I first bought the laptop about 9 months ago. I assumed that this was because the laptop VGA circuitry is simply getting older. Then I remembered that at some poiint somebody sold me there was such a thing in XP as ClearType, which is good for LCD text... (Actually, often it can also help CRT text.) So I entered the Effects windows and completely disabled screen font smoothing. And guess what...?! Now my old screen with my old laptop looks much better. (However, when running the screen with my old PC (+ new VGA card) the display still looks somewhat sharper.)

Seems that ClearType is definitely NOT a good idea for old, blurry VBA cards (and especially when connected to old CRTs...)

I will split up the points.

thanks,

avraham

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by:rid
ID: 16665344
That's good news and rather intersting that the effect is noticeable on a CRT.
/RID
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by:progtw
ID: 16665557
I hooked the laptop directly to screen to see what it looks like - maybe a little improvement fromt hat - not much.
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