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Archive for the ‘displays’ Category

Dual monitors with a hackintosh

December 28, 2009 6 comments

For the past few years I’ve used a Dell 2005FPW screen, which although reliable was limited by its 1680 x 1050 resolution. I’m using a full HD video camera and TV so the next step was a HD or better monitor for editing. I wasn’t sure if the 9800GT card in my main hackintosh would need software tweaks to support two monitors but a quick test with a spare 15 inch TV/monitor showed it worked fine. Just to recap, I’m using an EFI string for video card support with the default 9800GTX setting from OSX86Tools.

Next step was to choose a monitor. Since I don’t play a lot of games the main use will be video and photo editing, so I was looking for something with good contrast and black levels as well as reasonable colour accuracy. The target was HD or better resolution and around a 24 inch screen. The most common resolution at this size was 1920×1200 until recently, but these displays are rapidly disappearing to be replaced with 1920×1080 panels. All the comments I found on this give cheaper manufacturing as the reason. Read more…

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10.5.7 and Display refresh rates

July 6, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve written previously about the setup of my HTPC and LCD TV, and this included setting the HThackintosh to the optimal resolution and refresh rate. Since then I’ve commented on the occasional small jumps in the picture, and after investigation I’ve put this down to differences in media frame rate and display refresh rate. Much HD content is 24 frames per second, which doesn’t go smoothly into 50 or 60 frame per second display refresh.

There are many threads in the Plex forums about using software such as DisplayConfigX to create custom display modes for refresh rate. There are also warnings that Plex has issues with display refresh rate and media frame rate being the same, resulting in audio sync loss. Auto switching display refresh rate to media frame rate is on the todo list for Plex, so hopefully the issues can be fixed. Read more…

Hackintosh HTPC part 4

March 3, 2009 2 comments

In Part 3 I briefly touched on screen settings, and ended up using the analog output of the HTPC at 1920×1080, 59.9Hz. Picture quality was good, and to my surprise the pixels output by the video card were perfectly mapped to the ones on the TV. I used the free monitor setup displays at http://tft.vanity.dk/ for testing, and applied setting for colour and sharpness that had been previously been set using a Home Theatre setup DVD.

The setting that made the biggest improvement here was sharpness. On my TV, a Samsung 46A656, the default setting was 50 on all inputs. I had assumed this meant no sharpening but a quick run through the test cards on the setup DVD showed this to be anything but neutral. A black pattern of lines on a grey background showed very bad white edges around the lines, indicating too much sharpening. Dropping the sharpening to 10 gave a much better image, and the colour setting was dropped to 42 from 50 using other tests. Read more…

Hackintosh HTPC part 3

February 5, 2009 7 comments

In part 2 I detailed the motherboard, processor and ram picked for the HTPC. The plan was to initially use the spare Nvidia 7300GT card and replace this dependant on space available in the final case. I had a spare Tagan 480w PSU and a midi tower case as a temporary home, and the 500Gb hard drive from the hackintosh (replaced with a new 1Tb).

The build was straightforward so I won’t dwell on that. The first choice was how to install Leopard. The 500Gb hard drive had the hackintosh install on it so I chose to boot this first and see what happened. It wasn’t much of a surprise when this started up fine as it had previously been working on an intel chipset motherboard. The only thing that didn’t work was audio, so the next choice was do I keep the install and remove unnecessary software/files or do a fresh install? Read more…

Hackintosh HTPC part 2

January 31, 2009 5 comments

Having decided to build a hackintosh HTPC in part 1, the next step is picking hardware. This would normally include a display and this project is no different. The display this time though is an LCD television instead of the usual LCD monitor.

I had a short list of potential TV’s and the top was occupied by a couple of Sony models, the 40V4000 and 40W4000. The decision on which to go for would depend on what deals were available as the spec is similar, with the 40W4000 being a 10 bit panel (instead of 8 bit) and adding some multimedia features. Next on the list were Samsung’s 6 series models. A local retailer had an older Samsung 46″ 5 series and a Sony 40L4000 (a cut down 40V4000) hooked up to a Vista PC through a KVM switch, running at something like 1366×768 resolution. I increased the resolution to 1920×1080 and to my surprise the Sony showed an unsupported display mode message while the Samsung looked fantastic. Read more…

Few surprises at the Apple live event

October 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Rumours are nice but the downside is a lack of surprises when the products are finally revealed. Apple today unveiled a range of new Macbook, Air and Pro laptops with glass trackpads, Nvidia chipsets and LED backlights that are pretty much as expected. The previous Macbook is still available in a white only entry level version for £719, the full range comprises:

  • White 13 inch Macbook with 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB DDR2 Memory, 120GB hard drive and Intel GMA X3100 graphics for £719
  • Aluminium 13 inch Macbook with 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB DDR3 Memory, 160GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics for £949
  • Aluminium 13 inch Macbook with 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB DDR3 Memory, 250GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics for £1,149
  • Macbook Air with 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (1066MHz FSB), 2GB Memory, 120GB SATA hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics for £1,299
  • Macbook Air with 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (1066MHz FSB), 2GB Memory, 128GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics for £1,299
  • 15 inch Macbook Pro with 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB Memory, 250GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB for £1,399
  • 15 inch Macbook Pro with 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB Memory, 320GB hard drive, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB for £1,749

The previous 17 inch Macbook Pro is still available for £1,949. The other new product announced was a 24 inch cinema display using LED backlighting and providing a Magsafe charging cable for your Macbook.

Windows 7 previewed at D6

May 28, 2008 Leave a comment

Biggest news today is that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer last night previewed Windows 7 at the All Things Digital conference. From the details revealed, the future of Windows is multi-touch in a big way. Full details of the interview and video can be found at engadget (and here), osnews and allthingsdigital.

While it looks very impressive, I’m a bit puzzled at the big focus on multi-touch interfaces. While they work great for a handheld device, or a tablet PC, they’re not so great for a desktop PC where lifting your arms to the screen constantly would quickly become tiring for a lot of users. Tablet PC’s have so far met little success, so does this mean they will become the focus again for Windows 7? I can’t see big business adopting multi-touch interfaces any time soon, where home users are more likely to embrace a tactile interface. Hopefully someone is developing a fingerprint resistant screen to go with this. Read more…