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Old 03-01-2005, 09:03 PM   #1
Senior Member
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 1,040

Rep: Reputation: 47
How I got my LCD display much sharper

I run Mandrake 10.1 OE, and have an old (in Internet/computer terms) Pentium III 550 Mhz desktop unit with a new Princeton VL 1916 19" LCD monitor that I love; an "old" ATI Rage 128 video card. Those are the components that matter for this issue.

I'd noticed on my (excellent) Microtek 17" LCD, which the Princeton replaced in December, that some characters (I use anti-aliasing everywhere) were blurry on one edge no matter how I adjusted the clock or frequency settings with the monitor controls, and the same remained true with the 19" Princeton. I figured I just had to live with it, and it was acceptable but not pretty.

Then I read from a fellow poster here on LQ about running xorgconfig to set up monitor parameters, and I thought, what the hell, I'll try it out. To my amazement, the text on the screen after I created the new xorg.conf file was razor sharp throughout! That program adjusted the display in ways the built-in controls were unable to.

The only drawback was that, as far as I could see, I also had to tell xorgconfig how to set up the mouse and keyboard, and it didn't have some options I'd been using, so I lost some functionality with them. I went in and re-wrote those sections by hand, copying from the file I'd been using, and I also put in the DPMS option so my monitor will shut off after about ten minutes of total disuse.

This is one of the biggest improvements I've been able to make in my system, and it will save me eyestrain as well as looking much prettier.

I mentioned this success in another thread, but I hope it's OK to post it here anyway, so it may have a better chance of helping other users with similarly fuzzy displays.
Old 03-02-2005, 03:01 PM   #2
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: UK, Europe
Distribution: Slackware64
Posts: 761

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Which fonts do you use for your display - the Bitstream fonts, the Microsoft fonts, or some other fonts that Mandrake ships? (Have a look in the KDE Control Centre > Appearance and Themes > Fonts)

Basically, my experience with LCDs with fonts has been this:

1) If you use the Bitstream fonts that come with X by default, you have to do a lot of coaxing and tweaking to make them work well on an LCD (not helped by the fact that I don't think they're that good either).

2) If you use the Microsoft fonts, on many distributions these don't work out of the box due to a crippled FreeType (the font rendering engine in X) being shipped due to patent problems with Apple. In many of these cases, to get the best performance out of the MS fonts (to match/beat Windows for them), you need to replace FreeType with a non-crippled version (either grab a package, or recompile from source yourself) and then use the MS fonts. Of course, has to be difficult so requires a little more tweaking than the rest.
Old 03-02-2005, 03:07 PM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 1,040

Original Poster
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I use Utopia almost exclusively because it looks the most like Times Roman, which is my favorite font. I think Utopia is an Adobe font.... I'm almost completely unknowledgable about fonts--everything I try to read and understand about the subject ends up confusing me completely! I guess that's all the more reason I was so pleased with the improvement I unexpectedly got by running xorgconfig.


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