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New Monitor for Use with Dell Inspiron 8500 Notebook


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#1
capescafe

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Hi all,
I just bought a new 22" Samsung Widescreen LCD Monitor (220 WM model) for connecting to my Dell Inspiron 8500 Notebook. I was finally able to get it setup so that the new LCD monitor is the main one and the laptop monitor is the secondary. But I'm not able to get the full screen resolution on the Samsung monitor. Right now it's viewing at 1024 x 768 and everything appears stretched. When I try to change it to 1600 x 1200 it says it's not optimal and that the best is 1680 x 1050 but that's not even an option in my display settings.

The video card or Display adapter that I have in my laptop is Mobility Radeon 9000. So I think it just may not able to view the 1680 x 1050 resolution that my Samsung monitor should be displaying. So my question is...are there upgrades available for my laptop? Or are there drivers that I can download to upgrade the one I have already without having to go buy a new graphics card?

I'm not super tech savvy when it comes to hardware...so any help or advice would be much appreciated. I've been reading the FAQ's on Samsung's site for the monitor I bought and it said the video card should be able to support a widescreen resolution of 1680 x 1050 or 1440 x 900.
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#2
pip22

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Hi, capescafe, and welcome to the forum.

What you probably read on the Samsung website is that your existing video adaptor "should be able to support 1680 x 1050 or 1440 x 900" meaning that you need to check for yourself that your existing video adaptor can actually manage those resolutions, since they can't possibly know what type/model of adaptor you have.

The resolutions available to you (and the color-depth) are governed by the amount of memory on the video chip inside the laptop. You may find higher resolutions will become available if you first lower the "Color quality" setting from 'high' to 'medium' which will release some of the video-memory for a higher resolution. But that's doubtful. Your laptop has, I think, 64Mb of video memory. My graphics card also has 64Mb and won't go any higher than 1280 x 1024 even with colour set to 'medium'. Fortunately for me that's the correct 'native' resolution required for my 17-inch LCD monitor, and in any case I can fit a new graphics adaptor on my PC if and when that becomes necessary.

I'm afraid there's nothing you can do since upgrading the video adaptor on a laptop is not an option, and it's not something a different or updated driver can fix.

See if you can't exchange the monitor for one with a smaller screen, but first check what it's native resolution is (if it's LCD) against the available resolution-settings on your laptop.

Edited by pip22, 12 December 2007 - 09:46 AM.

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#3
capescafe

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Thanks for the welcome! I googled "Computer geek forums" because I figured that was the best place to search for answers to my questions. So that's how I found this forum. :)

Anyways, I thought that actually my laptop's video memory was only 32mb...but I'm not sure. How do I find that out? The Samsung monitor's native resolution is I believe 1680 x 1050 and my laptop's is 1280 x 800 I'm pretty sure. My husband has a Samsung 19" (model SyncMaster 191T). It's not a widescreen so maybe that might work. I guess I'm gonna have to trade him. He's gonna be excited. He really likes my new monitor.

Oh also, my laptop screen size is a widescreen. But I think the ratio is 16:9, and the new Samsung monitor's ratio I think is 16:10.
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#4
capescafe

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Also one more question...how do I know what kind of monitor I can use with my laptop? What sort of specs should I be looking for?
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#5
pip22

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Every LCD monitor has what's known as a 'native' or 'optimum' resolution which ensures the sharpest and clearest image, and that's what you should be using it at. So basically you need to make a note of what resolutions are available on your laptop's display settings, then before you buy an LCD monitor make sure it's 'native' or 'optimum' resolution (which should be given in the monitor's description or specifications) is one which you know your laptop can be set to.

Yes laptop's video memory may indeed only be 32Mb, which would account for the lack of some widescreen resolutions at the upper end. This is often a 'grey' area since many video adaptors , while being the same make and model, are fitted with different amounts of memory (in multiples of 32) according to how much the PC builder wishes to pay. You can reveal how much yours has via:
1. Start->All Programs->Accessories->System Tools->System Information.
2. Click the little arrowhead against 'Components' in the left pane.
2. Click 'Display' in the left pane.
3. In the right-hand pane, the amount of display memory is listed against 'Adapter RAM'.

Don't worry about a widescreen ratio of 16:9 as opposed to your laptop screen ratio of 16:10, the difference is negligible and for all practical purposes they can be considered the same. Only a mathmetician would argue the point! Your only area of concern is to get a monitor whose required (native) resolution is one which you know your laptop can provide.

Edited by pip22, 12 December 2007 - 12:39 PM.

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#6
capescafe

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Thanks so much pip for all your help. I do only have 32mb of video memory. So tonight I sadly gave up my brand new 22" monitor to my husband who gave me his older 19" monitor. But the 19" works great with my laptop and since I can still use my laptop screen as my secondary monitor I still have lots of room to work now. I'm a web designer, so its nice to have more space to work.

If anyone else is curious about the monitor I'm using with my Inspiron 8500, it's also a Samsung LCD flat panel 19" SyncMaster 191T. Of course the color and clarity is not as nice as the Samsung 220 WM model, but this is good enough for now.

Thanks again for you help.
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