VOGONS


First post, by dexvx

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I only have widescreen LCD's (1920x1080p) currently.

I can run at 800x600 or 1024x768 and have windows/games span the whole screen. So I'm assuming there are some proportion problems. Is there any way to scale it (so it has black bars on the side) or am I stuck trying to find a 4:3 LCD?

Thanks

Reply 1 of 19, by PhilsComputerLab

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dexvx wrote:

I can run at 800x600 or 1024x768 and have windows/games span the whole screen. Thanks

With those resolutions, see if the monitor has any options for scaling? Or check the manual for clues. It's a pretty common feature these days.

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Reply 2 of 19, by dexvx

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:
dexvx wrote:

I can run at 800x600 or 1024x768 and have windows/games span the whole screen. Thanks

With those resolutions, see if the monitor has any options for scaling? Or check the manual for clues. It's a pretty common feature these days.

Wow, did not know this! Thanks looks like my monitors have it (Dell U2217H). I was also nicely surprised that a 2017 era monitor would have VGA out.

Also, love you video Phil. Was a big shove that I needed to get into this retro thing.

Reply 3 of 19, by PhilsComputerLab

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Sweet 😁 That screen should have scaling options, I'd be surprised if it didn't.

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Reply 4 of 19, by dr_st

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dexvx wrote:

I was also nicely surprised that a 2017 era monitor would have VGA out.

I would be surprised that a monitor of any era would have VGA OUT! 🤣

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Reply 5 of 19, by leileilol

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A Voodoo3 should be able to even use 1920x1080 on that LCD.

You may also try configuring refresh rates on the V3 to see if the monitor will treat the aspect differently. Mine does

by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x

Reply 6 of 19, by Tetrium

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:
dexvx wrote:

I can run at 800x600 or 1024x768 and have windows/games span the whole screen. Thanks

With those resolutions, see if the monitor has any options for scaling? Or check the manual for clues. It's a pretty common feature these days.

It is? I didn't even know this 😁

I should check if my widescreen has this option, but mine is a pretty old one 😊

Still the older flatscreens are still useful in cases of having limited deskspace 😜

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Reply 7 of 19, by PhilsComputerLab

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Yes I have a few 5:4 flat LCDs lying around 😀

Dome widescreens have a dedicated 4:3 button at the front. Benq and Philips for example.

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Reply 8 of 19, by emosun

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leileilol wrote:

A Voodoo3 should be able to even use 1920x1080 on that LCD.

really? a lot of gpu's that are much newer than the voodoo3 don't support many widescreen resolutions. didn't know a voodoo3 could actually output that type of resolution.

Reply 9 of 19, by kenrouholo

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PhilsComputerLab wrote:

Yes I have a few 5:4 flat LCDs lying around

Never understood why anyone would have bought 5:4 displays. Had people left them on the shelves, manufacturers would've released proper 4:3 displays instead like they should have initially done. What a frustrating period that was for monitor selection.

leileilol wrote:

A Voodoo3 should be able to even use 1920x1080 on that LCD.

It doesn't exactly have the power to run games at that resolution, though, so that's not a very great solution.

dexvx wrote:

Thanks looks like my monitors have it (Dell U2217H). I was also nicely surprised that a 2017 era monitor would have VGA out.

The Dell U2414 I'm using has an aspect ratio setting as well. VGA is still fairly common on laptops, especially business-grade ones, as many businesses have conference rooms with projectors that they still have not upgraded to newer units with DVI or HDMI or DisplayPort (I mean who cares if their pie charts get a little sharper on HDMI, right?), but it works out for retro PC gamers for sure.

Yes, I always ramble this much.

Reply 10 of 19, by kanecvr

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kenrouholo wrote:

Never understood why anyone would have bought 5:4 displays. Had people left them on the shelves, manufacturers would've released proper 4:3 displays instead like they should have initially done. What a frustrating period that was for monitor selection.

For the obvious reasons: most LCD screens were 1280x1024 which is 5:4. LCD monitors that can do 1600x1200 (4:3) were very expensive.

Reply 12 of 19, by dexvx

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leileilol wrote:

A Voodoo3 should be able to even use 1920x1080 on that LCD.

You may also try configuring refresh rates on the V3 to see if the monitor will treat the aspect differently. Mine does

The Voodoo3 does, in fact, have 1920x1080 resolution option. But when I use it, the screen aspect ratio looks quite strange; hard to describe. Or I may be just imagining things.

kenrouholo wrote:

VGA is still fairly common on laptops, especially business-grade ones, as many businesses have conference rooms with projectors that they still have not upgraded to newer units with DVI or HDMI or DisplayPort (I mean who cares if their pie charts get a little sharper on HDMI, right?), but it works out for retro PC gamers for sure.

Our work place finally moved to displays without VGA. And man what a clusterfvck that is. Every new conference room now has a DisplayPort cable and zip-tied to that is a myriad of DP>VGA, DP>mini-DP, DP>HDMI, DP>mini-HDMI dongles

Reply 13 of 19, by kanecvr

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kixs wrote:

15" LCD's were usually 1024x768. But those are pretty old and have other problems...

you are right of course. Most early 15 and 17" displays were 1024x768 (witch is 4:3), with some cheaper 15" units being just 800x600, but as far as I've seen those didn't sell as well as 5:4 1280x1024 displays since LCDs were very expensive and image quality was poor compared to a CRT.

What I meant to say is that when LCD monitor sales started climbing, most panels sold were 1280x1024 5:4. Also most of the "square" LCD monitors for sale today (second hand of course) are 5:4 units from back then. I've even been able to buy modern 5:4 1280x1024 LED backlit units (they are expensive tough) (Iiyama Prolite P1905S and C1911S).

Reply 14 of 19, by kenrouholo

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kanecvr wrote:
kenrouholo wrote:

Never understood why anyone would have bought 5:4 displays. Had people left them on the shelves, manufacturers would've released proper 4:3 displays instead like they should have initially done. What a frustrating period that was for monitor selection.

For the obvious reasons: most LCD screens were 1280x1024 which is 5:4. LCD monitors that can do 1600x1200 (4:3) were very expensive.

most 17" and 19" were 1280x1024, but for gamers those screens were junk anyway with very poor response times and color reproduction and such. CRT was still by far the better option at the time. Other size LCDs are very rarely 1280x1024. If people hadn't bought the 17" 1280x1024 LCDs, it would've only taken a few months for manufacturers to have brought out true 4:3 17" LCDs.

The problem with all these weird resolution displays is that most people just dismiss them as having "rectangular pixels" and that's that, but the thing is anything with a non-native resolution HAS to be scaled, and scaling to non-integer multiples will always cause quality degradation. It will never be possible to get the same video quality from a 5:4 screen, even if you exclude all the other issues that 5:4 LCDs have.

Yes, I always ramble this much.

Reply 15 of 19, by dr_st

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kenrouholo wrote:

If people hadn't bought the 17" 1280x1024 LCDs, it would've only taken a few months for manufacturers to have brought out true 4:3 17" LCDs.

For that to have happened, most of the users would have to be (1) very educated on the subjects of screens, resolutions, and the like, and (2) very much against 1280x1024 / 5:4, as you are. Neither is very likely.

1280x1024 was a popular resolution even before LCDs. For some bizarre reasons, even 4:3 CRTs advertised it as one their primary resolutions (more than the aspect-correct 1280x960). Pixel shape issues aside, 1280x1024 does give you about 6% more vertical space compared to 1280x960.

kenrouholo wrote:

It will never be possible to get the same video quality from a 5:4 screen, even if you exclude all the other issues that 5:4 LCDs have.

Why not? Just run it at its native 1280x1024 resolution. Most games of that period supported it; it was just as common as 1024x768 and 1600x1200.

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Reply 16 of 19, by kenrouholo

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dr_st wrote:
kenrouholo wrote:

It will never be possible to get the same video quality from a 5:4 screen, even if you exclude all the other issues that 5:4 LCDs have.

Why not? Just run it at its native 1280x1024 resolution. Most games of that period supported it; it was just as common as 1024x768 and 1600x1200.

I suppose I was sort of assuming that it would also be used with older games that did not have 1280x1024 capability, but you're right, many games specifically from the era of 98 and the Voodoo3 would indeed support 1280x1024.

As for CRTs, yeah some of them had a max resolution and/or recommended resolution of 1280x1024, but generally CRTs look decent with many different resolutions without needing a digital scaler. But fortunately there were plenty of CRTs that did not specifically recommend 1280x1024.

Yes, I always ramble this much.

Reply 17 of 19, by dr_st

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Well, the problem of scaling, as you said, is a general thing with all LCDs, not 5:4 units specifically. Fortunately, it does not look as bad with games and video as it does with text.

As for CRTs looking good at different resolutions, that's also true, but there is the issue of non-square pixels. In DOS, game developers that used 320x200 / 640x400 (8:5 wide resolutions) knew they were going to be run on a 4:3 screen with non-square pixels, and often compensated for that, but I think that in the age of Windows, higher-res games would not (and certainly, the UI itself would not). So if you had a CRT and were running it at 1280x1024, it would not look right (although many would probably not notice / care, it's only a 6% distortion anyway).

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Reply 18 of 19, by PhilsComputerLab

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My take on 17" and 19" 1280 x 1024 screens is that they are good package of availability, price, panel choices, speed and compatibility with old games.

Like mentioned, you can buy a modern screen today in the shop. I have one nice Asus 19" that I sometimes use in my videos to showcase. 5:4 is not 4:3, but it's arguably "close enough" for most. Certainly nothing like 4:3 compared to 16:9.

1280 x 1024 is also a good in-between step between 1024 x 768 and the much more demanding 1600 x 1200.

In games that don't account for the 5:4 ratio, the image will be slightly stretched vertically, making things look a bit taller and thinner, but it's quite subtle, even in DOS games IMO.

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Reply 19 of 19, by Falcosoft

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I also do think that 1280x1024 was a weird/unfortunate choice from the LCD industry. The only argument must have been it was a VESA standard resolution. But the problem was that initially it was not supposed to be a square-pixel resolution. E.g. Turbo Pascal/C vesa16.bgi driver offered 1280x1024 but as a non square pixel resolution (just like VGA 640x350 and VESA 640x400) that supposed to be corrected to 4:3 aspect ratio. And suddenly the square pixel 5:4 aspect ratio was born in spite of no high demand for more vertical pixels. We were just before the wide-screen boom. Moreover the most popular/affordable 17' monitors were too small for this resolution for the average (office) users so they used these monitors mostly down scaled. Besides washed out they also got distorted display since no other 5:4 aspect ratio resolutions existed in the neighborhood (1024x768, 1152x864). 1280x960 would have been a much better choice.

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