LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

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LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby KJason » 2015-8-31 @ 19:33

Hey guys,
I'm looking to replace the 3 CRTs and one LCD on my desk with something that does it all in one. Considering a small "TV", i.e. 19"-24" LCD. I want at bare minimum inputs for composite (NTSC/PAL), s-video, component, DVI/HDMI and of course VGA.

The thing with VGA is I absolutely need good tweakmode/hackmode support and not a monitor that just throws its hands in the air and gives up at anything other than standard BIOS/VESA. I want it to work on stuff like Tran's "21-bit" demos (Luminati - oddball refresh rates), S!P Copper (lots of scanline hackery), "mode Q" (256x256x256), mode X, etc.

Other wants - 16:10 or 4:3, native res of xxxx*768 at bare minimum. An option for nearest neighbor scaling and pillarboxing would be boss but I'll take what I can get.

This will be hooked up to at least 2 DOS machines & a modern Mac through a KVM, some oldschool gear (MSX, etc) through composite/s-video, and I might even use an RF 'antenna' in for something...

Any recommendations for me?
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby ynari » 2015-8-31 @ 20:25

I've always found my VP730 to be good at unusual refresh rates and resolutions, but I doubt many TFTs would like scanline hackery.. That's just a TFT, not a TV, though.

I'll give it a go with Luminati and Copper later, although, wasn't Copper the demo that only worked completely with an ET4000 AX? I've got an S3 Savage 4 in my main pentium ii retro box, and a Cirrus Logic 5426 VLB in the other one, neither of which are likely to be 100%.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby kanecvr » 2015-8-31 @ 21:05

Iiyama prolite plb1906s - 19" 5:4 1280x1024 @ 75hz. It will do most oddball refresh rates, as long as they don't exceed 75hz at 1280 or 85hz at 640. Don't know about mode Q or mode X, but it does work with all interlaced resolutions I tried on it, and weird resolutions like 640x200 work as well. The auto adjust function on it is also brilliant, and it's LED backlit so blacks are great.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby KJason » 2015-8-31 @ 21:10

ynari wrote:I've always found my VP730 to be good at unusual refresh rates and resolutions, but I doubt many TFTs would like scanline hackery.. That's just a TFT, not a TV, though.

I'll give it a go with Luminati and Copper later, although, wasn't Copper the demo that only worked completely with an ET4000 AX? I've got an S3 Savage 4 in my main pentium ii retro box, and a Cirrus Logic 5426 VLB in the other one, neither of which are likely to be 100%.


Cool, thanks for that! Let me know how well they do. Copper works 'well enough' on my S3 Virge and probably other S3 cards as well; it's an interesting test. Its 'wobble' effects are done by changing the start position of each scanline - some LCDs ignore this and you just don't see any wobble, but the picture stays put. Bad LCDs like my old Compaq 1720, will throw a fit and shut off the display, or dump it to the next available input and force you to do a bunch of menu diving to get back to VGA. That's what I'm trying to avoid. :)
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby ab0tj » 2015-8-31 @ 21:24

I can't say that I've tried all those things. But I have a Dell 2007FP that has handled pretty much everything I've thrown at it. C64 connected by S-Video. Amiga 1200 and 500 connected directly to VGA, no flicker fixer or scan rate converter, in multiple modes. DOS boxes running many games. Mac and Windows desktops on DVI or VGA up to the native 1600x1200. Might be worth looking into.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby KJason » 2015-8-31 @ 22:22

ab0tj wrote:I can't say that I've tried all those things. But I have a Dell 2007FP that has handled pretty much everything I've thrown at it. C64 connected by S-Video. Amiga 1200 and 500 connected directly to VGA, no flicker fixer or scan rate converter, in multiple modes. DOS boxes running many games. Mac and Windows desktops on DVI or VGA up to the native 1600x1200. Might be worth looking into.


Wait, does this mean it supports 15 kHz hsync over VGA? That would be amazing!
I've had a couple of modern Dell displays on work machines & been really happy with them. Great blacks & vibrant colour reproduction. I didn't know they made any with composite+s-video though, gonna have to keep my eyes open.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby ynari » 2015-9-01 @ 00:36

I tried luminati and copper on my CRT and TFT; the results weren't exactly what I'd expected.

Luminati - it's very pretty, isn't it? Perfect on the CRT, absolute no go on TFT - instant out of range.

Copper - actually slightly better on the TFT! Neither work with the wobble effects, although the TFT very briefly shows the helicopter at the start. The zoom effect is buggy on all my hardware, and zoom and wave doesn't work at all. The image of a skull on a pole that bounces down is corrupt on my S3 Vision 968 and the Virge GX, but works fine on the S3 Savage 4.

I suspect my hardware or CRT is too modern to handle everything, will have to try on the 486.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby elianda » 2015-9-01 @ 02:55

Copper captured from a Belinea 101735 TFT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KeMtiYi808
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby ab0tj » 2015-9-01 @ 14:22

KJason wrote:Wait, does this mean it supports 15 kHz hsync over VGA? That would be amazing!
I've had a couple of modern Dell displays on work machines & been really happy with them. Great blacks & vibrant colour reproduction. I didn't know they made any with composite+s-video though, gonna have to keep my eyes open.

Yep. My only complaint is that it doesn't remember the screen position settings for those modes. So I have to adjust it every time I run a game or something.

EDIT: I think the reason it has 15kHz support is to handle the composite and S-video inputs, and it just happens to work through VGA as well. I didn't have much luck with a similar Dell flat panel that only had VGA and DVI.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby NJRoadfan » 2015-9-01 @ 14:49

The Dell supporting 15.75khz on the VGA port is uncommon, not all monitors with composite/S-Video support it on the VGA port. The Samsumg Syncmaster MP and MW series of TV/monitor combos likely support what you are looking for. They were available in both 16:10 and 4:3/5:4 varieties and included composite, S-video, component, DVI-D (with HDCP), VGA, and SCART 15.75khz RGB.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby KJason » 2015-9-04 @ 20:38

Check this out, I "stress tested" my Viewsonic VG150. This is a 15" 1024x768 TFT from ~2001 that I had lying around. As expected, it's not perfect, but it did pretty well. Unfortunately it's VGA only, no s-video/composite/15kHz/DVI support so absolutely no advantage over my CRT. But I thought this info might be useful for others.

"Copper" was the only outright failure (as expected) - it lost sync during the wobble parts and then 'reset' to a glitched mode that carried on until I changed it back manually (photos of this are on my other camera which I left at my office unfortunately.) PAL/NTSC-over-VGA didn't work (predictably.)

Here are the results:

Image
256x256 - displayed 240 lines, clipped 16.

Image
360x480, perfect

Image
376x564, perfect

Image
132x43 text mode, good (slightly ugly scaling)

Image
DoWhackaDo - odd green bar where video mode changes mid-screen; smooth scrolling

Image
Kukoo2 (384x564), perfect

Image
Luminati - perfect (the aspect ratio is squashed on CRTs too.) Pressing up/down/left/right changes the refresh rate and vertical positioning; it generally handled this pretty well (up to 90 Hz.)

Image
Timeless - ran both the original 56 Hz version and the 60 Hz 'LCD fix' with no issues

Image
Image
Sunflower by Pulse - highcolor fakemode displayed reasonable well. Some vertical banding but the scaling didn't spoil the effect too badly. I've seen worse.

If I can find a monitor that works this well *and* supports composite + s-video + 15 kHz modes I'd be pretty happy.

I have put together a small suite of utilities (mostly above) that can be loaded on a suitable VGA-supporting machine as a test bank. Is anyone is interested in contributing to a 'monitor compatibility database?' If so I'll upload this somewhere and post a few I've tested to start us off.

(I've loaded this suite onto my Thinkpad 365ED which is a 486 with a Chips & Technologies video chip so I can cart it around and test.)
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby Stiletto » 2015-9-04 @ 21:36

KJason wrote:I have put together a small suite of utilities (mostly above) that can be loaded on a suitable VGA-supporting machine as a test bank. Is anyone is interested in contributing to a 'monitor compatibility database?' If so I'll upload this somewhere and post a few I've tested to start us off.

(I've loaded this suite onto my Thinkpad 365ED which is a 486 with a Chips & Technologies video chip so I can cart it around and test.)


This sounds great, and a good companion to Gona's videocard tests:
http://gona.mactar.hu/DOS_TESTS/

Please do it. :)
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby elianda » 2015-9-06 @ 16:07

KJason wrote:Luminati - perfect (the aspect ratio is squashed on CRTs too.) Pressing up/down/left/right changes the refresh rate and vertical positioning; it generally handled this pretty well (up to 90 Hz.)


Your photo shows only one color hue. Are you sure that its perfect and not only showing one frame (even lines) of the interlaced picture?
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby xjas » 2015-9-07 @ 06:04

^^ It looked OK to me, the LCD response time is kind of slow which aided the blending effect a lot. It seemed to cycle colors as normally. (I've now put that monitor back in my storage room but can confirm this next time I get it out...)

Here is a link to the testing suite. I basically made it for myself but I'm curious what results others get with it. There's a readme and an example/template "database submission", but I haven't actually created the database yet so have fun with it in the meantime. I was intending just to make a big forum thread so everyone can contribute results. It's also hosted on my own personal dropbox but I definitely want to put it somewhere more permanent if lots of people end up using it.

I am very open to other, better suggestions on how to do this, as long as (a) it costs me exactly nothing (no self-hosted websites) and (b) I don't have to do a whole pile of work to 'commit' every single "database entry."

Also note: I am the OP of this thread. I'm just using a new account that matches my username on most other VC/tech forums.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby elianda » 2015-9-07 @ 08:18

xjas wrote:^^ It looked OK to me, the LCD response time is kind of slow which aided the blending effect a lot. It seemed to cycle colors as normally. (I've now put that monitor back in my storage room but can confirm this next time I get it out...)


I did a capture of luminati here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdLBXWNYUqE
There are always two independent effects at the same time using different clean r/g/b color hues.
A few TFTs I tested showed a picture, however only one of the two interleaved frames. As result you see there only one effect in one color.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby xjas » 2015-9-07 @ 08:44

I think you're probably right, now that I've had a better look ... to be honest I was so shocked it displayed *at all* I didn't pay that much attention to the colouring. I'll compare it again when I get a few spare minutes tomorrow. Ambience doesn't work at all, it just goes "out of range" immediately.

(Also I discovered another mistake in my earlier post - the green line in Dowhackado is caused by the VGA card; it also appears on a CRT. The VG150 displays it well when run from a different system.)
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby NJRoadfan » 2015-9-08 @ 01:05

I ran everything included in the test CD, the following failed with a Samsung Syncmaster 930MP.

-Kukoo2: Image shifted to the right, auto detect is likely having trouble here.
-Luminati and Ambience: Both give me "out of range" messages on the LCD. Apparently 85+Hz isn't possible with this monitor.
-Copper: Ran this on a ET4000AX for compatibility reasons. Works except for brief portions of the wobble effect, same as elianda's youtube video.
-15khz NTSC/PAL are not supported on the VGA port, need to use the SCART input for that.

I have a Samsung Syncmaster 940MW to test next. I'm hoping it uses a different ADC from the 930MP. I may decide to test the HP LP2475w I have here as well, but I won't get my hopes up on that being all that compatible.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby NJRoadfan » 2015-9-08 @ 20:42

...and with a Samsung Syncmaster 940MW

-Luminati and Ambience: Both give me "out of range" messages on the LCD. Apparently 85+Hz isn't possible with this monitor.
-376x564 tweak mode is falsely detected as a 16:9 widescreen mode! You can force the aspect ratio to 4:3 manually though.
-Copper: The helicopter wobble video doesn't blank the display, but no wobble is shown, just a flickering stable image. The ADC is likely correcting the sync errors ruining the effect.

Also, this monitor doesn't auto adjust on modes it doesn't recognize, you have to manually activate it from the OSD.
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby 5u3 » 2015-9-11 @ 19:44

Code: Select all
Monitor:    Samsung SyncMaster 2443
Native res: 1920x1200
Scaling:    Interpolated
Aspect rto: 16:10 (aspect ratio can be switched between "Auto" and "Wide")
Machine:    486DX4, K6-3+, Athlon

Video card: Tseng ET4000, S3 Virge DX/GX, Voodoo 5, GeForce 4 Ti4600
UniVBE:     none
Tested by:  5u3

OVERALL COMPATIBILITY RATING:
  11.5/14 - Good

  Application          P   F   CP  Notes
,-----------------------------------------------------------------------------.
| Ambience           |   | X |   | Blank screen, message: "Not Optimum Mode"  |
| Luminati           |   | X |   | Blank screen, message: "Not Optimum Mode"  |
| Timeless (56Hz)    | X |   |   |                                            |
| Timeless (60Hz)    | X |   |   |                                            |
| Dowhackado         | X |   |   |                                            |
| Kukoo2             | X |   |   |                                            |
| Copper             |   |   | X | No wobble effect, everything else fine     |
| Sunflower          | X |   |   |                                            |
| Yo                 | X |   |   |                                            |
| Impulse Tracker    | X |   |   | Ugly scaling                               |
| CubicPlayer 132x43 | X |   |   | Ugly scaling                               |
| Tweak 256x256      | X |   |   |                                            |
| Tweak 360x480      | X |   |   |                                            |
| Tweak 376x564      | X |   |   |                                            |
| PAL-on-VGA         |   | X |   |                                            |
| NTSC-on-VGA        |   | X |   |                                            |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Other notes:                                                                |
|                                                                             |
|                                                                             |
`-----------------------------------------------------------------------------'


How about adding sea robot of love to the suite? It uses a 50Hz mode per default (override with parameter -M for standard 70 Hz).
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Re: LCD monitors that support VGA hacks/tweakmodes

Postby xjas » 2015-9-13 @ 21:53

Cool, thanks for taking the time to try these out! The Samsung Syncmasters seem to be doing pretty well; maybe I'll try to grab one of those too.

I created the actual database thread finally so please post results up there. :happy: Maybe we can make this into something useful.
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