VOGONS


First post, by kolderman

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I have a large number of 19" LCDs in storage. They are all from what I gather 1280x1024 screens (5:4).

I also have a couple of 20" Dell 2007FP LCDs - which are 1600x1200 (4:3).

I currently use one of the 19" screens as my primary retro gaming monior. From around 1999 onwards, I can choose 1280x1024 as the game resolution which matches the LCDs native resolution without scaling, which works well.

For pre-99 games, I am usually selecting one of the common VGA resolution, 1024x768, 800x600, 640x480 or 320x240, which not only require scaling, but do so imperfectly as it is not 1:1.

If I switch my 19" to the 20" then *everything* will be scaled, as I doubt my rigs can run much at 1600x1200 with acceptable performance, however all the scaling will be 1:1 (I will play 99+ games at 1280×960 probably).

I am concerned that with native 1600x1200 there is too much scaling involved, and quality will suffer, but not sure if this is offset by the fact aspect ratio is maintained. I am also concerned 20" will just look too big for earlier DOS games.

From what I can see all the 19" LCDs scale to fill the whole screen, with no option to preserve aspect ratio (i.e. fill horizontally with black bars top/bottom).

Thoughts/advice?

PS: I should also mention I have several 17" LCDs (also 1280x1024, no scaling options), and several 15" LCDs (1024x76) -- but the latter just seem too small now after playing on 19" screens for so long.

Reply 1 of 44, by darry

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2007fp actually has decent scaling, IMHO . If your GPU allows, you can use it to scale instead, if you prefer . Also, consider the fact that with a higher resolution monitor, you can scale with more precision (to visualize that, imagine a theoretical monitor with infinite resolution: its scaling could be perfect).

Wrong aspect ratio would kill it for me .

Reply 2 of 44, by SPBHM

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if I'm not mistake in previous threads on the subject it was said that the 2007FP can't handle 70Hz properly?
if that's the case it's a problem for DOS gaming,

on Windows XP depending on the graphics card you can just tell the graphics card to scale and correct aspect ratio, so effectively you get a 1280x960 screen with some black bars, I've used this solution recently for some games.

also, some monitors actually have the scale to 4:3 option, I have some HP 16:10 with a button "4:3" which does that to any resolution and both VGA or DVI.

Reply 3 of 44, by Oetker

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Old vga games are often 320x200, which makes scaling to 1600x1200 perfect. It's why I use a 2007fp. 800x600 is also perfect, of course. Don't know if it does 70hz but everything seems smooth enough. Also, can't you set your 19" monitor to scale with black bars on the top and bottom?

Reply 4 of 44, by darry

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Afaik, many "natively" 60Hz LCD monitors frameskip by design when receiving 70Hz or 75Hz . This may or may not bother you (does not bother me). Even if you got a freesync monitor (good luck finding a non widescreen), I am not convinced you could get actual 70Hz out of it under pure DOS, either with VGA or DVI/HDMI . Maybe somebody who has tried can chime in .

Reply 5 of 44, by kolderman

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Oetker wrote on 2020-05-01, 22:44:

Old vga games are often 320x200, which makes scaling to 1600x1200 perfect. It's why I use a 2007fp. 800x600 is also perfect, of course. Don't know if it does 70hz but everything seems smooth enough. Also, can't you set your 19" monitor to scale with black bars on the top and bottom?

No, that is precisely the problem. If I could would, but none of them do!

Reply 6 of 44, by kolderman

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darry wrote on 2020-05-01, 22:45:

Afaik, many "natively" 60Hz LCD monitors frameskip by design when receiving 70Hz or 75Hz . This may or may not bother you (does not bother me). Even if you got a freesync monitor (good luck finding a non widescreen), I am not convinced you could get actual 70Hz out of it under pure DOS, either with VGA or DVI/HDMI . Maybe somebody who has tried can chime in .

But this will be the same for both my LCDs right? And how many DOS games are actually producing 70 frames a second?

Reply 7 of 44, by imi

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darry wrote on 2020-05-01, 22:45:

Afaik, many "natively" 60Hz LCD monitors frameskip by design when receiving 70Hz or 75Hz . This may or may not bother you (does not bother me). Even if you got a freesync monitor (good luck finding a non widescreen), I am not convinced you could get actual 70Hz out of it under pure DOS, either with VGA or DVI/HDMI . Maybe somebody who has tried can chime in .

can this be tested in DOS easily somehow? cause many 19" or 20" screens do actually have 75Hz native panels

kolderman wrote on 2020-05-01, 23:22:
Oetker wrote on 2020-05-01, 22:44:

Old vga games are often 320x200, which makes scaling to 1600x1200 perfect. It's why I use a 2007fp. 800x600 is also perfect, of course. Don't know if it does 70hz but everything seems smooth enough. Also, can't you set your 19" monitor to scale with black bars on the top and bottom?

No, that is precisely the problem. If I could would, but none of them do!

some do

Reply 8 of 44, by kolderman

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darry wrote on 2020-05-01, 22:26:

2007fp actually has decent scaling, IMHO . If your GPU allows, you can use it to scale instead, if you prefer . Also, consider the fact that with a higher resolution monitor, you can scale with more precision (to visualize that, imagine a theoretical monitor with infinite resolution: its scaling could be perfect).

Wrong aspect ratio would kill it for me .

So what do you use? And I am not so sure scaling is that simple, as the more pixels, the more interpolation. I would say only matching native resolution would be perfect.

Reply 10 of 44, by darry

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kolderman wrote on 2020-05-01, 23:24:
darry wrote on 2020-05-01, 22:45:

Afaik, many "natively" 60Hz LCD monitors frameskip by design when receiving 70Hz or 75Hz . This may or may not bother you (does not bother me). Even if you got a freesync monitor (good luck finding a non widescreen), I am not convinced you could get actual 70Hz out of it under pure DOS, either with VGA or DVI/HDMI . Maybe somebody who has tried can chime in .

But this will be the same for both my LCDs right? And how many DOS games are actually producing 70 frames a second?

Games that use VGA mode 13h (320x200 in 256 colors) run at 70Hz. The majority of commercial DOS games from before the SVGA era use that resolution and run at 70Hz. Apparently, some monitors do not frame-skip when fed 70Hz . Since I am not really sensitive to this either way (or have not experienced an LCD that does a really bad job of frame-skipping), I can't really comment .

According to this thread Re: Good 4:3 LCD Monitor , you can test a program named PixPerAn whether frame-skip is occurring . IMHO, if you need test software like this to notice it, it probably won't be a problem for you .

Reply 11 of 44, by imi

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kolderman wrote on 2020-05-01, 23:34:

So what do you use? And I am not so sure scaling is that simple, as the more pixels, the more interpolation. I would say only matching native resolution would be perfect.

well different monitors would be better for scaling different resolutions
1600x1200 would be really well suited for 800x600 obviously since it's just 2x2 pixels each, how well the monitor actually handles that is a different quesion altogether though.

1280x1024 is very well suited for scaling lower resolutions, 320x200 correctly scaled would just equal 4x5 (4.8) pixels each, 640x480 2x2 pixels each, but again, depends on how the monitor handles it.
even though monitors will read 320x200 as 720x400 scaling results still can be good.

kolderman wrote on 2020-05-01, 23:35:

I mean ones I own. They are mostly Dells and none do.

I feel like modern monitors do a better job at this, in the early days of LCD everyone would just say "run the display at native resolution" and not much thought was given to correct scaling and refresh rates I guess.
modern Dells support 4:3 scaling.

from the Dell P1917S manual for example:
"Aspect Ratio
Adjusts the image ratio to wide 16:9, 4:3 or 5:4(for P2017H)."

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Reply 12 of 44, by kolderman

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imi wrote on 2020-05-01, 23:38:

1280x1024 is very well suited for scaling lower resolutions, 320x200 correctly scaled would just equal 4x5 pixels each, 640x480 2x2 pixels each, but again, depends on how the monitor handles it.
even though monitors will read 320x200 as 720x400 scaling results still can be good.

It seems to me that is mixing up 5:4 and 4:3.

Reply 13 of 44, by imi

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4x5 pixels in this case has nothing to do with 5:4

320x200 is a 4:3 resolution, but is technically not actually 4:3 in pixels, so when being scaled to 1280x960 it would be stretched by a factor of 4 horizontally and 4.8 vertically... so one pixel in 320x200 is roughly 4x5 pixels on screen... 4.8 really isn't that much of a problem here as the vastly higher resolution of the panel gives enough leeway here for filtering.

here's what that roughly looks like:

you can see how each pixel is about 4x5 pixels on screen, blending somewhat at the edge pixels due to filtering by the monitor which isn't very harsh imo, some pixels blend better than others, but it looks really good in person.

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Reply 14 of 44, by kolderman

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I any case I have decided to give the 20" screen a go.

Already games look a little different - squashed down a bit - but I realize that is how it is supposed to look, and I had just got used to them being stretched vertically a tad.

Bad scaling is quite easy to identity - just open MSPaint, draw a perfect circle (use shift), and measure the width and height. If they are the same, you have perfect scaling, if not it will be off by a little.

It seems that Win98 is happy to output 1600x1200 on the desktop using my current cards, and in-game I just make sure to choose a 4:3 resolution. They seem to look pretty good so far.

Reply 15 of 44, by SPBHM

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darry wrote on 2020-05-01, 22:45:

Afaik, many "natively" 60Hz LCD monitors frameskip by design when receiving 70Hz or 75Hz . This may or may not bother you (does not bother me). Even if you got a freesync monitor (good luck finding a non widescreen), I am not convinced you could get actual 70Hz out of it under pure DOS, either with VGA or DVI/HDMI . Maybe somebody who has tried can chime in .

I'm convinced that my 5:4 LCds can do 70Hz just fine, I tried the available tests (something web browser based, can't remember the name but it was designed to test monitor overclocking for frame skipping) that I found and from my perception I couldn't find signs of frame skipping at 75 and 70Hz, I think it would be something obvious if you are skipping 10 or 15 frames, but I just can't find any flaws with the smoothness, and these are pretty ordinary monitors, but they all have VGA.

Reply 16 of 44, by dr_st

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For retro gaming, I guess what matters most is how the LCD scales to specific lower resolutions, and how it supports various refresh rates. This will be different on a case-by-case and panel-by-panel basis, which is why you need research like is being conducted in the Good 4:3 monitor thread linked above.

For usage with a semi-modern PC, I would prefer a 20" 1600x1200, for the extra real estate given by the additional resolution. Historically, in the prime of 19" and 20" non-widescreen monitors, the 20" had a wide range of quality panels (IPS/VA), while the 19" were almost entirely TN and some mid-range VA. This has changed since.

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 17 of 44, by imi

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yep, hence my suggestion for going for more modern 19" monitors (they still make them), as they are often VA/IPS panels and do scaling a lot better apparently.
also most older 19" monitors I have come accross had problems with burn-in and are often affacted by the capacitor plague.

even modern 19" monitors can be had for super cheap from office clearouts or surplus sellers.

Reply 18 of 44, by kolderman

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So I have been using the 20" screen for a while...and it feels weird. I think I might have been so used to 5:4 stretching my eyes are still adjusting to what almost feels like a kind of widescreen display (even though it's just 4:3!).

One downside is I am tempted to run as many games at 1600x1200 where possible, at least one of my PCs can handle it. I am still not sure if the scaling from 1024x768 or 800x600 is resulting in interpolation muddiness or not. At least one seems to cope on a FX5950U.

The sharpness and quality of the display is better though. The "good lcd" thread above is ironically all about this 20" display I have, that I never knew was particularly noteworthy. Maybe it is, and I have 2 of them (got them el'cheapo at a office clearout some years ago). That thread however does not seem to suggest any 19" LCDs that do letterboxing or other 4:3.

Also, my 2007FP reports 70hz when playing an EGA DOS game (biomenace), which is presumably 320x240. I don't notice frame "skipping", it seems as smooth as the other monitor.

All in all I am thinking of going back to the 19". Why? So I can run more 99+ games at native 1280x1024 without performance worries, and frankly I never really notice the aspect distortion of strething 4:3 into 5:4. But I will give this one a few more days.

Reply 19 of 44, by kolderman

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Hmm so I just fired up Heretic on the same DOS machine...and when I move the mouse left/right quickly, I can see tearing that looks exactly like modern games without vsync enabled. I guess this means the graphics card is running at a higher frequency than the display. I will have to test this with one of the 19" monitors and see what happens...