Resolution matters

When the price for a Samsung 20″ LCD dipped below $300 USD, I snagged one, only to find that the onboard video on my desktop, which had been driving a smaller 1280×1024 LCD, wouldn’t handle 1600×1200. Oops. Fortunately, the two resolutions are both a 4:3 ratio, and the Samsung scales down to the lower resolution. Text isn’t crisp, but isn’t fuzzy, either.

Swapping in a spare low-end ATI card didn’t help. I still only got 1280×1024, but now windows jerked around the screen when I dragged them. The card went back into inventory.

This morning I bought up a low-end nVidia card. On first try, it only yielded 1024×768. Oops. Digging through the Ubuntu forums yielded the “well, duh” clue: I needed to install nvidia drivers and do a minor bit of configuration. Now I had crisp 1600×1200. Woo hoo!

That’s when I found that I actually prefer running the 20″ at a lower resolution. Leaning back in my chair with my feet on the corner of desk and the keyboard in my lap, the display is about three feet away. At that distance, text on the screen at a lower resolution is readable. But at 1600×1200, I either have to kick the font size up, or lean forward and squint.

Leaning back this way isn’t doing my posture any good, but as I look a bit to the right, out the window, I see the evening sky turning dark pink and blue behind a large oak tree. And to my left, a cup of tea is within reach. Life, at least momentarily, is good.