Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category.

Monitoring

So I got my new monitor today. I have been kind of annoyed since I got this 1920×1080 monitor from work (2 years ago maybe?) that the other monitor I had was 1680×1050. Not that the width mismatch is noticeable but the height one sure is. Without a true rectangular surface, some things are either lost off the bottom, or the mouse doesn’t move smooth across it. So I have been dying to get a 1920×1080 monitor to match it

So Best Buy had a sale the other day and they had a 24″ TV on sale that supposedly did 1920×1080. And that would be perfect. I would hook the PC connections up for my 2 work machines and then plug in the HDMI from the home theater PC to get both video and sound from it. So I bought it and brought it home and hooked it up.

Oops, didn’t work. Turns out, you only get 1920×1080 if you hook it up via HDMI and I needed to use the VGA plug to use with my KVM switch that allows me to share my 4 (!) computers with one keyboard, mouse and one set of dual monitors. You only got some weird screen resolution with the VGA adapter (something like 1300×768 or something like that).

So back it went. Too bad, because I really liked the idea of a remote even. So I decided to think about it some more, as I didn’t see anything at Best Buy that had what I wanted:

  1. 1920 x 1080 via the VGA
  2.  builtin speakers (so I can watch a movie with my home theater PC – my 5.1 Logitech speakers are hooked up to my main personal system).
  3. HDMI input (I didn’t want to be bothered with a DVI->HDMI adapter, as my home theater PC display card has an HDMI connection right on it)
  4. At least 23″ in size

Then I got an email from Newegg, bragging about some monitors. While none of the ones in the advert were what I was looking for, they have a very shopping website that easily allows you to focus in on the features you want (unlike Amazon or, even worse, Best Buy). And I saw this ASUS monitor on sale for $180, with a $10 rebate. Seemed like a nice with all the features I was looking for. So I took the plunge.

And after just 2 days (free shipping even), it arrived today, so I hooked it up. And I am impressed. In fact, the biggest problem with the monitor is that it puts my other 1920×1080 monitor (by Sceptre?) to shame. It is bright, crisp, sharp, really nice. And it worked very well with my home theater PC even. This Asus VH238H Black 23″ monitor is really nice and now I’m thinking I should buy another one, even though I probably can’t get the rebate again.

So now I have a very nice desktop. Two side by side 1920×1080 monitors makes for a pretty sweet layout.

The only real drawback to it is that it is a bit finicky to swap the input. It would have been nice to have a remote to do it. I have to press a front panel button, hit it a few times, select Input, then down arrow a few times to select the HDMI. But I won’t be doing that all too often, so it isn’t too bad. But like I said, I really would like to get another one just like it.

Works great with my Openbox installation on ArchBang. I had to reboot to get the nVidia config to notice I had changed my monitors, but that’s all I had to do. I tell you, rag all you want on the binary nVidia drivers, but they just work.

Mars Needs New Video Card

I have the Witcher 2 on pre-order at GOG.com and it is the first game where the “minimu” video card exceeds my nVidia 8600gt (it wants at least an 8800). As I have somehow survived for 2 or 3 years with this card, I think I have gotten my monies worth.

I used to be a big ATI fan boi but for lo these many days, I have been using nVidia. The proprietary Linux drivers “just work”, especially with my dual monitor set up. I am a little hestitant to go with the ATI, especially due to the KMS business, which I have never had to bother with using the nVidia card.

But Newegg has the 6870 for only U$167 or the 6950 for US$199 with a sale and a rebate, which is hard to pass up. Both seem to get pretty good reviews for what I’ll be doing – mostly just Linux work, with the occasional boot into Windows to play some (usually trailing edge) games.

Anyone have any feedback on these cards? Is the 6950 worth the extra US$30 (about 20%)? As I keep a card for several years, it’s probalby a good idea to max it out while I can, right?

Newegg.com – XFX HD-695X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6950 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
Newegg.com – XFX HD-687A-ZNFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity.