Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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A rather pleasant recent discovery regarding OSX is with respect to support for higher refresh rates on external screens. A problem early on had been that OSX would refuse anything but 75Hz on external displays for the Powerbook, this became a little more tolerable when they also offered 85Hz for the 1024x768 resolution.

Screenshot of monitor panel on secondary screen. Strangely Apple stuck with 75Hz for the higher resolutions, particularly the ever useful 1152 one that'd go down rather well with the 17" screen in my office. Interestingly, though, looking at the Monitor panel for that screen recently, because OSX had chosen to 'forget' my preferred refresh rate – causing me to wonder what's wrong with my screen –, I discovered the as-yet-unseen-by-myself resolution of 1344x1008 pixels, giving a proper 4:3 ratio and being offered at refresh rates up to 100Hz. Nice.

As my screen is a rather cheap one, I can hear it make a high pitch noise at 100Hz, but I get a nice and flicker-free image at 90Hz. Good.

This is probably another occasion to admit that while I once declared 8MB of video memory sufficient for anything – actually 10MB may be what you really need for driving 2D graphics on two screens. In other words, I can only have 32K colours on my secondary screen now. Luckily that's not a big deal as I mainly use it for viewing black and white PDF files, which don't need the colours and actually benefit from the resolution that I'd consider slightly too high for the screen's size otherwise.

February 16, 2004, 0:38

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