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VGA Drives Monitor Correctly, but DVI Won't


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Forgive me for bringing a desktop question in here. But this board has a good rep, and I'm not getting much help anywhere else.

I am running an NEC 20WMXGX2 and a Dell XPS 410 with an Nvidia GeForce 8300GS video card that came with the CPU. System is Windows XP Home.

Everything is new.

The problem is that the monitor works at its native resolution (1680x1050) only through the VGA port.

When hooked to the DVI port, 1680x1050 is not available as an option and does not appear on the list of modes supported by the adapter (in the advanced window of the display settings control panel).

And yes, all the drivers are up to date and appear to be operating properly. I've checked and rechecked.

I've had lengthy conversations with tech support at all three vendors, the end result of which is:

-- NEC says it's the Nvidia card.

-- Nvidia, after much back-and-forth, says the card *should* suport 1680x1050 through DVI -- I'm a little skeptical, since they make the assertion only after several exchanges and a driver change -- but offer no idea why this one doesn't. Nvidia also says they say they only make the chipset, and that I need to find whomever made the card to resolve the problem. They do suggest I try a different DVI cable.

-- Dell says I should get another monitor. Or I am free to return the CPU for a refund.

An additional detail: The video card that came with the machine was not sending any signal at all through either port (tested on two different monitors). Dell replaced it quickly, free of charge. But I wonder if it doesn't indicate a quality control issue that might be appearing here, too.


-- What am I really missing running this through VGA instead of DVI - how much should I be sweating this headache? I'm not doing intensive video on the machine.

-- Would a different cable make a difference? That strikes me as odd, but this is new terrain for me.

-- Should I press Dell to try a third card?

-- Should I just go out and get another card from a new vendor (I've got enough time sunk into migrating the old machine onto the new one that I'd just as soon not ship this one back).

-- Anyone else ever have a problem like this?

Thanks in advance.

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Does DVI work at all? Can you add custom resolutions in the advanced resolution settings?

That resolution should work on probably any DVI capable nvidia card, even ones from like 5 years ago. It will also work on single link DVI, so that isn't the problem.

Some GeForce 3/4/FX cards can only do up to 1600x1200 on DVI do to design flaws, but manufacturers quit making cards like that many years ago.

My guess is the monitor is not correctly reporting to the computer what resolution it supports, so inputting a custom resolution in the driver options or trying a different monitor might work.

Maybe you could borrow a monitor with the same res somewhere, or take the PC down to best buy, ect and ask if you can borrow one of their on display 1680x1050 panels in store to test.

I think some NEC monitors in the past have had problems reporting the resolution to the computer through DVI.

You know Dell themselves sells some nice LCDs these days, I hooked up one of their 20inch 1680x1050 LCDs for someone one day and it was a really nice LCD. (even though the res is a little low)

Dell's line doesn't have any resolution reporting problems (it just works) and if I were you I would spend a little bit more and get a 24 inch 1920x1200 screen anyway.

Dell, samsung, and a few others sell desktop monitors at that size and resolution, and most also have component, composite, and s-video input; and sell for $600 or less.

So in summery I think you should just return the monitor and get a better one, or buy a graphics card from a local store that has a return policy.

Even if your afraid of opening your PC up to test a graphics card, you can probably easily install a card in that PC without a screwdriver.

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