Widescreen displays are all the rage, but some onboard video and graphics cards aren't up to the task of supporting some sizes. Here's how to make sure you get full benefit from your new display.
These days, it's easy to pick up a 22-inch widescreen display for less than $300. And, even larger 24-inch widescreen displays can be had for around $400. But before you toss aside your existing LCD or CRT display for one of these letterbox wonders, better find out if your video card can handle the native resolution of your new display. 22-inch widescreen displays typically have a 1680x1050 resoluition, while 24-inch displays typically have a 1920x1200 resolution, but check monitor specifications to be sure.
Checking Display Support
Once you know the native resolution of the display you're considering, open the Display properties sheet and click Advanced (Windows XP).For Windows Vista, open the Personalization menu in Control Panel, click Display Settings properties sheet, then click Advanced Properties. Open the Adapter tab and click the List All Modes button.
Will It Work? List All Modes Knows
If you see the native resolution of your display listed in List All Modes, you know you can use the new display as it was meant to be used. If not, make sure you are running the latest drivers for your video card or integrated video.
No Support? Time for a New Card
In some cases, you might discover that your video card or integrated graphics cannot support the native resolution of your intended display. If you buy it anyway, the display will use a non-standard resolution that will provide poorer display quality. In a worse-case scenario, if you might not have any widescreen resolutions, the display would be run in a squashed-looking 4:3 ratio. To avoid this problem, upgrade to a newer graphics card that does support your preferred display.