Re-Use Dell Monitor

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Hi all

Is there any reason why I shouldn't use an old Dell flat screen on a new Win
7 64 bit PC?
The screen has a VGA cable which currently has a plug-in converter to adapt
from VGA to something clever at the graphics card.

Do modern Win 7 PCs still come with VGA out ports as standard?
Will the standard Windows 7 monitor drivers talk to this older screen?
Are there any implications of the 64 bit architecture?  Presumably, by the
time we are talking video signals sent to a monitor, these are PC
architecture independent??

Final question: is it worth adding a low end graphics card to a PC that will
be for general Office type use - rather than use on-board graphics and tie
up system RAM?

Thanks for any input on this


Re: Re-Use Dell Monitor

TheScullster wrote:
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You can reuse the VGA. It should work as well on the new computer with VGA,
as it did on the old computer with VGA.

It helps if the monitor claims to be "Plug and Play". That means the
VGA connector has DDC serial bus, and the video card can read the EDID
table via means of that serial bus. One of the pieces of data, is the
maximum resolution the monitor supports. Without that information, you
have to install a "monitor driver" instead, if you expect the computer
to know what the maximum resolution is. Also, the resolution choices may
be limited, if the OS can't get enough information about the monitor.
The OS can tell something is plugged in, via "impedance sensing", but the
OS may be otherwise blind, if it can't get to the DDC.

If you want to query the monitor, and read the EDID table, there is this.
You can test this on your current Windows computer, and verify the EDID
is present.

A low end graphics card, may have a better video decoder (less load on the CPU
when playing certain movie standards). It might support dual link DVI
(for 30" Apple or Dell 2560x1600 monitor). It might offer some GPGPU/CUDA/OpenCL
computing capability (not really mainstream yet). Some Adobe packages may
use the card for accelerating certain functions (again, not really mainstream,
and perhaps not even documented that well). And the main reason for an add-in
would be better 3D game play. In short, you might easily avoid adding
the card, until you discover the base computer has no VGA connector.

If the computer has "DVI-I" on it, you can use a passive dongle to extract
the VGA signals and give a VGA output. You can see in the pinout table here,
for the DVI-I connector there are C1 through C5 signals, for RGBHV (red,green,
blue,horizontal_sync,vertical_sync). Using an adapter, puts those signals in
their familiar positions on the 15 pin VGA. The DDC bus on the DVI connector,
also gets routed through to the VGA connector.

This is a passive adapter - these used to be bundled with video cards,
but don't expect your new computer to include one of these. These connectors
are a lot cheaper, when they're bundled with a product. Probably the worst
place to buy an item like this, is a radio/TV/stereo store. The computer
must have DVI-I for this to work. If the computer has DVI-D, that is
digital only and has no analog signals for extraction and usage on
a VGA connector.

There are other ways to make VGA interfaces, but since you can find
video cards for ~$35, it doesn't make sense to do more than just get
an add-in card to fix the problem. That's a pretty easy way to do it.

$36 for this one. Fanless. D-SUB = VGA. HD 5450

For some reason, to make your life miserable, they put a piece of
heatsink on the secondary side of that video card. In which case,
you have to do a clearance check to see whether it'll fit or
bump into the Northbridge heatsink. You can find others, where
the heatsink is on the component side only. ?$S640W$

When gaming, the HD 5450 draws 9.2 watts. So even if your new
computer has a "weak" power supply, that card won't break it.
When the video card manufacturer says "400W power supply minimum",
they full of beans. Even a 250W supply can run that card, if your
main processor is low power.

If you wanted that card to drive two VGA monitors, you'd purchase
a DVI-I to VGA adapter, and plug it to the DVI-I connector. Both the
"native" VGA connector and the "converted" DVI-I to VGA, behave the
same as far as the computer is concerned. They're no different.

To confirm the DVI-I connector on the card is actually DVI-I, usually
the advert on the manufacturer site answers the question. Here, I needed
an Excel spreadsheet to get the answer.

Use the free Excel viewer. Click the "HD 5K Series" tab. Scroll over
to the right. The HD5450 section shows "DVI-I" = 1 for the cards and
Dual Link DVI = 1 as well, which means the DVI connector has both
digital and analog, and on the digital side, has the double bandwidth
interface for a 30" digital monitor (Apple Cinema).

           DVI-I dual link

           Digital \___ One interface used, up to 1920x1080 or so
           Digital /    Two interfaces used for 2560x1600 monitors, 30" size

           Analog  --- adapt to VGA

And all that capability, for $36.

That wouldn't be much of a gaming card, but it does support enough
recent standards, that many pieces of software you try to run,
will do *something*. For example, Flash acceleration might work.


Re: Re-Use Dell Monitor

"Paul" wrote

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Thanks Paul, that has to be one of the most comprehensive responses to a
message I have ever received
Very informative


Re: Re-Use Dell Monitor

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Paul is helpful since many of us have little time to formulate a huge response
like his, but he does cut and paste alot from Wikipedia!!!

Re: Re-Use Dell Monitor

GMAN wrote:

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I wrote Wikipedia... in my spare time :-)


Re: Re-Use Dell Monitor

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LOL!!!!!!!  You are great for helping people!

Re: Re-Use Dell Monitor

TheScullster wrote:
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I don't think it would work. Because you're running 64 bit windows and
VGA is a 32 bit standard.

Re: Re-Use Dell Monitor

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My 12 year old Compaq S700 works perfectly when occasionally hooked to a
quad core win 7 x64 computer, so you should double check your info.

Re: Re-Use Dell Monitor


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My new Dell's (64 bit windows 7) graphic card has both a VGA and an
HDMI output. I connect HDMI to my new 22" and the VGA to my old 17"
monitor. Both work!! I have it set up as one big monitor and can drag
stuff back and forth easily. Because the resolution is different you
have to make some allowance, but I am delighted with the results. I
can have something very different on the two screens, and that can be
very helpful.
BTW, the old Dell had an ATI card with a TV tuner and only a DVI
output that required the adapater to connect to the VGA nonitor. I do
miss the TV!

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