A new monitor cable makes it feel like I got a new machine

For quite a while now, I have had a 24 inch monitor. I have it connected to a junction box that lets me switch my mouse, keyboard and computer between the three machines I have. The only downside to all of this is that my junction box is pretty old. It only supports PS/2 mouse and keyboards and VGA monitor cables.

On the plus side, it works. But on the down side, the monitor supports a 1920×1200 resolution and try as I might, I could never get my screen size that large. I installed the drivers, uninstalled, reinstalled, etc… and it never would let me go past 1600×1200. While Windows would show everything, text was not sharp, colors seemed a bit different and light gray lines that separated objects (think table borders) simply would not draw.

Then last Friday I got a DVI cable and connected it in. Windows then let me change the monitor to 1920×1200 and WOW – what a difference. Colors are bright, fonts are sharp, I can see 100% of the UI. It really is like having a whole new machine.

Here’s a quick sample of what I had before:


And after:


This is just the "Rename" command off of the OneNote section tab. Worlds of difference.

The only caveat to all of this is that I have to manually switch the monitor input when I connect it to the older machines I have which do not have DVI outputs. They still use the VGA connector and I need to find a way to cable this all together so that I only have one place to switch machines I am using.

The other lesson learned here is that hardware differences can make an impact on testing. If I report UI bugs to our developers, I will be sure to follow up on how their machines are connected if they see different screen elements than I see.

And this new monitor cable now wins the contest of cheapest upgrade that has the highest impact for my computer!

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,


Comments (3)

  1. Laurent says:

    At or over 1680 resolution, you are very likely to need a DVI cable. VGA analog just doesn't cut it beyond that

  2. JohnGuin says:

    Laurent – you are absolutely correct – I just wish I had known this back when I got the new monitor.  I actually remember mentioning that I wanted my old 20" monitor back since it had a better image than the new one…