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  1. Hi all.

    I have a 27.5 inch 1920x1200 monitor connected to my PC and I would like to connect a small 7" to 10" monitor to the same PC via the VGA port.

    Do I need to worry about which aspect ratio the smaller monitor is advertised as? I want my desktop, programs, etc to appear appropriately on both monitors at the same time without having to change any video card settings. I don't mind changing the aspect ratio of videos in my media player software, etc.

    I have come across the following options for the smaller monitor.

    7" - 1024x600, 16:9
    8" - 1024x768, 4:3

    Would the 8" monitor not be suitable?

    Thanks for any advice.
    Last edited by Traveller; 7th Jan 2020 at 18:31.
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  2. How exactly do you plan to use the second monitor? Do you want the same thing displayed on each? Or do you want to extend your Desktop?
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  3. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    how freaking old is the video card to have an "vga" port? and you have a 640/480 analog monitor to use it with? standard vga doesn't allow 1024/anything. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Graphics_Array
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    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  4. As long as Windows detects the monitor and the monitor reports it's resolution/size properly back to the PC, the fonts/scaling should be fine.
    Almost all modern monitors will work fine in this manner.

    Aspect ratio won't matter as long as the information is reported to the PC correctly.
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    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    how freaking old is the video card to have an "vga" port? and you have a 640/480 analog monitor to use it with? standard vga doesn't allow 1024/anything. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Graphics_Array
    Don't confuse VGA port with the VGA display standard that you linked to. VGA video is analog and has nearly infinitely variable resolution capabilities. I don't know if all video cards can do this, but I had a video card that you could punch in any height/width resolution you wanted.

    As for resolution limited, I've run 1920x1080p @ 30fps from the onboard VGA port on my circa 2007 system. And I have a couple of USB to VGA adapters that can do that if connected to a USB 3.0 port. Limited to 800x600 on USB 2.0.

    Edit: Business oriented PCs often still have VGA ports and sometimes serial ports because they haven't upgraded their monitors or their hardware, e.g. POS may require a VGA monitor and serial port for register printers.
    Last edited by lingyi; 8th Jan 2020 at 00:16.
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    According to displaywars.com http://displaywars.com/8-inch-4x3-vs-7-inch-16x9, you'll get a .3" larger image at 16x9 on your 8" screen. However, a 16x9 image on the 8" screen will probably seem smaller than the 7" screen because of the black space.

    I prefer and use 20" Dell 20FP (1600x1200) monitors at home because of the extra screen room top and bottom. I have a four monitor setup with two Dell monitors on the bottom and two 19" TVs on the top. Displaywars says the 19" TV is .5" wider, but because of the bezel it's exactly 18" wide like my Dell. However, when I play a video on my Dell it seems smaller because of the visible black space top and bottom. But if I turn off the lights, the displays look exactly the same size.

    I have an old 10" 4:3 tablet as well as several 7" 16x9 tablets. The illusion is the same with the lights on.

    Edit: The tighter bezel on 16:9 screen give the illusion of a larger screen. Test it out yourself. Go to the store and compare two TVs with the exact same screen size but different bezels. The one with the thinner bezel looks bigger. This is also why TVs that look smaller on display the store store than then look in your much smaller space home.
    Last edited by lingyi; 8th Jan 2020 at 01:18.
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  7. Thanks for all the replies.

    jagabo, yes I want the same thing displayed on each. I've already got a second monitor on which I have an extended desktop, so the small monitor will be my third monitor. The two main monitors are connected by dual DVI ports on my graphics card, which has a VGA port also.

    aedipuss, it's an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Graphics Card.

    babygdav, it's a Linux PC, not Windows.

    lingyi, sorry if I don't understand it very well. So, if I have four folders on my desktop (one at the top, bottom, left and right edges of my big monitor). If I don't change any settings what would I see on the smaller monitors?

    Would I see exactly the same on the 7" 16:9 monitor but smaller and would it pretty much fill the whole screen?

    Would the folders appear large and not all of them visible at the same time but the image pretty much fill the whole screen and would it be 'stretched' or not? Or would I get exactly the same as my big monitor but with black spaces on the sides?

    Thanks.
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  8. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    The VGA port & cable standard should really be called by its design: DB-15.
    The VGA resolution standard is rarely used nowadays - what's continued ought to be called the VGA-ish family, with VGA as the ancestor, as it really encompasses a range of colors, framrates, and resolutions. For example, I commonly use WUXGA (aka 1920x1200 @ ~60p @ 24-30bit color).

    Resolution isn't an inherent limiting factor, but unlike digital connections like dvi, dp & hdmi, vga is analog and those signals get more and more prone to interference and other degrading elements the higher resolution it gets.

    Scott
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  9. Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
    jagabo, yes I want the same thing displayed on each.

    Would I see exactly the same on the 7" 16:9 monitor but smaller and would it pretty much fill the whole screen?
    The resolution of that monitor, 1024x600, isn't 16:9 (1.778) or 16:10 (1.6, like your bigger montior) but rather 1.707. So if it displays as 16:9 it's not square pixel. That can be compensated for in the display driver (definitely in Windows, I presume in Linux). But the lower resolution will make small text unreadable in mirror mode. You won't actually want to use it for much of anything. And the image will be distorted or it wont' quite fill the screen.
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  10. Thanks for the further explanations, Cornucopia/jagabo.

    So, what is the smallest sized screen (with what resolution and aspect ratio) would I need to have things looking and working acceptably? Have found a 7" that claims to be 1280x800 and 16:10. Does that sound legit?

    (Just a comment, the 1024x600 monitor is advertised as being 16:9.)

    Thanks.

    jagabo/aedipuss, sorry I gave you the wrong info. The VGA port is on the motherboard! There is a mini HDMI though and according to the manual, HDMI (by adapter) and D-sub (by adapter). I am not sure if you can use all three at the same time, but when using the small monitor, the two big ones will be off anyway.
    Last edited by Traveller; 8th Jan 2020 at 10:45.
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  11. Do a screen capture of typical content of your 1920x1200 laptop. Resize it in an image editor to 1024x600. See how readable it is. Try other sizes to see what you can stand to live with.

    Windows used to have the ability to use a secondary small monitor as a window onto the larger monitor. Ie, you would see a 1024x600 portion of the main monitor's 1920x1200 screen. As you moved the cursor around the window would move with it. I don't know if Linux has that ability. I don't think Windows has it anymore.
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    Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
    Thanks for all the replies.

    jagabo, yes I want the same thing displayed on each. I've already got a second monitor on which I have an extended desktop, so the small monitor will be my third monitor. The two main monitors are connected by dual DVI ports on my graphics card, which has a VGA port also.

    aedipuss, it's an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Graphics Card.

    babygdav, it's a Linux PC, not Windows.

    lingyi, sorry if I don't understand it very well. So, if I have four folders on my desktop (one at the top, bottom, left and right edges of my big monitor). If I don't change any settings what would I see on the smaller monitors?

    Would I see exactly the same on the 7" 16:9 monitor but smaller and would it pretty much fill the whole screen?

    Would the folders appear large and not all of them visible at the same time but the image pretty much fill the whole screen and would it be 'stretched' or not? Or would I get exactly the same as my big monitor but with black spaces on the sides?

    Thanks.
    I have four monitor setup like this:
    Image
    [Attachment 51383 - Click to enlarge]


    But it could be different size screens like this:
    Image
    [Attachment 51384 - Click to enlarge]

    Note that the top screens are 4:3 at a different resolution.

    Also check that the DB-15 VGA display out works. Some motherboards, will allow only two out of the three video ports to work at once. If it doesn't, you can add cheap VGA card for the output. I was going to suggest a USB to VGA adapter like I have, but see that most don't support Linux.
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    My Dells have hardware Picture In Picture capability where I can use attach and view a second video source (VGA, composite, s-video) and move it to the four corners of the screen. It's rare, but I've seen the a couple of modern monitors that have the feature.

    Edit: I think I can swap the main and PIP screens also.
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  14. OK thanks jagabo/lingyl.

    I am not sure I've done it the right way because when I take a screenshot the image has my desktop in the top left corner, a black space underneath and an image on the right. I am assuming this is a screenshot spanning both my monitors. So, I had to crop the screenshot and then scale it to 1024x600. The text underneath the icons is blurry but definitely acceptable to me; I can read it.

    Thanks for the example images. I think my VGA does work as I think I've used it before. I've also just realised that the two monitors run off the graphics card whereas the small one would be running of the motherboard's VGA (if that makes any difference), unless it is better to use the video card's mini HDMI.
    Last edited by Traveller; 8th Jan 2020 at 13:08.
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    Yes, it makes difference that the VGA/DB-15 port is on the MB since as you've tested, it isn't overridden my the other video connections that I thought were on your MB too.

    While monitor quality is always a factor in display quality, it's even more important for VGA because it's analog. If your monitor has VGA in, you could probably connect VGA and switch between that and your regular video input. The VGA display at any resolution will be less sharp. If you can use it, HDMI will be clearer.

    If you have a tablet, you should be able to run VNC (I like Ultra VNC) on it and view your desktop on it to get a preview of what it will look like. If you don't mind the slight lag (bad for watching videos), you may be able to use that setup instead of a separate monitor.

    Are you locked into a 7" or 8" monitor? If you can go larger, you could probably find a 17" or smaller monitor on Craigslist or a thrift shop for under $50 or even free as people move to larger screens.
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  16. If you are talking about "extending" your desktop across 4 monitors (different windows can be opened on each), then anything will do.
    you can adjust the display settings in linux to properly tell it the resolution and aspect ratio as needed so that the different aspect ratios don't produce a squished display.

    ...

    If you are talking about "mirroring" the main display across all 4 monitors (since you noted "yes, I want the same thing displayed on each"), no good idea - never heard anyone trying this before. Usually all have the same aspect ratio (all 16:9 or 4:3).

    https://www.reddit.com/r/kde/comments/5lxlfn/handling_of_multiple_displays_with_differ...m_content=PSR1
    https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=204531

    These links may provide clues. If the Linux display settings can be adjusted so that it understands to take a 16:9 primary display and show it as a letterboxed (black bars on top and bottom) image in the middle of the 4:3 external monitor, then it'll work.

    You would typically be specifying the same RESOLUTION (any physical size) and ASPECT RATIO for all 4 monitors to mirror properly at 1:1 pixel mode.

    ...

    For video work -
    Otherwise, any production switcher with a letterbox conversion feature can take any 16:9 vga output and letterbox it as a 4:3 output. However, the resolution will not be 1:1 anymore (eg. a 1920x screen displayed on a 720x letterboxed won't be showing all 1920 pixels horizontally one-to-one, so you can't read tiny text clearly).
    People typically do this to verify that a 16:9 2K/4K/8K ATSC edit still looks fine on a 4:3 NTSC TV (for those still with analog TVs and converter boxes).
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  17. Thanks for the advice/helpful info.

    lingyi (sorry, looks like I called you 'lingyl' in one of my posts!). I wanted the monitor to be portable around the room, hence the small size.

    Thanks for all the help and taking the time to kindly respond everyone, it has been really appreciated!
    Last edited by Traveller; 9th Jan 2020 at 11:30.
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    Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
    Thanks for the advice/helpful info.

    lingyi (sorry, looks like I called you 'lingyl' in one of my posts!). I wanted the monitor to be portable around the room, hence the small size.

    Thanks for all the help and taking the time to kindly respond everyone, it has been really appreciated!
    Then it sounds like VNC is the solution for you. It's free and relatively easy to setup/use. Otherwise how were you planning to carry your monitor around with the bulky VGA cable attached to it? There are wireless VGA dongles, but it takes away a lot of the portability. https://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-BitPath-Wireless-Transmitter-Receiver/dp/B01MU83A5G

    If you just want to be able to view your screen, get a bigger monitor!

    Please update on whatever you choose to do, as with all threads/posts, it may be helpful to others.
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  19. Yes, I will post back with any updates.

    Sorry, I may not have worded it very well. I won't be carrying it around whilst using it. I just wanted it to be movable from one part of the room to the next for example, from where I store it to where I use it, etc. I'll only be using it in one place at a time (within the same room). The cables won't bother me and I have a few power outlets also.

    Thanks again for the info/advice, lingyi.
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    Interesting usage. I'd recommend going with the mini or regular HDMI because VGA cables are bulky and the wiring prone to breakage at the connector or inline because they're not meant to be moved around. Also, if if the VGA connector is tightly screwed in, it works itself loose (again, not intended to moved around) and could potentially damage your monitor or PC through a short. Voice of experience. Killed a monitor reconnecting a loose/bad VGA connector.
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  21. Fyi.should you want to take that monitor into a different room or get rid of the video cable someday, Wireless HDMI adapters exist. Wireless hdmi into a battery powered monitor would be 100% wireless.
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  22. lingyi, thanks for the advice. I will keep this in mind. The usage is no different to a laptop, but I don't want a separate laptop as I only need access to my main PC and not a separate computer entirely and even if I did have a laptop, I would probably use it plugged into the power socket anyway.

    babygdav, I won't be using the monitor in any other room, but thanks for the advice. It sounds like something that I could be interested in in future.
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  23. way to Rigel 7 cornemuse's Avatar
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    I have come across the following options for the smaller monitor.

    7" - 1024x600, 16:9
    8" - 1024x768, 4:3
    Just curious, where did you find these 2 monitors?
    Cranky Old Man
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  24. Hi cornemuse.

    They are on eBay/Amazon. I think they're mainly for CCTV and other needs for a 'screen' and not really supposed to be a computer 'monitor'.

    Searching for 'portable monitor' or 'portable screen' should bring them up.

    Hope that helps.
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