Crazy LCD / Video Mystery
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JimmyStephans
Registered: Sep 23, 2004
Total Posts: 137
Country: United States

LCD / Video Card Mystery

I have an ongoing issue with one Windows 7 system in my office that is driving me crazy. The basics are - One computer seems to display on-screen a tiny, tiny bit out of focus. Its almost as if the image is zoomed a tiny bit (105% or something like that).

First, the set-up... My office has these computer systems:

3 Windows XP desktops (1 Intel, 2 AMD processors) with ATI / AMD Radeon 4650 1GB video cards. 4GB ram. Each of these has Photoshop - 2 with CS, and one with CS2. They all also have a simple viewing program called ACDSee (more on it below). All 3 have HP LP2475w LCDs calibrated with ColorEyes Pro.

1 Windows Vista desktop with onboard Intel video. 4gb ram. Normally attached to an HP 19" LCD and used for accounting - but in testing I installed ACDSee and attached to HP LP2475w (without calibrating). The issue did not show-up on this machine during the test.

1 Windows 7 (64bit) Machine with AMD processor and ATI / AMD 5450 1GB video card. 16GB ram. It is attached to HP LP2475w LCD but doesn't have ColorEyes software. Its mostly used for video conversions. Has ACDSee installed.

1 Windows 7 (64bit) Machine with the Intel 3930K Sandy-Bridge processor. 32GB ram. This is a new machine I built. Its a copy of a machine built in MaximumPC magazine over the summer using same exact parts except the case. The machine has the CS6 (64bit) with all updates. It also has ACDSee (same version as all others). It is this machine that is killing me. Its fast, boots quick, does my Photoshop work / actions very quickly. However, it has problems I can't figure out. As mentioned above - many items displayed onscreen seem a tiny bit out of focus.

To show what I am referring to I have made a 400 x 400 screen capture of the lower left area near the Start button and the ACDSee icon from three machines. This is the standard set-up of all windows machines in my office - classic menus, black solid color background, and very few icons on desktop.

The first image is one of the XP machines attached to HP LP2475w. The Recycle Bin and ACDSee icon look normal.








The second image the Windows 7 machine with AMD processor / Radeon 5450 attached to HP LP2475w. The Recycle Bin and ACDSee icon look normal. Different Recycle Bin icon on Win7, but reasonably sharp.








The third image is the Intel 3930K machine attached to HP LP2475w. The Icons are not clear / sharp, but should look exactly like the machine above. Same Windows Version, Same LCD, same exact menu settings and background for desktop. This particular image was produced with an ATP FirePro 3900 Graphics card. The original build was an ATI 6750 1GB card. The slightly out of focus issue is seen in other applications, including PS.








I have tried everything I could think of and nothing has cured the problem.


A- Tried switching LCDs with the Windows 7 / AMD machine.

B- Tried an ACER LCD.

C- Uninstalled 6750 video card and drivers and reinstalled with latest drivers from ATI/AMD site.

D- Changed out the original Radeon 6750 for the FirePro3900 - including uninstalling all drivers / catalyst control software, then installing latest right from ATI/AMD site.

E- Pulled the ATI 5450 from the Windows 7 / AMD machine and installed in 3930K machine - including uninstalling all drivers / catalyst control software, then installing latest right from ATI/AMD site.

F- Played with all the basic Windows settings, such as larger text, etc. All Windows and Catalyst settings on the 3930K machine match the other Windows 7 machine in second image.

G- Check BIOS settings and none seem to be related to video as motherboard has no on-board video option.

H- Cleared the ICON cache in Windows to clear and rebuild desktop. Remember, issue is not only ICON related, but I tried anyway.

I- Set, and reset, the LCD resolution (1920x1200) over and over again. Even ran at wrong resolution, rebooted, reset, etc.


Other Info - My 2008 Dell Laptop, 17", with XP and built in video looks exactly like the first image above with other XP systems. Today I purchased a new Windows 7 machine to replace the Vista accounting system. Its has Intel i5-3750K, 8GB ram and nVidia GT610 1GB video card. I attached it to one of the HP LP2475w LCDs and quickly installed ACDSee to make the exact same test screen capture. It looks exactly like the 2nd image above from the first Windows 7 system (AMD based).

Bottom line is only the expensive / fast machine has this issue.

The Details:

Intel 3930K Sandy-Bridge Processor
Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 Motherboard
Crucial DDR3 Ram (32GB)
Gigabyte Radeon 6750 Video card, but also tried FirePro 3900 and Radeon 5450 with same results


I'm guessing that it may be something simple that just isn't coming to mind for me.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Jimmy




BobCollette
Registered: Mar 01, 2004
Total Posts: 1012
Country: United States

Have you checked to see if text anti-aliasing is enabled? This sometimes is referred to as "smooth edges of screen fonts". This can cause text to look "soft".

Go to Computer and right-click and select Properties, which is the same as Control Panel/System. Click on "Advanced System Settings" and select the "Visual Effects" tab. Scroll through the list and uncheck "smooth edges of screen fonts" if it's checked. Click the OK button to dismiss the dialog.



JimmyStephans
Registered: Sep 23, 2004
Total Posts: 137
Country: United States

No, I had not tried that. Great thought - but didn't help. The Windows 7 machine what works / looks fine was set to "best performance" which unchecks everything. I tried that on the error system but no change.

Darn!



JimmyStephans
Registered: Sep 23, 2004
Total Posts: 137
Country: United States

Solved - sort of.

While trying Bob's suggestion I noticed that my options for the AERO desktop are all "greyed out"... meaning I couldn't select any of them. Don't know why, never cared because I prefer the classic old style start menu / desktop.

I Googled that issue and was taken to a page that explained using the built-in troubleshooter. That didn't help and the system said all was well. I then found a page that discussed a Registry edit to help.

http://www.mydigitallife.info/hack-to-force-enable-aero-in-windows-7/

Doing that brought back the AERO options in "Personalize" after a reboot and seems to have settled the main problem too.

But, after another reboot, the AERO options are now greyed-out again.

But, the main problem is solved and the ICONs and other items seem sharp and in focus.

Not worried about the AERO options as I never use that anyway.

Thanks for the help.



Alan321
Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 9886
Country: Australia

Has the graphics card on the offending computer been set to a different scale factor or dots per inch ? There used to be such a feature that displayed a short ruler scale and you would fiddle the numbers to get windows and/or the card to make that ruler look life size. Then all of the applications would also be life size when set to 100% no matter how many dpi the screen had. On XP you'd right click on the desktop and then select graphics properties and then choose the appropriate tab.

It's been too long since I used Windows for me to be familiar with it now.

- Alan