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In November 2008 I bought my first ever desktop LCD display, a BenQ E2200HD display, mainly because the price was right: only Australian $225. Only a year ago the prices were more like $1000. Clearly the advent of HDTV and BluRay are pushing the prices down; I hope they'll go a lot further.

In summary: it's a 21.5" display with 1920x1080 pixels, considerably less than what I would have liked; in fact, it's the lowest resolution I have bought in over 10 years. I've had a higher resolution display on the Dell Inspiron 6000 that I got three years ago, and the price differential for that resolution display wasn't very high. But it works well, and you can't really blame BenQ for selling what the market is asking for.

The rest of this page describes the issues I had setting it up. None are directly related to the panel; I'd assume that I would have had exactly the same experience with any other similar panel.

Setting up DVI and VGA on a dual output card

Setting up the monitor wasn't even as simple as I had feared. Despite the specifications, it came with both a VGA cable and a single link DVI-D cable—the latter mentioned even in the instructions as “optional”. Finally got the thing into place—it's directly in front of me and replacing another BenQ monitor with a different resolution: the old monitor ran at 1600x1200, and the new one has 1920x1080. Ran X -configure, but it didn't even see the second nVidia card. Played around with the old xorg.conf and set appropriate resolutions for the new monitor, but the driver refused all of them and set the display at 1280x1024, which is a completely wrong resolution. It also made some reference to a dual link DVI connection, which might be related, though it's not clear how it can think that when the cable is only single link. In any case, it didn't just reduce the resolution of that display, but also of :0.3, which is connected to the same card. After a lot of playing around, discovered that the only way I could get my desired resolutions was to use the VGA cable.

Despite what Callum Gibson says, I can't see any difference in sharpness between DVI and VGA. But then, the LCD screen is so much sharper than the CRTs that anything would look sharp. I was beginning to thing that my eyes were deteriorating, but clearly it was just what I had been looking at. Now I need to rearrange my windows so the most important ones are on the new display.

Still, somehow it's sad that even this “high resolution” display has such a low resolution—the lowest of any monitor I have bought in this millennium and barely higher than the 99 dpi of a normal resolution fax. Only the extra width raises its total pixel count beyond the 1600x1200s. And I've been using monitors of that resolution for over 12 years. Here the current setup:

Monitor       dimensions       pixels       resolution
Hitachi 813       2048x1536       3158016       130 dpi
LG Studioworks 900B       1600x1200       1920000       112 dpi
BenQ E2200HD       1920x1080       2073600       103x105 dpi
BenQ P992       1600x1200       1920000       116x117 dpi

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