Tricking higher resolutions on CRT monitors


If you happen to own a display monitor such as the Samsung SyncMaster 550v CRT (a very old model btw) let me inform you that your device may be capable of displaying resolutions higher than the limited on its manual. However, forcing those out-of-spec resolutions possibly can  result in problems, but this is more device dependent than anything else. I’ve tricked this display model for almost 5 years, and it continues to work flawlessly to this date.

The SyncMaster 550v (and probably other models from this line of CRT monitors) is said to have a maximum resolution of 1024×768, but can run just as well with 1152×864 pixels. However prepare your eyes to fight against a refreshing rate of 60Hz. I’ve heard somewhere you can even trick higher refresh rates on this monitor, but I can’t confirm it. Maybe this is pushing too much out-of-spec.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Using unsupported or unspecified display modes can damage your hardware (your monitor) permanently. Just because it worked for some, you shouldn’t assume it will work for you. I assume no liability or responsability over any damages, errors or failures that could be result of the following instructions. If something brokens, it will always be your own fault! 

How to do this on Windows 9x/Me

    Download PowerStrip. PowerStrip is a shareware program that provides programmable hardware support to a wide range of graphics cards. It is possible to change hardware monitor settings and write a modified driver version for your display enabling the use of higher resolutions. This was the software I used by the time I discovered this was possible, but unfortunately I don’t have any machines with 98 anymore, and I can’t remember the steps exactly involved.

How to do this on Windows XP

    Piece of cake. Just hit the right button on your desktop then select “Properties“. Go to the “Settings” tab then click “Advanced“. Go to the “Monitor” tab then uncheck “Hide unsupported modes for this monitor“. Now you can select all sort of resolution modes for your monitor. But PLEASE don’t go selecting something crazy like the highest resolution available. Try one step above the previous maximum at time. At the very least, it just won’t work, going black or displaying garbage. Wait 15 seconds to return back to previous mode. At the other hand, I can’t garantee it just wouldn’t blow up. USE WITH CARE!

How to do this on Linux

    Well, lets edit our xorg config file as usual. Just grab your favourite text editor, assegure you have the proper privileges and open /etc/X11/xorg.conf. In my case, I’ll use nano.

    nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

    Now find the Device section, as indicated by the line

    Section “Device”

    Now add the following option line:

    Option “IgnoreEDID” “1”

    In summary, if you had a section looking like this:

    Section “Device”
       Identifier      “NVIDIA TNT2”
       Driver          “nvidia”

    Now it should be looking like this:

    Section “Device”
       Identifier      “NVIDIA TNT2”
       Driver          “nvidia”
       Option         “IgnoreEDID”  “1”

    Now specify the resolutions you want on xorg.conf as normal. I’ll update this post with the proper config lines as soon as I have enough spare time again. Now, just be sure to never make something stupid such as selecting the highest resulution available or guessing something crazy. Make only small, incremental steps. More information about EDID and why we are ignoring it can be found on Wikipedia, here.