I’ve been needing a notebook refresh for awhile and was planning to get a HP dv1000 (1280×768 display, ~5.2 pounds, under $1000, good Linux compatibility, and Nathan seemed to like his similar model).
Then I realized that I could get a laptop with a 1920×1200 (WUXGA) display. I had to have one. I missed the 1600×1200 21″ CRT I used for years and there’s reasonable sounding research that more screen is an easy productivity boost.
I bought a Dell Inspiron 6000 (my first choice was a Dell Latitude D810, for its trackpoint, but I couldn’t justify a several hundred dollar premimum for an otherwise similarly equipped machine).
A number of people told me that 1920×1200 on a 15 inch widescreen would be impossible to read. Not true at all. Some people also told me that a nearly 7 pound laptop would be a major drag. So far it hasn’t been. Apart from a tiny Inspiron 2100 I used temporarily for several months this one is about the weight I’m accustomed to (and I walk or bicycle 5 to 15 miles on days I don’t telecommute–I vastly prefer this to “working out”).
I think the large monitor productivity study is right. I feel more productive than I have since giving up my desktop and 21″ CRT. If you spend most of the day doing “knowledge work” in front of a computer, especially programming, get yourself a super high resolution display pronto.
I encountered a couple of oddities regarding the WUXGA display after installing Ubuntu Linux on the new machine.
First, Ubuntu’s installer correctly detected the 1920×1200 display and Intel 915 (GMA900) graphics. The generated
/etc/X11/xorg.conf only had modelines for 1920×1200. However, the driver was unaware of the 915’s support for 1920×1200, so X ran at 1600×1200. I’m surprised it ran at all, given that
xorg.conf contained no configuration for that resolution.
The other odd thing is that the entire screen was used to display 1600×1200 pixels–everything was stretched horizontally by 20 percent. I would’ve strongly expected 1600×1200 running on a 1920×1200 LCD screen to not use the screen’s full width–320 horizontal pixels should’ve been unused. Every description of LCD screens that I’ve (very casually) read says something about each (discrete) pixel being controlled by an individual transistor. There’s no tweaking display size or orienting the display with an LCD like there is with a CRT. My uneducated guess is that X was using subpixel rendering or some similar method to stretch 1600 virtual pixels onto 1920 real pixels. [Update 20051122: As Brian suggests in a comment below the stretching is done by hardware and controlled by BIOS settings–“LCD Panel Expansion” on the Inspiron 6000, enabled by default.]
- Download 915resolution
make install(or just copy the binary provided)
/etc/init.d/rc.localwith a single line:
/usr/sbin/915resolution 49 1920 1200
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/rc.local
sudo update-rc.d rc.local start 80 S .
After rebooting X ran beautifully at 1920×1200.