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Lilla's notes on Inspiron 7000 - Display - Last updated 13Dec98

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Display Suppliers

Q: Supplier of 15" displays?

A: Samsung. Dell officials said the 15-inch notebook display, sourced from Samsung Electronics Inc., will be the first from a top-tier vendor, per:,3441,2133767,00 .htm

A: Samsung Electronics First to Mass Produce 15" TFT-LCDs for Notebook PCs. Article at this link:

Q: Supplier of 14.1" Displays?

A: The displays are manufactured by IBM and Samsung. And before anyone asks, no, there is no way to tell them apart. The displays are identical for all intents and purposes, and Dell does not differentiate between vendors. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: The Dell salesperson that I spoke with mentioned Hitachi and IBM as suppliers for the 14.1". webtalk

A: I read in a german computer magazine, that the 14,1 inch display is quite dim. They measured only 56 cd/qm! The 14.1 of an IBM TP770 reaches 102cd/qm. So I guess they have tested a unit with the Hitachi display. I hope to receive my I7K this week, so I will see... Bye, Matt

A: The inferior one is supposed to have half the luminosity of the other, so I think I'll know when I see it. BUT... I received an e-mail form the chief design engineer for the Inspiron 7000 and he told me there is currently only ONE vendor for the 14,1" displays and that is LG [means Lucky Goldstar or ?]. They're only evaluating IBM as a second source. It's not on the market. Hope this clarifies all. E. Dinkelaar, newsgroup

Dead Pixels

Note: Most people have reported that they are very happy with the displays they get. Try to keep this in mind as you read this section.

The norm: Was reading an article in PC Magazine, thought anyone with stuck pixels might find solace in knowing that this is the norm. Yes, I too have a sticker. Michael Michalski, webtalk

A: My opinion is that most of us are anal so don't go hog wild trying to detect dead may find them and then be forced to kill yourself. Rather than get test patterns and a magnifying glass, glance at your screen during the Windows burn-in. If you see no dead or stuck pixels, smile and go on with life!!! Edward Steiner, newsgroup

A: Because of the complexity of manufacture and operation of TFT screens, each screen contains a million tiny transistors to create the image. Most panels will have a small number of pixels where one color (red, blue or green) does not operate correctly, and this is normal. Each individual pixel is so small that a single incorrect color is virtually unnoticeable. To achieve 100% perfection on every screen would increase cost dramatically with only an imperceptible improvement in the vast majority of screen pixels.
The industry standard is that if there are more than ten bad pixels total, or if there are more than three congruent bad pixels, then the LCD is considered out of specification and can be replaced. If the number of defective pixels is lower than that, then the LCD is considered to be within specification. If you are within the first thirty days of purchase you can arrange to have the LCD replaced with a *reconditioned* LCD, if otherwise it is considered to be working normally. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

A: This contradicts what a Dell tech told me. He said that within the first 30 days you would get a new screen and after that you get refurbished screens. He also said that if there was one pixel around the screens central region that was a problem that the screen would be replaced too. I presume up to some number along the edge might be something to live with. Susan

A: If I received a $4000 notebook computer with anywhere near 10 dead pixels, it would go back out the door so fast I'd have to ship back the dead pixels separately. Walter A., newsgroup

Q: I heard that there is a utility out that will detect dead pixels. Can someone tell me where to get it? Thanks in advance. Garrett, newsgroup

A: Is it really unreasonable of me to expect that a $3400.00 computer should have a perfect screen ? So far I have two stuck pixels (my second one popped up today), which are irritating white pinpoints on an otherwise deep blue screen, and I am told by dell tech support that they will make no effort to replace unless i have 5 or more.......If I had seen a "stuck pixel disclaimer" somewhere I probably would have shopped around a lot more...... Tim Carroll, webtalk

A: Erick's site has a link to a Dead Pixel Detector program at If you want to check for dead or stuck pixels on your TFT/Active Matrix screen, this little utility will help you find them by cycling your screen through different colors.

A: I have just received a very nice system from Dell, but it had one flaming red pixel right in the middle of the display that just kills its DVD functionality. Green and blue bad pixels are much easier to live with. Can I send this thing back?? Or is there a bad pixel minimum number?? (It has only three but the other two are virtually invisible unless you are looking for them. The red one on the other hand hits you in the face while you are watching movies.) Douglas Watt, webtalk

A: I have the 15" screen and have had the unit for almost 3 weeks now. At first I had one dead pixel, but now over time the number of bad and stuck pixels has increased. The stuck pixels come and go in different never know where one is going to pop up now...kind of like pimples! :) I am surprised about this, I figured that it wouldn't change over time so much. Now I have about 4-5 bad pixels and up to 3 stuck pixels at any given time. What is DELL's policy regarding replacing a screen after the 30 day initial period but during the warranty? Greg Morris, webtalk

A: Later...from Greg...What I have discovered, is that if I firmly press behind the screen where the stuck pixel is, it will dim the stuck pixel and eventualy become "unstuck". Sometimes this lasts a short time (hours), sometime days. At the moment I have had no stuck pixels for about the last 2 days since I "pressed" on the bad ones. My peak was 3 stuck pixels at once. However, with the dead pixels it does not bring them back to life, but it is the stuck pixels which cause the most visual trouble. I guess I am playing a wait and see approach. Over time perhaps the flaky pixels will stabilize as it has done at the moment. A co-worker of mine just received a 7000 as well, and he is experiencing the same problem of stuck pixels appearing from time to time in different locations. Other then this "you-never-know-when-a-pixel-will-get-stuck" problem, I really like this machine a lot!!! (smile) Greg M, email

A: Saying no pixels will go bad over the life of the system is unrealistic, but certainly not a common occurrence. If your display starts developing bad pixels at the rate which Greg claims, then it may be indicative of a different problem, requiring the unit be serviced. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: I had 3 bad pixels as well a red, and 2 green. Luckily they burned away. I was going to return it but i knew i'd keep the system so i didn't. My fear is that they'd return it for a refirb lcd that lcd would be worse than the one i returned. these are the options you have to weigh. T. Atkinson, webtalk

A: Mine was perfect when I first got it, then it got a stuck red pixel for a few days, but it's gone now and seems perfect again. Kay Strand, webtalk

A: The impulse to return [for even one bad pixel] is understandable, especially with a pixel out near center screen where it is so noticable. i would rather have two or three out, widely spaced to the right (like one of my Thinkpads) than a single one, dead center. IMHO, the overall appearance of the screen and how well the fixed contrast suits him (some of the screen i have seen seem to want the screen very upright or very sloped, either is a bad thing) should be the determining factor. Loren Coe, newsgroup

A: I have one stuck pixel. It's in the center of the screen and is very noticable when the background is dark or if I'm playing a DVD. I am able to unstick the pixel by tapping hard on the back of the display right behind the bad pixel. It's not ideal, but it works. David Ely, newsgroup

A: first i didnt see any bad pixel the couple days later i saw one red one, then i saw another one, then i tried to push the back of the case of the LCD and now its gone. support guys, try to explain why that works? K K, webtalk

A: Several weeks ago, I called Dell about several small problems I was having with my computer (the most annoying being a bright spot near the center of the screen). The tech stated that they had no spare parts for the I7K and were sending out new computers for those having problems. I made darn sure that I was getting a new and not used computer when I agreed to the exchange. Anyway, I got the new computer 3 business days later (S/H paid by Dell). I got to keep my old system for 15 days after receipt of the new one. Doug

AGP Port

Q: Is the AGP port implementation by Dell on the 7000 a proprietary version or is it supported by the Intel 440BX chipset?

A: System chip set is "Intel Mobile 440BX AGP" per:

A: I believe that a new version of the BX chipset was released concurrently with the PII 300. For this reason I "believe" that the AGP is probably Intel "standard." Bryan Quay - WebTalk

A: The chipset for my 266GT Inspiron 7000 is listed as "Intel 440BX AGP." I would assume that Intel released AGP chipsets for the 266 PII before the introduction of the 300. Douglas Moll - WebTalk

Video Card

Q: Is the video card integrated into mobo or modular?

A: The Dell Inspiron 7000 D300LT boasts an ATI Rage LT Pro 2X AGP graphics accelerator complemented by 8MB of 100-MHz SGRAM. The graphics chip set and memory are located on a removable card, so it can be upgraded. [But probably not by end-user] PC-Mag Review

Q: Is S-Video port and TV-Out included with CDROM option or only with DVD option?

A: That cable [to connect to TV without S-Video] is included with mine and I don't have a DVD. You can actually get the TV-out to work even if you don't have the DVD (like me). You need to connect the TV to the back of your notebook S-Video out first. Then you will get the "Display" property page. In the "Settings" tabbed page click "Advanced". Then you will select the "Displays" tabbed page and check the "Television" checked box. Now you got yourself a big screen. However, don't expect great quality because TV has lower resolution than your 1024x768 screen. Dennis Woo, WebTalk

A: Non-DVD machines still have the S-Video jack and the NTSC/PAL, etc options present in the BIOS (and the DVD options are not). I don't have an S-video capable TV so I can't test it for sure... Rik, newsgroup

Limitations of Dell's Implementation of the ATI 3D Rage LT Pro

A description of the full ATI product can be found at this link:

Which says: Using Tri-View the RAGE LT PRO can output to LCD, CRT, and TV simultaneously. It also includes two output controllers so that any two display devices can have different images and/or refresh rates.

Q: Does the system support two output controllers and other features described in the full ATI product description?

Q: Does I7000 support Tri-View?

A: No, the system supports Simul View and will support 2 video devices simultaneously. Dell/Max Murphy, WebTalk

Q: Can the I7000 simultaneously drive a display on its LCD while a DIFFERENT image is displayed via the external monitor connector? This would be very useful! Jim Herber, Webtalk

A: We only support one output device connected to the system. The system and drivers are only configured for one. And yes, we get the base code driver from ATI, but make modifications to it to adapt to our system in most circumstances. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

A: Yes ATI's link does indeed show the card has two output controllers. This feature works on the GW9100xl with their PCI controller. Surprised its not working on the Dell with the AGP adapter. Does Dell make the driver for the 7000 or is it the standard ATI driver? [Or, does Dell's OEM'd version have only one controller instead of two?]. Donald Landwirth, Webtalk

A: Why would Dell use a video board that has the Capabilities that the ATI has and then neuter it by disabling one of it's best features, the ability to view different images on 2 video devices? Rauk Friend, Webtalk

A: Dell support told me today that the Inspiron does not support the seperate internal and external image capability built into its ATI Rage Pro Video Card. The NEC Versa LX allows separate external and internal images (ie on the LCD and the external monitor connexn). The NEC uses the PCI version of the ATI graphics card [Dell uses AGP version]. It seems that if NEC has programed its video card to do this then DELL should be able to as well (especially since ATI says that the AGP card is capable of dual views). Graham, Parkinson, newsgroup

A: The refresh rate for the LCD is 60Hz, not 70-85 as stated in the online specs. The problem is that when outputting to LCD + another device, both will be refreshed at 60Hz which is too low to provide a steady image. See Refresh Rates for further discussion about this. Lilla

A: If the Dual Video Controllers were enabled, EVERY Inspiron would be able to display simultaneously the LCD and CRT, LCD and TV, or CRT and TV. This would fix the problem you mention! There is absolutely no good reason for DELL to disable the dual video controllers. It works fine--using the same video card--on other notebooks such as the latest NEC Versa. Hans Omli, webtalk

A: The Achilles heel of this system is the implementation of the ATI graphics system. Everything else is so well done but to leave out the simultaneous LCD/TV and the Dual View features? The OEM price of the video card is only $40-50 depending on options. Why cripple a $4000 computer for a few bucks? Graham Parkinson, webtalk

Max Resolution and Colors (error in online specs)

Note: 16-bit is 65536 colors, 24-bit is 16777216 colors, and 32-bit is 4294967296 colors.

Q: There is a conflict of information on Dell's site about # of colors. Which is correct?

1) "Up to 1024x768x64k resolution" per

2) Maximum resolution 1024 x 768 pixels; 4 billion colors as supported by application software, per this link: This info is for 13.3" and 14.1" (no mention of 15").

A: The correct answer is 1024x768x32 bit colors. This is the maximum that the LCD display is capable of. Higher resolutions are possible on an external display. As for why the website says differently, I dunno. I will look into getting that changed. Dell/Brian McCullough, WebTalk

A: I am currently running 1024x768 (max resolution possible) on my 14.1" display at 32 bit color, and it looks fantastic. This is only the 4 meg video chipset. The 8 meg is even better. On an external monitor, you can go to 1600x1200x16 bit color with the 4 meg card, and 32 bit color with the 8 meg card. I don't recommend this unless you have a really big screen, or you like to squint a lot... *grin* Dell/Brian McCullough, WebTalk

Resolutions Supported

Here is a list of video resolutions supported by the ATI Rage Pro card, in both 4MB and 8MB Resolution

----------------- ---------- ----------
640x480x256 YES YES
640x480x64k YES YES
640x480x16m YES YES
800x600x256 YES YES
800x600x64k YES YES
800x600x16m YES YES
1024x768x256 YES YES
1024x768x64k YES YES
1024x768x16m YES YES
1280x1024x256 (External Only) YES YES
1280x1024x64k (External Only) YES YES
1280x1024x16m (External Only) YES YES
1600x1200x256 (External Only) YES YES
1600x1200x64k (External Only) YES YES
1600x1200x16m (External Only) NO YES
In certain resolutions on both cards, you'll notice the 32-bit True color option is available in addition to the 16-bit and 24-bit colors. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

Refresh Rates (error in online information)

Refresh Rates are given at

BEWARE: Assuming that all the values not labeled "external monitor", are for the LCD display, then this table contains incorrect refresh rates for the LCD. This list (as of 22Oct98) gives refresh rate of 70-85Hz for the LCD. This is incorrect, it is 60hz per the following posts. 60Hz is enough for the LCD. The problem with the i7000 is that when outputting to LCD+CRT, both are refreshed at 60Hz, and 60Hz is too low to maintain a stable image on the CRT. Lilla

A: LCD's and CRT's worked differently. LCD pixels stay "on" until they get another instuction as opposed to CRT's which flash the color and wait for the next. A higher refresh rate on a CRT will reduce flickering while on LCD's higher rates will have little effect so it is set at 60. Hope this helps. Howie, newsgroup

Q: Dell web site info on the graphic mode settings open to me on the i7000 ltop states i should be able to get 85hz refresh rate on my LCD screen ( 24bit 1024*768 ) however 60 seems to be my limit on my lcd screen running in 24 bit colour in 1024*768 in fact as the screen is lcd the refresh rate option is greyed out. win98 / nt4 (sp3 ) dual boot . Both with latest ATI drivers. Using LCD not external monitor. Max, newsgroup

A: The LCD will only do 60. It is the way LCDs are, they do not have an adjustable "gun" like a monitor does. (btw - I am a Dell senior tech)

A: LCD's don't refresh like standard CRT's so no worries on the 60Hz for that - it's standard and no flicker will be noticed. Once a pixel is on, it stays on until changed with a LCD. As for the external CRT only being driven at 60Hz when used at the same time as a LCD this also makes some sense. Some video chips can provide two seperate outputs at two different refresh rates and some can't. Since the LCD is limited to 60Hz refresh, when both the CRT and LCD are used in conjunction it also makes sense that 60Hz is the limit. Then again, I've never had the need to use an external CRT and the LCD at the same time so who cares? External projectors don't matter. John Welter, newsgroup

A: Per another post in this FAQ, refresh is 60Hz if outputting to simultaneous devices like LCD + Monitor, or LCD+TV [Providing, you have one of the units that will do this - as some do and some don't - this is discussed elsewhere in this FAQ]. I also remember seeing this somewhere on Dell's site too, but where it was I'm not sure. Lilla

A: As someone who does a lot of training to small groups; often a monitor is visible to the student while I'm looking at my laptop screen. I'd sure like the student's image to be as rock solid as possible and 60Hz just doesn't cut it. Henry Stukenborg, newsgroup

User feedback on Displays

A: There are 15" units that have shipped in small quantities for evaluation. I had one here that I shipped back after going on a road trip with it. My comments:

John Welter, newsgroup

A: I just received my 7000 on Monday and I love it. I got the 14.1" screen and it is better then the 17" Trinitrons I am used to. Brian Quay, newsgroup

A: I have a 12 inch screen and my girl friend has a 15 inch screen and I would rather have hers. It will take x-tra power but it is easier on your eyes to read text. If you plan to play any games, you will appreciate the x-tra space. Go for it, I would !! Dan Bolick, newsgroup

A: The new screens look a lot better than the 13.3 used in the 3200. They light up evenly and don't saturate colors as much. Rik, newsgroup

A: I am particularly sensitive to clarity of display screens, whether TV, or PC. I went with the 15" Sony/Dell Trinitron for the desktop. It has a dot pitch of .25 mm. I can run a maximum -clear- setting of 800 x 600 on this monitor. In comparison to any other monitors I have seen, this is the most -clear- I have seen for text. My I7K w/ 14" display is almost exactly the same physical size as the Sony. The clarity of the LCD, however, makes the Sony look like dog doo-doo. When I sit about 15" from the laptop, I cannot clearly see jaggies in letters. On the Sony, I need to sit a good 24" away. There simply is NO comparison. The LCD is wonderful compared to the Sony. BTW, I run the Sony with 'full' contrast, and brightness as low as possible, to the the best look. The LCD's contrast is still much better. And the 'sharpness' of letter edges is fantastic. I was worried that the LCD would not reproduce photos well, but it is fine there, too. (Although I am not as concerned with this as with text reproduction.) Joe, newsgroup

A: The 15 inch I-7000 display is the best I've seen in any notebook so far. It meets or beats the IBM 14.1 inch display. I've looked at them all in NYC stores, although not side-by-side so this is an unavoidably subjective assessment. After 3 days use, with one minor exception -- which is awkward placement of undersized keys for insert-home-delete-end-pg up-pg down -- I assess the I-7000 as a superb product. Robert Siegel, webtalk

A: I just received my 7000 on Monday and I love it. I got the 14.1" screen and it is better then the 17" Trinitrons I am used to. Brian Quay, newsgroup

A: I've had mine 4 days now. The 14" LCD is absolutely flawless. In fact it is the best I've seen... very happy. You might want to contact Dell on this. Vic Oros, Webtalk

A: Well, I compared my I7000 to my 17" Nanao CRT at home and my 20" High End Sony CRT at work ( A 500PS), and I have to say that even that high end Sony looks a tad blurry when compared to my I7000, when looking closely at my reference character, a capital letter A , you can tell that the diagonal portions of the letter A on the CRT are comprised of the same number of pixels as on the LCD. The pixels on the CRT are just blurred together, the pixels on the LCD are not, making the LCD letter A look more jagged on it's diagonals. I like the crispness of an LCD, I also love a display than does not have all those weird distortions and blurry zones toward the edges of it's display. Hans C. Schellenberg

A: Other observations: Individual pixels are noticable from about 18" or closer to the screen, especially for lighter colors and white (actually very beneficial for my line of work, as I do alot of pixel level image editing.) However, the pixels are INCREDIBLY crisp compared to high-end CRTs or even other LCDs. Oh yes, and the text I did see was also very easy to read. Hans E. Omli, Email

A: In our company we own over 250 Dell laptops of various I3000, I3200, and I7000 configurations. My personal machine is a I3200/300 with the 13.3" which I really find a workable solution for the most part anywhere in North America. I had a I7000/300/15" that I passed along as the display quality was not what I expected and was too large for any practical road work. Now, if that I7000 supported 1280 * 1024 on it's internal LCD I would maybe of thought differently. The people in our company regularly complain about the girth of the I7000 and the 15" screen. Even the "Ally McBeals" have trouble opening it and using it on any airline as it's just too damn big. The I3200/300/13.3" seems to be the best received machine as it's got about the largest screen you can manage on an airplane.Yes, the I7000 may be the closest thing to the desktop replacement but it's still far from being a mobile workers dream machine. John Welter, newsgroup

Reports of Display Problems

A: I've had my 7000 for about a week now and overall I'm very satisfied with this notebook. However, there are two things I've noticed that are by now really bugging me! One, when I open the notebook's cover the hinges make an awful creaking sound. This is probably the plastic rubbing against the notebook's base. Two, there's a red spot on the LCD panel that at first I thought was a clump of dead pixels. Now, I believe this spot is "in" the LCD panel material itself. Has anyone else received an Inspiron 7000 with these or similar quirks? Mark, Webtalk

A: Here are the specs for my 7k 14.1 , 300MHz, 64MB, 4GB, DVD, Internal Modem. Anyway to finish my scenario. I think there is a problem with the video card because. After I have the machine on for about Half hour, say on a desk, if I take it and put it on my lap, the screen goes crazy. The screen gets different colored horizontal and vertical lines all over. It is basically unreadable. This problem will not go away unless you put the machine back on a desk or table. So my thought was that it was heat, right? Well so I tried to determine if it was just heat by holding it up in the air from underneath (where the video card is) and low and behold it still gave me the same problem. So what I figured out is that when pushing the undercarriage of the machine, just a little bit, the problem occurs as well. So I believe that it is a combination of heat and something inside the computer is making contact with something it is not suppose to and that is causing the problem. So with that in mind Dell said to send it back and they would repair it. I got them to extend the 30 day money back guarantee to 2 weeks past the return date. So we will see how it goes. Lotierzo, Stewart C, Email

User comments about LCD lighting and uniformity.

Some degree of variation in the screen's appearance when tilted is normal and should not be considered a problem. The vast majority of the posts I've read are made by people that absolutely love the displays they receive on their 7000's. Of course, given the high number of 7000's being sold, there's bound to be a exceptions. These posts will provide a few reference points for new owners who might wonder if their display is within the norm. Lilla

A: I have a 14" and it too is flawless. Obviously tilting the screen on any LCD is going to change it, but when you get the screen at the right angle, my 14" is the brightest I have ever seen. Nobody beats DELL! I would recommend getting the 14" just because 1" diagonally doesn't seem like a huge difference to me. Also, remember: larger screens mean increased dimensions and weight. I personally wanted a true portable computer and I think 14" is as large as I can tolerate. Keith Starr, webtalk

A: My 15 inch is the best, brightest screen I have ever seen ... and I looked at them all before ordering the I-7K ... I have one pixel permanently "on" or white, which I do not notice at all except against a solid black background. It has absolutely even lighting top to bottom .. but you must realize that tilting any lcd screen will change the apparent brightness, etc. You have to adjust it to your position. This one is significantly LESS SENSITIVE to angle of view than my last two notebooks. Overall, a superb 15 inch notebook ... I would not even consider the 14 inch screen. Robert Siegel, webtalk

A: I have the 15' and here are my thoughts... I've been pulling my hair out about this, I also have the much more contrast (darker) at the top problem. After having heard all the glowing reviews about the display I thought that maybe it was me. I can adjust the angle to make it less dark at the top but the bottom then get's almost unreadably low contrast. I find certain colors on websites don't show up at all, or are so faint you can't tell what color they are. Adjusting the tilt angle drastically will cause the color to show up. I went to the local CompUSA yesterday to look at other laptops. Guess what... IBM and Toshiba, no contrast change what so ever, even if you tilt the screen drastically the screen is evenly lit. I've called Dell tech support and they had me reload the system, still no go. I'm going to have it exchanged for another system. I sure hope I get one of the ones that everyone raves about! Bryan Dolnik, webtalk

A: I have 2 7000's with 14" screens. The screen on both is flawless, no bad pixels, and very uniform brightness (which by the way is much brighter than my previous Gateway 9100 14.1") Bill, newsgroup

Q: I just got a dell i7k. After the first glance, I noticed a problem with the display (I have 14.1TFT). The upper part of the LCD is much darker than the lower part when I tilt the screen. The only position that I found they are even is when the screen is in veritcal position. Later he writes... The dell guy told me it is normal and I should not exchange a system due to this reason. However, my friend has the same model and his one is pretty good in LCD. bin hu, webtalk

A: My LCD looks pretty evenly lighted when looking at the screen at a "normal" angle. The upper half and lower half look pretty much the same to me. Of course, if I move my head or the LCD around such that I'm not looking directly at it, the portion of the screen "nearest" me will look brighter. I think that's pretty standard with laptops. There may very well be a problem with some of the 14.1" screens, but if so, I'm happy to report that mine isn't suffering from it. B.J., newsgroup

A: I just recieved my new Inspiron 7000 with the 14" screen. No dead pixels, but the top half is "much" darker than the bottom half. If you tilt the screen, the top half becomes more readable, but the bottom half becomes washed out. I had the same problem on a Latituted I used last year. I heard that there are two manufacturers for the 14" screen on the I7000, one from Hitachi, the other from IBM (this being the better one)... Has anyone else experienced this, and does anyone know about this rumor... any advice? Later from Benjamin... The new one they sent me is no better than the first one, however, I went to CompUsa and found that EVERY system including IBM and Toshiba have the same issue with their screen. Some worse than others. The last two days I have been grueling to get NT and 98 to dual boot, and finally it does, and in that time, I have grown attached to the system and come to realize that not only is this THE best system out there at this level, the screen is in fact beautiful. Once you start enjoying the machine, you forget about the contrast issue which only makes itself noticeable on solid color areas, and very light or very dark colors. If you don't stare up close, you'll forget it. I've decided to keep it. Benjamin Freidlin, webtalk

A: Same here with my I7K 14" display. No dead pixels, but the top half is "much" darker than the bottom half. Adjusting the viewing angel does not solve the problem. The top half always stays darker (has more contrast) than the bottom half of the screen. Everyone reading this messages with his notebook can easily check the contrast of the LCD display when in Dell's Webtalk: just look at the background bitmap of the left pane in your browser window. You can see the diagonal writing "New" on messages in very light gray(?) color. Maximize the browser window. On my I7k 14,1" display the writing can be read with good contrast on the top half of the screen and gets nearly invisible on the bottom half. How about this test with the 15" LCD? Matthias Pfersdorff, Webtalk

A: My screen is darker near the top and lighter near the bottom. I called Dell and got the replacement. The second one is even worst. the screen is not as bright as the one I have and has a few bad pixels with the same problem. So I send that one back to Dell and stick with the first one. Nick, newsgroup

A: That is EXACTLY what I've noticed when I first received my 7000/14.1. Since it was my first notebook, I thought it was normal. However, when I looked at a co-worker's Compaq (12"), the brightness was more evenly spreaded out over the screen. Further, (believe it or not) I took the 7000 to a Gateway Country Store and opened it side-by-side with a 9100XL (also 14") and the Gateway display didn't have the "darker top" problem. To Dell's credit, They shipped me a brand new machine in just 4 days (Called 10/28, got it 11/2). However, SAME "problem". But the new unit doesn't have a bright spot near the lower right corner. So I switched the hard drive and shipped back the first one (paid by Dell). I figure that I better just keep the replacement and evaluate my options before my 30 days run out. John Luo, newsgroup

A: Had a few problems with the system and decided to send it back for a new one. My initial reaction was that the top of the screen was darker than the bottom. But wasn't as bad as I'd heard some 14.1" LCDs are. Easily noticable though, even to a non-techie (my mother.) Tilting the screen back or forward did not help. The same issue does not occur with other 15" LCDs I've seen such as Apple's Studio Display, etc. Hoping it was simply another issue with the system I received. Hoping it was simply another issue with the system I received, as it was unacceptable for my use (I do alot of work with Photoshop, FreeHand, Illustrator, and other multimedia creation apps... which require more precise color calibration.) Other than the washed out bottom, colors were also excellent. Hans E. Omli, Email

A: Yeah, my i7k's 15" monitor is a little brighter toward the bottom third, too. It's not that obvious, but there is a difference. From what I've read on this ng, it's hit and miss with these displays. I 'm going to contact DELL to see if they'll swap it out. good luck, Roberto, newsgroup

A: I have one [bad pixel], upper-right corner, hardly noticable. On the other hand, I don't notice any brighter-at-top or -bottom phenomenon, as several others have. Screen is brightest laptop I've ever seen. Homer Simpson, newsgroup


A: It's more for just showing off, but I found a 3D Benchmark test (which is basically a graphics demo), and ran it on the Dell Inspiron 7000. (14.1 screen, 64m RAM, 8m video, 300 Mhz PII.) The demo is called Final Reality and is available from It detects AGP and MMX if available, then plays a cool demo, and afterwards gives these stats: (numbers for the I7000): 2D Processing - 3.09 3D Performance - 3.40 BUS Transfer rates - 0.85 Overall - 2.93 Those numbers probably don't mean much by themselves, but d/l the demo and run it on your favorite machine and then you can compare somewhat. It's a lot faster than my desktop PII 266 with 8meg Matrox Mill II card and 96 meg of RAM. :) Weee... Rik, newsgroup

A: ATI RAGE PRO uses its RAGE chip so its not 3DFX. If the game only supports 3DFX it wont play on your I7000. I tried and it dont work. But if the games support 3DFX and D3D it should play fine, since Rage Pro supports D3D. If you go to this link there is a list of games that Rage Pro card supports K K, webtalk

A: Turok runs fine and fast on the Dell Inspiron 7000. My config is 8MB Video, 192MB Ram, PII 300, 15". Dave, newsgroup

A: Need for Speed 3 on i7000. The game only officially supports certain 3D chipsets, like the Riva 128 and Intel i740. However it should work OK if you force it to run with your 3D accelerator - it certainly runs great with my R350 with TNT card. Go into the 3D Device Setup program in its Start menu group and select Direct3D Device whatever. Then try it. I think you'll find it much faster. I think it's a good game. Robert Hancock, newsgroup

A: Need for Speed 3 on i7000. YESS!! Thanks Robert - that made all the difference. I was initially put off by the warning that pops up that NFS will probably not run as I was trying to set it to use a 3D device that wasn't supported. However, this turned out to be bullsh*t, and it works just fine in 800x600. PeteW, newsgroup

OpenGL on Inspiron 7000

Q: Has anybody gotten OpenGL Quake 2 running on their I7k? I down loaded the ICD OpenGL beta drivers and the OpenGL Quake drivers from the ATI web sight, and installed them with out a hitch. When I switch to default OpenGL in Quake2, I get errors that no hardware acceleration could be found and the software acceleration reloads. I know that the RAGE LT PRO supports OpenGL. Will OpenGL work with the compatibility mode Quake 2, or do I have to use the standard version? Vilkas Visotski, newsgroup

A: It works great...but: You're probably running in 24 bit color mode. I had the same problems...set to 16 bit color. Also, there is a setting you need to change on the sound card from the quake is detailed in the quake 2 readme. Works fine! Count Scrofula, newsgroup

A: This laptop runs q2 amazingly. I have also loaded about 20 other games on the I7000 without any problems with speed. Some games even run smoothly at xga resolutions (battlezone, jedi knight). Finally, a laptop that does games properly! OK, after you load the gl drivers from ATI, you must also type something at the console in q2 to get the sound not to be choppy (otherwise it will only sound good running in 'compatiblity mode'. ) Here is the relavent excerpt from the release notes: - Ensoniq: If you are running an Ensoniq Sound Scape or AudioPCI card, pull down the console by pressing the tilde key ( ~ ) or choose the "Go To Console" selection from the "Options" menu, and type 's_primary 0' and press ENTER. This setting will be saved when you properly exit the game. When you exit the game and restart, the sound should work great. All best, Josh

A: Initial benchmark with my Inspiron 7000 D300GT... This is with Q2 optimization based on Voodoo1 sites, sound on and used timedemo for benchmark...

I'm using the standard ATI OpenGL driver for Win98 posted at their web site. Albert

Q: Does the 8 MB ATI display adapter support OpenGL in hardware (eg., AutoCAD)? Does it support Direct3D in hardware (eg. MS Flight Simulator)? Peter Wozniacki, webtalk

A: I downloaded beta drivers from the ati web page . They support OpenGL at 16bit color. DirectX is supported with the current drivers. Hope this helps. Richard Harding, webtalk

A: Well I run AutoCad and FlightSim98 on my I7000. AutoCAD works fine. FlightSim98 played great. Worked faster, smoother then my DELL 266 128ram 4meg Millinium2 video card with Diamond Monster2 8meg verison. I have been running it at all detials and at max high performance. I found using keyboard ain't that bad, but Cessna works best using a pad. K K, webtalk

Video RAM - 4MB vs. 8MB

How much do I need: 4MB vs 8MB

More memory gives you higher resolution; more colors; higher refresh rates. Here's some information I put together that might help you evaluate your needs. Lilla


How much do I need for scanning photographic images.

How much do I need for DVD movies.

Q: Will running 24 or 32 bit colors help improve DVD pictures? Not that the DVD pictures need any help. It is already fantastic at whatever color settings?
A: I have not noticed any difference at those settings, either. It will be fine at either setting. DELL/David Whiteley

Max resolution/colors:

User Comments about Video Ram

Q: Does Dell's Diagnostic report Video Memory correctly?

A: No. There was a long thread in the newsgroup that explained that Video RAM is very hard to detect accurately, and that this is why the Dell Diagnostics reports the memory incorrectly. Another method given in the post below gives the correct information.

Q: I just received a Dell 7000 which I ordered with the 8 meg video ram config. I ran the Dell Diagnostics disk to check the video and was surprised to see that it listed video ram at 4096K. Does anyone know of another way to check the amount of video ram on these portables? Mark Stahl, newsgroup

A: I've got the same system, the other way you can check the video ram is go to Control Panel | System | Device manager, then click on display adapters, then diagnostics, then status. You'll see that it's 8mb of video ram. Jake Hsien, newsgroup

A: I always thought the video RAM above 4MB was used for textures and not (necessarily) to provide more pixels or greater color depths. After all 1280x1024 x 24-bits per pixel = 4 MB, so unless you want 24-bit color at 1600 x 1200, the extra memory isn't required.Personally I like the idea of being able to play a game if I wanted to, and the availability of 8MB of video RAM seems like a nice hedge. I mean, consider that when I bought my current laptop 9 months ago I thought 32MB of RAM and 2GB hard disk were perfectly adequate. David Hays, newsgroup

A: Yes, the chipset can use the extra 4M for 3D features such as depth buffering and texturing. ATI is supposedly working on an OpenGL driver for the chipset. 8M is the bare minimum for a decent quality 3D implementation. 8M allows a 1024x768x32bit double-buffered display with a 16 bit depth buffer, if my calculations are correct. Dan Fleet, newsgroup

A: The extra memory can be useful if the video drivers support the ability to create what I'll call a "virtual desktop". This is where the "desktop" displayed on your screen is larger than the screen itself. The more video memory you have, the larger your "virtual desktop" can be. You can have applications open on your "desktop" that are not visible. You can scroll over to them, usually by moving your cursor to the edge of your screen. I use this on my regular (non-laptop) computer, and I really like it. I've seen this on Sun laptops. I would be really surprised if Intel laptops with 3MB+ of video memory do not have this feature. I have never checked though. glentek

Q: Does the 7000 have Virtual Desktop? No responses which probably means it does not. Maybe this be provided by separate software, but I don't know.

A: The extra memory is really useful only when you are running extremely video intensive things, which currently only covers games, multimedia events, etc.... A powerpoint presentation hardly taxes your video system, and outputing to a TV is at a low resolution compared to a large external monitor. You don't NEED the 8mb, but at the price Dell is charging, you should go ahead and get it. Plato90s, newsgroup

Is the Video Card Removable?

Q: Several people that ordered 4MB boards have asked two questions:

  1. Can you add memory on 4MB board to bring it up to 8MB?
  2. Can you swap a 4MB board for an 8MB board?

    Dell says no to both of these. Dell says not user upgradable by either method. Upgrade can only be done by sending machine in to Dell and that must be done within 1st 30 days.

A: Dell will sell you the video card seperately but you've got to be careful as they know that all I7K's are still under warranty so they will tell you to send the machine in instead. The swap is easy to do and you should have no problems. If done right you can swap back for any warranty service and Dell will never be the wiser. The ATI video card is a large card ~2"x4" about the size of a PCMCIA card. Rik, newsgroup

A: We own several I7000's and ALL of them have a header type connector in which the video card plugs into the main board. These are easily removable. Undo 3 screws, two connectors to the LCD cable, and pull straight up and you're done. The video board is about 1.5" by 2" and double sided. The ATI card has the large ATI chip on one side and the 8mb of RAM on the other. There are also assorted small components on the ATI card. The I7000 uses the Intel IMM module which contains the CPU and BX chipset - which is what limits your AGP capabilities. John Welter, MCSE+I NWG, newsgroup

Contrast and Brightness Controls

Q: When I use the "Fn + arrow up/down" to adjust my screen brightness, I get very little change. Seems to go from bright to less than brightin about 5 steps. Should I be able to adjust it to a very dark or black setting? Gene Inman, webtalk

A: You should only be able to change the brightness slightly. You can turn it down to save a little battery life. Chad Meyer, webtalk

A: The contrast controls do not work on a TFT LCD which is what you have. There isn't a way to adjust it on this system. Tilting the screen a bit may look better than viewing it straight on. The brightness can be adjusted with the arrow keys, however. David Whiteley, webtalk

Running at Lower Resolutions

Full screen with anti-aliasing vs. Full screen with shrunk image with black borders. The later is sometime needed when connected to projectors, esp. older projectors.

Q: How does screen look at lower resolutions?

A: The 4meg/8meg video uses an anti-aliasing feature to allow very clear, full screen images at all resolutions (Non anti-aliased at 1024x768, but if you need the lower resolutions, the funky looking characters or black borders are a thing of the past.). It does make the text look a _tiny_ bit fuzzy, but it's alot nicer than the alternative on the 3200s. Rik, newsgroup

A: The hardware anti-aliased low res video on the I7000 is infinitely better than the alternatives used on the other notebooks I've worked with. Most of the time you either have to live with giant, misshapen, interpolated pixels or a tiny video window with a huge black border. (How am I supposed to enjoy MAME on a display like that! ;-) )The I7000 does it the way it _should_ be done. Bryan Costin, newsgroup

A: It cannot be sharp. There is no way to emulate 800 or 640 pixels using 1024 that will result in a sharp picture. It may be usable but it will not be sharp. If you want sharp then you have to use just the 800 or 640 pixels you want. The result of this is that you only use a small part of the panel. A CRT monitor can resize its pixels on the fly so this is not a problem, a laptop display cannot do this. Kevin W. Gale, newsgroup

Q: Is there a utility available for the Inspiron 7000 to display only 800x600 of the 1024x768 area (to be used for simultaneous LCD and projector display at 800x600)? Hans Omli, Webtalk

A: You can actually just change the resolution on this system, and the driver will correct the image automatically. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

A: You can run in both 800/600 and 640/480 without blowing up the image. The screen size is reduced though but the graphics are much better. David Ely, newsgroup

A: Anti-aliasing can be turned off in the control panel. go to control control panel | display | settings | advanced | adjustment. Under "LCD Panel options", there should be a check box for "scale image to panel size". Unchecking this should defeat the auto-sizing. But will result in a big black border around your screen. Jimmy Huey, webtalk

ATI Drivers vs. Dell Drivers

First we need to know the name of the video card we are needing a driver for, that's the reason I give the first two references below. Then we need to see if there is an appropriate driver available on ATI's site.

Dell's Video controller is called "ATI 3D Rage LT Pro AGP 2X", per:

Dell's Video controller is called "ATI Rage LT Pro", per:

Link to ATI press release for "ATI Rage LT Pro" on 9Sep98

Link to ATI's description of their "ATI Rage LT Pro" at

I didn't find any ATI drivers listed for "ATI 3D Rage LT Pro" or "ATI Rage LT Pro", however, I found drivers for the "ATI 3D RAGE PRO" (ok to use?). Its is available here:

Q: Is it ok to use the ATI Rage Pro Beta OpenGL ICD or even the upgraded standard drivers (mine came with 5.20 where as the newest on ATI's site is 5.24) from ATI's web site on the Inspiron 7000? Their web page says to check with your vendor before installing to check and see if your current driver has any special capabilities above and beyond that of the standard drivers. Jason Litka, webtalk

A: Unfortunately, we cannot predict how our system will react with software and drivers not supplied by Dell. This is an ATI RAGE LT Pro, which is slightly different from the ATI RAGE PRO. Most likely the worst thing that would happen is you would need to reinstall your video drivers, but again, we cannot say for sure as we have not tested it. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: ATI's NT driver for the ATI RAGE PRO works on the I7K, so it seems pretty likely that their Win98 driver should be ok too. Lilla

TV-Out Connectors

A: Currently, there are about 5 different "TV out" connections in the US. There is the standard co-axial [cable TV], then the RCA composite, and 4-pin S-Video. Of the more unusual types, there are BNC composite and BNC RGB. Actually, you can always convert. Dell includes a S-Video to RCA composite cable with the i7k. Any radio shack will carry a RCA-to-coaxial converter. For the BNC-to-RCA converter, you'd have to go to a specialty store. But conversion is certainly possible. Plato90s, newsgroup

A: I have puchased an I7000 with DVD option and intend to use my home cinema TV for watching films. However the Dell supplied composite cable which goes into the S-Video socket is not the best quality. Phoning different stored/cable assemblers, no-one seems to have heard of a seven pin s-video connector. Am I being really stupid here? Your notes indicates that a s-video capable TV can be used. Will a 4pin s-video connector plug into the I7000, are the extra 3 pins in the centre surplus to requirements? Or do you know where I can purchase a 7pin to 4pin cable. Dell UK were absolutely no use although Technical Support said that why last statement would not work. Mark Hhebblethwaite, email

A: I am in the UK, I have purchased the I7000 300LT. The machine came with a ATI Seven pin to video-in socket to connect a single phono lead. Is that what you call RCA connector? [Lilla: Yes] That was the only supplied cable. In the UK, an S-Video connector is Four pin.
* I asked Dell Tech Supp which cable to buy for superior quality output and they said it wasn`t a standard output and a S-Video connector would not work. Unfortunately Dell Technical Support cast the original doubt in my mind by saying that a standard S-Video cable would not work.
* I took the plunge on Saturday and bought a standard S-Video cable. Four pin instead of the seven on the I7000 It works great. The cable is available in any high street store, although gold plated connectors are always preferable. The cable I am using is four pin to four pin.
* As far as working on a TV screen, a screen resolution of 1024 X 768 looks very poor on my Toshiba 28 inch (71 cm) television. But DVD quality is excellent.
* Mark Hebblethwaite, email

Single Output to CRT (aka. Monitor)

Q: Here's the scenario: I have my external Sony 200 SX monitor connected to the laptop (doesn't matter if its connected via the port replicator or directly to the laptop). I start the laptop and the image diplays on the monitor just fine (1024 x 768 resolution, 85 Hz refresh). However, when I Restart (meaning I choose Shutdown | Restart) the laptop, the image displayed on the monitor is a hideous, eye-shattering, 60 Hz refresh, 1024 x 768 mirror from the laptop's screen. I can open and close the laptop lid, but the image does not return to the proper 1024 x 768 resolution, 85 Hz refresh. The monitor flickers, but the image is still poor. I've been installing software like mad, and thus have been restarting all day long. The monitor problem does not happen when I choose "shutdown" from the Start menu, then start the laptop again. I haven't tried Suspend as I seek to avoid crashes, especially while installing software.

To fix the image, I have to do the following after each Shutdown | Restart:

What a pain! The LCD Panel checkbox is unchecked when I first start the laptop with an external monitor connected [before using Shutdown | Restart]. Scott Sillett, webtalk

A: The system detects the external monitor when it is powered on, and sets to the correct setting for this display. During a Shutdown/Restart, the system is not going through a cold boot procedure, and therefore does not detect the external monitor, causing it instead to display the video as it would appear on the LCD, like you mentioned. You must shutdown, or use the workaround you describedf. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

Single Output to TV's S-Video-In connector (most better/later TV's will have S-Video-In)

A: If the television has an S-video cable, plug it directly into the system at the S-video TV-out connector.

A: - shows picture of TV-Out port - how to connect to TV-Out port

Q: How's the S-Video thing suppose to work? Do I need to lower the resolution to VGA or can I leave it at XGA?

A: You do not need to change the resolution. You just need to enable S-video out under the player, and make sure that everything is connected correctly. You should also check under your display properties, settings, display, advanced tab, and have the TV selection activated. It should work fine from there. You could also check the video using the FN-F8 toggle to bring the display back to the LCD from the TV. Dell/Brian McCullough, WebTalk

A: Tried DVD on my projection TV last night. Neat. Worked well. But all I had was the video on the TV screen with the sound coming from the laptop. I need to get connectors to go from the laptops into the stereo. In order to get TV output the display I had to change down from 1024x768 to 800x600. Once that is done the whole desktop appears on the TV through the S-Video out. DVD can then be run inside a window or can be switched to fill the screen. The only DVD I have at this time is Apollo-13 in wide-screen format. Bruce A. Mallett, Newsgroup.

A: The computer dims the TV choice in the advanced section of the display properties when the tv is not connected. (Even if the tv is not attached but the small cable is in there it should activate the choice. If the choice is dimmed out, you may have a faulty connection. You may want to have it plugged in from startup but this should not be required. Once you chosen tv you will see your lcd go blank and your computer is outputting to the TV instead of the LCD. (unlike the 3200 which would allow you to just output the DVD to the TV this computer only allows you to output everything) I found that you don't have to change the screen area. I left it at 1024x768 and it is fine. Once you set it up for TV, if you don't change it it will load up to your tv when you boot your computer every time if your tv is connected, if not it will go to your LCD. Scott Silberman, webtalk

Single Output to TV's Composite Connector (for TV's without S-Video-In)

A: If the television has a composite cable, complete the following steps: Connect the cable that came with your system to the S-video TV-out connector on the 7000. Connect the other end of the cable to the television's composite cable. unknown source

A: Here's a note of my experience with the i7000 on TV's. First I had some problems getting the thing to work. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. Don't know why yet. But it is working now. The method I use to get it to work is to put the system into suspend mode, connect everything, bring it out of suspend mode by hiting the on/off button, go into the properties/display and toggle LCD off and toggle TV on, and then it worked. You got me why it doesn't work when I would just boot it up with everything connected. But hey it works this way. Dell is shipping out a new coupler cable (from s-video to composite) they thought that may be the problem. I don't know though.
As far as presentations and games, I've tested my system out on a 27" Hitachi, 42" Hitachi, and a 52" Magnavox. They all look pretty good. There is a little blurriness but not too bad. Best clarity on the tube tv as one would expect. When you start up your system don't be discourage by the clarity of the desktop. Icon's and text in the startup menu are sooo blurry you can barely read them. It looks better when you have your screen set to 640X480. Once you start up games or a powerpoint presentation about 90% of the blurriness goes away As far as game play I'm very impressed. I've tried alot of demos (motorcross madness, monster truck madness, freespace, madan99,etc) They all play really well. They just need to come out with a usb gamepad so you can play the game effectively. Todd A. Wagler, newsgroup

Single Output to TV's Coaxial Connector (for TVs without S-Video-In or Composite-In)

Q: I'm a novice and have a question about exporting the DVD image to a TV screen that does not have an S-Video connection. The TV is fairly old, and has only the coaxial input... I have the composite adapter, but am unsure what to do with it now. Do I need to run a cable from the adapter to a VCR, and then use the INPUT button on the VCR, or what? And then what do you do with the audio? I'm just really lost on this one. As much detail as possible would be greatly appreciated. Grant Gallicho

Detailed instructions on how to connect DVD to TV that has coaxial input only - by Frank Garcia

You can try routing the picture through a VCR, but you will run into problems with any DVD (and there are several) that use copy-protection schemes like Macrovision. These discs will appear distorted or scrambled when playback goes through a VCR.

My best solution would be to go to your local Radio Shack and pick up a few things. First, you'll need an adapter cable with a headphone plug on one end, and composite audio plugs on the other end. Second, you will also probably need an adapter cable that takes dual composite audio inputs (stereo inputs in other words) and changes them into a single mono output -- this gets attached to the other adapter cable (why this is necessary will be clear momentarily). The headphone plug gets plugged into your Inspiron's headphone jack.

Finally, and most importantly, you'll need a "Video-Computer RF Modulator" which is part number 15-1283A, and costs about $15. This device takes a composite video input and a single composite audio input, and converts them to coaxial. It's also setup with a coaxial input for your VCR/cable, so that you don't have to hook/unhook it every time you go from DVD to cable/VCR. So you plug a composite video cable into the device on one end, and into the Inspiron's composite adapter on the other end, then you plug in the audio cables into the audio input on the device. The complicated mess with the audio cables is so that you can properly hook the sound up through this device (since it only has the single audio input).

After this, you will need to enable TV output on your Inspiron. One way to do this is to go into the Display Control Panel, go to Advanced, go to ATI Displays, then (once you have the TV cabling hooked up) uncheck the LCD box, which will cause the TV box to be checked. Make sure the RF adapter is plugged in, and turned on, and that your TV is tuned to the right channel, etc. Then when you click "Apply" in the ATI Displays settings, the TV output should be enabled. The ATI/Dell documentation should also discuss a couple of other ways to get this same result. A word of advice -- you may want to change to 800x600 resolution before doing this so that the text will be easier to read. While the resolution won't matter once you start running the DVD movie in fullscreen mode, using a lower resolution will make it easier to deal with the windows text stuff before you get to that point.

I have used this setup and it works quite well, and is very handy since many people don't have TV's with composite inputs, much less S-video. Anyway, I hope this explanation helps and is not excessively complicated -- the reality is far simpler than it may sound from this message. I just figured it would be best to err on the side of saying too much. :)

Frank Garcia

Simultaneous Output to LCD+TV is a *MAYBE*

A: We do not claim to be able to use the LCD and TV simultaneously on the Inspiron 7000 system. It is not designed to do so. it may actually be possible to get them both displayed at the same time. But the minute you switch to just TV, you will not be able to get simultaneously display back after that. This is what folks are reporting. This is a hardware limitation of the system, and updated drivers will not change this. As by now, most of you should know that if you would like to make a suggestion to our engineers, you can do so by going to: Select Communicate with Dell, E-mail Dell Support, and then the option that says You have comments or suggestions for our development team. Dell/Brian, webtalk

A: I can tell you that the system is NOT designed to use simultaneous LCD and TV output. You can display on LCD+monitor just fine if you need dual outputs. [If LCD+TV doesn't work,] the system is working as designed. Once you set the display to both LCD and TV, it *may* work. This feature is not incorporated into the system however, and we do not say that it will work. We recommend using the TV output only or the TV / CRT combo. As seen in this thread, some people have been able to get this dual picture function working, so you can ask what they may have done differently to get this setup working [done, see below]. Dell/Brian, Webtalk Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: When you say that some people are able to display both simultaneously (as I did the 1st time) and then it stops, it is *NOT* a hardware problem. It *IS* a software problem. I really don't know why Dell makes our lives so difficult with their intentional limitations. I suspect that if Dell would get off of their you-know-what's and get the driver working, it would reduce the complaints people are making here [in webtalk] and in public newsgroups. David Ely, webtalk

A: This unit has a bios control feature which disables the LCD if anything is connected to the video out channel. This is a real pain. The ATI drivers have a feature to enable TV out in software (without reboot) the use of which seems to be precluded by the bios control. Has anyone found a combination of bios options that allow LCD and TV out to be enabled at the same time? Think I have tried most combinations, but would like to confirm. Also, any chance of reviewing this bios configuration in the near future, to allow user control of such issues (i.e. via ATI software selection)? Later Lewis writes...I am presuming the bios is locking out the ATI options in some manner. We have other RagePro AGP*2 chipsets here in workstations and they all work fine and are stable when running on AC Power. On battery, the only issue seems to be a minor level of luminence dropped on the VGA while TV out in use. Maybe its a power issue. Still think the option should be given if possible, since most presentations will have a power supply available. Lewis Grantham MMSCC/UCL, webtalk

Note: Perhaps this BIOS limitation could be removed. Maybe it would help if owners (and potential owners) that want this feature would send a message to Dell System Designers, link is in main section of this FAQ.

A: Dell says "We recommend using the TV output only or the TV / CRT combo." I mean really, what kind of a statement is that. If you've got to drag along a CRT to make a powerpoint presentation on a TV in a conference room, what's the point of having a notebook? Users have commented that it is difficult to setup a powerpoint presentation or game or DVD on the TV because they can't read the setup screens on the TV because the text is fuzzy. LCD+TV would solve this problems. Lilla

A: About the lack of support for simultaneous output to LCD+TV, etc. - by Frank Garcia, webtalk

How To Get Simultaneous Output to LCD+TV

by Dennis Woo, 1Nov98

Note: Dennis Woo is able to do output to LCD+TV. His procedure is shown below. I notice that Dennis has CD-ROM and not DVD, which makes me wonder if maybe ALL systems with CD-ROM can output to LCD+TV, and maybe ALL system with DVD cannot. Just an observation, may not be a direct relationship. Lilla

I am able to output to LCD+TV simultaneously. But, this feature doesn't seem to work on all units, so YMMV. More about this in problems section below. Here's what I'm using:

  1. S-Video or the RCA jack on the TV
  2. LCD resolution on 1024x768 is okay on mine
  3. I have the CD-ROM not the DVD
  4. I have 14.1" LCD

And here's what I do to get it to work are:

  1. Power off system
  2. Connect TV to the I7K
  3. Power on
  4. When Win98 is booted up, open "Display" from the Control Panel or the Desktop properties.
  5. Select the "Settings" tab and then hit the "Advanced" button
  6. A "Rage LT Pro AGP 2X" dialog box will pop up
  7. Then select "Displays" tab and have the "Televsion" and "LCD" panel checked
  8. Apply the changes.

Regards, Dennis (

Problems with Getting Simultaneous Output to LCD+TV

Q: Should I be able to get simultaneous TV & LCD output? I've tried this a number of times and I am only able to get output to one or the other at any given time. In fact the Advanced Settings allow both TV and LCD to be check-marked, however to get TV Output at all I must uncheck the LCD or it won't happen. - Bruce, Webtalk

A: I DID manage get it to work simultaneously. As long as I have both TV and LCD checked in the advanced display settings. Dennis Woo, Webtalk [Dennis documented his procedure for us, see above. Since Dennis has a CD-ROM, maybe LCD+TV works with that device, but not DVD? Just a thought. Lilla]

A: Can you tell us WHY it happens with some and not others? Is this a bug in the hardware which Dell is not admitting to? It seems to me that this is definitely behaviour that needs to be supported - the software clearly indicates that such a configuration should be possible. It would be really nice to be able to make presentations on a big screen TV, and clearly in that scenario, trying to use the "recommended" CRT/TV configuration is less than feasible. John Azariah, Webtalk

Q: I cannot get both an S-video device and the LCD to work simultaneously. This is a royal pain to use because once you switch to the S-video mode with a TV, then you must be looking at the TV in order to maneuver around and the laptop must be situated directly in front of the TV. According to the help, you must use a resolution LOWER than 1024 x 768. I tried all resolutions to no avail. David Ely, newsgroup

Q: Can i use S-Video to display my computer screen output to a TV...this is great for presentation when a LCD projector is not available. Dennis Woo, WebTalk

A: Yes. Go to this link, point to "2X AGP..." and read there. It says: Its large display, premium video sybsystem, MPEG, surround sound, and TV-out port help you make remarkable high impact presentations

A: The ATI chipset allows you to port your display to the TV. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

A: I can output whatever is on the LCD screen to my TV. DougD2000, newsgroup

A: I believe the 7000 can output the full video through the S-video. Non-DVD machines still have the S-Video jack and the NTSC/PAL, etc options are still present in the BIOS (and the DVD options are not). I don't have an S-video capable TV so I can't test it for sure... Rik, newsgroup

A: Ensure that the s-video jack is connected to the TV and laptop prior to powering up the machine. It should work then, [it works for me]. Howie, newsgroup

Simultaneous Output to LCD+Monitor

Refreshing LCD at 60Hz and CRT at 85Hz requires dual video controllers which is a feature offered by the ATI graphics card used in the I-7000; but Dell does not implement this feature in the I-7000. Therefore, when outputting to LCD+CRT, both are refreshed at 60Hz. See "Refresh Rates" for more info. Lilla

A: Yes, you can use a monitor and the LCD at the same time. Note: The display on the monitor will be the same as the display on the LCD when you do this. So if you have a "blocky" font on the LCD, it will look the same on the monitor. You can always change to just the monitor to correct this however. Dell/Brian

A: Tri-view/dual video controllers is NOT asking too much. If NEC can drop the same video card into their notebooks with this technology enabled, DELL should be able to do so as well. Come on DELL, re-think your lack of support and post new drivers (or offer new video cards if necessary) ASAP. Disabling this functionality benefits nobody. (For those who wonder, a primary benefit of this technology is the ability to run the LCD and external monitor simultaneously but at different frequencies. As it stands, the external monitor runs at 60Hz when viewed simultaneously with the LCD... well below recommended frequencies for external monitors. If we could run the LCD at 60Hz and the external at 85Hz, however, we'd have crisp, flicker-free images on both displays.) Hans Omli, webtalk

Q: Running a Viewsonic 17" external w/proper Win98 drivers, in 800x600 32-bit color. Upon re-boot, the 'ATI Displays' tab has both the Viewsonic and the LCD-Laptop monitor boxes checked, and the video resolution is not crisp (muddy edges on fonts and icons) and very lousy. De-select the LCD panel and the video is just crisp and fine. Happens every time. Does NOT happen at 1024x768 mode... always stays crisp and fine on the external. Runs this way with stock ATI drivers as well as 5.23 upgrade from Dell. BTW, running LCD only is the same lousy muddy resolution at 800x600 and crisp at 1024x768. What's up? This is unacceptable. Thanks, Bill

A: The LCD's on the Inspirons are 1024x768. LCD's aren't capable of the same kind of switching as a CRT, so when you go to the lower resolution, it looks out of whack. In order to get the high quality display at 1024x768, the video has to be optimized for this display. This is why at lower resolutions you get murky video [on LCD and CRT]. When you have the LCD enabled at all, the format will be the same [on the CRT] as on the LCD, thus the fuzziness. Dell/Brian McCullough

Simultaneous Output to LCD+Projector

Q: Should I be able to get simultaneous LCD and Projector output?

A series of posts from Art Epstein regarding his efforts in trying to get simultaneous image on LCD/Projector, webtalk

1) FWIW, I am having problems with my new 7K and getting a simultaneous display on my CTX EzPro 550. I've tried just about everything, and although the 7K works fine and simultaneously with an external PnP monitor, I can't get the LCD and external projector to work at the same time. If I disable the LCD (either in control panel or in the BIOS) the projector works fine but then I lose the ability to preview on the notebook. The Function-F8 toggle only scrolls the display down the projector and the start-up screen immediately returns. Simultaneous display is important enough to send the unit back if I can't get this resolved. Too bad because the 7K is otherwise an exceptional machine... Art

2) Hi Brian... I've only tested it on my own CTX and a PnP monitor. It works perfectly with the monitor and toggles as described in the manual. When I attach it to the projector (max resolution of 800X600) with the 7K also set at 800X600 and toggle, the Windows screen rapidly scrolls thru and the projector startup screen comes right back up. If I disable the LCD (either thru control panel or the system BIOS) I get a stable image but, of course, no LCD display. I spoke with CTX yesterday and one of their techs really knew her stuff. She said that they have an in-line impedance matching unit (transformer - I assume) just for Apples and Dells. She didn't know if it would work for the 7K but promised to send one out. I am hoping that it gets here before I have to send the unit back. I've really gotten fond of it and so has the family. The local video place was out of "City of Angeles" tapes so I rented the DVD and ran the 7K S-Video into the TV. Worked like a charm and saved the day. If you have any advice (or new drivers) I would appreciate any help. Thanks... Art

3) Brian... Thanks for the reply. CTX was great and the converter came yesterday. Unfortunately it didn't work. I also considered the refresh rate issue but when you do simultaneous display it defaults to 60Hz which the projector can easily handle that. It looks like a basic compatibility problem with the 7K and the projector. Art 4) I did try to change the settings but nothing seemed to work. With the LCD enabled the projector just would not synch. Since I really wanted simultaneous LCD and projector I was forced to return the unit. It was otherwise a beautiful machine - easily the best I've owned. Art

A: Actually, my 7000 has problems with earlier projectors also, even at 640x480. I've tried 2 different projectors and neither one will work with simultaneous display, though they do work with it set to only the projector. Seems kind of dumb on Dell's part, as Toshiba and IBM do not have this problem in my experience. I'll live with it, but I'm not happy with it. Gateway also suffers from this obvious problem. Bottom line is that the machine doesn't send a true standard vga signal out the back when simultaneous display is selected. Bill Herder, webtalk

Troubleshooting Display Problems

Connect your system to an external monitor. Any SVGA desktop monitor should work for this. Put your Dell Diagnostics disk in the drive, and reboot the machine. From the menu, select Run Specific Tests and hit Enter. Highlight the Video test, press the space bar once, hit the enter key once, highlight Selected at the bottom of the screen and press Enter. Follow the prompts to test the video. Look for any corruption, or to see if the problem you are experiencing recurs. See if it happens on the external monitor as well. If so, the the problem is related to the video chipset on the motherboard. If it only happens on the internal LCD, the the problem is associated with the notebook display. If it does not happen at all or you cannot recreate it, then it is either an intermittent problem or a software problem, the latter being the most likely. If a hardware problem is indicated, then the unit will need to be serviced. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk