Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 86 / JULY 1987 / PAGE 8

Mismatched Monitor

I have a Tandy 1000 computer with monochrome monitor, and I would like to get a monitor with higher resolution. The Tandy VM-3 high-resolution monitor has a 720 × 350 screen for text and a 640 × 350 screen for graphics, but I have been told that I can't use that monitor. What's the reason for this? I thought you could use any monitor as long as you have the right cable to hook it up.

Robert Estrada, Sr.

For computer graphics and text, the computer's display capabilities should match those of the monitor. For instance, if your computer generates a screen that's 320 dots, wide and 200 dots high, any video monitor able to display a 320 × 200 screen can be used. A monitor capable of a higher resolution won't increase the computer's resolution. Check the specifications for your computer's video hardware; buying an expensive high-resolution monitor will be a waste of money if your system can't generate equivalent high-resolution displays. The important factor is whether the computer and monitor can display the same number of dots vertically and horizontally, using the same number of colors. If the two devices don't match in that way, it doesn't matter whether you can hook them up physically. If you connect a computer to a mismatched monitor, the picture may look garbled, or perhaps simply blank.

For the IBM PC and compatible computers like your Tandy 1000, it's often possible to upgrade the video hardware to get higher resolution. You may be able to replace the existing video hardware with a different graphics adapter card. Before investing in such a card, you should make sure that it is compatible with your com­puter and with the software you use most often.