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Full user review
"Works with Leopard"
This review was originally posted on VersionTracker.com.
First, I want to clarify something about this utility that many people misunderstand.
The installation and use of APE (an low-level application enhancer with various OS and application plugins) is not required. I note many persons who say they will not use this utility because of this issue. You don't have to use it unless you intend to block certain resolutions or unless you intend to redirect requests for certain resolutions into other resolutions automatically. This is not what most people need a custom display driver for.
You may choose during installation to avoid installing APE altogether. It is clearly marked and you must authorize its installation separately from the rest of SwitchRes. So it won't just sneak APE in on you during the install. And you can remove APE at any time if you don't require those few features that use APE.
I use an older 32" Sharp LCD TV as a second display. Its native EDID only goes as high as 1280x768 (not sure if newer Sharp units have corrected this problem). However, the TV can actually display up to 1366x768. Due to needing multiples of 8, most display tweakers choose to use a resolution of 1360x768 for sets of this type. So I wanted to get rid of my black bars and fill the Sharp screen border to border without stretching, banding artifacts, etc.
My primary machine is a 2006 model Mac Pro with an nVidia 7300LE dual-headed display card. The Mac Pro is running a current standard 10.5.4 Leopard install.
Using the mostly straightforward directions I found around the net (like AVSforums: Switchres), I concocted my own set of defaults simply by changing the horizontal front porch and back porch to allow the extra 80 pixels of width I needed.
I ended up with a setup like this:
Mode = 1360 x 768 @ 59.833Hz Pixel Clock............. 81.00 MHz Non-Interlaced Horizontal Vertical Active.................. 1280 pixels 768 lines Front Porch............. 8 pixels 1 lines Sync Width.............. 112 pixels 3 lines Back Porch.............. 208 pixels 30 lines Blanking................ 408 pixels 34 lines Total................... 1688 pixels 802 lines Scan Rate............... 47.986 kHz 59.833 Hz Image Size.............. 0 mm 0 mm Border.................. 0 pixels 0 lines
My previous Front Porch (right side of screen) was 48 pixels and previous Back Porch (left side of screen) was 248. I subtracted 40 from each to get the extra 80 pixels needed, making sure that the Total horizontal pixels stayed at 1688 pixels total. [Note: you normally cannot get the full 1366 pixels on the display because you must use a display size that is evenly divisible by 8 (1366/8=170.75). I've read before that you can scale up and then reduce pixel counts so you fill every pixel on the screen but that kind of tweaking is for people who really know what they're doing with this video stuff, not for ordinary users. I make note of this because of the huge numbers of 1366x768 LCD units on the market in recent years.]
I saved this as a new monitor setting, rebooted, brought up the Displays item in System Preferences and it worked perfectly (my set had already been set for 1366x768 and was displaying my former 1280x768 resolution with a black border of 43 pixels on left and right). After installing my new 1360x768 resolution, I had a barely visible border of 3 pixels on left and right, almost invisible from more than a foot away.
I thought after so many bad reviews based on misinformation around the net, mostly involving the optional use of APE in this product, more people needed to understand the issues involved. There is a lot of uninformed gossip about APE around, some of it well-founded. In the case of SwitchRes, this gossip is unfounded for most users who won't even inspect it closely enough to understand that APE is only required for a small number of advanced features in the program that are needed by only a few users.
I recommend others consider using this on their secondary displays on a Mac Pro (as I do) or for secondary displays connected to a Mac laptop. If you connect directly and bork your main display, you may have some problems getting back to a usable display with it. I have used this previously with my old PPC Mac Mini on the same Sharp LCD but it was a lot more painful before I got it to work. Hence, my advice that this is far safer for persons of medium tech skills to use on their secondary displays. If using it on a single-display setup, try to configure the monitor as a secondary display first and keep the primary display unaltered in case you need to recover. Make sure you know where the button to reset to standard default resolutions is located.
Enabling all the custom monitor controls and resolution selections in the More items of the Desktop's popup menu is a feature you might want to disable. For most people, you just need to enable the proper resolution and then select it from Displays in System Preferences as usual.
If you don't have any grasp of how to roll your own custom display resolutions, consider recruiting someone more knowledgeable or searching for info on the web about what settings to try with your particular model of display.