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Discussion Starter #1
DTD Calculator:
Clever Technology Making Custom Resolutions for Intel Graphics Easier


For those of you who have or are considering Intel integrated graphics solutions, you may or may not have observed that the standard tool for coping with custom resolutions-- EnTech's Powerstrip-- doesn't work properly with Intel graphics. Why that is is somewhat irrelevant to the discussion here. The important thing is that the Powerstrip situation doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon, and Intel hasn't published any information which implies there is something in the works at their end.


This situation comes at a very annoying time, since the Intel Graphics are becoming a better and better solution for a home theater PC with new DVI and HDMI solutions and better video processing capabilities.


Intel graphics have the capability of specifying custom timings using the VESA standard Detailed Timing Descriptor (DTD), but it's a register hack and the method is cryptic (see http://softwarecommunity.intel.com/W...aphics/239.htm for more than you've ever wanted to know on the matter). A better method is desirable: something graphical as Powerstrip provides, and as Nvidia and ATI provide as well. Not sure it will ever be easy to understand, but it should at least be easier to get the work done. That's where a freeware program called DTDCalculator (developed out of the kindness of their heart by the nice guys at Clever Technologies in the UK) comes in.


DTDCalculator's primary goal is to take a very manual, math-intensive process and make it human. And I think it succeeds.


1) You can download the software installer from my personal site at
http://members.cox.net/archibael/setupdtd100.exe

Clever Technologies is also hosting:
http://www.clevertec.co.uk/productsfree.htm#dtdcalc


2) Install the SW and start it up. Note that you need to be running the application with Administrative privileges in order to write to the registry under Vista with UAC enabled.


3) Get one or more DTDs from some source and write them to the registry


There are several starting places:


a) One of the most accurate (for your particular monitor) would be by grabbing the EDID data from the Intel Graphics Tray Information button (choose "Save to File" and the raw EDID will pop up). Use the instructions from the DTD Wiki I referenced above to find the proper DTDs, paste one into the DTD field of the Reverse Calculation screen and hit the button there.


b) Another option is to find a Linux Modeline out there which someone has used for your monitor, and to input the parameters into the left panel, thus autogenerating the proper DTD for use with Intel graphics.


c) Another is to use a standard (provided), Consumer Electronics Association resolution by selecting one of the choices under "Standard Timings" in the Calculations tab.


In each case, the DTD Calculator tool will show the DTD across the bottom of the window, and will show the exact timing parameters in the left panel. Once you've inserted or selected a basic DTD, proceed to the Registry Hack section. You may or may not have DTDs on this screen (depending on if you've hacked them before or not), but if you want more resolutions than are listed shown there, click the More button. A blank DTD will be generated, ready to be stuffed into the registry. Since we've already got one selected, click "Get Calculated". This will take the current DTD and put it in memory as something you want to send to the registry as a selectable resolution. Repeat for as many as you'd like (up to five). When done, click "Write DTDs to Registry". Reboot, and the new resolutions you inserted should be selectable using the normal methods (Intel Graphics Tray or Windows Display Properties Settings).


Just as a note: if you write to the registry a resolution which matches, in description, one which the Intel graphics drivers are already providing ("1920x1080 interlaced @ 60Hz"), when the reboot occurs only one of the two will be selectable. Which is it? Is it the one you're using to do your overscan correction, or is the driver default one? There's no way to tell! So before putting your DTD in the Registry Hack screen, "tag" it by giving it a very obviously non-standard resolution. Changing the Horizontal Active pixels by 1 or 2 in the left panel is probably your best bet. That way you'll be able to distinguish between "1920x1080i @ 60Hz" and your custom "1922x1080i @ 60Hz". Don't be too worried about the exact resolution you select being "right"; this is just temporary, anyway. Your final overscan-free DTD will be something drastically different from the original and it's unlikely you will ever confuse 1920x1080 with 1898x1070. This method has the added bonus of fooling the drivers into being able to display resolutions your vendor (typically laptop) has (for whatever reason) specifically disabled in their BIOS.


4) Overscan Correction


At this point, especially if you've chosen 1080i or 720p, your TV probably has some level of overscan, meaning that the edges of your desktop or other content is beyond the edges of your screen, and you can't access taskbars or the minimize or close buttons. Highly annoying! Fortunately, that's the primary function of DTD Calculator: eliminating this pesky overscan. Open DTD Calculator, go to Registry Hack again, find the DTD which matches the resolution you are currently in and click Create Modeline to load the current DTD into memory.


Proceed to the Tuning tab, and click Ruler. Superimposed translucently on your desktop is a window you can use to find the right dimensions for your screen. Stretch it to fit to the edges of your screen (use the up/down left/right buttons to do fine tuning if your mouse hand is as jittery as mine) and when you're done click the Apply button. The new, non-overscanned screen size will be computed as a new DTD (you may notice the parameters have now changed.... or you may not, if you don't ordinarily memorize resolution timing parameters).


5) Fine tuning


You've sized the desktop appropriately, now, to fit your screen, but is the image where you'd expect it to be? Or is it shifted left, right... in some way askew? You can use the buttons on the tuning screen to ensure the image moves to the right spot on screen, and you can watch the little image move around the big black box.


6) Finalize

When you're done, and the resolution is as you like it, go back to the Registry Hack tab, choose one of the five available DTD "slots" in the registry, and click "Get Calculated" to change it to what you currently have developed. Click "Write DTDs to Registry" again to rewrite the new resolution to the registry, and then reboot. The new DTD will show up now under the regular resolutions. It's likely something really weird like 1820x996 or 1198x712, but it will be there and it should provide you with an overscanless screen to the limits that your monitor can provide. Voila!


7) There are other ways you can use the DTD Calculator-- a pure way of calculating a Modeline from the EDID (or vice versa). It's an excellent tool and I urge anyone who comes up with a useful application for it aside from what I've outlined here to post your experiences.

Afterword


Again, I ask you to be fairly kind in any suggestions or requests for new features. It's not my software (though it makes my life easier) and it is in fact provided by some folks who just thought it would be a nice favor to do for the community. They didn't write the Intel drivers, and while I and they will probably try to help with any weirdnesses as much as can be done, the bottom line is: if there is a driver problem, go to Intel.


This software is provided with no guarantees, express or otherwise. (At least, I think I saw lawyerspeak like that on some software once. Maybe it will do the trick.)


I reiterate my special thanks to AVS's very own Wo0zy and to his cadre of folks. Without them this software would have been solely in my head, and my Brain-to-IA32 compiler SUCKS. They went above and beyond on this, adding functionalities I hadn't thought of. I cannot say enough good things about them.
 

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Hi,

this is very promising, sorry for a few basic questions:

Does this tool work for WinXP with MCE and Intel 945GM ?

Can resolutions for VGA/DVI outputs also adjusted,

espcially 720x480 (16:9) for a 'K90 - 7" InDash VGA Touchscreen USB' ?


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SugoE /forum/post/12374665


Hi,

this is very promising, sorry for a few basic questions:

Does this tool work for WinXP with MCE and Intel 945GM ?

Can resolutions for VGA/DVI outputs also adjusted,

espcially 720x480 (16:9) for a 'K90 - 7" InDash VGA Touchscreen USB' ?


Thanks

Hi SugoE,


Yes. The tool will work with all Intel graphics from GMA900 onwards (maybe more but I'd need to check that with Archibael) and is tested on XP and Vista with VGA, DVI and HDMI outputs.


Good luck. If you have any problems or feedback please let us know.


Wo0zy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4

Quote:
Originally Posted by SugoE /forum/post/12374665


Hi,

this is very promising, sorry for a few basic questions:

Does this tool work for WinXP with MCE and Intel 945GM ?

Can resolutions for VGA/DVI outputs also adjusted,

espcially 720x480 (16:9) for a 'K90 - 7" InDash VGA Touchscreen USB' ?


Thanks

Yeah, I should add that to the instructions. This should work with WinXP and Vista on:


GMA900 aka 915G/GM

GMA950 aka 945G/GM

GMA3000/3000X aka G965/Q965/946Z

GMA3100X aka GM965

GMA3100 aka G31/G33

GMA3500X aka G35


or any variant chipset which works with their drivers (any 15.x and 14.27 or higher). I fear registry incompatibilities with some of the variants, so be sure and let us know if your machine based on any of these is failing to read/write to the registry so the robustness of those routines can be improved.


VGA and DVI should both be equally adjustable as HDMI-- more so, perhaps, since HDMI inputs are quite finicky. Might even work with the forthcoming DisplayPort, but I'm not sure the drivers won't be re-architected by then.
 

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I'm helping a guy in another forum on this, it's seems that the tool sets the registry correctly,

but the 720x480 is not selectable in the display resolutions (all video modes are shown ).

Any oher tip ?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So you're saying 720x480 is available in the list of modes but when you select it nothing happens?
 

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Pretty cool tool, thanks for the efforts and excellent documentation! Unfortunately, I ran into two problems, one I can live with, and one that is a deal breaker. I am using the HDMI output from the GigaByte motherboard, which uses a dual audio/video driver from Intel. As soon as I select my "new" resolution, the audio channel goes dead. So my guess is that when I write to the registry with the DTD Calculator tool, it corrupts the HDMI audio portion. I guess I might need to manually edit the registry myself, versus writing it with the DTD calculator. Where do I get the data that the tools is writing to the registry?


For the minor issue, I got the display to look great from the bottom and right, but I could never get the left side to properly align with the screen edge. NO matter what tweaks I made with the fine tuning, there would always be about a half icon truncated.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What is the resolution you are selecting? I've seen reports that non-1080/720/480-based resolutions break HDMI audio. Since the HDMI audio spec is silent on these resolutions, I'm not sure yet whether it's a spec problem or a driver problem, though I'm leaning towards the latter.


Some televisions attempt to be "helpful" when presented with a larger blanking interval and "readjust" the display so the blanking interval always shows up in the same spot, regardless of where the sync pulse is.
 

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Resolution is 1280x720, which I then adjust. If I switch back to one of the built-in resolutions, the HDMI audio comes back. It's a shame that Intel has dropped the ball on this chip-set with regards to TV displays, as any cheap nVidia board will work just fine for me. But the point was for it to be "integrated"! I'm probably gonna sell/return the board, or find a low-profile video card, as this is just taking up too much of my time! Thanks for your help.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/12376438


So you're saying 720x480 is available in the list of modes but when you select it nothing happens?

No, 720x480 is not listed in the available modes, however it works with the

Intel(R) Embedded Graphics Drivers, but these fail to work with Xp Media Center Software.

BTW, native resolution of display is 800x480


Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #11

Quote:
Originally Posted by SugoE /forum/post/12382192


No, 720x480 is not listed in the available modes, however it works with the

Intel(R) Embedded Graphics Drivers, but these fail to work with Xp Media Center Software.

BTW, native resolution of display is 800x480


Thanks

Laptop or desktop? Sounds suspiciously like BIOS refusal, in which case 718x480 should work.
 

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Discussion Starter #12

Quote:
Originally Posted by bondisdead /forum/post/12382037


Resolution is 1280x720, which I then adjust. If I switch back to one of the built-in resolutions, the HDMI audio comes back. It's a shame that Intel has dropped the ball on this chip-set with regards to TV displays, as any cheap nVidia board will work just fine for me. But the point was for it to be "integrated"! I'm probably gonna sell/return the board, or find a low-profile video card, as this is just taking up too much of my time! Thanks for your help.

Sorry to hear that.
I know it doesn't do you any good this time around, but be sure and send your feedback to Intel Customer Service so they know why they lost the sale: buggy HDMI drivers.
 

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Hi Archibael,


I think we need to look into this audio issue. With all the custom timings I've tried (even the ones that don't fit my TV. For testing you understand
). I've still got audio via HDMI. Very odd that others don't. Is there any sign of a pattern from the examples you've been made aware of?


bondisdead,


I know you don't want to mess with this anymore but would you mind letting us know the make and model of your TV. Also are you connecting directly to it or via an AV receiver? If receiver would you mind specifying the make and model of that also.


Thanks in advance for the information and your feedback so far.


Cheers,


Wo0zy.
 

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Okay, that last post was out of frustration. Too many hours spent over my precious weekend. I am refreshed now.



My setup is as follows. The HDMI output going to my Onkyo TX-SR804's HDMI In. The Onkyo processes the audio, and passes the video onto my Samsung LN-S4692D 46" LCD HDTV (720p). The spec sheet for the TV claims native resolution of 1360x768 @60Hz. A direct VGA connection fits aspect ratio just fine.


I decided to work around the audio problem by using the SPDIF connection for audio, and the DVI output for video. I now run the SPDIF to my Onkyo's Optical In, and the DVI from the motherboard goes thru a DVI/HDMI connector, then into my Onkyo. Audio problem is now solved. However, the overscan problem is still there. A couple of quirks. While I still get 1/2 the icons on the left truncated, the right side looks great in windows, as does the bottom. The top is slightly truncated. I've tried I don't know how many reboots and fine tuning to get it right! Nevertheless, I can live with this display. However, once I open Vista media center, there is a large bar on the right side of the screen, which is either blacked our or flickers. I am guessing that it is underscanned??


Perhaps it's just that I am not Ruler Tuning correctly? I notice little black squares on the edges and corners. There is also a red-border. Am I trying to get the red-border to align with the edges of my display? Sometimes when I bring up the Ruler, the Save button is greyed out. It's that way once i bring it up, and regardless if I make changes. Also, on the Tuning screen, the red/black rectangle is always shifted to the right, with more open space on the left. Argh, I guess I'm an idiot right now! ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wo0zy /forum/post/12382776


Hi Archibael,

I think we need to look into this audio issue. With all the custom timings I've tried (even the ones that don't fit my TV. For testing you understand
). I've still got audio via HDMI. Very odd that others don't. Is there any sign of a pattern from the examples you've been made aware of?

Just the aforementioned failure to transmit when the number of vertical lines isn't 480, 720, or 1080.


I chalked it up to a spec implementation problem and forwarded it to our audio folks, but got no response. Which isn't isn't encouraging, but isn't wholly unencouraging: sometimes when I get no response it's fixed on the next driver release.
 

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Discussion Starter #16

Quote:
Originally Posted by bondisdead /forum/post/12384047


Okay, that last post was out of frustration. Too many hours spent over my precious weekend. I am refreshed now.



My setup is as follows. The HDMI output going to my Onkyo TX-SR804's HDMI In. The Onkyo processes the audio, and passes the video onto my Samsung LN-S4692D 46" LCD HDTV (720p). The spec sheet for the TV claims native resolution of 1360x768 @60Hz. A direct VGA connection fits aspect ratio just fine.


I decided to work around the audio problem by using the SPDIF connection for audio, and the DVI output for video. I now run the SPDIF to my Onkyo's Optical In, and the DVI from the motherboard goes thru a DVI/HDMI connector, then into my Onkyo. Audio problem is now solved. However, the overscan problem is still there. A couple of quirks. While I still get 1/2 the icons on the left truncated, the right side looks great in windows, as does the bottom. The top is slightly truncated. I've tried I don't know how many reboots and fine tuning to get it right! Nevertheless, I can live with this display. However, once I open Vista media center, there is a large bar on the right side of the screen, which is either blacked our or flickers. I am guessing that it is underscanned??

Yeah, some Samsung's can go 1360x768 over HDMI, others cannot (even when it's the native rez). 720p is what I would send if that's what it's advertising as, and I'm assuming that's what the resolution you're sending to the monitor is based on... Can you try a 1080i resolution instead to see if that improves matters? Either way your TV is going to be scaling; you might get better underscan with 1080i.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bondisdead /forum/post/12384047


Okay, that last post was out of frustration. Too many hours spent over my precious weekend. I am refreshed now.

Know the feeling


Quote:
Originally Posted by bondisdead /forum/post/12384047


My setup is as follows. The HDMI output going to my Onkyo TX-SR804's HDMI In. The Onkyo processes the audio, and passes the video onto my Samsung LN-S4692D 46" LCD HDTV (720p). The spec sheet for the TV claims native resolution of 1360x768 @60Hz. A direct VGA connection fits aspect ratio just fine.

Thanks for the info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bondisdead /forum/post/12384047


However, the overscan problem is still there. A couple of quirks. While I still get 1/2 the icons on the left truncated, the right side looks great in windows, as does the bottom. The top is slightly truncated. I've tried I don't know how many reboots and fine tuning to get it right! Nevertheless, I can live with this display. However, once I open Vista media center, there is a large bar on the right side of the screen, which is either blacked our or flickers. I am guessing that it is underscanned??

The black line/right border thing in media center seems to be a media center issue. I've had this when testing an ATi card with custom resolutions as well so it's not just Intel IGP's that do this. Very slightly overscanning the right border usually fixes the problem. Having an undercanned (as you suggest) and perfect fit timing seems to cause it but only ever on the right hand side??. Applying the reg hack to force VMC to use the same timings as your desktop may help this. (not sure. I need to do more testing on this).

Quote:
Originally Posted by bondisdead /forum/post/12384047


Perhaps it's just that I am not Ruler Tuning correctly? I notice little black squares on the edges and corners. There is also a red-border. Am I trying to get the red-border to align with the edges of my display? Sometimes when I bring up the Ruler, the Save button is greyed out. It's that way once i bring it up, and regardless if I make changes. Also, on the Tuning screen, the red/black rectangle is always shifted to the right, with more open space on the left. Argh, I guess I'm an idiot right now! ;-)

Couple of things spring to mind. Firstly, the ruler "apply" button is only greyed out if your desktop resolution doesn't match the timings you've loaded into the DTD Calc. For example if you are running at 800x600 and load a 1024x768 modeline/DTD. I guess what you may be doing is forgetting to select your current timing from the Reg Hack tab before using the Ruler tool when this happens?


The little black squares are used for dragging and resizing on a large scale. The buttons in the middle provide fine tuning. The idea is to get the red boarder perfectly aligned with the edge of your display. If the red border width reduces, you've gone too far (although going slightly too far, at least on the RHS may help the media center issue)


The black rectangle with the Red bordered rectangle inside (shaded blue with green corners) which appears on the main "Tuning" tab is a representation of where your active pixels (viewable area) "sit" in relation to your total horizontal and vertical blanking intervals and really only needs to be used for very fine tuning if ,once you have a correctly sized image, it is skewed in some way (too far up, down, left or right). When using this, it is important to note that whatever you do to one border you must do to the opposite border as well or you will end up reducing the number of active pixels rather than just moving them. I have never seen a timing which results in the "active pixels" rectangle being dead center of the blanking intervals so don't worry about it being "off center". This screen doesn't allow you to change the width of your sync pulse only the position (for obvious reasons).


If this doesn't help. Perhaps you could post your new DTD so Archibael can take a look at it.


Good luck and thanks again for coming back with the information.


Cheers,


Wo0zy.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/12384465


Just the aforementioned failure to transmit when the number of vertical lines isn't 480, 720, or 1080.


I chalked it up to a spec implementation problem and forwarded it to our audio folks, but got no response. Which isn't isn't encouraging, but isn't wholly unencouraging: sometimes when I get no response it's fixed on the next driver release.

Far enough. Fingers crossed.


Wonder why it works with my TV regardless of the resolution?


Cheers,


Wo0zy
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Anglophile coders in our graphics department made sure it would work at 50Hz?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael /forum/post/12385632


Anglophile coders in our graphics department made sure it would work at 50Hz?

LOL. Can't blame them for lovin us really



We're, I think the phrase is, Quaint



Shame they aren't "that way inclined" towards their own UK support staff



Wo0zy.
 
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