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Anyone know where I can get specs for old monitors and soho computers? I'm setting up some old computers as linux boxes and especially need monitor specs for setting X Window System parameters. Right now I need specs for a Packard Bell 1024S monitor.

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This is quite a reasonable question. I don't see any need to mod it down - even if it's not strictly programming related. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Nov 13 '08 at 13:35
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 1 '10 at 15:01

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3 Answers

You could also try googling for the monitor make and model number along with the string "ModeLine". I got the xf86config below off google with the search "Packard Bell 1024s" Modeline. From this you can get the horizontal and vertical sync, which should allow you to infer the timings for the mode line. I have actually written a mode line on a few occasions. It's a little nerve-wracking (you can in theory damage the monitor) but you can always recover by having a ssh (actually telnet back in those days) connection into the machine from which you can kill the X-server.

Here are a Few HOWTO Documents about writing Mode lines.

(Search results as mentioned above)

# File generated by XFdrake.

# **********************************************************************
# Refer to the XF86Config man page for details about the format of
# this file.
# **********************************************************************

Section "Files"
# Multiple FontPath entries are allowed (they are concatenated together)
# By default, Mandrake 6.0 and later now use a font server independent of
# the X server to render fonts.
FontPath "unix/:-1"
EndSection

Section "ServerFlags"
#DontZap # disable <Crtl><Alt><BS> (server abort)
AllowMouseOpenFail # allows the server to start up even if the mouse doesn't work
#DontZoom # disable <Crtl><Alt><KP_+>/<KP_-> (resolution switching)
EndSection

Section "Module"
Load "dbe" # Double-Buffering Extension
Load "v4l" # Video for Linux
Load "extmod"
Load "type1"
Load "freetype"
Load "glx" # 3D layer
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Keyboard1"
Driver "Keyboard"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
Option "XkbCompat" ""
Option "XkbOptions" ""
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Mouse1"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "monitor1"
VendorName "Packard Bell"
ModelName "Packard Bell 1024S"
HorizSync 30.0-50.0
VertRefresh 50.0-90.0

# Sony Vaio C1(X,XS,VE,VN)?
# 1024x480 @ 85.6 Hz, 48 kHz hsync
ModeLine "1024x480" 65.00 1024 1032 1176 1344 480 488 494 563 -hsync -vsync

# TV fullscreen mode or DVD fullscreen output.
# 768x576 @ 79 Hz, 50 kHz hsync
ModeLine "768x576" 50.00 768 832 846 1000 576 590 595 630

# 768x576 @ 100 Hz, 61.6 kHz hsync
ModeLine "768x576" 63.07 768 800 960 1024 576 578 590 616
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "device1"
Driver "savage"
Option "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "screen1"
Device "device1"
Monitor "monitor1"
DefaultColorDepth 24

Subsection "Display"
Depth 8
Modes "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubsection

Subsection "Display"
Depth 15
Modes "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubsection

Subsection "Display"
Depth 16
Modes "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubsection

Subsection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubsection
EndSection

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "layout1"
InputDevice "Keyboard1" "CoreKeyboard"
InputDevice "Mouse1" "CorePointer"
Screen "screen1"
EndSection
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Contacting the manufacturer for this information seems reasonable to me.

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I've had good luck either searching the manufacturer's web page (if they're still in existance), or just googling for the full model number. Sometimes you'll find that the manufacturer was bought by somebody who was bought by somebody, and that somebody still has the information on-line. Other times you'll find a forum post by somebody bragging about the specs of their brand new computer dating back to whenever it was new.

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