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Is it possible to disable the X screen from stretching to fill the monitor? For instance, if Xvesa is configured to display 800x600, can I have that 800x600 box centered in the middle of the screen with black surrounding it, rather than stretched to fit a possible different aspect ratio?

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This almost completely depends on your display. –  grawity Apr 20 '12 at 19:41
    
Displays have an input scaler in them (except for the very high-end ones because it adds latency) to fake non-native modes, as do most graphics cards. However, I'm pretty sure there's a signal that can disable that. I know I had some software waaay back in the DOS days that could do that. –  Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Apr 20 '12 at 20:16
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I could not find a way to pull this off. I did found that each graphics card has its own way of disabling the video card output scaler and there are different hacks to pull that off (for instance, the ancient NVSC from the dos days for nVidia cards). I could not find any documented or undocumented way of doing this with ATi cards.

The display's scaler is, as far as I can tell, automatically disabled if the video card scaler is as well.

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