I'm in the process of replacing two home laptops that have gotten weary with age, with rather simple/cheap desktop computers. Both laptops were unique that they were used in combination with external monitors, which was a a rather nice setup, and they (graphics cards and the external monitors) supported 1920x1280 resoution.

While browsing through ads, I noticed that it is more and more difficult to find out the maximum resolution a certain graphics card (or worse, graphics card integrated on a motherboard) supports.

Is there a place, or a way (something, anything ...) where one could go to easily find this out?


For Nvidia based cards of all varieties I would have gone straight to the Nvidia website rather than the reseller (EVGA, XFX or whoever) and checked out the specifications of the card there.

Picking one at random the Geforce GTX 570 specifications page immediately lists the maximum resolutions for both VGA cable and digital links:

2560x1600 Maximum Digital Resolution
2048x1536 Maximum VGA Resolution

And it appears to be true for pretty much all of their graphics processors. Just find their specifications page and the information is right there.

Similarly AMD do the same for their graphics processors, so if you are looking at a Radeon based graphics card then again just completely ignore the reseller and go straight to AMD and find their specifications sheet.

Picking one at random again the Radeon HD 6970 has, hidden near the bottom of their specifications page (in amongst a huge wodge of information you'll not care about) shows:

DisplayPort 1.2
    Max resolution: 2560x1600 per display
    Multi-Stream Transport
    21.6 Gbps bandwidth
    High bit-rate audio
HDMI 1.4a with Stereoscopic 3D Frame Packing Format, Deep Color, xvYCC wide gamut support, and high bit-rate audio
    Max resolution: 1920x1200
Dual-link DVI with HDCP
    Max resolution: 2560x1600
    Max resolution: 2048x1536

So basically just ignore the reseller, as they'll just be throwing impressive sounding numbers at you in a bid to get you to buy their products, while the actual chip makers will tell you what it can actually do.

Basically just search either the Nvidia or AMD sites for whatever graphics processor you are looking at and you should, somewhere on the specifications page, find the information you are after.


For Intel chips it seems there is a bit more work involved. Searching for your example (Intel 910 graphics) took me to this page and looking theough the whitepaper pdf at the bottom it has a section titled Intel ® Graphics Media Accelerator 900 Architecture where it lists the device capabilities. It's nowhere near as easy to find as Nvidia or AMD cards, but it is there

In addition to supporting CRTs via a VGA connector with a maximum pixel clock of 400 MHz (up to 2048x1536 resolution @ 85Hz refresh rate)

I can't seem to find anything quickly regarding Sandy Bridge though...

In all honesty I would be surprised to find any current graphics solution that doesn't support up to 2560 x 1600, only older chips would likely have problems running that high.

  • 1
    What you say is true. But, unlike Radeon, Nvidia or some other more known manufacturer, I often (as is often the case with entry level computers) stumble onto some motherboard manufacturer where I cannot find what is the graphics chip installed, or if I do, I cannot find the page of the graphics chip manufacturer. Too prove a point, I just spend almost an hour searching for max. res. of Intel's (!!) integrated graphics chip.
    – Rook
    Nov 26 '11 at 20:49
  • @ldigas Which Intel graphics adapter? Have you looked it up on Intel's support site? Nov 26 '11 at 20:58
  • @techie007 - Couldn't say. The info I have is "Integrated Intel graphics chip 910"
    – Rook
    Nov 26 '11 at 21:37
  • Do you know which motherboard? Make of computer? Did you try Intel hardware detection software? Regardless, Mokubai's answer is still right, check with the manufacturer. If you can't determine which adapter you are trying to look up, then it may be time to take it to someone who can tell. :) Nov 26 '11 at 21:42

In Linux use xrandr to query the card:

tim@MushaV3 ~ $ xrandr -d :0 -q
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 3840 x 1080, maximum 16384 x 16384

As you can see, my card can go upto 16384x16384 but the colour depth will suffer

I originally posted the above while working on another question and coming accross this one. I now realise that while the above is 'correct' under certain circumstances the only generic way to be sure is either via trial and error (keep upping the res until you find one that doesn't work, then drop back) or finding a spec sheet which lists the exact supported specs.

I came to this realisation after for the other question I found that the supported resolutions and refresh rates for 'external' devices were entirely different to that shown to be supported for the 'internal' (i.e. laptop) connected monitor. Simply because a card supports a resolution over one one interface doesn't mean it will do the same over another.

  • 1
    Just to supplement this answer, an embedded chipset is different from a standalone graphics card when you are trying to determine maximum capabilities. The motherboard may not implement all of the chipset capabilities, and in some cases, the chipset may rely on motherboard resources (like memory). A resource-poor motherboard could limit the system capabilities below what the chipset is capable of. So finding the specs for the chipset may not necessarily tell you the limitations of the system.
    – fixer1234
    Mar 19 '17 at 19:55
  • @fixer1234 I don't have proof but i suspect the same maybe true for non intergrated cards to, in some circumstances. Mar 19 '17 at 20:12
  • One more point for completeness so this thread can serve as a canonical question. The xrandr "maximum" (in this example, maximum 16384 x 16384), doesn't refer to monitor support. That refers to the frame buffer (virtual screen size).
    – fixer1234
    Mar 19 '17 at 20:28

You can find the modeline using cvt. For example if I want UHD (3840x1920) at 30Hz:

$ cvt 3840 2160 30
# 3840x2160 29.98 Hz (CVT) hsync: 65.96 kHz; pclk: 338.75 MHz
Modeline "3840x2160_30.00"  338.75  3840 4080 4488 5136  2160 2163 2168 2200 -hsync +vsync

I now run:

$ xrandr --newmode  "3840x2160_30.00"  338.75  3840 4080 4488 5136  2160 2163 2168 2200 
$ xrandr --addmode HDMI1 3840x2160_30.00
$ xrandr --output HDMI1 --mode 3840x2160_30.00

On a Lenovo E420 (ATI/sandybrige GMA hybrid), the last command fails with

xrandr: Configure crtc 1 failed

This suggests that my this GPU does not support UHD@30Hz. This technique isn't perfect, for example, it suggests that it does support UHD@60Hz even though this machine is older than HDMI2 so that is clearly impossible.

  • Will this work regardless of the monitor connected (e.g., xrandr won't say "fail" because the monitor doesn't support the setting)? So this is sort of a trial and error test without the need to have actual monitors?
    – fixer1234
    Mar 20 '17 at 7:19

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