Hooking up MBP to Dell external display

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by film major, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. film major macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2008
    So, I tried to hook my macbook pro up to my Dell LCD display last night and had all kinds of problems. I used the adapter that came with my macbook pro. When I hooked it up the picture on the Dell looked horrible. I tied adjusting the settings which made it a little better but still not great. When I tried to mirror the monitor and clamshell the MBP the monitor was all choppy and almost unusable.

    Any ideas how to fix this problem? I had this Dell display hooked up to my old G4 tower and it looked and worked great.
  2. squeeks macrumors 68040


    Jun 19, 2007
    what kind of monitor, what is its max resolution, what resolution was it running at, im guessing you hooked it up with VGA not DVI?
  3. bamf macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    I'm using a Dell 2407WFP and it works great. In fact, I've hooked my MBP up to several of them. Let us know the resolution and frequency you're using and we can probably help.

    I would also make sure you are running the external display at its native resolution. I've seen the screen look terrible if the MBP is trying a different resolution before...
  4. Wingnut330 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2008
    Central Ohio - USA
    I have a Dell 2408WFP and it works great! I didn't have to do any tweaking, it just plain worked. Did you install the drivers? What monitor is is? What connection type are you using?
  5. techlover828 macrumors 68020


    Jun 28, 2007
    if he's using vga it's not gonna be a 2407 or anything like that, probably like a 17 or 19" monitor.
  6. film major thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2008
    It is a Dell 19". On the back of the monitor it says its a model number 1704 FTP. I am hooked up through VGA but it does have a DVI input. I found a driver for it but it was a .exe file and I don't think those work on a mac.

    the max resolution was 1280x800 which I was using. My macbook has a higher resolution of 1440x900 and is widescreen.
  7. BlackMax macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2007
    North Carolina
    According to some information I found online concerning the Dell 1704 FTP LCD monitor, it is a 17" LCD with a native resolution of 1280x1024.

    You might want to try changing the resolution from 1280x800 to 1280x1024 on your Dell 1704 FTP LCD monitor and see if it helps at all.
  8. film major thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2008
    I saw that too, but trust me this is a 19" monitor. I tried changing all the resolutions but it didn't really help. I am more concerned with the fact that the monitor is all choppy.
  9. Wingnut330 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2008
    Central Ohio - USA
    Techlover I got your PM but can't figure out how to attach pictures in a PM, so here are a couple of shots of my setup...

    Attached Files:

  10. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Sounds time your monitor is not plug and play; I don't know how to set it up on a Mac, but you need to the get timings of the your monitor and manually input into the computer.
  11. ckeck macrumors 6502a


    Jul 29, 2005
    No fix? I'm having this same issue with my Dell 2408WFP...but I don't believe its a problem with the screen itself. I'm choosing its native resolution, but it still looks fuzzy and like a much lower resolution :mad:
  12. e12a macrumors 68000


    Oct 28, 2006
    Try changing the Font smoothing. It is located in Sys. Preferences > Appearance. Choose one of them and restart. I find that it doesnt take effect until then, or remove the monitor and reattach it.

    I have an Acer AL2216WBD 22" widescreen monitor rated at 1680x1050 and it works fine. I noticed that the font smoothing would make my MBP's fonts look thin and strange (using both displays at a time via DVI). Changed the Font smoothing to "Best for flat panel" and the fonts on the MBP's side looks normal now.

    edit: for clarification, before, with the Acer detached, the fonts looked normal on the MBP. With the acer attached, the appearance of fonts on the MBP side changed until I fiddled with Font Smoothing.
  13. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    I found this thread on a different forum with a bunch of people having the same problem.


    The last post is not much of a resolution though. It does mention that in mirror mode the problem exists, and in other modes it goes away.

    What resolution is your macbook pro screen in?

    Edit: Nevermind. I see you posted the resolutions above.

    What if you lower the resolution of your macbook to be the same as the max on your monitor?

    IE drop the macbook down to 1280x800. Just a wild guess.
  14. audiomixer macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2007
    I have the 1704 dell monitor but I use the DVI port with no issues. I also use a E228WFP 23' widescreen on DVI with no issues. I even hook up my Pioneer 5060 plasma 50" using the supplied DVI to VGA adapter to watch Divx type files. If I do have issues with resolution I go to sys preferences>displays and do a detect monitors. Usually this fixes any issue I may have...so far.
  15. e12a macrumors 68000


    Oct 28, 2006
    when you mirror desktops, you have to have the same resolution for both monitors. Whether it be the resolution of the external or the 1440x900 macbook pro. Either one will make the other look worse or is too large to handle (i.e. scrolling).

    if you expand your desktop, that's different and you can change resolution independently between the screens.

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