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PC Hardware Annoyances by Stephen J. Bigelow

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LCD ANNOYANCES

IDENTIFYING MANUFACTURER’S PIXEL DEFECTS

The Annoyance:

I took a close look at my new laptop’s LCD, and I saw more than a few black pixels on my white desktop.

The Fix:

A series of microscopic transistors operates each pixel in an LCD display. (Today’s LCDs easily incorporate several million transistors.) Obviously, a manufacturer wants each and every one of those transistors to work flawlessly, but a bad transistor can result in a pixel with a fixed color.

LCD manufacturers allow about 9–10 defective pixels in the display. This means you may actually see a few oddly colored pixels on your laptop. On the bright side, you hardly notice a toasted pixel at screen resolutions of 1024×768, 1280×1024, or higher. Still, if you note more than 9–10 locked pixels, the laptop manufacturer may replace the LCD as long as the unit is still under warranty.

IMPROVING A DINGY DISPLAY

The Annoyance:

I did a system recovery on my laptop. The recovery went fine, but the LCD image quality looks worse than before.

The Fix:

LCD image quality depends on various configuration settings, such as resolution, color depth, refresh rate, and video driver versions. When you restored the system (I assume to its “factory fresh” state), you tossed out all your system updates and tweaks. Try the following tips to improve your view:

Update the drivers.

Drivers can profoundly influence your image quality. Download and install any driver updates directly from the manufacturer’s web site. You may also want to download ...

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