Are you using a very high-resolution (greater than 1280 x1024) monitor with your Toshiba Tecra M4 (or other) Tablet PC? If so, I'd like to hear from you. You see, I'm planning to purchase a very high resolution monitor for mind mapping use and I've been researching various options. The productivity benefits of using multiple displays are significant. At one time, back in the CRT days, I had 5 CRT's on my desk and it was great.

The challenge is finding and selecting an LCD monitor that matches the Tablet PC output at its native resolution. Any mismatch and the monitor will likely shrink or stretch the video, resulting in a blurry image. Further, according to the tech notes I've been reading many Tablet PC video cards will not put out the full range of display resolutions to the external port. That's why I'd like to hear from anyone who's currently using (or thinking about using) a Tablet PC with an external monitor at 1280x1024 or higher.

For the technically curious:

According to the specs, my Tecra M4 has an NVIDIA GEFORCE 6600 TE (128 Megabyte) video card. This is capable of driving an external monitor at resolutions up to 2084x1536 (Max). I'd love to have an external monitor that I can read at this size. Not sure I'll find one, however.

At a minimum, I'm looking for a WUXGA resolution monitor (1920x1200) which will allow me to view two full-size (A4 or letter) pages side by side.

Some display options:

24" LCD Monitors:

The new Dell 24" WUXGA (1920x1200) LCD Monitor seems to be the best value in this size. Dell has just dropped the price to $879, making it a great bargain.

30" LCD Monitors:

The Apple Cinema 30" HD display supports up to 2560x1600 resolution, which exceeds the video output capabilities of most video cards. At $2499, it's also quite a bit more expensive. It might be better to buy TWO Dell 24" monitors. :-)

Another nice monitor in the 30" category is the recently introduced Dell Computer UltraScan 3007WFP. This has a WQXGA resolution of 2560x1600, which is more than most laptops can support  (There is some question as to whether the Tablet PC could interface with this monitor without a dual-link interface. I've not been able to find anyone who can answer this question with certainty.)

For anyone with a Dell or Apple 30" display connected to a PC:

I have a question for you: If I drive the 30" Display at less than it's native resolution, does the monitor setup have the ability to NOT scale the image? I know that this would result in a black border around the video but at least it would keep the image sharp and crisp while allowing me to take full advantage of the Tablet PC external monitor capability. I'd like to hear from you.

And, finally, if money is not an issue...

The IBM T221 22.2-inch monitor (2003 - Discontinued) features a resolution of 3820×2400, or just under 9.2 million pixels. If you have to ask how much, you can't afford it.

Discussion/Comments (29):

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

I think I'm going to have a problem with my new 23" monitor. It only supports 1920x1200, whereas the Tosh does 1920x1440. Mmmm, will be interesting to see.

Posted at 02/08/2006 19:10:46 by Michael Sampson

Tablet Monitors - It’s not that easy

Michael, I've been researching this and there appear to be four criteria that determine whether (or not) a given monitor will work with a given PC.

- Native Resolution of the LCD Monitor

- Maximum resolution of the graphics chipset

- Interface limitations (VGA, DVI, etc)

- Driver support (This may be the greater limitation)

Posted at 02/08/2006 19:18:50 by Eric Mack

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

I do this all the time. I have a Toshiba M205 running at 1400x1050 and at the same hooked up to a Dell 17" LCD running at 1280x1024. The problem I run into is when disabling the external LCD screen the internal LCD switches to 1280x1024. It's easy enough to change it, but it is a hassle.

Posted at 02/08/2006 19:50:39 by Cary

Have you tried UltraMon for multiple monitors?

Cary, thanks for sharing your experience.

I'm curious, have you every looked into a utility like UltraMon to facilitate switching between monitor modes?

I have not used this product, but it appears that they allow you to set profiles for docked, undocked, etc.

Here's a link to the info on display profile switching:

And some other features.

There are probably some free utilities to do this, too. Hopefully some others will chime in with their experiences.

if you do experiement with any of these, I hope you will share your experience. - Eric

Posted at 02/08/2006 22:05:07 by Eric Mack

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

Hi Eric

I use ultamon all the time. It is a great utility for dual monitor use. I constantly dock/undock my laptop and there is no need to set any profiles up, it just works correctly.

The additional toolbar on the second monitor, which shows the apps in use on that monitor is an real winner. It makes dual monitor use much more productive.

Good Luck


Posted at 02/09/2006 0:58:09 by Mat

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

I have heard of Ultramon but haven't tried it yet. After reading Mat's response I may give it a try. I'll let you know.



Posted at 02/09/2006 6:16:33 by Cary

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

I use the Toshiba M205 (NVIDIA driver) with a Viewsonic VX900 (1280x1024). This is the best combo I have found. I don't experience the problem mentioned above by Cary.

I saw another monitor that might better fit your needs. It is the Gateway FPD2185W 21" Widescreen High Definition LCD. It has a resolution of 1680x1050 and has a rotating screen. It sells for $600 and is available at Staples as well as other places.

I fiddled with it at Staples and was impressed with the image quality and how nicely it automatically shifted the image when you rotate the screen.

I'm praying that my wife's old CRT will fail so I can trickle down my Viewsonic to her and get the Gateway. Right now that action sits in Someday/Maybe.

All the best,


Posted at 02/09/2006 13:27:21 by Gordon Staley

re: The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

Thank you, guys, for your prompt responses., This looks promising. I wonder if anyone's used their Tablet PC with resolutions that approach the maximum that the Tablet PC can produce. I'm looking for the greatest amount of screen real-estate possible,


Posted at 02/09/2006 13:53:47 by Eric Mack

I tested an Appel Cinema 23" Display today

I did not test with the Tablet PC, because I did not have a cable, but I was able to test what happens when driving the LCD panel at less than native resolution. The Apple Cinema display kept the video at native resolution (it did not shrink or stretch) and placed a black border around the edges of the display. I see this as a good sign, as it may mean that it would be possible for me to use an Apple Cinema 30" display and then drive it at the maximum resolution of the Tablet PC. Perhaps someone with this combination can test this. My next action is to find out what kind of cable is needed and see if I can find a Best Buy that will let me test this in their store.

Posted at 02/09/2006 14:20:31 by Eric Mack

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

FWIW, I'm using an X41 Tablet with a Dell 2005FPW 20" widescreen LCD as a second monitor, running at 1680x1050, its native resolution, with no problems. It's analog VGA, instead of DVI, but it looks fine.

You can use an app called PowerStrip to force just about any resolution you want, but the best way is to make sure you've got the right drivers loaded for the monitor you're connected to. The monitor drivers aren't much more than a set of registry entries that tell Windows what resolutions and refresh rates the monitor supports, which is why it's so hackable, but it's much easier to just get the right drivers in the first place, if you've got a widescreen monitor with a weird, non-4:3 resolution.

Posted at 02/09/2006 15:23:32 by Josh Bancroft

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

Pasting my blog response here for the comments.

{ Link }

Eric Mack (well known for Getting Things Done and Tablet PC's) is asking about using external monitors with a Tablet PC.

Here's my advice...if sticking to the traditional approach of hooking up an external monitor to the tablet is favored, then just go with a 1900x1200 LCD. You can't go higher without the dual link DVI interface.

If Eric can swing it, however, I believe using MaxiVista may be a very viable alternative. MaxiVista installs a virtual display adapter on your computer and then sends the display over to a computer on the network. So, hook up two spare PC's to the network, buy two dual-link DVI capable cards for each PC, buy two 30" Dell widescreen displays, then set up MaxiVista. As long as he doesn't need snazzy 3D graphics, it should blow away any other approach. Of course, adjust the hardware to fit your budget...the above is the dream scenario. =)

As you all know from past posts, I'm big on getting rid of wires. So I was originally interested in MaxiVista as a way to get an external monitor without having to plug the thing in every time I sat down with my notebook...essentially a wireless external monitor. But of course there are additional benefits to the virtual approach, such as exceeding the limits of your built in display adapter. The above is case in point.

Posted at 02/09/2006 18:52:14 by Richard Kuo

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping


I use the M4 with an external Dell 24" widescreen - all day, every day. I run the monitor at 1920 x 1200 with the M4 in native. I sometimes hook up an external mouse and keyboard and have the tablet in portrait mode, with the monitor staying the same. That way I can take notes on the tablet and still run some applications on external monitor with the mouse and keyboard.

Posted at 02/09/2006 19:38:01 by WWI

Maxivista is an intriguing solution

Richard, I purchased an early release. I'm curious about the latency - especially when driving such a large monitor over a WiFi link. If it works well in this configuration it would provide a measure of freedom that is the dream of every tablet user - to be able to move around comfortably or hold the Tablet PC in your hand or on your lap and still have it connected to other peripherals - in this case a giant monitor or projector.

Perhaps someone using MaxiVista in a similar scenario would care to comment further.

Posted at 02/09/2006 23:34:45 by Eric Mack

Good News. Tecra M4 has Dual-Link DVI!

I've been researching Dual-link driver cards. It seemed like a terrible waste to have a graphics subsystem and advertised specs higher than the interface would support.

The specs for the Toshiba Port Replicator III indicate "DVI-D" but they did not specify single or dual-link.

Using the photos in this primer on DVI ( I was able to identify that the M4 DVI interface available on the Toshiba Port ort replicator III is a Dual-Link DVI-D, which means it will drive an Apple or Dell 30" Cinema display. Now, I just need to come up with 2400 reasons to justify the purchase. :-)

Of course, if the MaxiVista solution proposed by Richard works well, it would be possible to have multiple displays for less than the price of the 30" display. At this point, I'll probably go with the 24" display, however, I'm enjoying exploring the options.

Posted at 02/09/2006 23:40:01 by Eric Mack

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

I use my M4 dual head with a 20" viewsonic - 1600x1200 no issues

Posted at 02/10/2006 0:33:28 by Paolo

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

Mmm, new monitor arrived, and I can only drive 1600x1200 out of the M4. It is a Philips 230W, and it supports up to 1920x1200. My Tablet is on the Multi-Dock ... I've tried PowerStrip 3.6 to custom create a higher screen resolution, but no go. What next? Thanks for your help.

Posted at 02/13/2006 8:38:46 by Michael Sampson

PowerStrip fixed my large monitor problem

Hold fire. I just tried the PowerStrip settings yet again (stubborn, I know) ... and IT WORKED! The Philips is displaying correctly as 1920x1200. Now to get some work done!

Posted at 02/13/2006 9:40:07 by Michael Sampson

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

I am an X41 user and have a Dell 2005FPW connected via docking station and analogue cable. It is a great combination, with a few cavets...

I find the picture quality from the X41 on the external port is below expectations. I've tried switching cables etc. but it doesn't match the quality I can get from other video adaptors. I was expecting at least a DVI output for a tablet in this price range. Same issue has been reported by other X41 users too.

There is a problem with the Intel screen management utility that is really a pain. As I undock and redock the resolution on the external screen sometimes changes to "non wide aspect". A more irritating problem is the driver keeps forgetting that display 2 is on the left (it defaults to it being on the right side). I find this particulary frustrating because I keep loosing track of the cursor.

These two issues aside I would recommned the Dell 2005FPW - just be sure your system can drive the wide-aspect display.

Slightly OT. I also use a Logitech di Novo keyboard and mouse via the docking station. I really like the quiet low-profile keyboard and rechargeable cordless mouse. With the dual displays I can change between keyboards and mouse/Trackpoint depending on which screen I'm looking at ro working on.

Posted at 02/14/2006 8:26:50 by jason

M200 and multi-dock with large lcd?

I recently purchased a Dell 2407 lcd panel, but I'm unable to drive it at the full resolution of 1920x1200 with the multidock. Anything over 1024x768 causes ghosting from what appears to be poor impedence matching, because (under linux) I'm able to drive the full resolution when the notebook is disco'd from the dock (even without the dock, the nvidia driver doesn't support the full resolution). Though I may try the powerstrip mentioned here. But you never experienced any problem with the dock and high resolutions?

Posted at 03/28/2007 6:39:15 by Jeremiah McCarthy

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

Trying to figure this out too. Laptops and multiple monitors are complicated to get right.

Posted at 08/06/2007 9:35:29 by mel

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

Please excuse my low-brow question.

We run a Compaq Tablet PC for onsite reporting. We would like to attach an additional monitor to the docking station in the office. We have a Benq FP71V+ or a Viewsonic VP730b that we could use. Would either of these be suitable and if so.... could some one direct me... as I cannot even find the output to monitor select when I right click the desktop??? as I do on my laptop running XP???

Posted at 09/29/2008 23:27:26 by Graham

re: The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

Running XP is just fine. Right-click onthe desktop and edit your display settings. On the tab on the right, select and enable the second monitor. If you have trouble search the Microsoft support site for "How to enable a secondary monitor". Good luck!

Posted at 09/29/2008 23:51:22 by Eric Mack

The best external monitor for Tablet PC Mind Mapping

My experience: I have a Tecra A4 with the Intel 915/910 graphics controller. My notebook has a screen with a native resolution of 1680x1050. Clearly this notebook can run at this resolution.

I am now trying to connect to an external Samsung monitor that also runs at 1680x1050. The problem is that I can only get 1280x1024 to run to the monitor.

Specifically, even though I select 1680x1050, and my display settings show that this resolution is selected, the information menu on my monitor says that it is only received 1280x1024.

What might be causing this? And how can I "fix" it????



Posted at 10/17/2008 18:36:06 by Eric S.

second monitor worked until .

second monitor (samsung) worked fine with my gateway laptop windows xp until I unplugged it and moved and replugged it. I was given the monitor, but my computer never balked or asked for any arcane info. Now the screen remains black, like my mood.

Posted at 05/17/2009 20:37:13 by kajsa

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