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SX270 Windows XP Widescreen Driver Fail

I’ve been using a Samsung 2033sw 20″ widescreen monitor on a Dell Optiplex SX270 machine since February, running Ubuntu 8.10 and later 9.04. I bought another SX270 machine for our church with the intention of putting a Samsung 2033sw on it, and discovered this afternoon that Ubuntu can do something Windows can’t: coax the SX270’s Intel Extreme Graphics 2 subsystem into 1600 X 900 mode.

A 1600 X 900 mode does not appear to exist under Windows, even with the latest version of the Intel 865G graphics drivers. Windows identifies the Samsung monitor and knows that its native mode is 1600 X 900, but it can’t match the monitor. And so Windows uses a different mode and looks smeary, as LCDs do if you don’t hand them pixels at their native resolution.

At this point I’m stuck, and will have to fall back to an older 17″ 4:3 monitor. These are readily available and fairly cheap on eBay, but I already have a brand-new Samsung 2033sw over at the church, and now have nothing to hook it to.

I guess it’s always been true that Linux works better on older PCs than the current version of Windows does, but I’ve never had my nose rubbed in this fact more thoroughly than I did today. I’m open to suggestions, but anything that involves a lot of work and time will be politely declined. For another $50 I can get a used Dell 17″ flat panel to hang on the SX270, and will consider the lesson well-learned.


  1. Tony Kyle says:

    The answer would seem to be put Linux on the system, install WINE or some other software that lets them run Windows software on the system and teach them how to login and out of the Linux system.

    Effort wise I’m not sure what installing WINE would take. Crossover Office is the other option but it could be > $50.

    Take care,

  2. Keith Dick says:

    Similar suggestion to the above: Install Linux, install Virtualbox, install Windows inside a virtual machine created by Virtualbox. I imagine there is some way to start up the Virtualbox virutal machine from a script, and that script could be run automatically upon the login of the Linux user, so the church folks wouldn’t have to know how to start it to get into Windows.

    One problem with that I can anticipate is that when they want to shut down the computer, they would, by habit, go to the Windows shutdown rather than getting out of the virtual machine and using the Linux shutdown. Probably no easy way around that, unless Virtualbox can be set up to exit when the guest OS halts (I don’t know much about configuring Virtualbox), in which case, the script that starts Virtualbox could do a shutdown when Virtualbox exits.

  3. andrew says:

    It’s shareware unfortunately but Powerstrip might be able to do it.

    1. I had hopes for PowerStrip, but in reading the online doc for the product, it seems like the custom resolution features only work with Intel chipsets using the Intel GMA technology. The 865G is the generation previous to GMA, so I’m guessing it won’t fly. However, the successor to the SX270 uses the 915G chipset, which does implement GMA. I may shop for a cheap SX280 and see if that solves the problem. They’re available for ~$100 these days, so it wouldn’t cost me hugely to find out. Thanks for pointing out PowerStrip; it looks useful and I may buy it anyway.

    2. Just for closure here: I installed PowerStrip a few minutes ago, and attempted to create a custom resolution with it. PowerStrip didn’t complain, but the Intel 865G driver did not accept the custom resolution (1600 X 900) and simply ignored the attempt. If PowerStrip (as seems to be the case) has to cooperate with the installed Intel driver, it won’t help Windows work at 1600 X 900 or any other 16:9 display mode.

      1. andrew says:

        A pity – it was worth a shot.

        Perhaps the solution is a dirt cheap video card that behaves nicely.

        1. Except that the SX270 has integrated graphics and no expansion slot. It’s basically a fat laptop body without a screen. There’s not much to be done about the chipset’s inherent limitations, except hope that somebody writes a new driver for it that supports widescreen aspect ratios.

          1. derek says:

            I know this is an old post, but I came across this before coming to a solution. Some fine lad has bundled a driver together as of 9/2010 the driver can be found here! I now have 1280×720 resolution on my Dell Optiplex 170L


            Good luck!

  4. cary says:

    Hope someone is still monitouring this topic. I downloaded the driver at the link derek supplied. When I try to run it I get an error message some items not instaled. Anyone know how I can fix this?

  5. JO 753 says:

    Its October 2020 now and this problem iz still here.

    The video card manufacturerz are no help.

    The monitor manufacturerz are no help.

    The computer manufacturerz have dropped the ball.

    And, az usual, Microsoft iz useless.

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