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Old Sep 22, 2009, 05:16 PM   #1
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Spoelie
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ATI Technologies non-standard resolution and "use centered timings" - doesn't work

(using windows xp)

Windows/ATI support a "standard" array of resolutions.
* Is this list hardcoded in the driver, in windows or in the monitor (EDID)?

I would like to have a 16:9 resolution available to me as close as possible to the 1680x1050 resolution. Considering the horizontal (= x*8) and vertical (= y*2) resolution restrictions, that would be 1664x936; not something you'd find in a standard resolution list (1920x1200 users don't have this problem, 1920x1080 is a standard :s). Wouldn't mind a 1600x900 resolution either, as long as I don't lose too much screen real-estate.

I added this resolution with powerstrip, but while displaying the image is stretched and blurred and my monitor's OSD is confused, even though I have "use centered timings" enabled.

With this option the card should always output a 1680x1050 signal with a letterboxed "whatever resolution is selected" image. It does this for all standard included resolutions.

Anyone have any idea on how to "extend" support for "use centered timings"? It seems the driver holds a separate list of what resolutions it can use, independent of the actual outputted resolution-list. Maybe in the registry? having a hard time deciphering what it all means.
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Old Sep 22, 2009, 08:43 PM   #2
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Why do you want such resolutions? What for?
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 04:18 AM   #3
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To bypass an old-not-going-to-be-fixed limitation in the Aurora engine used in the game "the witcher". This limitation is gpu-vendor agnostic.

Bit going out on a limb here but: cutscenes (and there are a lot of them, every conversation really) on any non-16:9 resolution look incredibly blocky - a workaround used to be to force AF in CCC but you're lucky if it works (version dependent), and this only hides the issue, doesn't fix it.

http://img66.imageshack.us/i/comparisonbi7.jpg/
look at the nose/mouth/chin of the woman and the top right of the fireplace, this is one of these things that look much worse in motion than in static screenshots though -- very similar to looking at a heavily compressed video with clearly visible macroblocks

The ONLY consistent fix has been to run a 16:9 resolution, and I don't really have a problem with that (used to run crysis on 1440x900 "centered timings" back when I didn't have the horsepower to run full resolution yet - enjoyed it just as well).

I just wish I had one available to me, in centered timings scaling, as close as possible to my screen resolution (just like 24" users have 1920x1080).

Last edited by Spoelie : Sep 23, 2009 at 06:08 AM.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 04:25 AM   #4
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It is in fact possible to use centered timings for custom resolutions by applying the following method. I learned about it at the AMD forums about year ago, and it works flawlessly for me.

Your guess is correct basically, the driver holds a list of non-standard resolutions. This list can be edited - after the driver package has been extracted (to \ATI\SUPPORT by default, I think), but before the driver is installed.

Go to \ATI\SUPPORT\[name of catalyst release]\driver\packages\drivers\display\[windows version]_inf\

In that directory, you'll find one or two .inf files, named CL_xxxxx.inf and/or CW_xxxxx.inf (if I'm not mistaken, this, as well as the exact path of these files, depends on which driver release you're using).

These files contain specific settings for the various GPU families ATI has released. The sections of these files that we're interested in are named accordingly, for example [ati2mtag_R7X_SoftwareDeviceSettings] or [ati2mtag_R600_SoftwareDeviceSettings]. You'll have to open the .inf files and find the appropriate section for the GPU you're using.

Then, find the line HKR,, DALNonStandardModesBCD1, % under your respective section.
Below that line there is an entry starting with REG_BINARY%, followed the resolution definitions we'll need to edit. The definition for, say, 1664 x 936 @ 60 Hz would look like this: 16,64,09,36,00,00,00,60
In order to define a custom resolution, you'll have to replace one of the pre-set definitions in the line with the definition that corresponds to your desired resolution. Take care that the formatting of the line remains intact: a pre-set definition has to be replaced by exactly one complete definition.

(I have to admit that I do not know whether or not both .inf files have to be edited like that. I've always modified both files in the past with no issues.)

As an example, here's the line I use:
REG_BINARY%,15,68,09,80,00,00,00,59,15,68,09,80,00,00,00,60,16,00,10,00,00,00,00,59,16,00,10,00,00,0 0,00,60,16,64,09,36,00,00,00,59,16,64,09,36,00,00,00,60,14,00,10,50,00,00,00,59,14,00,10,50,00,00,00 ,60

Save the changes you've made and install the catalyst package by launching setup.exe in \ATI\SUPPORT\[name of catalyst release]\driver.

Hope that was helpful.

@Falcon1: Some games work best with 16:9 or 4:3 resolutions. If you happen to use a display with a native resolution of 1680x1050, it's nice to have the largest possible resolutions for these screen ratios (1664 x 936 and 1400 x 1050) available. Also, if you want to fine-tune the balance between performance and resolution for certain games, a variety of custom resolutions can come in handy.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 05:35 AM   #5
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The convential method is to configure the game for the desired resolution -in this case 1680x950 and then with scaling disabled (use centered timings) if the display alters it (lacking its own scaling options), then enable GPU scaling with either centered or maintain AR.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 05:52 AM   #6
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The Witcher (like many games) pulls its available resolution list from windows, so if windows doesn't offer that particular resolution, it's not available in the game. That's why I used powerstrip to add it to windows (nvidia's CPL allows to do it without 3rd party software). 945 (not 950) vertical resolution is not even, that's why I try 1664x936 and 1600x900.

The problem is this actually sends a 1664x936 signal to the monitor, which autoscales everything and is confused by this signal, instead of a letterboxed 1680x1050 signal, what "use centered timings" is supposed to enforce.

This problem is probably a combination of the way that powerstrip adds the resolution (via the registry?) and the way that ati's drivers determine what and how to scale.

I reckon nobody knows how to fix this? it's just that centered timings work correctly on all other resolutions, I want to add one resolution to this, and I have never found any other tool than powerstrip to add custom resolutions, short of buying nvidia :s cfr. onomatopeia

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Old Sep 23, 2009, 06:11 AM   #7
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Oops, yeah 950 ain't right but my thinking is the full width should be used and then whatever height is appropriate for the desired AR so perhaps 1680x944.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 05:33 PM   #8
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fix would be getting a 24" (well, either a 1080p monitor, some come in 22 or 23" flavors, or just a 1920x1200)

always found 1680x1050 such a strange resolution... it's like a mazda miata, not quite a sports car

do 4:3 users experience the same scaling? also, there's another thread about running a game beyond your native, then letting the monitor scale down to get fake AA (& the blocky scaling might also get fixed)
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 10:51 PM   #9
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Its not fake AA when you downscale... thats what AA is, and most AA modes still do it that way, just slightly different methods. For example Edge Detect AA in the ATI side uses Downscaling but only on parts of the image and not the whole screen.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 11:52 PM   #10
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Slightly different methods? I'd say totally different methods, I tried quite many different televisions and monitors and none of those had a scaling method which remotely resembles the per-pixel accuracy of true AA, that's why they often just call it blurring instead of AA.

Then again, maybe you got yourself a lucky model which uses a very nice algorithm, but I've never encountered one (some I tried use a block pattern which is not equally distributed among all pixels, so some pixels are AAd while others are not, other televisions/monitors use some kind of grid pattern, same issue there, the worst is when some models only have a couple of vertical/horizontal lines in which the blurring occurs).
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Old Sep 24, 2009, 01:23 AM   #11
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I was referring to driver/video card implemented AA, i was not aware that monitors/screens used any for of AA.
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Old Sep 24, 2009, 08:55 AM   #12
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Excuse me, I totally misunderstood.

The boy next door rather uses a downscaled higher res than AA, convinced the blurring looks better. I thought you meant the same.
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Old Sep 25, 2009, 05:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
[..]
Ohw for some reason this is the first time I read that post, thanks a lot for the information, will try it out tomorrow!
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Old Sep 26, 2009, 11:39 PM   #14
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For the record:
Onomatopoeia's solution worked with 2 caveats-
1) In cat9.9 xp driver, there's only one inf file called CX_xxxxxx.inf with the right content.
2) Some resolutions have 00 as a refresh rate (unconstrained??) and some others have a few defined (60-75-80-..); using 00 worked perfectly.
Thanks for the help

Last edited by Spoelie : Sep 28, 2009 at 09:01 AM.
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