SwitchResX helped me switch my Mac machine to 1360×768 and 1888×1062
Posted by jpluimers on 2010/12/24
A while ago, I got involved in Mac programming again after more than a decade of absence.
It felt like a warm reunion.
A Mac Mini Server serves as a development machine: it is about the same price as a regular Mac Mini, but packs 2 HDDs which for me is more useful than one HDD and a DVD player.
The first was keyboard wise. The second is custom resolutions.To start with keyboards: I love Macs, but I can’t stand their keyboards.
The reason is that I had RSI in the past.
I RSI from using external mice, and the only pointing device that really works well for me is a TrackPoint (which can be embedded in quite a few input devices and even give feedback).
In the PC world, I saved that a long time ago by using TrackPoint keyboards, and switching to ThinkPad laptops (in the past by IBM, currently by Lenovo).
I’d long for a bluetooth version of the TrackPoint keyboard, but they are not available yet.
The most recent TrackPoint keyboard I bought was for my wife: she had similar RSI issues, so I bought a full size 31P9304 USB TrackPoint keyboard with numeric keypad for her.
Like me, she doesn’t use trachkpoint
Before that, I bought a pair of 31P9490 USB keyboards that matched my T42p keyboard layout.
They even designed a USB keyboard almost matching my current T61p keyboard layout – excluding touchpad – for a very offordable price of USD 59.
In fact, I still own my two original black model 01K1220/KPD8923 102-key PS/2 TrackPoint IV keyboards. Back then they cost like more than USD 400 a piece. They are still manufactured by Unicomp and sold now as EnduraPro PS2 for USD 99 a piece (either as PS/2 or USB keyboard).
They have been used a lot over time, and still – after 15 tears of use – they are in good condition.
Given the right USB to PS/2 Y-Adapter, you can even use them on modern equipment that goes without PS/2 connections.
I could fill a book by writing about input devices, but it looks like Dan’s Data did a good job on that already.
When I left the Mac world, they were about to introduce the iMac G3: the first iMac with USB support.
Before that, the only option you had was Apple keyboards, and I already wrote I dislike them.
So: I love TrackPoint keyboards, wanting to use them on the Mac Mini Server.
I ran some tests, and I’m glad that all of them worked well with the USB port on the Mac Mini.
There is also a regular PC running Windows attached to the same HDTV, and that one had a lot more video options, especially when using the NVIDIA Custom Resolutions or ATI registry based custom resolutions.
I wanted to be able to run at least these common resolutions supported by my HDTV:
A bit of research found the tool SwitchResX by Stéphane Madrau.
For me the most important function is that it can add custom resolutions to the list of display resolutions. But it has other features too.
Well: after a bit of twiddling, it added 1360 x 768 at 50 Hz and 1600 x 916 at 50 Hz for me.
To stretch it even further (and because I love my T61p keyboard and 1920 x 768 screen so much), I’d wanted to operate the Mac Mini Server remotely.
I tried a few options, and the most important feature there are to be able to
- send all of the keys (including Shift, Ctrl, Alt/Option, and Windows/Command) to the Mac
- quickly switch between the Mac and Windows session
The easiest way to do that is to have the remote desktop software to be not full screen (full screen makes it harder to switch).
Which needed me to get a video resolution at the Mac Mini Server of almost 1920 pixels wide.
The cool thing is that the HD Display Resolutions list contains this interesting resolution:
- 1888 x 1080 at 50 Hz
The cool thing is that SwitchResX added this resolution to my list without any problem (just a reboot, which is always needed to test a custom resolution).
A future step is to virtualize my Mac development to run on an ESXi server.
Easier backups, but officially not supported. We will see :-)
via: What is SwitchResX ?