<CT> Better text modes for DOS

  • From: JGrossklass@xxxxxxxxxxx (Stephan Grossklass)
  • To: Mailingliste calmira_tips <calmira_tips@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 21:12:09 +0200

(This is not 100% ontopic, since it concerns DOS and not Windoze with
Calmira, but I though some of you might find it useful anyway.)

Ever wanted to run in a really large text mode? Don't like the slightly
flickery 70 Hz of the standard text modes? Ever wanted to run this big
fixed frequency monitor under DOS (but obviously it never showed a
picture)? This program might well be the answer:

SVGA Text Mode for DOS
This is a port of SVGA Text Mode from the Linux world.

Prior to using it, the textconf file should be modified to match your
graphics card and monitor, which mostly means commenting or uncommenting
entries by adding or removing #. ("Option LoadFont" and the two
following lines should be disabled to remove an error message; be sure
to change the HorizSync and VertRefresh according to the capabilities of
your monitor, and don't forget disabling the "ChipSet "VGA"" option
together with its "Clocks" line in favour of your card's chipset and
clock chip.)
Since the mode change is not permanent (after switching to graphics mode
it's gone again) and you have to include the option -t textconf each
time you run the program, I'd suggest creating a batch file for it
(perhaps multiple one for various modes).
If you are not too familiar with Xfree86 mode lines (I wasn't before
using the program - used the learning by doing approach, as always ;),
here is one example of a "tuned" normal text mode (there are many mode
lines for fixed frequency monitors and odd modes, but hardly any for
"normal" modes with higher refresh rates):

"80x25_89Hz"          36.123    640  680  776  800    400  412  414  449
font  9x16

To be exact, it's
"80x25_89Hz"          36.123    640  680  776  800    400  412  414 
449   -Hsync +Vsync  font  9x16

(The sync polarities are omitted in the mode lines in textconf, but
inserting them doesn't hurt.)

This is the text mode I'm normally using BTW (80x25, 89 Hz, 40 kHz) -
the VGA refresh rates can be increased by approx. 25% with the tool
XREFRESH that came with my graphics card (this is easier than with SVGA
Text Mode, of course, but the card in my 486 has a bug that leaves the
dot clock as-is when switching from graphics to text mode when the
higher VGA refresh is enabled [resulting in extremely high refresh rates
my monitor can't handle], and after resetting it with SVGA Text Mode all
the VGA modes are displayed with reasonable refresh rates). Now those of
you with any graphics card that's capable of higher text mode dot clocks
(and a monitor that can handle the results) can enjoy it, too :). (IMO
89 Hz is much easier on the eyes than 70 Hz, especially on a larger
monitor.) The program supports many chipsets, among them ones from S3,
Tseng, Trident, ATI, Cirrus Logic, Matrox, Western Digital and others.

BTW: Many DOS programs expect a screen not wider than 80 characters, and
some won't run properly in anything beyong 80x25 - so be warned.

Stephan Großklaß (7bit: Grossklass)
eMail: mailto:jgrossklass@xxxxxxxxxxx | Webmaster: http://www.i24.com/
Home: http://jgrossklass.bei.t-online.de/
P3-500, 128MB, 8+8+19GB HDD; MS-DOS 6.22, WfW 3.11, Calmira II 3.11
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