How many of you are using ClearType?

By Julio Franco
May 7, 2002
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  1. I thought it would be interesting to hear your opinions on ClearType font smoothing, as far as I know the feature was become available since WinXP was released (or at least that I'm aware of), as far as I can tell it was also a feature meant for notebooks so you could read text better.

    Anyway, I have seen friends of mine using XP turning on ClearType (Thomas is also using it apparently, though I have been either too lazy or too busy to ask him directly).

    Well, the thing is ClearType is way too blurry for my eyes, the effect is nice indeed but still too blurry, I prefer the traditional sharper font smoothing. Also, in case you were wondering, I'm looking at windows a LOT of time during the day, other than that I'm using a GF4 board hooked up to a Viewsonic GS790 19" monitor, so I don't think that should be it.

    So, what's your take on ClearType?
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    I've been using Clear Type on my 22" NEC/Ati Radeon 64Mb DDR. When I first used it, I was like, "Whoa, this is awful!". I promptly changed it back.

    Later on, I decided to try it again, only at a higher resolution. I am very pleased with Clear Type in resolutions of 1280x1024 or higher. It looks very good on my monitor at high resolutions and really relieves some stress on the eyes. This is particularly noticable at resolutions such as 1600x1200 and I even use 2048x1536.

    Of course, I only use 2048x1536 when I am able to sit close to my monitor. Usually, I'm about 3-4ft away from my screen, so Clear Type has been especially useful in using high settings. Admittedly, it looks kind of blurry in 1024x768 or less.

    I use it now, and I would suggest the same for you if you are using a super high resolution. Perhaps it will take you time to get used to, much like using higher resolutions do for most people. But from my experience, it makes the fonts look better.

    Here's a neat link that might help Clear Type look better on your monitor. The website adjusts Clear Type's contrast settings.
    http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/cleartypeactivate.htm


    As for the "regular" font smoothing.. I've never been able to tell the difference.
  3. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 6,510   +308

    I know what you mean... I guess I forgot to mention that I use my monitor on 1024x768x32 resolution (little important detail ;)) I believe this is the most reasonable resolution for people using 17 and 19" displays, at least for people sitting on their desktops most of the day, anything higher with a lower refresh than 85Hz will hurt your eyes on the long run.

    I'm using 100Hz refresh now on the aforementioned resolution, I guess Cleartype will do better for people using bigger monitors and higher resolutions like you mentioned Rick.
  4. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 794

    I haven't got Cleartype turned on, because otherwise I lose icon text transparency.
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    As in the text's background is colored in so it looks more like Windows 98 instead of XP? hehe.

    It does not seem to do that on mine. The only thing I can think of in XP that does it is "Lock Items on Desktop", which can be toggled on/off by right clicking on the desktop and choosing, "arrage icons by".
  6. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 794

    I am using TweakXP to enable ClearType, and if I select Cleartype then the box for Icon text transparency becomes disabled.
  7. Boogie

    Boogie Newcomer, in training Posts: 77

    I don't use it because I "assumed" it uses memory. I like all/most of my memory free.
  8. lokem

    lokem Newcomer, in training Posts: 773

    I use 1024x768x16 on my 19" too. Couldnt' go any higher coz the screen will be blur (blame it on the filters in GF2MX). Tried turning on ClearType, didn't really help; and it is slower even on an AXP1600+ with 256MB RAM.

    I tried it on another PC (P3 550 256MB RAM), and it was noticably slower. Haven't tried it on a notebook though, but I guess cleartype isn't meant for desktops.
  9. StormBringer

    StormBringer Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,871

    I turned clear type off shortly after I installed XP because it didn't look much different. I'm using a 19" @ 1024x768, any higher and things are too small, I don't wanna go blind.

    I have a friend who has an LCD Flat screen and the clear type looks great on it but his other machine has a 19" Panasonic and the clear type was very blurry

    BTW: I read in PC World back around Oct. that Clear Type was best suited for Notebooks and Flat Panel monitors. It said that most CRT users would either see little or no difference
  10. lokem

    lokem Newcomer, in training Posts: 773

    I thought ClearType is AA for windows; something like AA fonts you get in X 4.0? In X, things are quite different if you enable AA. Sometimes for the worse {g}
  11. PHATMAN5050

    PHATMAN5050 Newcomer, in training Posts: 645

    i just turned it on and i'm lovin it! My resolution is 1600x1200 on a 19inch Samsung and the only complaint i had about the resolution was that the text in ie was a little bit small. Now its just perfect! Good find guys!
     
  12. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    Our of curiosity, how could you NOT notice a difference?


    Clear type off:
    [​IMG]


    Clear Type on:
    [​IMG]


    Perhaps it requires some sort of special hardware support to work? Phatman has the same video card as me, and he seems to really like it. But you folks with your Geforces don't seem to be eating it up too much.
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    ClearType is intended to be used on LCD displays. It isn't aliasing necessarily, but clever positioning of blue, red and green pixels. It isn't supposed to work 100% on all LCDs, but the effect is very desirable from what I've seen on laptops.

    As for CRTs, it doesn't look as good. But at very high resolutions, I tend to like it very muchly.

    Lookie here.. It's all an illusion....

    ClearType on (Magnified a lot)
    [​IMG]

    ClearType disabled (Magnified a lot)
    [​IMG]

    You'll notice it isn't aliasing, but something stranger.. Using colored blocks to trick your monitor (And eyes) into thinking the letters look more full and robust. I think this largely contributes to the "blur" effect that happens in lower resolutions on CRTs.
  14. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,426   +281

    I just turned it on, kind of like it.

    Monitor: Philips Brilliance 107p
    Resolution: 1280x1024
    Graphics Card: GeForce 2MX 32Meg(old one before the 200/400 ratings).
  15. StormBringer

    StormBringer Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,871

    Ok, let me explain, I see little difference in things like the icon label text and other small text, but larger text looked kinda fuzzy around the edges.
  16. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,916   +9

    There are three options, Rick:

    1 - No antialiasing

    2 - Standard antialiasing

    3 - Cleartype antialiasing

    Maybe the difference between 2 & 3 isn't that visible.
  17. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,327

    Clear Type, yeah I like it, think its great.
  18. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 Newcomer, in training Posts: 6,504

  19. StormBringer

    StormBringer Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,871

    Yes off is horrible, on is a little blurry, I use the middle option...Standard Smoothing, or whatever it is called
  20. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    I can't see ANY different between Font smoothing and regular fonts.

    Here's what I'm looking at.. I even magnified it in order to get a closer look.

    Regular Font - No smoothing
    [​IMG]

    Font Smoothing
    [​IMG]


    Upon even closer inspection, you'll notice these are the same.. Pixel for pixel. I don't remember Font Smoothing working very well in Windows 98 or 2000 either.
  21. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 6,510   +308

    No, there is a difference indeed (font smoothing - in order: none, standard, cleartype):

    [​IMG]
  22. StormBringer

    StormBringer Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,871

    Maybe it is just my eyes or maybe my hardware but I've seen it the same on many different system configs and the only one that clear type really looked good on was the one I mentioned with the LCD display.
  23. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 6,510   +308

    Matter of tastes IMO, but still too blurry on my 19" CRT.
  24. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    Ahh. Reglar font smoothing DOES work afterall! I just tested it out myself...

    Only for large fonts though. "Normal" sized text.. Such as the default Windows size/font does not benefit from regular font smoothing at all.

    It is good to know it serves some* purpose; however, I think I'll stick to ClearType because it seems to have a far greater effect on smaller text.
  25. walleys

    walleys Newcomer, in training Posts: 18

    I've found it works pretty well on CRTs in higher resolutions but nothing dramatic. Tried enabling it on my wife's notebook and there is a clear difference at any resolution. All documents I've seen say it has the most effect on notebooks and I'd have to agree.
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