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October 19, 2010

Can your PC power the Qwest Field Jumbotron?

Answer:  Probably yes.  Next question:  How did such a weird topic ever come up?

Well, one of the questions I get the most from friends who are PC shopping is “Do you think that my new PC can power my TV/monitor?” It’s a good question – if you’re going to drop a few hundred bucks on a new computer, you want to make sure that it will work with the display that you already have, right?

Anecdotally speaking, I know that almost every new Windows 7 PC has enough horsepower to power most mainstream displays (even big ones), but I wanted to do some actual testing to prove it. Rather than just plug a few PCs into the monitors I have sitting around the office, Ryan and I decided to try something a little more aggressive – we went to Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, to see if some of our favorite Windows 7 PCs could power the stadium’s monstrous Jumbotron. Of course, we filmed the whole thing…take a look:

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As you can see from the footage, all of these PCs – the wicked powerful Falcon Northwest FragBox gaming rig, the Microsoft Store-exclusive Samsung X430, and the HP Mini 311 netbook – pushed photos and video to the Jumbotron just as easily as they would to any “normal” display. For all of them, it was as simple as plugging in the VGA cable, hitting Windows + P to connect the display, and hitting play on the video or slideshow.

Hopefully this goes to show that today’s hardware is more powerful and capable than ever before – if a netbook can power a 50’ Jumbotron, a normal desktop monitor should be no problem.

Have a question about these PCs, how we made this work, or any other PC question?  Post a comment, hit me on Twitter, or Ask Ben Anything via email.  Your question might appear in my monthly Ask Ben Anything Q&A column!