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I have 22" external monitor that has a native resolution of 1680 x 1050. When I open the display preferences I don't get it as an option. I've tried rebooting. That didn't help.

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I have the monitor hitched up through a mini-display port VGA dongle.

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can you provide the make and model? and can you confirm that your are connecting via VGA (Analog D-Connector) and not DVI (Digital) as I've seen some monitors with that particular resolution that are only fully capable of that resolution when connected via DVI and not when connected by VGA. – Stu Wilson Oct 25 '12 at 20:24
It's a late 2010 MBP w/ a 2.53 Ghz i5 chip. Yes, I'm using a VGA adapter. I used to have a DVI one, but I can't find it! – Chris Oct 26 '12 at 0:22
the make model of the display? – Stu Wilson Oct 26 '12 at 8:00
It's an acer x223w – Chris Oct 26 '12 at 12:00

The problem would appear to be one that has been around for some time, at least two years according to everything I've found for example MacRumors Forum.

SwitchResX provides a way to force a monitor into a mode that the drivers says it doesn't support.

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