Thanks for the input. I figured out what the problem was--when I turned off my other pc all of a sudden it behaved normally. Seems there was some cross-wire interference. Still wonder why I couldn't force X to adhere to a given display mode though.I was advised to use the intel driver installer but it requires dependancies that exceed the versions allowed. Not sure if that's something I should force or not. I am using debian.
3/29/16 at 6:23am