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How bad does 720p games look on a 1080p screen ?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 29, 2014 10:21:57 PM

I am considering to buy the Lenovo ideapad y510p . It comes with i5 4200m + GT 750M and 1080p screen . I know that these specs cant handle games at native resolution . Currently I dont have access to a 1080p monitor . So i want to know that how bad is the visual quality of the 1080p screen when playing at 720p . Is the difference noticeable ?
January 29, 2014 10:26:10 PM

Yes, it looks a lot bigger and there is a lot of aliasing when compared to 1080p
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January 29, 2014 10:27:23 PM

If you are talking with no aa and Af to medium. Then edges will look like they need to be more smooth and a bit of a graphics difference on 720p over 1080p. So even if you have to play on lowest settings, I suggest to play on 1080p unless you are getting low fps.
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January 29, 2014 10:39:25 PM

I bought and returned a laptop that had GT 750M SLI because 1080p had to have graphics turned all the way down and 720p with medium settings still looked worse. In less you plan on playing older games I would not recommend any type of gaming laptop. Fry's Electronics did not want to give me a full refund because nothing was wrong with the laptop so I am stuck with a store credit (no biggie going to get a new gpu and g-sync monitor). If I could go back in time I would much rather prefer the money still being in my bank account!
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February 19, 2014 4:34:32 AM

Basically the answer is straightforward. and it has to do with pixel count and density. your display can manage 1920x1080 that means that it has 1920 Pixel rows on the horizontal and 1080 on the vertical. When you play a 720p game the game is configured to run at a resolution of 1280 on the horizontal and 720 on the vertical. Instead of playing the game in a small box in the middle of your screen most displays will make the image fit the display. This is known as upscaling.

But the problem with upscaling is that irrespective of the resolution of the display if you are playing a 720p game there is only ever 1280 horizontal rows and 720 Vertical rows of visual pixel data. This means that images look blockier, the sharpness is shot and that NPC character who is sniping at you from the end of the map probably wont even be rendered at the lower resolution.

In order to fake the appearance of higher resolutions many consoles and some video cards introduce anti-aliasing techniques to soften the appearance of block lines in the textures and architecture, but irrespective of how soft they make it, there is only 1280x720 pixels of visual data. The difference between 1080p and 720p is huge amounting to a 30% improvement in total image and visual quality. the higher resolution may even bring that sniper into focus.
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February 19, 2014 5:07:31 AM

On a small screen 720p isnt too bad, plus it means you can usually turn anti aliasing and other detail settings higher.
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