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Force 4:3 aspect ratio on widescreen?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 11, 2007 5:18:12 PM

Hi, I'm getting a widescreen 20" Samsung for my new build. One thing I'm worried about is that all my old games that cannot support widescreen resolutions will look stretched and that's just FUGLY. :fou:  Is there a way to force 4:3 in the drivers? Only with ATI or nVidia or both?
September 11, 2007 7:41:00 PM

turn it to a lower resolution. most games now have a aspect ratio option built in. looking fugly compared to 2 big black bars on the side? that's what i thought too...
September 11, 2007 8:04:51 PM

Black bars masking the unused space is just the proper way of displaying an aspect ratio different than the screen's natural aspect ratio. That's how it works for movies, that's also how it works for video games. Stretching the image is ridiculous.

Lowering the resolution does no good if it's not a widescreen resolution... Plus, I'm obviously talking about the games that does not include widescreen support, and that's like 90% of existing games.
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September 11, 2007 8:07:49 PM

You can do what you're asking in Forceware, and I'm pretty sure Catalyst has settings almost identical.
a b U Graphics card
September 11, 2007 8:13:53 PM

Both will allow you to do it, but the nView settings are a little more flexible if you don't want to hack-around with the catalsysts.
September 11, 2007 9:46:28 PM

Oh, that's what I was hoping to hear. :D 

So basically I can play Starcraft on my Samsung 206BW without enduring lame distortion? I'll be getting either an X1950Pro, XT, or 8800GTS (ouch$$$).
a b U Graphics card
September 11, 2007 10:36:57 PM

Well it will likely still look a bit distorted if you're anal about these things (like I am with video stretching for movies and TV). But it is a slightly more intelligent stretch than before.

I would recommend the GF8800GTS though for that as it is actually a bit easier with nView than on the Catalyst, but if you have the chance check both and see what you think. It's tough to say since I don't play starcraft type games, I play FPSs more and they are a little more stretch forgiving than something text or grid based like Starcraft, so I'm not your best judge of the overall 'acceptability' of the stretch modes.
September 11, 2007 11:20:44 PM

Ok thank you. While we're at it, do you think the X1950Pro stands a chance at 1680x1050 in recent and upcoming titles like Bioshock, the Orange Box, Crysis? I'd of course love to get the 8800GTS but it stretches my budget a lot. The X1950Pro is so much more affordable.
a b U Graphics card
September 11, 2007 11:50:52 PM

I would say that the X1950Pro will be fine for 1680x1050.... but at reduced settings in Crysis.

Bioshock scales terrifically well and I was surprised at how well it played on the mobile HD2600 in the DX9 and 10 paths. Crysis will also likely be similar but with alot of changes to vegetation density and particle effects and such. Overall should be a good experience.

I'd still push for the GTS-320 or something like the GF8700 of HD2990Pro if they arrive soon enough, because while I love the X1950Pro for it's range, it is pushing it at those resolutions, and it is going to miss out as the DX9/10 divide starts to become something where DX9 is targeting the GF7600/X1650 with features and workload, and then the DX10 side really gets the benefits. The efficiency of the added DX10 effects in bioshock on the GF8 series is very impressive, and if AMD can clean up their effort there I'd be very inclined to say long term the way to go is with those upcoming cards.

I think the X1950Pro will do well at 1680x1050 for a long time, but I think some of my reasoning for that is because it will be playing the 'medium-high' setting of games in the future, aimed at consoles, GF7600/X1650 and such, that don't tax the systems too much. At least you can feel confident in that, but I'd really start thinking about the GF8700 and HD2900Pro, unless you can save considerably on the X1950Pro (like enough to buy Crysis or Bioshock).

It's a long drawn out answer, but I hope you see what I'm trying to say after a long day here at work. :pt1cable: 
September 12, 2007 12:13:39 AM

Thanks a lot for your concern, it's well appreciated.

Unfortunately I'm not waiting for the 8700GTS to happen, my new LCD is under way and I won't let it dust in the closet waiting for the rest of the system... (until what, november at best? no way.)

The real price difference for me between an X1950Pro and 8800GTS is about 135 or 140$. What I'm thinking is that by the time I am really unsatisfied with my X1950Pro's performance (I'm fairly skeptical and not hyped up at all about Crysis anyway), those 140$ coupled with some shiny fresh new money can buy me something better than the geForce 8800GTS.

a b U Graphics card
September 12, 2007 12:31:48 AM

Yeah I agree with that thinking, but rememebr it's not just Crysis, but FartCry2, which actually looks nice, although not as lush as Crysis. So for stuff like that the X1950Pro should be perfect, and yes if you are planning to roll the savings into a new solution, then IMO an X1950Pro is the right choice, I was thinking more longer term, like nothing new for closer to 1-2+ years.
September 12, 2007 12:36:23 AM

You can always check out widescreengamingforum.com

There are a lot of hacks to get older games atleast some widescreen support. However, Starcraft is one game that doesn't have any widescreen hacks.

Another thing about the hacks; a lot of them have trade-offs/compromises that you have to overlook. For example, a lot of cutscenes will be screwed up because they are recorded in 4:3. You also might get a stretched HUD or parts of it cut off the screen. Also, some games revert your hacked settings each time you play. Overall, you're not getting true widescreen with these hacks. Kind of a bummer if you have a large library of older games.

Probably the best thing is to play in 4:3 with the bars on the sides. Play your new games in widescreen as most new games have native support.
September 12, 2007 1:23:58 AM

Quote:
Yeah I agree with that thinking, but rememebr it's not just Crysis, but FartCry2, which actually looks nice, although not as lush as Crysis. So for stuff like that the X1950Pro should be perfect, and yes if you are planning to roll the savings into a new solution, then IMO an X1950Pro is the right choice, I was thinking more longer term, like nothing new for closer to 1-2+ years.
Far Cry 2 looks promising, I'm much more eager to see it in action than Crysis actually, but I can hardly rationalize that. Maybe just because it's being developped here in Montreal. :p 

I'm definitely looking to not upgrade before 18 months, preferrably 24, but I guess I might have to endure somewhat reduced graphical settings at some point. Sometimes you have to set a hard limit to your budget and tough it up. Besides, I endured Oblivion at 640x480 on my 9600SE for a month so it can't get worse than that.

Thanks for all your advice, I'll be buying the ASUS X1950Pro on this weekend along with the rest of the build.

Quote:
You can always check out widescreengamingforum.com

There are a lot of hacks to get older games atleast some widescreen support. However, Starcraft is one game that doesn't have any widescreen hacks.

Another thing about the hacks; a lot of them have trade-offs/compromises that you have to overlook. For example, a lot of cutscenes will be screwed up because they are recorded in 4:3. You also might get a stretched HUD or parts of it cut off the screen. Also, some games revert your hacked settings each time you play. Overall, you're not getting true widescreen with these hacks. Kind of a bummer if you have a large library of older games.

Probably the best thing is to play in 4:3 with the bars on the sides. Play your new games in widescreen as most new games have native support.
I'm happy if the game can be displayed in about correct 4:3 ratio using black bars. Hacking widescreen support is even nicer of course, thanks for the link I'll have to check it out.
!