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Games at non-native resolution

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December 2, 2007 7:20:12 AM

Note: on reflection, I kind of rambled a bit, so I've bolded the two important questions.

I'm going to need a monitor for my new machine (Q6600, 8800GT, 4gb) when it arrives, and I am at a loss for which sized screen to buy. I bought it to play games on, but will also be composing music and programming with it. Both these things benefit enormously from having a large amount of screen real-estate - and I would love to have 24" at 1920x1200 to work with - but I am concerned that this may be at the detriment of gaming performance, which is, after all, what I bought it for.

Will this system be able to play anything recent (eg: bioshock) at 1920? How well will it play? For more demanding games like Crysis, will playing at lower resolutions look noticeably worse? If so, is there a way of telling the monitor to not scale the graphics (this is also important for playing older games), and just leave black borders?

Is there anything else I should know about having a large widescreen monitor?

More about : games native resolution

December 2, 2007 4:55:08 PM

playing at lower res, = interpolation (thats the word? i'm on a CRT so forgive me) interpolation = bad bad bad image quality
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a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
December 2, 2007 5:05:14 PM

head full of eyes said:

Will this system be able to play anything recent (eg: bioshock) at 1920? How well will it play? For more demanding games like Crysis, will playing at lower resolutions look noticeably worse? If so, is there a way of telling the monitor to not scale the graphics (this is also important for playing older games), and just leave black borders?


For games like Crysis the problem is trying to play at 1920x1200 which is tough even without AA, so either you turn down features and lose what make Crysis Crysis, or you suffer interpolation which essentially make everything blurry by trying to fit one pixel into two, or 3 into 5, etc.

The best solution is if you can play in windowed mode, and if you have the option in control panel you can play with the 'centered' option, but that does mean a smaller window, that's where you have to make the judgement call on size.
December 2, 2007 7:58:26 PM

probably the best solution IMO, given your situation and concerns, is to invest in 2 'smaller' lcds, such as 2*19" (eg, 1280x1024 for one while gaming, or 2560x1024 for both when not gaming), that way you dont have to worry about performance when gaming at a native resolution, and you also have twice the desktop real estate when not gaming... this will likely also be less expensive than a larger 24" monitor that has less overall real estate to use, less by almost half a megapixel.

and if you wanted to, you could also have the game run on both lcds at a widescreen resolution, but thats better for games that arent fps based, where the focal point instead isnt just oriented at the middle of the screen.
December 2, 2007 8:34:24 PM

choirbass said:
probably the best solution IMO, given your situation and concerns, is to invest in 2 'smaller' lcds, such as 2*19" (eg, 1280x1024 for one while gaming, or 2560x1024 for both when not gaming), that way you dont have to worry about performance when gaming at a native resolution, and you also have twice the desktop real estate when not gaming... this will likely also be less expensive than a larger 24" monitor that has less overall real estate to use, less by almost half a megapixel.


:hello:  +1
December 2, 2007 8:45:51 PM

1680x1050 is a good compromise, dropping down from a 22" 1680x1050 to 19 "1444x900 isn't to far below native resolution. I am planning to go for a 20-22" monitor with the system in my sig. Some LCD's can run all resolutions at native, but I forget what they call it. You will though have black side bars at lower than the screen size.
a c 365 U Graphics card
a c 196 C Monitor
December 2, 2007 9:22:19 PM

Playing at lower resolution will not mean that graphics quality will take a deep nose drive. It won't look as good at native resolution due to interpolation though. The best way to describe it is that the graphics will look a bit "soft".

If your monitor supports 1:1 pixel mapping or aspect ratio in the OSD (on screen display) menu, then you can you that. The monitor will only display the exact number of pixels specified by the game's resolution. In other words, you'll have black borders around the game screen,

In my opinion, I wouldn't spend any money on a smaller screen just to play games at native resolution. Instead I would take that money and start saving more for a better video card in the future.

December 2, 2007 9:32:01 PM

1:1 pixel mapping, thats it. Oblivion is one of those games that looks really good when you drop down in resolution.
December 2, 2007 9:37:23 PM

I got a 20" monitor to run 1680x1050 for this exact reason. If I needed to drop down to 1440x900 then it would hurt much. Also 20" monitors with 1680x1050 present the most pixels per square inch, which was important to me. I am not sure if this is an option, but if it is I would recommend it. The 8800GT will run Crysis pretty well at that res.

Best,

3Ball
December 2, 2007 9:52:25 PM

Crysis is the first game I've played off native resolution. With the demo I went back and forth between lower settings or resolution. I finally decided that the game looked better with higher settings and non-native resolution. The fuzzier look of playing off native doesn't look as bad while playing than carefully comparing screenshots.

Personally I'd take a pass on windowed mode but I guess it all comes down to preference.

Of course one other option would be to buy a 30". With a native resolution of 2560x1600 you could run a game like Crysis at 1280x800 and have no interpolation.
December 2, 2007 10:05:23 PM

3Ball said:
Also 20" monitors with 1680x1050 present the most pixels per square inch, which was important to me.

Best,

3Ball


I hate the dot pitch of 22" inch LCD's with a passion!
December 3, 2007 5:09:26 AM

systemlord said:
I hate the dot pitch of 22" inch LCD's with a passion!


lol, I know what ya mean man!

Best,

3Ball
December 3, 2007 6:01:38 AM

Hmm...I was thinking a Samsung 22", but the dot pitch thing has me thinking. What would you guys recommend for a good gaming monitor under 24"?
December 3, 2007 7:26:06 AM

jjblanche said:
Hmm...I was thinking a Samsung 22", but the dot pitch thing has me thinking. What would you guys recommend for a good gaming monitor under 24"?


This is the one that me and my friend both have and we have both loved it thus far...it is by far the best monitor I have ever had. This is the second Samsung LCD monitor that I have had and neither have had any problems. This monitor can also be found at some best buys a for a similar or in the case of my friends even a lower price.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Best,

3Ball
December 3, 2007 9:27:00 AM

Buy a CRT, all problems are solved aside from loosing your dest to the display :)  Oh and you wont have to replace it in 2 years.
December 3, 2007 10:11:18 AM

Interesting reading... I was thinking of commenting earlier, but wanted to read first. :) 

I run my 20" 1680x1050 monitor at reduced resolution for a number of games (BioShock, Oblivion, etc) primarily because of my X1800GTO graphics cards. While I wouldn't run my standard Windows desktop at reduced resolution, I didn't feel I was missing much on the games. With all the stuff happening in the game, I'd rather bump up the detail a notch than the resolution. If I have to stop and take a screenshot to tell the difference between setting A and setting B, I'm not going to worry about it too much. :)  But for reading text, it REALLY sucks to drop down.

My next monitor (to replace my 19" CRT which is used as a second monitor) would probably be a 22" LCD. Same resolution as my current one, just a little bigger. If I had some extra cash or found an outstanding deal, I'd consider a 24" unit, but I'd rather take the extra cash and upgrade my video card to handle the monitors I currently have better.

Just my $0.02.
December 3, 2007 3:47:24 PM

I have a 24" Dell and 8800 Ultra GPU. Crysis plays fine with everything high and at 1920 x 1200 but on very busy screens it does jerk around. I drop my res to the next 16:10 1440 x 900 and I do not see any issues with the video, it looks just as good. I think it is better to drop the res down and get AA enabled then to play the higher res and not have AA.

Also I am using vista 64 and they say you get better performance with the 4GB of memory and playing the 64-bit Bin for Crysis.
December 3, 2007 4:33:02 PM

The only game I can not play @ 1920 x 1200 is crysis. I drop it down to 1280 x 800 with AA and it looks fine. I can max out CoD4 with no problem @ 1920 x 1200 with AA. "Head full of eyes" , you and I have basically the same rig so I recommend a 24" screen. Especially if you want to watch Blu-Ray movies or HD-DVDs in all their glory.
December 3, 2007 4:49:05 PM

3Ball...I read on one of the reviews that this has two selectable inputs (DVI and VGA). If this is true, this is the monitor for me, as it means I won't have to buy a separate one for my Mac Mini.
December 3, 2007 4:54:44 PM

jjblanche said:
Hmm...I was thinking a Samsung 22", but the dot pitch thing has me thinking. What would you guys recommend for a good gaming monitor under 24"?


You should visit your local Best Buy or whatever you have in your area and have a look at the difference between the 20"/22" inch monitors, you will see bigger square pixels that are spaced farther apart. All I got to say is its a night & day difference for me, if your eyes are not that great then 22" is the way to go.
December 3, 2007 5:08:21 PM

jjblanche said:
3Ball...I read on one of the reviews that this has two selectable inputs (DVI and VGA). If this is true, this is the monitor for me, as it means I won't have to buy a separate one for my Mac Mini.


It is true! I switch between my xbox 360 on vga and my pc on dvi all the time with just the click of one button.

Best,

3Ball
December 3, 2007 6:15:54 PM

To be perfectly honest, I've never really noticed much difference in visual quality between playing at native resolutions and playing on a slightly lower res, except for the fact that the image is not as crisp (but still looks great IMHO). For some people that's a big issue, for me it isn't at all.
I'd rather lower the resolution and be able to crank up the settings to the max and enable AA, than play at my native resolution and compromise on in-game settings and detail with no AA.
To me, game details and settings are much more important than screen resolutions. That's not to say I don't like higher resolutions, I do and every game that my card is able to run smoothly on native res with the highest settings is played that way, but when it's either this or that, resolutions are just not as important, and don't affect picture quality as much as game details do, IMO.
December 3, 2007 6:37:46 PM

Bash...that is more or less my opinion as well. I remember playing Doom3 when it first came out at 800x600 on a crappy system with a decent monitor, and it still looked good.
a b U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
December 3, 2007 6:54:06 PM

Just a reminder, a screen shot is not going to show you interpolation so anyone basing it on comparing screen captures is showing what the computer is sending not what you are seeing after the interpolation.
There's no hard and fast rule, it's a question of whether you notice the subtle detail of things like AF may be an indication of whether you care about it. As NO1s mentioned getting a larger panel gives you the nice option of 4:1 scaling with no interpolation.

It all depends on 2 major things IMO, you sensitivity and how well the monitor in question interpolates out-of scale resolutions.
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b C Monitor
December 3, 2007 7:20:35 PM

It depends on budget. You could get a 27" 1920x1200 monitor (say, Samsung 275T) and a 19" or 22" monitor, and switch nVidia profiles between monitor #1, monitor #2, or DualView. That is, play less demanding games on the big monitor, play Crysis on the small monitor, or do programming+surfing+email+(maybe)watch tv/movies on both monitors.

!