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Display Recommendations

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 16, 2012 10:39:53 AM

Just wondering If I could ask a few questions about monitors in general, as I've been having a few doubts over the past week and have been considering downsizing.

I currently own a benq 24" display running at 1920x1080 but have noticed reduced performance in games when running at this res. For some it's not too bad (WoW or SC2) where as in others it proves a bit more of a problem (Tribes Ascend or Gotham city Impostors), and have found that lowering the res in these games from 1920x1080 to 1366x768 seems to help a lot. For example, on Tribes ascend I barely scrape 40fps on medium settings and no AA, but at the lower res I get a constant 60+ with higher settings and x2 AA.

This leaves me with 3 options:

1. Keep the monitor and put up with lower fps and settings along with the jagged edges you get at 1080p with no AA (which i'd rather not)

2. Keep the monitor but play games in windowed mode, which could possibly cause performance problems but would still allow for better settings and performance overall

3. Downsize to an 18.5" display with a native res of 1366x768 and run games in full-screen at the desired res

My system is as follows:

CPU: AMD Phenom II x6 1055T 3.4ghz (OC'd)
GPU: ASUS 6870 (OC'd to 975mhz - 1100mhz)
Mobo: Asus M5A78L/USB3
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8gb
PSU: 550w

So what would people recommend? The change is mostly for gaming as I don't have any other program that I rely on having a big screen for. I don't have the internet connection for 1080p streaming, or a blue ray player so really all i'd be loosing out on is desktop space.

Also is 1366x768 on an 18.5" monitor a good ratio of res vs screen size? Would downgrading to this size help to future proof my system for a bit?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
April 16, 2012 11:59:55 AM

actually you have another option, you could buy another graphics card because running games @ 1080p is harder on the system (as I'm sure you have figured out already) then @ 720p

for gaming reasons i always tell people a bigger monitor is better (to see *** easier) so i would not recommend downgrading but if you don't want to drop any real money then the downsizing monitor idea is the best, games in window mode suck and low fps w/no aa is just not a option really

if you don't have any money at all then put up with it being kinda crappy looking
April 16, 2012 12:51:39 PM

Ahh I didn't think about a new Graphics card! I'm not sure if it would be an option though as I'm pretty sure my mobo only has 1 PCIe x16 slot, unless I can Crossfire with two different model cards? Or could I use the secondary card in a PCIe x1 slot? I must admit I haven't really looked into it.

I see what you mean about windowed mode being rather small, I suppose I could live with it for now though. My main concern with downsizing would be that 1366x768 seems kind of low for an 18.5" display. My laptop has the same native res with only a 15.5" screen and I'm concerned as to how it would look stretched out another 3 inches.

The annoying thing is that it's only effecting half of my games, if anything I'm kind of paranoid that my system is going to fall out of date at it's current native res, and I'd like to get at least another year of decent quality gaming out of it before I start thinking about major component upgrades.

Another quick question, is lag more noticeable on a larger screen? A friend of mine who games on a laptop used my computer the other day and commented to how noticeable the lag was. A difference of between 5-10 fps seems really noticeable compared to when I hit the target of 60, is this a less noticeable effect on smaller, lower res screens?

Sorry for the bombardment of questions, just making sure I don't change my whole display and then regret it!
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April 16, 2012 2:43:55 PM

No you can't Crossfire in a PCIe x1 slot.

Do not downsize, you will regret it - lower res monitors will make you cry. 1366x768 with 2xAA has the same amount of jaggies as 1080p with no AA.

Games are always best played at your native res because it's pixel for pixel between your card output and your screen output (clearer picture).

No, lag is not less noticeable on smaller screens, but games are of course easier to run at a lower res.

If you want to upgrade your card (probably the best decision), then go for an HD 7870 or equivalent nVidia card. It'll be about $350, but you'll definitely be hitting a constant 60fps in most games.

PS - turn off Vsync if you have that enabled. That makes your visible framerate drop to 30 if the game ever goes below 60fps. FRAPS will report the framerate your GPU is processing (anywhere between 31-59fps) but your screen is only going to display 30fps. Your screen can only output multiples of 60 with vsync enabled. That may be the extreme lag you're seeing.
April 16, 2012 3:08:35 PM

Humm so the image quality of a display running 1366x768 natively would be exactly the same as a 1366x768 window on my current display? I think I may be sticking with my current display then.

I do have vsync off a lot of the time, but on some games I really need it to ward off screen tearing. I removed it in tribes ascend and still end up in the same situation, around 40-50fps on medium settings and with x2 AA at native resolution. In the window with high settings and the same AA I get between 70 and 90.

Still if there's no difference between windowed and having a native res display for it then I suppose I'll just stick with the one I have now, I mean I can still play some games full res, and I can always window mode them if it proves to run smoother.

Thanks for your help, looks like i'm going to be upgrading my GPU sometime soon!
April 16, 2012 5:07:32 PM

WaywardExile said:
Humm so the image quality of a display running 1366x768 natively would be exactly the same as a 1366x768 window on my current display? I think I may be sticking with my current display then.

I do have vsync off a lot of the time, but on some games I really need it to ward off screen tearing. I removed it in tribes ascend and still end up in the same situation, around 40-50fps on medium settings and with x2 AA at native resolution. In the window with high settings and the same AA I get between 70 and 90.

Still if there's no difference between windowed and having a native res display for it then I suppose I'll just stick with the one I have now, I mean I can still play some games full res, and I can always window mode them if it proves to run smoother.

Thanks for your help, looks like i'm going to be upgrading my GPU sometime soon!

Right, it would look the same on a 1366x768 monitor as a window on your display. Tribes: Ascension is a pretty new FTP shooter, right? I wonder if it's a driver issue with the performance hit with AA.

Also I was having the same issue with my HD 5670 and Crysis - I played in a window because it was smoother on high than fullscreen at my native res. No problems now though! My HD 6870 is plenty for my res, but 1080p gaming is definitely superior.
April 16, 2012 5:20:28 PM

Yea it's fairly new and only just out of beta, I'm tempted to try the current beta drivers for CCC and see if it makes a difference. I've tried removing Vsync and getting rid of AA, and it's actually holding up well on High settings at native res, but I'm now getting a ton of screen tearing and there's no way to limit FPS without using vsync in this game (checked the ini and everything).

Hopefully the update will help improve performance for it a bit, because it's looking pretty sweet now I have it on high. I did a bit of research and apparently in its current state the game HATES having AA applied, so it may be worth just forgetting about that part for now.

Glad to hear your 6870's behaving itself! I'll report back here when I've had a chance to test the beta drivers.
April 17, 2012 5:18:34 PM

Ok so I've installed the beta drivers, and they made literally no difference, same effects as before as I mess around with the settings.

Also I looked a little more in depth into the downsizing option, and I have to agree that it's a bad idea. I noticed that on my current monitor, a 1366x768 window appeared to be 17" in size, so I took a screenshot of my desktop set to this res, and extended it to be 18.5" with the correct PPI setting.

This presented me with an ever so slightly blurry image so i'm inclined that a lower resolution monitor would be sub par after becoming accustomed to the detail I get on my current one.

I also took another look at the Tribes Ascend recommended specs and notice that since they took out the full detailed options screen and replaced it with 5 presets (why they did this is beyond me) they bumped the recommended GPU up to a 6950, so that's most likely why I'm struggling a little.

In short I think I'm just going to have to hold on for a year and buy a new GPU, seems to be better than compromising the experience of most of my games just to get a few with known issues to work properly.

I'll make one more update to this post in a weeks time when I've had a chance to test my system at 1280x1024 (5:4 ratio) just to confirm the extent that resolution and screen size can have to the appearance of lag
April 24, 2012 4:42:58 PM

If anyone's still interested, I tested my system at both 1280 x 1024 and 1280 x 720 (letterbox mode) on my old 5:4 monitor at fullscreen rather than windowed mode. I noticed a performance increase in Tribes and was able to push the settings up to maximum without huge frame drops (vsync disabled)

In addition to this I noticed that on the smaller screen when framerates did dip it didn't seem as noticeable (although that may be placebo effect kicking in) and the occasions of screen tearing were less frequent and a lot less distracting.

However due to the ever so slight offset from res to screen size I felt it was lacking in color depth (similar to the effect of running a lower res on my 24" screen) so it seemed a little dull to look at.

In short, although the smaller screen led to some rather interesting performance changes, having to put up with a screen that size and ratio was rather irritating and so I think I'll be sticking with bigger res + lower settings from now on.

Thanks everyone for the input!
April 24, 2012 5:34:37 PM

No problem - it is tough making those trade-offs. I did the same thing for so long with my HD 5670 - back and forth from high settings on native 900p to ultra settings on 800p/720p; windowed to fullscreen (stretched); antialiasing vs. no antialiasing - it's madness. Upgraded my GPU and now everything plays well on ultra/full antialiasing @ 900p, and now the only drops I see are due to my weak CPU.

Glad to hear you've reached some equilibrium.
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