How bad is it to run non-native resolution?

I'm really interested in getting a 20.1" widescreen (viewsonic 2025) for my computer, but I'm curious:

If I find that a game (specifically oblivion) suffers at the native res of 1680x1050, what will happen if I run a lower resolution? Will it look terrible? Will it stretch? Will I be looking at an image surrounded by black bars, shrinking my viewable screen size?

I'd like to know before I make the purchase...this monitor will be primarily for gaming, and if I can't run oblivion well, who knows what will happen with even more stressful games released in the future.

Thanks for any help,


(oh, and when I say "suffer", I mean anything less than 20 fps. I didn't buy a x1900xt to run a game at anything less. :wink: )
4 answers Last reply
More about native resolution
  1. First Post :)

    Altough my LCD is not widescreen, i've noticed in office apps running at non-native resolution everything is distorted and somewhat pixelated. As would one expect.
    In gaming situations, though, I have not seen such degradation of image quality. I played a couple of games (Oblivion was one of them) and they seemed to scale well in non-native res. Bear in mind i'm running a standard 4:3 screen.
  2. And you won't have black bars in your screen. You'll have an increased field of vision on both sides.

    If you read the article, you'll see what really widescreen looks like and it might give you a good idea about what it might look like on yours.
  3. Appreciate the reply, D4RK, especially with it being your first.

    ...but the link you gave was actually for an article on surround gaming, which involves not just a new monitor...but three new monitors and a new gpu to run in crossfire with my current one. I'll admit it's pretty, but those setups are seriously out of my $$$ range.

    I'm strictly speaking single-monitors. Hell, even just single 4:3 monitors in non-native resolution. I'm looking back at CRTs again, 50lbs and all, if only for the flexibility of adjusting to whatever resolution I need to get the best performance out of my games.

    So...anyone finding lower than ideal resolutions on an lcd monitor to not be all that bad?
  4. as long as your monitor has some scaling capabilties it should be fine. some do it better than others but when i have tested it out it looks fine on my comp. i've played in non native 4:3 formats and they look fine. obviously things look better at native res's but as long as you don't mind black bars it's o.k.

    you can also stretch the image to avoid black bars but that can look a little distorted. it depends on how sensitive you are to these things.
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