View Full Version : Screen Resolution and Gaming

Oct 22, 2008, 09:53 AM
I'm considering an upgrade from my 15" Pbook G4 to either a 17" Macbook Pro or 24" iMac. One of the options on the MBP is the high res screen. How exactly does that affect gaming? So far, my understanding is this:

1. Higher resolution requires more system resources (lower FPS).
2. Assuming you have the system resources, higher resolution looks better.

I'm still a little confused about how all these variables interact. Can you have a 1920 x 1200 screen and lower the resolution for games, or will it not like running on a non-native resolution? If the only games I anticipate playing are MMOs like Lord of the Rings Online and Warhammer, should the MBP be fine playing at high resolution?

Oct 22, 2008, 10:27 AM
There's another issue to consider as well. Many games, especially older ones, do not support widescreen or very high resolutions.
Games can always be played at lower sizes, but there's a noticeable quality hit when running an LCD at a non-native resolution.
I bring this up since I recently bought a 22" widescreen LCD for gaming, and I was shocked at the dearth of games with widescreen support. Plus, if a game is 5+ years old you can just forget it. Most of those tend to cap out at 1280x1024.

Oct 22, 2008, 11:55 AM
I wouldn't say there's a quality hit, just that the low quality textures will stand out more. You're simply playing the game better than it was intended.

Higher resolutions will use more resources; more ram for the textures, more memory for the buffer etc. But if you alter the quality settings or have a much faster graphics card than before you'll be able to up the resolution without taking a hit on the FPS.

But whichever machine you get it'll run your games much better than before. And you should be fine for playing them games at native resolution :)
To put it into perspective - my 2 year old iMac runs Team Fortress 2 with everything to full (but with no AA or HDR) at native 1680x1050 resolution and doesn't drop under 30fps. So your games should be fine :)

Oct 22, 2008, 12:44 PM
Wow.. for some reason I totally missed the OP's comment about only playing LoTRO and Warhammer. :o
If that's the case then you shouldn't have any problems running native resolutions since those are modern games.
My comment above was largely aimed at old-timey gamers like me who drag out old titles due to nostalgia and are somewhat bummed at the awful graphics on (and partially due to) a large screen.

Oct 22, 2008, 04:04 PM
Small note: If you're using a non-native resolution and you have an
NVidia card, you can choose how that is handled in the control panel:

There are 4 options:


This applies to Windows only. There are no comparable settings
under OS X.