Screen Resolution and Gaming

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by answer348, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2004
    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?
  2. macrumors 6502


    May 5, 2005
    "the lab"
    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.
  3. macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Darkplace Hospital
    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 :)
  4. macrumors 6502


    May 5, 2005
    "the lab"
    Wow.. for some reason I totally missed the OP's comment about only playing LoTRO and Warhammer. :eek:
    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.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Mar 28, 2007
    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.

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