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Resolution scaling on a tiny monitor?


Diamond Member
Mar 26, 2005
One of my hobbies is trying to run games on really crappy graphics cards and poorly performing CPUs such as Intel Atoms and the like. For this purpose I am thinking of getting a tiny 12" 1080p monitor. My thinking was that dropping down to 720p and 800x600 will not look as horrible on something so small as opposed to a larger monitor. Yes, I know, I can scale to a smaller box in the middle of the screen on a larger display with black bars all around, but it looks too tiny, and I hate the huge black bars.

There are other reasons for me getting a tiny monitor off course. I have very limited space, I'd like to carry the monitor around with me when needed, be able to easily hook it up to computers for testing etc, but htat is irrelevant for this post. What I really want to know is, do you think 720p and lower will look super fuzzy as opposed to the native resolution.




Platinum Member
Feb 22, 2001
720p on a 12" monitor, downscaled from 1080p, will look better than 720p on a 24" 1080p monitor.
I don't think it'll look super fuzzy - hell, our living room TV is a 32" 1366x760 panel and no one complains for light use.


Diamond Member
Mar 26, 2005
See, this is the weird part. TVs tend to do this job much better than monitors. My 1440p 32" monitor, scaled down to 720p looks horrible, but my 4k 50" TV looks just fine at 720p. Sure it's not as sharp as when it's running at higher res, but it doesn't look fuzzy or blurry.

But like you said, at 12" hopefully it wont matter.


Elite Member
Aug 26, 2000
Maybe, but it varies how bad it will be. You may be able to mitigate that in a few ways, if it is so bad that it starts detracting from the experience:
1. 1:1 pixel scaling, and a close enough lower resolution.
2. 480P, or if you can do it 540P, scaled out by the monitor.
3. Forced shader AA, or added MSAA.

I think you can find a way to do 1 on most GPUs (older Intels being the most iffy), and sometimes it's a monitor option, as well. Geforce and Radeon drivers should let you do 2, so long as the game can also support it (no problem for 480P, but 540P will look much better). 3 might be best used when combined with 2, for a better low-res image quality and performance balance.

When the blurriness is really bad from fractional scaling, having to scale up by 2x or more makes it look much less bad, IME, and especially so at an even 2x, if the game and GPU drivers support that.

TVs tend to do processing that emphasizes contrast, like trilinear or cubic filters at the most basic, on up to more complicated shaders. Monitors usually just calculate the simple average pixel value, based on the difference between the centers. Doing the more in-depth filtering can also add noticeable delays, if you're getting decent FPS, hence gaming modes on many TVs, and some monitors.