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Question Will Nvidia's integer scaling make playing a game at 1080p on a 4k panel look as sharp as playing it on a 1080p panel?

SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
3,988
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I'm looking at getting a monitor with FreeSync or GSync and would play most of my PC games at 1080p, since my gpu is a GTX 1660 Super and no way I'm doing a gpu upgrade any time soon with what they cost. I was originally going to buy a 2160p panel because I naively figured 1080p on a 2160p panel would look just like if it was a 1080p panel of the same size because 2160p is 4x 1080p, an integer scale. Almost bought a 2160p panel today only to read that 1080p looks like total crap a lot of the time on 2160p because of the monitor's upscaling blurring it. But then I saw Nvidia offers integer scaling in the drivers for Turing and newer. So if I turn this setting on are my 1080p AAA games going to look as sharp as they would on a 1080p panel if I ran them on a 2160p panel of the same size? Would be nice if so since I could then run my PS5 at 2160p on the panel too. Or will 1080p AAA gaming always look like garbage on a 2160p monitor? Nvidia seemed to be marketing it for playing 2D pixel art games and not so much for AAA games so I wonder.

Figured I'd ask in the gpu section since the integer scaling is an option in Nvidia's drivers.
 

Leeea

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2020
1,256
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No. Integer scalers are made for a certain subset of games that rely on hand drawn pixel art.

Just use the normal up scaler, it will be just fine. The people on the internet are full of it.


With most popular games you will not need to use any upscaler at all.
DoTA, LoL, Counterstrike, anything popular run just fine on a potato and you will be +100 frame rates on a 1660 at 4k with the appropriate CPU.
Older games will also happily run 4k.

With those games that do not run at desired frame rate, turn those settings down to medium:
Hardware Unboxed - Ultra Quality Settings are Dumb:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1n1sIQM5wc
or
Linus Tech Tips - Gaming at Max Settings is Really Dumb
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjDgKXe8gxs


oh, and ray tracing = pointless, turn that off to:
May 2021 Linus Tech Tips - Is RTX a Total Waste of Money??
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VGwHoSrIEU


Enjoy your high FPS 4k gaming.
 
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psolord

Golden Member
Sep 16, 2009
1,368
471
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Also you can try FSR upscalers, like Magpie (free) or Lossless Scaling (paid) and see how it goes.

And while you are at it, let as know! :D

I have tried them, but I only have 1080p which is far fewer pixels to have any opinion on 4K. Also FSR is generally not needed for 1080p, for most cards.
 

Tup3x

Senior member
Dec 31, 2016
550
404
136
It will look sharp (pixel perfect) with integer scaling. Obviously how pixelated it will look depends on how large display you are using is (and how far you sit from it). For normal games it might be better to use NIS instead.

I've tried 720p with integer scaling on my 27" 1440p display and it does indeed work really nicely but at this size 720p is not even remotely enough.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
9,531
3,129
136
Go for a 2160p, try it with integer scaling on and off, see which you prefer. It's a personal preference whether you prefer chunky pixels or filtered pixels.

(Personally, I prefer my retro games with a good CRT filter...)
 

SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
3,988
2,507
136
No. Integer scalers are made for a certain subset of games that rely on hand drawn pixel art.

Just use the normal up scaler, it will be just fine. The people on the internet are full of it.


With most popular games you will not need to use any upscaler at all.
DoTA, LoL, Counterstrike, anything popular run just fine on a potato and you will be +100 frame rates on a 1660 at 4k with the appropriate CPU.
Older games will also happily run 4k.

With those games that do not run at desired frame rate, turn those settings down to medium:
Hardware Unboxed - Ultra Quality Settings are Dumb:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1n1sIQM5wc
or
Linus Tech Tips - Gaming at Max Settings is Really Dumb
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjDgKXe8gxs


oh, and ray tracing = pointless, turn that off to:
May 2021 Linus Tech Tips - Is RTX a Total Waste of Money??
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VGwHoSrIEU


Enjoy your high FPS 4k gaming.
I don't play any games that would run at a good framerate at 4k medium or even low other than emulation. I don't play any esports games, haven't used ultra settings since 2014 when my GTX 970 was overkill for 1080p, and can't even run RTX. Games like Control, RDR2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, etc won't run well at all at any setting at native 4k. A 1660 Super can run them at 60 fps at high with a few tweaks into the medium range. Hence why I want to play AAA PC games at 1080p. What I care about is whether I can run AAA PC games at 1080p on a 4k panel and have them look as good as if it was a 1080p panel of the same size, brightness, color reproduction quality, etc. I want a 4k panel because I'd also be hooking my PS5 up to it and PS5 outputs a 4k signal.
 

SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
3,988
2,507
136
Go for a 2160p, try it with integer scaling on and off, see which you prefer. It's a personal preference whether you prefer chunky pixels or filtered pixels.

(Personally, I prefer my retro games with a good CRT filter...)
Not sure I want to buy a $350 monitor (looking at the Asus TUF VG289Q) and then have to go to the trouble of returning it to amazon if looks like crap running PC games at 1080p. Integer scaling seems like the best hope of getting something that would look like playing on a 1080p monitor when I'm rendering PC games at 1080p while still having 4k for general desktop use and for use with my PS5. Just wondering from people who have tried it if it actually looks decent like I was playing on a real 1080p panel. I have no clue how good the built-in upscaler is in the VG289Q since no reviews seem to test that, so I wanted to know about the Nvidia driver level integer scaling.
 

killster1

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
6,164
451
126
Not sure I want to buy a $350 monitor (looking at the Asus TUF VG289Q) and then have to go to the trouble of returning it to amazon if looks like crap running PC games at 1080p. Integer scaling seems like the best hope of getting something that would look like playing on a 1080p monitor when I'm rendering PC games at 1080p while still having 4k for general desktop use and for use with my PS5. Just wondering from people who have tried it if it actually looks decent like I was playing on a real 1080p panel. I have no clue how good the built-in upscaler is in the VG289Q since no reviews seem to test that, so I wanted to know about the Nvidia driver level integer scaling.
40 / 42 / 50 / 55 inch oled for your monitor sounds good i use a 85" 91jx85 or something for mine.
 

Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
5,552
1,338
136
I'm looking at getting a monitor with FreeSync or GSync and would play most of my PC games at 1080p, since my gpu is a GTX 1660 Super and no way I'm doing a gpu upgrade any time soon with what they cost. I was originally going to buy a 2160p panel because I naively figured 1080p on a 2160p panel would look just like if it was a 1080p panel of the same size because 2160p is 4x 1080p, an integer scale. Almost bought a 2160p panel today only to read that 1080p looks like total crap a lot of the time on 2160p because of the monitor's upscaling blurring it. But then I saw Nvidia offers integer scaling in the drivers for Turing and newer. So if I turn this setting on are my 1080p AAA games going to look as sharp as they would on a 1080p panel if I ran them on a 2160p panel of the same size? Would be nice if so since I could then run my PS5 at 2160p on the panel too. Or will 1080p AAA gaming always look like garbage on a 2160p monitor? Nvidia seemed to be marketing it for playing 2D pixel art games and not so much for AAA games so I wonder.

Figured I'd ask in the gpu section since the integer scaling is an option in Nvidia's drivers.
It won't look as good as native. Of the conventional upscalers, AMD's is the best (Conventional meaning non DLSS). AMD's FSR has other filters, like sharpening built into it.

nVidia did just announce a competitor to this, which is in the latest driver, but I have not been able to test it out. So you could try it with your current display by running a game at like, 720P, and upscaling to 1080P.
 

Justinus

Platinum Member
Oct 10, 2005
2,768
877
136
Not sure I want to buy a $350 monitor (looking at the Asus TUF VG289Q) and then have to go to the trouble of returning it to amazon if looks like crap running PC games at 1080p. Integer scaling seems like the best hope of getting something that would look like playing on a 1080p monitor when I'm rendering PC games at 1080p while still having 4k for general desktop use and for use with my PS5. Just wondering from people who have tried it if it actually looks decent like I was playing on a real 1080p panel. I have no clue how good the built-in upscaler is in the VG289Q since no reviews seem to test that, so I wanted to know about the Nvidia driver level integer scaling.
This is just my opinion but I had the same thought that integer scaling from 1080p->4k would look like a native 1080P display, however when I tried it in a few 3d games it looked horrendous and just sending 1080p to the monitor and letting it upscale was much better.

This was several years ago on a Dell UP2414Q.
 

SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
3,988
2,507
136
It won't look as good as native. Of the conventional upscalers, AMD's is the best (Conventional meaning non DLSS). AMD's FSR has other filters, like sharpening built into it.

nVidia did just announce a competitor to this, which is in the latest driver, but I have not been able to test it out. So you could try it with your current display by running a game at like, 720P, and upscaling to 1080P.
I did some tests using the downsampling feature (forget what it's called) and found out I can do most of my backlog at 1440p high with a few tweaks down to medium and still stay around 60 fps. Completely forgot with GSync I have no need to worry about my minimums staying above 60 fps any more so that seems like it should make a world of difference. And a friend who is a game dev told me NIS works pretty well upscaling to 4k as long as you're rendering 1440p or better, so I pulled the trigger on the monitor and should have it Monday. I guess we'll see if there is any way I can make 1080p look decent though in games like RDR2 that I will not be able to run at 1440p.
 
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SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
3,988
2,507
136
This is just my opinion but I had the same thought that integer scaling from 1080p->4k would look like a native 1080P display, however when I tried it in a few 3d games it looked horrendous and just sending 1080p to the monitor and letting it upscale was much better.

This was several years ago on a Dell UP2414Q.
Guess it really is only for pixel games and thus why Nvidia only markets it for such.
 

killster1

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
6,164
451
126
Did you post in the wrong thread or something? Not a new account so I assume not a bot. But your comment makes no sense.
thats cool if it made no sense to you, but a oled tv is my recommendation even if you dont understand. the first line of his Op is they are looking to get a monitor with Gsync. they are worried about 4k looking bad on 1080p but it doesnt to me looks great still.
 

Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
5,552
1,338
136
thats cool if it made no sense to you, but a oled tv is my recommendation even if you dont understand. the first line of his Op is they are looking to get a monitor with Gsync. they are worried about 4k looking bad on 1080p but it doesnt to me looks great still.
I guess I was confused by you suggesting a giant TV to use on a computer desk in place of a 28" monitor (which is already on the large side for desktop usage).
 

Tup3x

Senior member
Dec 31, 2016
550
404
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The things I do to satisfy curiosity.

My 4k display is hooked up to a pc that is definitely not gaming oriented, and I didn't want to clutter up the drive with Steam or other unnecessary software, so I only tested UT2004. Luckily, the intel graphics driver supports integer scaling.

Integer scaling on:
View attachment 54118

View attachment 54119

Normal scaling:
View attachment 54120

View attachment 54121

Honestly, they both look the same. I say just let the video card do its normal scaling.
If they both look the same then something is wrong and integer scaling is not working. The difference is extremely obvious.
 
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killster1

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
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I guess I was confused by you suggesting a giant TV to use on a computer desk in place of a 28" monitor (which is already on the large side for desktop usage).
what kinda desk wont hold a 42" tv? (a child's school desk is the only one that comes to mind) i mount all mine on the wall due to earthquakes and such, pretty sure 28" monitor is not large for a desk, the only reason i would use a small monitor would be for graphic design / photo etc ...someone to be worried about more accurate colors.
 

SteveGrabowski

Diamond Member
Oct 20, 2014
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what kinda desk wont hold a 42" tv? (a child's school desk is the only one that comes to mind) i mount all mine on the wall due to earthquakes and such, pretty sure 28" monitor is not large for a desk, the only reason i would use a small monitor would be for graphic design / photo etc ...someone to be worried about more accurate colors.
28" is specifically the largest monitor that fits on my desk. Couldn't find a 32" that would.
 
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amenx

Platinum Member
Dec 17, 2004
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Re large monitors for desktops, it doesnt need to be on the desk. Wall mounting slightly above the desk is the way to go. As a bonus, you gain more even real estate on the desk than with a small monitor.
 

killster1

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
6,164
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Re large monitors for desktops, it doesnt need to be on the desk. Wall mounting slightly above the desk is the way to go. As a bonus, you gain more even real estate on the desk than with a small monitor.
how do you put it on the wall if the desk is full of shelves like he said.. (the shelves block the wall my mom has the same issue but since nothing on the shelves are important she placed the monitor in front of the shelfs and just blocked them with a 42" 4k.
 

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