First post, by furyanwolf
So I've recently (and finally) got 1 of 2 retro gaming PCs built and I also got a hold of a 19" Dell M992 and having not used a standard aspect ratio in such a long time, I am slightly confused about things.
So, here's the deal. My Dell M992 has a screen aspect ratio of 4:3. Now, standard 4:3 resolutions supported by the monitor are:
800 x 600
1024 x 768 (UI too big in WinXP)
1152 x 864
1280 x 960 (My preffered res)
1600 x 1200 (UI too small in WinXP)
These would match the aspect ratio correctly and I certainly have my preffered resolution of the bunch. Now, here's the issue: Games. Quite a handful of games I have on hand of the era do not support 1280 x 960 out of the box. Some seem to have ways around this, some do not. The most common resolutions of the games of the era that I've installed so far are:
800 x 600
1024 x 768
1280 x 1024 (5:4 Aspect Ratio)
1600 x 1200
At this point you may be asking "what's the big deal, just use 1280 x 960 in Windows and whatever is available in each game"...aaaa well you see, the monitor (and I'm not sure if this is common with CRTs of the period or just this particular model) does not play nice with changing resolutions. Any time the resolution is different than whatever is set in Windows, the image ends up not being displayed correctly, whether skewed left, right, up, down, smaller, bigger, etc. The reason this is a problem is because there is no automatic readjustment built in, i.e. I'd have to manually re-adjust the image each time I start a new game with a different resolution than Windows and then re-adjust it AGAIN when I quit it. This is not great and I do not want to do this.
To add to this madness, here's another odd thing, for whatever reason, my nVidia control panel suggests that the native resolution of the monitor is in fact 1280 x 1024, a 5:4 resolution which, whilst I can use and don't have any particular problem with, is weird given that the physical dimensions of the display are 4:3. This DOES however play nice with games as pretty much all of them have 1280 x 1024 available.
So, finally, if you've made it this far, here are some questions:
If I were to keep to 1280 x 1024, a 5:4 nVidia "native" resolution that is in fact NOT native to the physical screen size:
1. Is this bad? Like in any way? Am I somehow going to have a poorer experience overall?
2. Wallpapers confuse me now. Specifically, if I apply a 4:3 resolution wallpaper having set a 5:4 resolution in Windows, yet on a 4:3 physical screen, how is this displayed? Ive cropped some larger wallpapers to both ratios and the difference is so subtle (if it even exists) that I can't even tell what if anything is getting stretched out in weird ways. Ideally I do not want anything stretching, the idea just bugs me, but I can't even really tell and that in itself also bugs me.
So, can anyone share some wisdom on this stuff? On top of the aforementioned questions I also wanted to ask:
What is generally a widely accepted "good" resolution to be playing games on 4:3 CRTs of the time? Is lower or higher generally better or is it down to everyones subjective view? Or does it not even matter outside of UI scale in games?
Any answers, discussion, insight, wisdom, etc on this topic will be greatly appreciated. Thanks! 😀