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Lower than native res causes letterboxes. Why? How to stop it?

2463 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Tyree
The native resolution of my monitor is 1600x900. Whenever I attempt to use a lower resolution than that (either with desktop display settings or when running a game in fullscreen), it always causes black letterboxes.

What I would LIKE to have happen would be to choose a lower resolution, and have it stretch across the screen. Ie, if I run a game fullscreen in 800x450, it would scale up to fit the full 1600x900 screen.

I'm not sure if this is a problem with my computer or if this is something to do with my monitor.

Here's the specs:
Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium
AMD Athlon II x4 2.8 GHz
ATI Radeon HD 5700
Monitor: Dell ST2010

I think that should be all the relevant info, but tell me if you need more.
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There's nothing wrong. 800 x 450 will leave a black border all the way round on a screen which is designed for 1600 x 900. You cannot "scale it up" to fill the screen. Only by running at the native resolution will the image fill the screen.
Thats a very basic problem that most flat screens will have. Lower resolutions will not be either fullscreen or the correct aspect ratio. That and you cannot run any application at any resolution unless it supports it.
What's confusing me is that my old laptop did exactly what I described I want to happen. Of course it wouldn't be a pixel-perfect scaling (not mathematically possible, I know.), but I could use non-native resolutions and fill the screen with them. But now that laptop's dead and I got a desktop, and the desktop does the letterbox thing. Why did the laptop support non-native resolutions when my desktop doesn't?
Comparing a laptop display to a 20" widescreen display is apples and oranges.
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