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Does the 20" iMac run in lower resolutions without looking "fuzzy"?
The included GPU will not be able to handle playing games at the standard 20" resolution, so I was wondering if it would run in a lower one without the blur that sometimes happens on LCDs when they're not run at their suggested resolution.
The blur is inevitable. LCD's are not like analogue CRT's that can more easily represent lower resolutions. With an LCD the native resolution means 1 pixel per LCD "Dot" (or 3 in fact - Red Green Blue. For the moment, just take these 3 colours to mean 1 dot). If you lower the resolution of the screen (say to 800x600 - a fairly standard gaming resolution), then the 1 pixel per dot becomes 1 pixel to several LCD dots. Because you want the whole screen to be filled, the LCD's have to interpolate upwards to fill the space. This invariably causes blurring. (Think what happens when you resize upwards in photoshop - eventually it's a blurry mess).
With some graphics cards/monitors you can make an LCD display the exact resolution without stretching the screen so 1 pixel remains 1 LCD dot. BUT, with a 20" iMac & you running a game at say 800x600 you'd have probably six inches of black space either side of the image & probably a couple of inches above and below. That would be a waste of your lovely 20 inches(Oooer).
Having just re-read this, I think my explanation is a pile of poo! Can anyone else do better? :\
LCDs have a set size and number of pixels. CRTs do not. Therefore, if you tell an LCD to do any resolution other than the native one, it will have to interpolate. Think of it this way: your hands have ten fingers. That is its "native resolution." Now try reducing the "resolution" of your hands to eight fingers, using the original ten. You can press some of the fingers together, but they won't all be the same size. Same thing happens with LCDs: they squish some of the pixels together, but they can't all be the same size, so it gets blurry. The only way to avoid it is to either draw the resolution in the center of the screen and put black bars all around (i.e. getting rid of your two pinky fingers and leaving the other eight), or to use a resolution of exactly half the native resolution (i.e. using consistent groups of two for your fingers, leaving five). So the 20" iMac can only be totally clear at a resolution of 1680x1050 (native resolution) or 840x525 (exactly half the height and half the width). I don't even know if there's an option to run it at 840x525, but it would be an excellent compromise if you're running a demanding game.
On my 15" PowerBook (1280x854), not every game supports such a resolution. I find that although not as crisp as the native, it doesn't look bad for gaming. Now when you start putting text on the screen though. It doesn't get as pretty.
Yes, that's true. Games rarely have tiny objects as detailed as text. In fact, the fuzziness could almost be seen as a good thing because it serves as a natural form of antialiasing (elimination of jagged edges on diagonal lines).
So far in my 20" iMac gaming experience (which so far has only been Q3A), the whole screen doesn't get used. There are blank vertical spaces to the left and right of the gaming area of the screen.
That being said, I set Q3A to the highest supported resolution the 20" LCD could display and Q3A has run without a hitch. I was pretty surprised considering all the talk (of which I participated) of the crappy video card.
I know that Q3A isn't Doom III or any kind of graphically intense game but I was happy to see it run better on my new iMac then on the PC which the iMac replaced. Since I only play the rare game of Q3A or DiabloII I think my gaming needs are more than covered with my new iMac.
Besides I have an XBox if I really want to game.
Oh yeah, this was all on the stock 256MB RAM. My 2x1GB sticks just came in today (now I finally get to open the iMac up and peek inside!).
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