What is GPU Scaling? Simple Answer

Radeon Software GPU Scaling

WHAT IS AMD’s GPU SCALING AND WHEN DO WE NEED IT?

Games are usually developed to work on different resolutions with several aspect ratios. For instance, they may show visual content that has an aspect ratio of 5:4 (with a resolution of 1280×1024), or a 16:9 aspect ratio (with a resolution of 1920×1080). But some older games may need to have their image output changed. That’s where AMD’s GPU scaling option comes in.

The GPU scaling option from AMD helps older games or content fit on a display without blurring the image, stretching it oddly or pixelating it. This technical feature lets you achieve a high-quality image.

According to AMD’s Facts page, the “GPU Scaling option within Radeon Settings allows rendering games and content requiring a specific aspect ratio to fit on a display of a different aspect ratio.” AMD notes that there are various modes through which GPU Scaling can be applied:

Preserve aspect ratio – Expands the current image to the full size of the monitor while maintaining the aspect ratio of the image size. For example, at a resolution of 1280×1024 (5:4 aspect ratio), the screen will have black bars on the left and right side.

Full panel – Expands the current image to the full size of the monitor for non-native resolutions.  For example, at a resolution of 1280×1024 (5:4 aspect ratio), the screen will stretch to fill the monitor.

Center – Turns off image scaling and centers the current image for non-native resolutions. Black bars may appear around the image. For example, setting a 24″ monitor (native resolution of 1920×1200) at a resolution of 1680×1050 (16:10 aspect ratio) or lower will place a black border around the monitor.

Although GPU Scaling sounds like an exciting feature, there are some disadvantages especially when it comes to gaming. But the main advantage is that you get the right aspect ratio if you want to play retro/old games or watch old videos.

The disadvantages are that GPU Scaling may add a slight input lag. Even if it’s a few fractions of seconds, it will be visible if you’re playing games. When playing competitive games, you want the lowest input lag, so GPU scaling is not an option.

Turn On or Off GPU Scaling

You can easily turn on or off GPU scaling by following these steps.

Step 1 – Right-click on your desktop and you will see a menu that includes AMD Radeon Software. Click it and a window will open.

Step 2 – Look at the upper bar on the right and click on the gear-shaped icon to open the Settings window.

Step 3 – Click on the Display button from the Settings window. Under Display Options, look for GPU Scaling and press on the toggle button to enable it.

Step 4 – Press on the drop-down menu to the right of the Scaling Mode option. You will have to choose from the three modes that we featured above – Preserve aspect ratio, Full panel, or Center .

Note: To turn off the GPU scaling, simply toggle the Enabled button to disable this option.

Hopefully this article has shed more light onto what exactly GPU scaling is, and gives you an idea of when you to use it. GPU scaling will help you to access and play older games and fit the content to your display without experiencing any blurred images, stretching, or pixelating. We think this is a great technical feature from AMD that opens the door to achieving high-quality imagery when playing some of those older nostalgic games. And who wouldn’t want to enjoy that in a higher quality and resolution?


About James Sterling

James Sterling received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Southern California (USC). His Bachelor of Science was completed in Computer Science (Games) and his Master of Science was completed in Game Development. James spends his free time contributing on popular forums such as Tom's Hardware and AnandTech while hanging out with his cat Jonathan. Humorously, his favorite youtube channel is Jimquisition by Jim Sterling.

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