Does 1080p Look Bad On a 1440p Monitor?


When buying a new monitor, especially for gaming, resolution is one of the most important things to consider. If you want to buy a nice 1440p monitor, but your graphics card can barely even manage 1080p gaming at 60 FPS, you might ask does 1080p look bad on 1440p monitor. 

1080p does not look very good on a 1440p display. This is because the image has to be upscaled and will not look as sharp as the native 1440p resolution. However, how good or bad 1080p looks on a 1440p monitor also depend a lot on the game. Some games allow you to put 1440p as the resolution and then reduce render scale. 

So, should you go for a 1440p monitor if you do not plan to upgrade your graphics card soon? Is it really that bad? Are there any ways to improve the graphics in games when playing at 1080p on a much higher resolution? You can learn all about this topic below. 

Does 1080p Look Bad On a 1440p Monitor? 

If we are talking about videos, movies, and just general computer use that does not require a ton of graphical horsepower, you should be able to run those things at 1440p, even with an integrated graphics card or a very weak one. 1440p does not require a ton of power just to run things like MS Office and an Internet browser. 

Games, on the other hand, are a whole other story. It does not matter if you use a PC or a gaming console, upscaling can make games look pixelated and not nearly as sharp as they would be on the native resolution. So, games that run on the 1920×1080 resolution will look much better on a 1080p monitor than they would on a 1440p one. 

This is because upscaling is still not the best technology in games and your monitor will struggle to keep the game looking sharp effectively. So, you should only get a 1440p if you have or plan to have a computer that can run games in that resolution. So, what can you do to improve your gaming experience on a 1440p monitor if you do not have a powerful graphics card? 

How to Improve Graphics on 1440p 

One of the first things that you can do is to tune down all the other settings except for the resolution. In almost all cases, the resolution is what affects the graphics the most in the first place and it may not even affect the FPS as much as some other settings like volumetric clouds would. So, just put the game on the native 1440p resolution and try the game. 

If the game is too laggy and you must play on 1080p, there are some methods that you can improve your experience. First, you can try enabling GPU scaling. This way, your graphics card will do the scaling instead of the monitor, which can make upscaled 1080p look much better on 1440p. You can enable GPU scaling on both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards through their proprietary software. 

Another option that you can try is to put the resolution to 1440p and then use the built-in render scaling that many games nowadays have and lower it to 70-80%. This will greatly improve your FPS at the cost of clarity and sharpness. But if this is the only way that you can play a game, it can still be an enjoyable experience. 

In case you are not familiar with render scaling, it allows you to run a game at a higher resolution, but the game itself is rendered at only a certain percentage of it. For example, putting the render scale at 75% will render the game in 1080p. It only affects the 3D elements of the game, which means that the UI and other non-game elements stay razor-sharp and are rendered at 1440p. 

Is a 1440p Monitor Worth It? 

On a related note, if you are in the market for a monitor, do you really need a 1440p display? If you want to have the money both to buy the monitor and a powerful PC with a great graphics card, then 1440p can be a nice step up from 1080p. This is especially true if you enjoy playing AAA single-player games that focus on the best graphics. 

But if you are a competitive gamer who likes playing fast-paced multiplayer games like League of Legends and Fortnite, then 1440p may not be worth it. For starters, you won’t notice the increased resolution that much, but you will definitely notice the reduced FPS that is a result of a higher resolution. On that topic, should you go for a 1440p with a 60Hz refresh rate or a 1080p one with 144Hz? 

Most people will agree that 144Hz monitors are way better for all types of games, especially FPS, racing, and MOBAs. If you are looking for a cinematic experience with great graphics in single-player games, then a 1440p monitor may be the better option for you. Of course, if you have the money, go for a 1440p 144Hz monitor and get the best of both worlds! 

Final Thoughts

Running any type of media except games is not very demanding. Even old hardware will not have any trouble running movies and videos at a 1440p resolution, so you do not have to worry too much about that. Games, however, require a lot of GPU power to run at higher resolutions. If you do not have a powerful GPU but plan to buy a 1440p monitor, you may have to play at a lower resolution. 

The best option is to avoid changing the resolution and lowering all the other options instead. If the game is still laggy, you can try changing the render scale to 75%. This will make the game render at 1080p. But if the game does not have that option, you can change the resolution to 1080p or, alternatively, use GPU scaling. 

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