While the physical dimensions of a screen may stay constant, changes in resolution are important and can impact the way we work as well as the hardware required to power the latest games. Below are a few things you should consider when comparing modern desktop resolutions.
Desktop real estate
Desktop real estate refers to how much usable “space” you have to work with during day to day tasks. Referring to the image below, you can see how a resolution of 1366 x 768 (blue), commonly found on lower end laptops, is dwarfed by a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 (bright red).
This is thanks to the higher pixel count of the full HD screen (2.07MP), which is nearly double that of the smaller screen (1.04MP).
Aspect ratios are also an important part of monitor resolutions. You’ll see that when comparing a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (16:9 ratio) to 1920 x 1200 (16:10 ratio), an extra 120 vertical lines are available to you. This is great for internet browsing or performing office tasks as there is 11 percent more screen real estate.
A move to a higher aspect ratio does come at a price though, since the megapixel count is higher at these resolutions (2.3MP for 16:10 as opposed to 2.07MP for 16:9), meaning your graphics card has to render an extra 270,000 pixels during gaming, a potential issue if you’re running a low- or medium-spec graphics card.
|1280 x 720||16 to 9||0.92|
|1366 x 768||16 to 9||1.04|
|1440 x 900||16 to 10||1.3|
|1600 x 900||16 to 9||1.44|
|1680 x 1050||16 to 10||1.76|
|1920 x 1080||16 to 9||2.07|
|1920 x 1200||16 to 10||2.3|
|2560 x 1440||16 to 9||3.69|
|2560 x 1600||16 to 10||4.1|
While on the subject of gaming, it’s interesting to note how the requirements increase along with resolution. Gaming at 1920 x 1200 means your graphics card needs to render around 30 percent more pixels than at 1680 x 1050, and a staggering 77 percent more than 1440 x 900. This is the reason why lowering your resolution is still one of the best ways to increase performance in games.
Another interesting thing to note is how manufacturers punt higher resolutions when advertising their graphics cards. Because gaming at 2560 x 1600 requires the card to render nearly 100 percent more pixels than at Full HD (1920 x 1080) it’s a good way to demonstrate the capabilities of modern high-end graphics cards.