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I know how to change my screen resolution, but I'm looking for a way to display a 1280 × 786 region in the centre of my display, without it being stretched to fit my 27" monitor!

My goal to record fullscreen gameplay at HD resolution, so performance is a big consideration.

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I'm a bit confused… what would this accomplish? There would be no difference in performance between "letterboxing" it or running the 27" monitor at that resolution. – ghoppe Oct 12 '12 at 17:15
I find that hard to believe. Surely pushing 983,040 pixels around is easier than 3,686,400 pixels? That's not actually the main reason I want to do this though - stretching a game out like this just looks really crappy. – Foomandoonian Oct 12 '12 at 17:17
The bottleneck isn't the number of hardware pixels shown on the screen, it's the number of pixels rendered. You're still rendering only 983,040 pixels. That's why games run significantly faster when the monitor is set to lower resolution. – ghoppe Oct 12 '12 at 17:37
As I wrote my first reply I started to wonder if that was actually the case! Thanks, that's useful to know. Perhaps playing at a lower resolution and the capturing a portion of that window will be a good workaround. I'd still like to find my first solution though. – Foomandoonian Oct 12 '12 at 17:41
I'm not certain if this will do what you want so I won't add it as an answer, but check out SwitchResX and see if it will do it. – ghoppe Oct 12 '12 at 17:54

I am almost positive that it is not possible to do that when any modern monitors. The monitors have been made to scale lower resolution settings. There is no way you can force it to letterbox. Some older monitors did allow that, but I am not aware of any flat screens that can do that. However, simply lowering the resolution will increase performance.

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I think I'll end up simply using another profile with a lower resolution and fewer background apps etc. Just to nitpick though, letterboxing is perfectly possible: I can set a resolution that has a non-16:9 aspect ratio and I'll get black 'letterbox' bars, but they'll always stretch the longest side to fit. – Foomandoonian Oct 12 '12 at 20:59
Oh yeah. I suppose that's true. I just meant that you couldn't take a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and only use half of that as a smaller rectangle and letterbox each side. – Josiah Oct 13 '12 at 2:20

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