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What is the difference between 3840x2160 scaled at 200% and 1920x1080 scaled at 100%?

I ask because I have a 3840x2160 monitor and when I (by right-clicking on the desktop and going to display settings) adjust the resolution to 3840x2160 (its max) and the scaling to 200%: adjust the resolution to 3840x2160 (its max) and the scaling to 200%

everything looks very crisp; but then I change that same monitor's resolution to 1920x1080 and 100% scaling:

change that same monitor's resolution to 1920x1080 and 100% scaling

and it is very blurry. Why is this, is there a difference in the DPI? I am running Windows 10 Creators Update (Version 1709).

  • native resolution (4k in your case) is always more sharp compared to lower resolution. – magicandre1981 Mar 28 '18 at 15:08
  • Yes, that's what I don't understand. It's 3840x2160 scaled at 200% so why would that look any different than 1920x1080 at 100%?... – Chris K Apr 3 '18 at 18:38
  • is is a hardware limitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_resolution – magicandre1981 Apr 4 '18 at 15:03
  • When the monitor receives a non-native resolution (1920x1080) is has to do math to stretch the pixels of the input over the pixels of its panel. When the computer is told to scale, it still send the native number of pixels the monitor expects (perfectly sharp picture), but the computer adjusts which of those pixels each UI element is comprised of (making things apparently larger/smaller). – music2myear Feb 22 at 16:27
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Because it is not the resolution that is scaled, but the relative size of everything. So an app would specify font size 12 but windows would render it at size 24, but at double the dpi (because of the scaling).

  • The font size isn't exactly doubled when you set it to 200%. How large the font is increased entirely depends on the font itself. – Ramhound Feb 22 at 17:07

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