Does upscaling mar image quality?


May 9, 2012
Hello, I have a relatively simply question that's concerning me. I've heard some upsetting thoughts about upscaling from a resolution lower than a display device's native one (I assume it blurs the image or somesuch) and I'm in the middle of choosing the laptop I will be using throughout university. Anyway, one particular model I'm looking at comes with a 1950x1080 screen resolution which will be great for general work and other non-intensive applications, but I also intend to play a few games, as well (hope this laptop has good cooling higher in its priority list than sleekness) and with its GT 540m, I'm not going to be running most of those games at the laptop screen's native resolution, but something noticeably lower and thus likely to be upscaled. I'm worried about what upscaling will actually do to the image quality in that case (assuming I'm, for instance, running at a 1280x720 resolution) versus a machine running it at the same resolution, but also at its native resolution. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. :)


Jun 11, 2011
Hi, that's a good question. Upscaling does have a negative effect on image quality and takes up additional GPU resources to convert the pixel map from one resolution to another. That is, 720p source video will be displayed both more crisp and with less computing power on a 720p screen than a 1080p screen, because each individual pixel data of source material has to be converted so that it fits onto roughly 2 screen pixels that displace it.

That said the difference is insignificant to the point of being unnoticeable, at least in terms of picture quality. I certainly can't tell the difference if you were to show me 720p source material displayed on both a 720p and 1080p screen.

I go with the 1080p to watch blu ray and youtube videos at max resolution. I also play games like Crysis, Max Payne and Battlefield at 720p and they look flawless. I play SC at 1080p since the higher resolution makes a noticeable difference when you focus on a small part of the screen. It's nice having the choice to go up to 1080p even if I play most games at 720p.

If you're looking for a bargain gaming laptop, check this one out. It's the current one I'm using and I couldn't be more happy with it =D