What is GPU Scaling?

Nvidia's Geforce Scaling

You would have come across GPU scaling if you love games or engage in graphics-intensive activities. You have either encountered it while exploring your game settings or heard about it in discussions with gamers and friends.

The question on your mind at that moment, especially as a rookie gamer, would be, “What exactly is GPU scaling?” 

GPU Scaling is a unique feature that GPU manufacturers include in their graphics cards. It exists to give gamers a better experience when using ultrawide screens without a 4:3 aspect ratio. However, there are some basic details that you need to note when scaling your current content with larger screens.

Working with a guide will help you understand GPU scaling and how to get the settings right. So, let’s go on the visual journey and get accustomed to the steps to getting the best GPU scaling for your PC.

How GPU Scaling Affects Your Experience

GPU scaling offers more benefits to gamers who delve into older games while using ultrawide screens as they play.

The feature lets you choose your preferred display when playing older games on ultra-wide screens. Older games are limited to a 4:3 aspect ratio which will appear borderline on screens with aspect ratios up to 16:9 or higher.

Depending on your preference and screen support, GPU scaling lets you stretch the display or choose another.

Now that you understand what GPU scaling is and its uses let’s move on to the Scaling selections.

The Scaling Selections Available For GPUs

Understanding GPU scaling continues beyond knowing its meaning and uses alone since the available options are essential too.

You get different scaling options that you can choose from, but it also depends on your GPU product. The two major graphics cards, AMD and Nvidia, offer you different scaling options. Below are the scaling settings available for both Nvidia and AMD to improve your gaming display:

Scaling Setting for AMD

The scaling selections below are only available to AMD users, and here are details on each option:

Centered Trimming

The centered trimming option works similarly to what you expect from retaining the game’s aspect ratio.

Centered trimming fixes the display to the center of the screen filling the remaining sections with a black background.

You will notice that it retains its original aspect ratio while fixating the display to the center of your screen.

Scale to full panel size

Scaling your display to full size is one most gamers avoid doing due to the poor results it gives. It’s an option that stretches your display from its original size to fit your monitor screen.

However, the quality of the game visuals would reduce substantially, giving you a bad gaming experience depending on your monitor.

Maintain Aspect Ratio

You can choose the “maintain aspect ratio” to retain the original aspect ratio with which the game was made. It simply means if a game has an aspect ratio of 4:3, you will play it with that aspect ratio. However, you should expect a black background to fill the remaining parts and form a border to compensate for the gap. 

Scaling Settings for Nvidia

Geforce GPU Scaling

You have the scaling options that AMD offers you, so here are the options available from Nvidia:

No Scaling

You can always choose the no scaling option from Nvidia’s selections to prevent GPU scaling generally. The No scaling settings switch off the scaling feature and let your game render without interference from your graphics card.

However, it might not be the best experience if you prioritize wide-screen display over high-quality images.

Aspect Ratio

Similar to the “maintain aspect ratio” option that AMD offers is the Aspect ratio selection that Nvidia brings to you.

You get to retain the original size of the game while playing on a larger screen with a black background. The black backgrounds compensate for the areas with missing displays to balance out the pixels like other scaling options.

Full Screen

The full-screen option works similarly to the full-panel size setting that the AMD brand offers. It stretches your display to fit the aspect ratio that your screen supports but reduces the quality of the rendered images. So you can scale a game with a 4:3 aspect ratio to an aspect ratio of 16:9 but sacrifice quality.

Should You Turn It On Or Off?

Scaling benefits gameplay by prioritizing viewing your display on a wider screen without minding image quality. Consider switching your game GPU scaling off if you don’t enjoy playing games having poor graphical quality.

The scaling will maintain its original quality, but you must settle for the small size while using ultrawide screens. If you prefer playing on a wider screen and having it fit, consider turning it on.

However, you should prepare to play with poor graphics since you are sacrificing image quality for size based on your screen.

Enabling GPU Scaling For Your Graphic Cards

After understanding GPU scaling and the options you have based on graphics cards, the next step is the scaling settings.

Both AMD and Nvidia have similar but different ways of setting their scaling for a better experience when rendering images. Check the guide below to enable your scaling settings depending on your Graphics processing unit.

Enabling Scaling for Nvidia

Below are the steps to enable your GPU settings if your computer uses an Nvidia graphics card:

Open Nvidia Panel

The first step to choosing a scaling selection is navigating to the Nvidia control panel section. You can do this by using your left-click options or locating it with your start menu and navigating through the options. Click the left mouse button and navigate to the Nvidia graphics section. 

Using the start menu method, you can click the windows icon on your taskbar and type Nvidia in the search box. It will bring out the same settings as when you use the left-click method.

Locate Scaling settings for GPU

After opening the Nvidia section, the next step is to locate the display section to change the current scaling setting. You will find it by checking the menu on the left-hand side of the Nvidia panel. 

Check the desktop position and size from the list and click it to find your preferred scaling settings. Consider the original aspect ratio of your game before selecting a scaling option from the list.

Turn on the setting

Turning on the scaling settings has some technicalities with a window to help you choose appropriately. You should consider the “Override scaling mode,” “Perform Scaling on,” and “Resolution and refresh rate” options from this section. 

These three affect your scaling settings as you fine-tune them to get your preferred scaling for your screen.

You will see a window showing the scaling effect, which will change based on your selections and the boxes you tick. Ensure you click “Apply” to confirm and save the changes once you fine-tune your scaling settings.

Enabling Scaling for AMD

AMD GPU Scaling

You can navigate through your GPU scaling options in a similar way as you would with the Nvidia panels. Below are the steps to enable your GPU settings if your computer uses an AMD graphics card:

Open Radeon settings for AMD

When you left-click your desktop screen like the Nvidia panel, you will find your AMD graphics panel from the list. It is usually at the top of the list, unlike Nvidia, which you find at the missile of the list after left-clicking. 

You can also navigate it from your taskbar by clicking the windows icon and typing AMD into the search box. Either method will make the AMD panel pop up on your screen, allowing you to select an option.

Locate the Scaling Settings

Once you have your AMD graphics section opened, the next step is to locate the display section for fine-tuning.

The appearance you see might be different since the sections included depends on your installed drivers and graphics card type.

What you see will still be similar regardless, so you don’t need to worry much when locating the display section.

You will notice a gear icon on the top section of the AMD panel, and clicking it will reveal the display section. Head to that display section to find the GPU scaling settings section and right-click to open the settings.

Tune the Settings

Locating your GPU scaling setting means you can switch it on, so right-click the settings to toggle it on. You will also find the detailed scaling mode beneath the GPU scaling section with a dropdown menu icon.

Tap the section to reveal the scaling options that AMD offers to choose from when improving your display.

Maintaining the original aspect ratio is your best choice if you don’t know your way around the settings. Also, ensure you apply the changes to save your preferred scaling settings before closing the AMD panel.

Final Thoughts

The existence of GPU scaling changes your experience when catching up with older games either as first play or nostalgia. With our guide, you can enjoy your gaming with the best display available. 

You might spend some time getting the best scaling settings, especially if your games have different aspect ratios. Remember to save your settings every time you change them to avoid rerunning them from scratch.

Lucas Coulson

I first got into building my own computer when I was around 12 or 13. The first computer I had ever built didn't work. So I kept researching to figure what I did wrong. I really enjoyed researching, learning, and building computers, so I decided to turn it into an online business, and here I am.

Recent Posts