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Ask Max: How much impact does screen size have on graphics processing performance?

Asked on 07/29/2009:

I was curious as to how much impact screen size has on the performance of the Graphics Processing Unit. For instance, if you were trying to run a graphics intensive program (lets say a game) on a 20 iMac versus a 24 iMac (both using the same GPU). Will the performance of the card be better on the smaller screen?

Finally, does the resolution have much impact (can you match resolution across the two different screen sizes-and will this matter)?


- Brian


There are some graphic performance differences between higher and lower resolutions. Particularly when it comes to consuming VRAM. However, with modern video cards, they don't exhibit too much

difference between the 20" and 24" iMac native resolution resolutions. This is particularly true when you have 512MB of VRAM. Each extra pixel on screen has to be stored in VRAM on your Apple computer. So with only 256MB of VRAM, the difference between 1680 by 1050 and 1680 by 1050 can be enough pixels to push data out of VRAM. When that happens your Frame Rate drops.

Although you can set the screens for a lower resolution, LCDs really should be run at there native resolution for best performance.

- Jacob

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