Up For Debate - 21:9 Aspect Ratio Gaming Pros and Cons Discussed

Written by Jon Sutton on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 2:00 PM

Welcome to our new feature, Up For Debate. We will be introducing topics to the community where we start the "discussion" off and then you expert hardware gurus get in and throw your knowldge about on the subject. Providing links to relevant on topic things you have seen on the net to help others. On the flip side, fellow GD members who are not too  sure about details on a particular "Up For Debate" subject can ask questions and provoke interesting conversation. This way everyone learns and shares tonne. Cool huh. Send Felix or me suggestions for future "Up For Debates"

This first feature is on a certain screen resolution aspect ratio. In the huge scramble for 4K gaming that’s been going on in recent months, it’s easy to forget there’s an oft-overlooked cousin lurking behind the scenes. Yep, I’m talking about 21:9 gaming, the full glory of widescreen CinemaScope that takes up enough of your precious desktop space to make your eyes pop out.

In terms of demands on hardware 4K gaming is an absolute beast. That 3840 x 2160 screen resolution requires a massive four times the hardware power over your run-of-the-mill 1080p gaming. If you’re after a noticeable change in the appearance of your games without splashing out on an absolutely monstrous gaming PC, 3440 x 1440 resolution could well be the best bang for your buck.

In terms of screen size when picking up a 21:9 display, you’re actually going to get less real estate than its 16:9 equivalent. For example a 32” display at 16:9 actually has an 18% larger viewing area than a 32” 21:9 display, owing to the 21:9’s thin nature. This is all thrown out the window when you lay your eyes on one though, offering the same vertical height as your current display but with an additional chunk added onto the width making all the difference.

For gaming it gives you a far wider perspective, letting you see more of the world in front of you and offering a distinct advantage over gaming rivals encountered online. The change is dramatic and one which has to be experienced to be understood.  Crucially though, playing at 4K resolution demands 67% more pixels than 21:9 gaming at 1440p resolution, making 21:9 a far more achievable goal and giving you more screen space to play around with than standard screens.

Now we want to hand it over to the brains of the operation, the GD community. What screen ratio do you prefer to use for gaming? Is splashing out on an ultra widescreen 21:9 monitors a worthwhile option? And what hardware do you think would be best suited to gaming at this ratio and resolution? Its Up For Debate below...

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02:38 Nov-26-2014

I got a 21:9 AOC 2560x1080 monitor. My 660 handles it pretty well considering it's the width of a 1440p. 1 every 10 games I have to play in 1920x1080 because they don't support 21:9 well, but this monitor is so good for gaming with games that support it. Not only that, it's perfect for watching movies and being productive (either working with videos or programming or anything). I recommend it!

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11:45 Nov-25-2014

I've wanted an ultra wide display ever since seeing that curved screen running crysis some years back.


I don't imagine they have gotten that much more affordable though :/

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23:53 Nov-24-2014

Up For Debate seems like it a pretty nice type of articles!


And my take on this one: Even though I used to love 5:4 and 4:3 screens, if you want real human vision-like gaming, you must have something covering exactly your Field of View, both vertical and Horizontal. And that is accomplished pretty well with 21:9 screens. Really. My future screens might be 21:9, especially if they drop in prices

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23:55 Nov-24-2014

And to get a little bit more technical and proving my point, instead of just saying 'Really', you can create a piece of paper with 21:9 proportions and another one with 16:9 or whatever. Then put them in front of your eyes, at a point where your vertical field of vision is filled. You'll notice the 16:9 or the rest of square-ish papers leave a big gap in the sides of your vision, while the 21:9

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23:57 Nov-24-2014

fills it almost perfectly. So it really is closer to human vision. And the best: many people say that square screens are fine for games that require focus like shooters, and this is partly true; if you get a wider screen, like 16:9 or 21:9 you will still focus your vision in the center, but you still the extra info you can focus to in the sides, just like real life vision, where edges are blurry.

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23:58 Nov-24-2014

Final note: to make my little experiment work, make sure that the vertical size of the papers (height/vertical length) is the same in all aspect ratios, in order to be fair. Like make them all 9 cms or 9 inches for ease of measure (21cm9cm, 12cn9cm is 4:3 etc).
If you wish to fill your vision in the horizontal axis first, and see the difference in the vertical axis of your field of vision, then

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00:02 Nov-25-2014

you (quite obviously) need to make them the papers the same size in the horizontal length, but this requires some mathematics to calculate. like make them all 16 cm in length (16cm9cm, 16cm12cm for 4:3, 16cm*6.9cm for -21:9). What you ll see then is that the more square aspect ratios have extra info on top and bottom of your vision that you can't see cause of your nose and forehead xD

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00:03 Nov-25-2014

Another important factor is the game's Field of View settings, as well as your distance from the screen and the screen's size, from which you can calculate your real-distance field of view, which you should make sure that it is close to the game's fov for best experience. But I won't talk about this now.
Some nice links about stuff I presented:

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00:51 Nov-25-2014

and by the way, besides the 3440 x 1440 resolution, there are also some cheap 2560 x 1080 pixel sceens out there, mostly by LG, for about -$200, which is kind of cool, but I'd like to see lower prices.

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17:33 Nov-25-2014

GD please just remove that character cap. Please!

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02:16 Nov-27-2014

hahaha yes, I 've been rank 5 for so long , don't even know if i can increase my character cap / rank more at this point, but still I added a ton of information, even a phone, to get more points and to increase my limit xD

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21:03 Nov-24-2014

I personally rather stick with 16:9 :D

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21:48 Nov-24-2014

I'd stick with 4:3 but there's no 2560x1920 or 3840x2880 for sale :P

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00:53 Nov-25-2014

Actualy there are some monitors out there with high-res 4:3 or 5:4 screens, but those are now mostly sold to medical areas and non-consumer stuff in general, so they are way more expensive than 4k while providing a lesser pixel count. Plus rare to find. Damn I miss my (recently died) 1280*1024 screen...

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02:47 Nov-26-2014

But the accuracy of colour reproduction on those medical monitors is unreal.

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02:30 Nov-27-2014

so is their price xD

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20:43 Nov-24-2014

My two cents.


For now, 4K isn't worth the price. At least to me.
By the time you toss out the money for a 4k monitor, then you'll need a GPU cable of gameplay at 4k... and with these new game requirements, anything short of a 780SLI-Titan will be pointless.
I'm happy with 1080p gaming for the time being.

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19:59 Nov-24-2014

I really think there is way too much emphasis put on terms like 1080p, 1440p, 4k, etc...


These things are often used to blindside customers with fancy specs that are basically meaningless without the whole picture. Refresh rates, response time, contrast ratio, brightness, etc... these all play a big part in the actual visual quality of a monitor.


As a comparison, most people would mistakenly assume a v8 engine is superior to a v6 by default.

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23:01 Nov-24-2014

Agreed 100 percent!

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23:02 Nov-24-2014

In most cases it is though.

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07:09 Nov-25-2014

i dont think they are used to blindside consumers, i think the ads are geared towards simple consumers. anyone that knows what they are really needing with use that basic idea as what they need or want and then dive deeper into specs to get what matters to them.

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11:15 Dec-07-2014

If you doubt that the numbers are primarily used for taking full advantage of people via marketing mumbo-jumbo, just go to Wal-Mart and ask them about their TVs....then endure a slightly underpaid -massively- under-qualified person telling you what they're supposed to tell you; listen in awe as they glorify the wonderful line of FULL HD 1080P screens they have, and look at that this FULL HD PLASMA screen is 45% cheaper than the rest, so you should buy it!

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11:18 Dec-07-2014

The numbers do have meaning, but only in context with the rest of the specs of the device in question. I've seen 720p TV's that look fantastic, and 1080p screens that look like VHS playback in comparison.


In a way you're right, the ads are geared towards simple consumers, but they're also vastly over-simplified which leads to people blindly going along with it, which results in people who know next to nothing about the tech they interact with daily.

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19:23 Nov-24-2014

Personally, I could not switch back. Once i plugged in my ips 2560x1080 screen I was amazed at the difference. Everyone that see's my setup is in awe or they are skeptical about that wide of a screen. Those who are skeptical about it, tend to change their mind after an hour of playing. Many games really add a cinematic experience.


The downside is less fps and cost is expensive.

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19:29 Nov-24-2014

I truely bought this for movies and programming/making schematics. I love that I can fit 2 full size windows or 3 slimmed down windows on the same screen. It saves me from backing to click between tabs.
**i know 2560x1080 is not 21:9, but that is what aspect ratio you use when gaming.

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19:32 Nov-24-2014

that's exactly why I got 2560x1440, now jelly 'bout seeing 3440x1440 in stores :3

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19:36 Nov-24-2014

Haha I hear you buddy I almost went 2560x1440 but man that widescreen just makes me tingle. Now that 3440x1440 are becoming more common i must buy one!

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23:04 Nov-24-2014

2560x1080 isn't 21:9? I thought it was?

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00:54 Nov-25-2014

it is, and much cheaper alternative to 3440*1440 :)

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17:53 Nov-24-2014

the monitor must be huge to compensate for its height i remember seeing 1 on a store... it looked a bit ridiculous that one lol


and i remember seeing a 16:9 monitor with 2 meters or something... 10.000 euros lol
and there's the round 1, which looks fantastic... weird tho ^^

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19:26 Nov-24-2014

Haha yeah the people at bestbuy tlom it off display because they said it looked ridiculous and could not sell them. He didn't even want to grab it. He said "you will see the box and say it's rediculous and then I must go climb to put it back." I told him I don't care go get it. I bought it that day.

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17:13 Nov-24-2014

I dont even have 1080p monitor :P

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23:05 Nov-24-2014

With those pc specs, why not?

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12:28 Nov-25-2014

Need to save money, already spent all on the specs.

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02:33 Nov-27-2014

1680*1050 is pretty awesome too, please don't go and buy a 1080p, you won't see the difference (unless you go for an expensive one with 120+hz frequency and great viewing angles and color reproduction, maybe an IPS one or something)

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08:10 Nov-27-2014

Generalissimo is right. Get a 144Hz/120Hz monitor if you play FPSs, or if not, maybe a widescreen 2560x1080, or a 1440p monitor. 1080p is not enough by itself to warrant an upgrade.

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16:44 Nov-24-2014

I have an Asus mx299q and I absolutely love to play game in 21:9 :)

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16:39 Nov-24-2014

Single best purchase i made for my rig is the ultrawide monitor, could never go back.

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17:05 Nov-24-2014

I say the same about my 2560x1440 27" monitor ;))

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16:26 Nov-24-2014

I bought my LG 2560x1080 for $250. I play Insurgency online and it looks phenomenal, giving you a wider view than 1080p. I also just started to play DA Inquisition and it looks beautiful. I do get a little less fps than 1080p, but it is worth it.

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15:40 Nov-24-2014

Pros: LOOK AT ALL THE SHYNEZ


Cons: LOOK AT ALL THE PRICEZ!

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17:17 Nov-24-2014

This sums up the discussions pretty well. Good job.

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14:46 Nov-24-2014

Linus tech tips has been giving rave reviews about the 21:9 aspect ratio. But I don't think it can become the next big thing unless games actually support that aspect ratio. If they don't support it natively, it will be a huge mess. movies and editing stuff, on the other hand, would look excellent on this.

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15:30 Nov-24-2014

21:9 is native wide cinema aspect ratio ;)

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15:52 Nov-24-2014

A lot of games do support it. You just have to have the monitor to be able to see the option. Otherwise there are mods and cfg file changes to add support yourself.

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00:57 Nov-25-2014

aw yeah

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16:28 Nov-24-2014

Most recent games do support 21:9 ratio, i even play DA Origins at 2560x1080 and it looks great.

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14:38 Nov-24-2014

I've been checking out 21:9 displays and a friend of mine just ordered one! Although I'm not sure how well it will support games or movies (mainly anime for me). Will I get black bars or will the image be stretched?


For now I will keep the 2 1080p monitors (one of them is turned 90 degrees).

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15:31 Nov-24-2014

stretching and cropping is defineable in graphics card settings usually :)

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16:32 Nov-24-2014

When you are watching dvds or blu rays on 1080p most have the black bars on top and bottom, but on a 21:9 monitor they should go away and display on the full ultra wide screen. I have a 21:9 @ 2560x1080 on my PC, tested a few movies and they do go full screen, i should test more of them...

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18:52 Nov-24-2014

Anime I get is just normal 1080p and does not have any black bars at all.

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20:17 Nov-24-2014

Yea some dvds and blu rays fit perfectly on 1920x1080 screens, but when viewed on 21:9 the black bars are on the sides since they are the same height(1080) but different width(2560 vs 1080)

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00:59 Nov-25-2014

but I think you'll get used to it (when it happens), just like we got used to bars on top or the bottom :)

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02:38 Nov-25-2014

They are less noticeable when they are on the sides :)

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14:22 Nov-24-2014

I feel sorry for anyone gaming on a run-of-the-mill 180p monitor. Jokes aside I was always interested in 21:9 display,but still waiting for prices to drop on monitors like the LG curved one. it's way too expensive atm. would also be great for watching movies on it.

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15:34 Nov-24-2014

Thnx buddy, corrected now ;)

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14:09 Nov-24-2014

actually 3440x1440 is very appealing to me, I've upgraded from 3840x1024 (surround) to 2560x1440 recently and I feel having 21:9 screen might be next worthy upgrade one day, better than 3840x2160 especially when Windows isn't able to provide reasonable scaling and so having not-that-small pixels actually is advantageous :)

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14:15 Nov-24-2014

Yeah I have to say this is where I will go on a next big upgrade

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17:05 Nov-24-2014

completely new rig build eh? :)

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14:04 Nov-24-2014

I dont mind 1080p but this look fine if the mid range gpu-s could support gaming on this it would be great :),but 1080p for now! :D

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16:58 Nov-24-2014

My GPU could probably barely run this in games with good FPS.

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20:20 Nov-24-2014

You could try 2560x1080 monitors, I am currently playing DA Inquisition ultra settings with 2x AA and i get an average of around 50fps, with aa off i get around 61fps. I used the in game benchmark tool that Inquisition comes with.

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Can They Run... |

| Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 3 3300X 4-Core 3.8GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93GHz Radeon R7 250X Sapphire 1GB Edition 4GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10870H 8-Core 2.20GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
APU A10-9700E 4-Core 3.0GHz Radeon R5 M320 2GB 12GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Asus TUF Gaming 6GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-6500 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1060 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Asus Phoenix OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Gigabyte Windforce 2X OC 3GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-12700K 16-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 8GB 32GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X Radeon RX 550X 4GB 24GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-10600KF 6-Core 4.10GHz Radeon RX 580 Asus Dual 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400F 6-Core 2.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 6G Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 580 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Radeon HD 7970 OC Sapphire Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-8086K 6-Core 4.0GHz GeForce GTX 980 4GB 32GB
| Low, 1080p
Core i5-7400 3.0GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Palit StormX 2GB 12GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gigabyte Aorus Master 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gigabyte Aorus Master 8GB 16GB