What is GPU Scaling and How to Turn It On

GPU Scaling

GPU scaling is an AMD feature through which you can better the image and graphics quality. It improves your graphics experience by a huge margin and can be extremely useful, especially if you game a lot. For the best graphics possible, we’d suggest turning it on.

The feature can be quite handy, but in what sort of situations is it really worth turning it on? In this article, we’ll be answering these questions, but for a quick and simple answer, we’d recommend turning it on if you play old games, not for newer ones.

GPU Scaling

GPU Scaling

Some of the most common issues that “budget-gamers” experience are having to look at blurred or stretched image output and at times, even bad image resolutions. That can change by turning on GPU scaling, given that you own an AMD GPU, like the “RX-580 (4GB/8GB)”. With the help of GPU scaling, you can improve your overall pixel quality, and remove any blurred or stretched image outputs.

We’ll get into how you enable it later on, but first, we’ll discuss what it is exactly, and what it does.

What does GPU scaling do? 

In simple words, with GPU scaling, you can adjust a game’s aspect ratio to that of your monitor’s, resulting in accurate and high-quality images. As mentioned above, GPU scaling is only available to AMD (GPU) owners.

If you do own an AMD graphics card, you’ll need to open up “AMD Catalyst”, or the “AMD Radeon Graphics” to turn GPU scaling on. We’ll discuss that further down in the article. Now, you’ll need to connect your monitor directly to your graphics card via an HDMI, DVI, or a display port cable. 

Display Port works best if you have a monitor that supports over a 100 Hz refresh rate. An HDMI cable will do the job for monitors with a refresh rate of 60 Hz (For FPS over 100-150, a DisplayPort cable is the best choice as well, regardless of the monitor’s refresh rate).

Coming back to the topic at hand, the most important thing to note here is that sometimes, games that work best on lower aspect ratios like 5:4, or 4:3 have to run on 16:9 because of the monitor’s settings, resulting in stretched out images. With the use of AMD’s GPU scaling, the quality of these images can be improved without the need to pixelate them.

GPU Scaling

Is GPU scaling necessary?

Whether or not GPU scaling is needed depends on what you utilize your PC for. For example, if you tend to game a lot on your computer, GPU scaling will help by a lot. For productivity tasks, it may not be completely necessary, but it could still help out. Again, it depends on what tasks you’re using it for.

If you’re someone who enjoys old games (or indie games), GPU scaling could be very beneficial to you since old games tend to work best with 5:4/4:3 aspect ratios. It’s a good option for applications that deal with such aspect ratios aside from games. 

GPU scaling will help in rendering the images that usually don’t work with aspect ratios of 16:9 or 16:10, something that can be necessary if you use a wide-screen monitor.

Types of GPU Scaling Modes

In total, there are three types of GPU scaling modes that you can utilize according to your needs. That’s done through AMD Catalyst or AMD Radeon Graphics, and the three options are:

  • Maintain Aspect Ratio.
  • Scale Image to Full Panel Size.
  • Use Centered Trimmings.

Maintain Aspect Ratio: This option works best with games in full-screen mode without the need to change the aspect ratio as you increase the graphics. The part of your screen that’s not being filled will contain black bars or a background pattern which could be annoying to some users. 

Scale Image to Full Panel Size: This option allows you to stretch the image to fit the screen size of your monitor. This option isn’t good for games that support a lower aspect ratio than your monitor’s, so it could result in the poor image output.

Use Centered Trimmings: This option turns off scaling, utilizing the original screen resolution of the image, positioning it in the middle of the screen. Black bars or a background pattern fill up the rest of the space.

Can the black bars be removed?

As mentioned above, black bars can indeed be annoying to a lot of users. They’re the result of mismatched scales and GPU processes related to image-analyzing. By utilizing Underscan/Overscan, you can get rid of these black bars. This allows the user to scale the image in accordance with the scaling options, adjusting the image accordingly.

Now that that’s all clear, we’ll head over to explaining how you turn GPU scaling on.

Turning GPU scaling on/off by utilizing either AMD Radeon graphics or AMD Catalyst

AMD Catalyst Control Center

GPU Scaling
  • The first thing you’ll need to do here, is press right-click on your mouse (on the desktop screen) and select “AMD Catalyst Control Center”.     
AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Once that opens up, select “My Digital Flat-Panels on the left-hand sidebar. 
AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Once done, click on “Properties (Digital Flat-Panel)” located right below “My Digital Flat-Panels”.
AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Check the box that reads “Enable GPU up-scaling” to turn it on.
AMD Catalyst
  • Select your “Preferred Scaling Mode” and hit “Apply”.

Once done, your screen will black-out for a split-second to apply the changes.

AMD Radeon Settings

  • Again, right-clicking on your desktop should show AMD Radeon settings; select it to open it up.
AMD Radeon
  • Once that’s done, select the display tab from the AMD Radeon window that opens up.
AMD Radeon
  • After that, select “GPU scaling” to turn it on. 
AMD Radeon
  • After that, select your desired scaling mode from the drop-down menu.
AMD Radeon

That’s just about it!

Is enabling GPU scaling the best option?

For the games that are already optimized to run on the same resolution settings as your monitor, it isn’t necessary. This usually works best with old games that utilize lower aspect ratios. Also, GPU scaling does induce input lag which could be very detrimental, especially in competitive games like VALORANT, Fortnite, and CS: GO.

We’d suggest turning it on only if you play old games, newer games don’t really require GPU scaling to adjust to the monitor’s resolution. So, with newer games, it’s best to keep it turned off, else it could lead to delays in mouse-clicks, affecting your in-game flicks and overall performance as a competitive player.

That’s just about it! We hope you find this article useful, and if you have any further queries, or would like to add something to this article, feel free to let us know in the comment section down below, and assist others!

READ MORE: GPU Fan Is Not Spinning – Know The Reason & How To Fix It

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