Monitors/21:9 monitor


QUESTION: Hello! i am planning to upgrade my 16:9 monitor to a wide 21:9 monitor for pc gaming. But not all the games i would be playing on the 21:9 monitor, only those which are preferable to use mouse+keyboard and flight stick; Diablo, Company of Heroes, Elite Dangerous etc and the rest i would play on a single TV with controller.

What would be the Cons (and Pros) of using 21:9 monitor for playing such games? the 21:9 monitor i am interested has an Optimal Resolution of 2560 x 1080. Thank for your time and looking forward for your reply.

my Specs
i5 3570k
gtx 970

ANSWER: The increased resolution will place a higher demand on the computer, which may impact performance. You have a powerful system, however, so it is unlikely you would notice a significant drop-off (I'm assuming your current 16:9 monitor is 1080p).

The bigger issue, however, is that not many games (especially older games) natively support 21:9 resolutions, and even if they do, they may not have proper HUD or FOV arrangement. Many older games are what is known as Vert- as well, which means the wider the image gets, the "shorter" the image gets (so you actually lose content with widescreen) - this will be dramatically exaggerated with a 21:9 display.

My advice would be to check the games you'd like to play against a resource, like WSGF's database (, to see if they support 21:9, if they properly support widescreen resolutions (Hor+), and if there are any other special considerations. For example, here is Diablo 3:

And an example of a Vert- game:

Observe the screen-shot comparisons to see how the actual viewport is changing as the aspect ratio changes. Diablo 3 simply gets "wider," while Mass Effect gets "shorter."

These limitations shouldn't discourage a 21:9 monitor, however. Many of the current offerings will support pillar-boxed 16:9 operation at 1080p, which would give you equivalent compatibility to your current display. In other words, the absolute worst case scenario is that you end up where you started for some games (likely older titles), but with newer games and within Windows, you will gain screen space and the wider display will offer a larger viewport for Hor+ games that support it (and many newer games are designed to be Hor+ and support widescreen, including wider-than-16:9, either in response to 21:9 or to support multi-monitor configurations like Eyefinity (which can yield very odd aspect ratios, like 48:9)).


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the reply and the links, those helped me a lot! but let say if i considered going for a triple 1080p 16:9 monitor on a single gpu, would there be any performance issue? or its best to do sli to get the best overall performance on 3 monitors?

Triple 1080p will likely have a much larger performance hit than the 21:9 2560x1080 display. It will also take up significantly more of your desk, and will likely have much more extensive compatibility problems with older games than the 21:9 display. Even with newer titles, there may be problems as FOV and HUD settings may not be correct or may require tweaking to work properly on a triple monitor configuration (the aspect ratio for 3x1080p is 48:9, to help give some perspective). Finally, the experience of gaming on three monitors is not for everyone - there are physical gaps between the displays, and some people find this annoying. Alternately, the motion in your peripheral vision may be annoying. I would suggest reviewing demonstration videos of triple-monitor gaming before pursuing it as an option.

Here are some examples (I tried to look for a variety of game types as well): (this one shows a comparison between "real-world" as the image is drawn on monitors, and what is actually being rendered)

If you run into games that are not compatible with triple-head, which will be a much larger list than those that have issues with 21:9 or other widescreen resolutions, you will generally be forced to play on a single display. Additionally, games that are Vert- will be significantly disadvantaged with triple-monitor, in many cases causing issues with the HUD.

SLI would improve performance, but can also introduce problems of its own. Not all games/applications are compatible with SLI, not all games/applications will scale well with SLI (in some cases the performance gains are very small or non-existant), and SLI is generally more dependent on driver updates for performance (often you will be waiting for a driver update or game patch on launch-day to ensure good performance in the game). This isn't to say SLI is bad, just that it isn't a magic bullet for performance. In general the more complex you make a system, the more "stuff" you have to work around or live with.

If you don't mind the added complexity and time input, SLI and nVidia Surround can provide a very unique gaming experience. However if you just want maximum compatibility and ease of use, the 21:9 display (or a larger 16:9 display) with a single GPU would be the best choice.

If you're going to pursue SLI, I would also encourage you to ensure your case cooling, motherboard, and power supply are up to the task of handling the second graphics card.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.



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