Gaming Display Settings Terms and Their Meaning

PC games have setting options that give gamers the ability to tune display parameters for optimal visual experience. However, some terms used in gaming display settings can be a bit confusing for newbies. Here are common ones and what they mean.

Display settings menu in GTA III


This refers to the clarity of images the game displays on your monitor. Note that the game can only allow the maximum resolution your monitor and video card can support.

This means if your monitor supports a maximum resolution of 1024×768 and you set the game to display 1920×1080, the game won’t play. The monitor may go black or may display an ‘Out of Sync’ error message.

It is also worth noting that higher resolutions require more processing power and graphics memory. For faster performance you are better off playing with lower resolutions.

Frame Rate

This refers to the number of frames per second (fps) the game displays. A high frame rate reduces flickering and results in smoother graphics. High frame rates consume more resources (processor and memory) and may result in more heat or noise from fans.

VSync/Frame Sync

Your monitor has a maximum refresh rate it can support, for most LCD monitors it ranges from 60-75Hz. The Vsync (Vertical Sync), or Frame Sync option in a video game allows you to set the game to synchronize its frame rate with that of your monitor.

If your monitor only supports a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz, VSync forces the game’s refresh rate to match that of the PC (maximum of 60fps).

VSync is key in eliminating problems such as tearing and in reducing wastage of processor power since the monitor will not display any refresh rate higher than 60fps.

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Aliasing occurs when lines or curves on an image appear jagged. The antialiasing feature lessens the contrast between adjoining pixels by using intermediate colours to create a resultant image that is smooth and gives the impression of a higher resolution.

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