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The Perfect Display Resolution and Aspect Ratio for CSGO

If you are someone that takes your game of CSGO very seriously, then it will be important that you play the game at the right display resolution and aspect ratio for you. For newer players, this may not be considered as important, but if you are getting into the more professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games, then this will be something you will want to look at. On this page, we will be looking at the most popular resolution and aspect ratios, why most professional CSGO players prefer to use the 4:3 aspect ratio and then take a look at the other possible aspect ratios – with the pros and cons attached to each… and how to choose the perfect resolution for you!

The Best Aspect Ratio and Resolution for CSGO

If you head over to csgopedia.com and open up the statistics page, you will see that around 73.9% of CSGO professional players choose to play using the 4:3 aspect ratio. If we dig deeper into this group of players, you will see that 50% of those players play with the black bars, whilst 23% of the players play with the letterbox image stretched across the screen horizontally. If we then look at these seemingly very strange, it may be that we start coming to a conclusion that starts to seem pretty logical.

If the majority of the very best players of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players choose to play with the 4:3 aspect ratio, there has to be a reason for this. We can thus assume that this aspect ratio does give the players some sort of advantage.

However, before we jump to any conclusions, we need to consider the issue in more depth and look a little more into the history of this seemingly innocuous matter…

Why Do CSGO Pros Choose the 4:3 Aspect Ratio & 1920×1080 Resolution?

If we take a look at the statistics, the most common aspect ratio of gaming computer monitors these days is 16:9. In turn, the most common resolution found is 1920 x 1080 for desktop displays and 1366 x 768 for laptops. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that this aspect ratio took the lead, before this point in time, the most common was 16:10 (which is practically eradicated now), before this, it was the 4:3 ratio and the 5:4 ratio. So, why did the computing industry choose to go with the 16:9 aspect ratio? Well, this in itself is a pretty interesting story – but that’s not directly relevant right now.

If we look at the game’s history, the first ever Counter-Strike game was launched back in 2000, with Counter Strike Source following in 2004. During this time, the 4:3 aspect ratio was the most common for computers. So, ultimately, this is considered the native CS: GO resolution. Although 16:10 aspect ratio monitors were launched in 2003, it wasn’t until many years later that they started to become more popular – and not long after, manufacturers all started to transition to the 16:9 ratio.

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The majority of professional CSGO gamers that contribute to the above statistics didn’t actually start their Counter-Strike journey with CS:GO, but with Counter-Strike Source or Counter-Strike 1.6 – in the times when 4:3 displays were much more common. These players then grew used to this aspect ratio and many still prefer to keep playing this way as it’s how they are used to playing the game and is much more convenient for them. Having said that, there are pros, cons and peculiarities attached to all different aspect ratios that we will look at now.

16:9 Aspect Ratio & CSGO Resolution

The first and most stand-out feature of this particular aspect ratio is that it has a wider field of view (FOV) than previous rations. The second point to note is that it also offers a clearer picture as long as this is the aspect ratio that is native to your computer or gaming device.

Following on from this, which links to the above point is that using this aspect ratio usually implies a higher CSGO resolution and this will cause a higher load on your laptop or PC.

4:3 Aspect Ratio with Black Vertical Bars

The main and most distinctive aspect of this aspect ratio is pretty controversial. However, somehow, because the image has been clipped around the edges, your attention won’t be so easily distracted, which makes it easier for players to focus on the centre of the gaming screen.

However, whether this is true or not hasn’t yet fully been ascertained. Probably, as is the case with a lot of opinions on aspect ratio, what is true for one player isn’t necessarily true for another.

The second feature of this ratio is also directly linked to the first point. Because it has a smaller resolution, it imposes a noticeably lower load on the video subsystem of your laptop or PC. This means that the sharpness of the image and the discernibility of different items and objects on your screen will decrease.

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4:3 Aspect Ratio Stretched

Although this is still a 4:3 ratio, it differs from the one above because there is less of a focus on the centre of your screen.

However, because of the effect of stretching the image, players’ models will look a lot wider – and this will actually make the aiming easier than with other ratios. However, when the picture expands, the number of software pixels will stay the same, and the models on the screen seem to move more quickly – and this can make aiming harder, which will compensate for any advantage gained from wider player models.

Although this compensation might not be quite as accurate because your crosshair also moves just as quickly. Obviously, there are both pros and cons of choosing this as your preferred aspect ratio type which will end up counterbalancing each other. As such, this then becomes a matter of your own personal preference. 

If you, as a player, are used to the experience of playing in this mode and then move to the 16:9 aspect ratio, then the first thing you will notice is that the player models will move slower. This makes it easier for players to take aim. However, for some players, this can make the game a little too slow and dull. It simply becomes a matter of personal taste.

The third thing that sets it apart from the 16:9 ratio is that there is consistently a smaller number of pixels and this will impact the performance of your system. However, this also depends on the PC you are playing on. If you are playing CSGO on a powerful PC then you will feel barely any difference at all. HoC, then by lowering the resolution, it could add a couple of lacking frames per second. 

16:10 Aspect Ratio

One of the most distinctive features of this aspect ratio is that this is a compromise between 18:9 and 4:3. The field of view is narrower than the 16:9 aspect ratio but it isn’t quite as narrow as the 4:3 ratio. Moreover, it has fewer pixels than the 16:9 but more than with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

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Because of this, this aspect ratio has a clearer picture and this makes it a lot easier to work out exactly what is happening in every frame. As such, some people that started playing with this ratio are often inclined to go back to this ratio. 

As you can see above, there isn’t one aspect ratio that is clearly better than the others – but they are all very different. Each one has its own pros and cons. Something considered an advantage to one professional CSGO player could be seen as a disadvantage to another. As such, the best way to work out what is best for you is by trying them out and seeing which one feels the most comfortable.

Finding Your Perfect Resolution for CSGO

In terms of finding the best resolution, this is a lot easier. A resolution in the same aspect ratio only has one main feature:

Ultimately, the higher the resolution for CSGO, the more defined the imagery will be and the higher the load will be on your computer. But what does that mean?

Well, it basically means that if you prefer playing with the 16:9 aspect ratio, for example, and your computer’s performance will allow you to play CSGO at the highest possible resolution without losing a significant amount of frames per second, then there will be no point in reducing the resolution.

However, if you are playing on an older and lower-performance computer then by reducing the resolution, you will be increasing the number of frames per second significantly. And for this game, FOS is a lot more important than having a good imagery definition.

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Having said that, there are still probably players out there who are playing on hugely powerful PCs at 800 x 600 just because it’s what they’re used to and it’s what they like.

Anyway, if you are a newcomer choosing your resolution, we would recommend that you base this on the capability of your computer and hardware system – and only reduce the resolution if it affects the FPS for you. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make any sense at all.

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