Please do not post a support request without first reading and following the advice in https://retropie.org.uk/forum/topic/3/read-this-first

Resolution/Video Mode/Aspect Ratio...



  • New user with a Pi 3 B and V4.3 installed from the image here connected to a 4KTV via HDMI. TV is set to display whatever it receives. I'm in the US. Initially the main interface had black borders all around but I was able to remedy that but going into the advanced options of the raspi-config and disabling overscan compensation. Now the interface fits the screen perfectly. In the same advanced options I have the resolution set to monitor preferred, but I checked and it's choosing CEA 16 1920x1080 @60Hz 16:9 which is correct. If it matters I'll be playing primarily Genesis and SNES, maybe some NES, and then anything else would just be dabbling.

    What I'd like to achieve when gaming is the best possible picture quality while also maintaining the closest possible to original aspect ratios, I don't want any zoom or stretch, etc. But I'm having trouble understanding some of the different options and how they work together. I've done a lot of Googling and searching these boards but I'm still quite confused...

    So first, when I launch a game (battletoads & double dragon for MD) and go into the launch menu, option 5 is for video mode. These seem to be the same choices as the resolution in the config (CEA 1/2/3 DMT 4/5 etc). So is this just choosing a resolution to output for the specific emulator or rom and it will override the system resolution? Also, oddly, if I select CEA 1 (640x480 4:3) the game window is actually slightly WIDER than if I select CEA 16 (1920x1080 16:9). The height seems to be the same. Why is that?

    Now in the configuration editor there are two more options. If I go to configure basic, configure for all emulators I can choose an aspect ratio and a render resolution. To stick with resolution for now I can choose between unset, some defined resolutions, video output resolution, and custom. The tooltip says "for better performance on full HD displays choose a lower resolution and it will be upscaled in hardware). I'm not sure what this means or how it ties into other settings or what I should choose. Default is unset.

    Lastly, in the same config editor there is the aspect ratio setting. Here the default is again unset and you can choose between a bunch of defined aspect ratios as well as config, square, core, and custom. I would think that I want 1:1, but again I don't really know, and I don't know how this effects or is effected by all the resolution settings. Also, when running a game, the retroarch menu has options for 1:1 and 1:1 PAR. In the config I don't see a 1:1 PAR but instead it has the option for "square".

    So yeah I would love to know what these different options mean, how they work together (or against each other), and what would be ideal for my setup and what I'm looking to accomplish. Again, I'm not trying to be lazy and just ask without looking, I've spent hours looking into this, but I each article or thread only gives pieces of what I'm looking for and without the ability to ask questions I'm not sure I'm even interpreting what I'm reading correctly. I'm also quite ocd, so I'd really like to actually understand what these mean, not just do what someone else is doing...It'll just drive me crazy until I understand it. Thanks in advance.



  • 4K is nice, as you can render 720p and 1080p and your TV can integer scale both to 4k.

    1. Set the resolution in raspi-config (I suggest 1080p as you have a RPi3).
    2. Set the same resolution in the launch menu. As far as I know the setting in the launch menu does not override the resolution from raspi-config (pls correct me, guys!).
    3. In the ingame retroarch menue, at the point video set the aspect ratio to 4:3, activate integer scale and choose the highest (integer scale) resolution possible for your setting in 1. and 2.

    With this setting you are going to see relatively big black borders in SNES. You might prefer setting 1. and 2. to 720p and use an integer scale of 3 as this gives you less black borders than 1080p and 4.



  • @msp430 said in Resolution/Video Mode/Aspect Ratio...:

    4K is nice, as you can render 720p and 1080p and your TV can integer scale both to 4k.

    1. Set the resolution in raspi-config (I suggest 1080p as you have a RPi3).
    2. Set the same resolution in the launch menu. As far as I know the setting in the launch menu does not override the resolution from raspi-config (pls correct me, guys!).
    3. In the ingame retroarch menue, at the point video set the aspect ratio to 4:3, activate integer scale and choose the highest (integer scale) resolution possible for your setting in 1. and 2.

    With this setting you are going to see relatively big black borders in SNES. You might prefer setting 1. and 2. to 720p and use an integer scale of 3 as this gives you less black borders than 1080p and 4.

    Thanks for the response.

    So 1 and 2 are easy enough, set both to 1080/60.

    3 I'm pretty confused with. In the in game retroarch menu I see where to set aspect to 4:3 and I see where to activate integer scale but I don't see where to choose an integer scale resolution or setting. There was the retroarch render resolution setting, but I only see that in the config editor, not the in game menu. There also seems to be a retroarch render result setting in the launch menu. This one actually has more options than in the configuration file. Here there are 18 resolution settings, 'use video output resolution', and 'use configuration file resolution' which is the default.

    Also, what is integer scale doing and why is 4:3 better than 1:1?


  • Global Moderator

    forgive me, but why not just use the defaults? retropie is configured to display correct aspect ratios by default.

    ps integer scaling will give you incorrect aspect ratio in most systems, as they didn’t use ‘square’ pixels.



  • @dankcushions said in Resolution/Video Mode/Aspect Ratio...:

    forgive me, but why not just use the defaults? retropie is configured to display correct aspect ratios by default.

    ps integer scaling will give you incorrect aspect ratio in most systems, as they didn’t use ‘square’ pixels.

    Because like I said I'm ocd and not understanding all the settings drives me nuts and hinders my enjoyment. I feel like they have to be there for a reason, and while I'm sure some of it is personal preference, there has to be a relatively optimal setup based on my hardware.

    Regardless, I might be happy enough to just set the output resolutions to 1080/60 as I know that's correct and just use the core managed aspect ratio as it looks good enough for me and the rest of this is just a headache. However, what really bothers me is the render resolution. There's an option for it in the configuration menu as well as in the launch menu, though the launch menu version has much more options. Are these the same thing in different places or do they do different things? What even is the default? The defaults just say config and unset. And why does the tool tip in retropie say to choose a lower resolution for best performance with a FHD TV? What is that supposed to mean? If someone can clear this up I'll happily default the rest.


  • Global Moderator

    @kooch66 said in Resolution/Video Mode/Aspect Ratio...:

    However, what really bothers me is the render resolution. There's an option for it in the configuration menu as well as in the launch menu, though the launch menu version has much more options. Are these the same thing in different places or do they do different things? What even is the default?

    i don’t really understand the two options you’re describing. render resolution will default on a pi3 to your display mode (“video output”) which will be 1080p on a 1080p HDTV.

    The defaults just say config and unset. And why does the tool tip in retropie say to choose a lower resolution for best performance with a FHD TV? What is that supposed to mean?

    if you lowered it it reduces the load, but a pi3 will happily render at 1080p so it doesn’t matter here. Lowering it will also increase scaling artifacts.



  • @dankcushions said in Resolution/Video Mode/Aspect Ratio...:

    @kooch66 said in Resolution/Video Mode/Aspect Ratio...:

    However, what really bothers me is the render resolution. There's an option for it in the configuration menu as well as in the launch menu, though the launch menu version has much more options. Are these the same thing in different places or do they do different things? What even is the default?

    i don’t really understand the two options you’re describing. render resolution will default on a pi3 to your display mode (“video output”) which will be 1080p on a 1080p HDTV.

    The defaults just say config and unset. And why does the tool tip in retropie say to choose a lower resolution for best performance with a FHD TV? What is that supposed to mean?

    if you lowered it it reduces the load, but a pi3 will happily render at 1080p so it doesn’t matter here. Lowering it will also increase scaling artifacts.

    Alright, thanks. Leaning towards default. But the two options that I'm talking about and would like to clear up are in the configuration options as well as the launch menu (when you launch the game press a button and the menu comes up to choose default emulator, etc). In the configuration options there's the option for render resolution. But there's only like 5 options, and 1080 isn't even one of them. You're saying leaving it to unset will do 1080 based on the output resolution. Fine, though there is a specific option to match output resolution. But then in the launch menu there is another entry called retroarch render resolution except this menu has like 20 choices instead of 5, 1080 being one of them. So I guess I'm asking if these are doing the same thing? Does one override the other? Say I wanted to manually set the render to 1080. Should I choose to mach resolution in the configuration or choose 1080 in the launch menu? Or both? Hope this makes sense, I could try to take pics...


  • Global Moderator

    @kooch66 said in Resolution/Video Mode/Aspect Ratio...:

    Should I choose to mach resolution in the configuration or choose 1080 in the launch menu?

    Set your Pi to 1080p and then don't alter any configurations - you don't need to choose 1080p again in the launch menu.



Contributions to the project are always appreciated, so if you would like to support us with a donation you can do so here.

Hosting provided by Mythic-Beasts. See the Hosting Information page for more information.