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CS:GO – The Ultimate Resolution Guide

What was the first thing you changed after you installed CS:GO? Probably your ingame resolution, right? Many professional players still use 4:3 resolutions, even if 16:9 gives a significant advantage in visibility. We want to show you the differences between 4:3, 16:10 and 16:9 and also explain why so many professional players stick to 4:3 or play with “stretched resolutions” .

4:3 vs. 16:10 vs. 16:9

CS:GO is the first Counter-Strike version, which doesn’t lock down the horizontal FOV (Field of View). This means you are finally able to profit from widescreen resolutions and gain an advantage in visibility. You can see the difference in horizontal FOV between 4:3, 16:10 and 16:9 in the following comparison animation:

CS:GO Resolution Comparison

Why are so many professional players using 4:3?

A big number of professional players is used to play with 4:3 resolutions from earlier Counter-Strike versions. During the shift to CS:GO they decided to keep the old gameplay feeling and stay with the same amount of visual information to make the transition easier for them. Imagine playing Counter-Strike for several years with a pretty small 4:3 resolution – you will feel quite uncomfortable after the switch to native 1080p. The new image size seems huge and your eyes have to concentrate on more pixels – the bigger amount of visual information is unfamiliar for your eyes and your brain. So the biggest advantage of a 4:3 resolution (beside more FPS) is less visual information for your eyes, which allows your brain the process the information faster.

In the meantime a lot of professional players switched to a 16:9 resolution, but “4:3 vs. 16:9” is still a hot discussed topic. Usually an experienced Counter-Strike player has a very good crosshair-placement, so the important stuff on the screen happens around his crosshair. However, we saw some hilarious resolution fails on big competitive tournaments over and over again, where players passed each other without seeing due to the limited field of view with 4:3.

In the end you can say there is no real reason to play with a 4:3 resolution, if your machine is capable of running the game on stable 120+ FPS on your native resolution. On the other hand you could minimize the disadvantage with good crosshair-placement, great timing and experience, if you really prefer the smaller field of view and more frames per second.

Smaller resolution = bigger player models?

Hell, no. Some people still think professional players are using smaller resolutions, because the player models appear bigger. Unfortunately they share this nonsense in several forums without actually testing it. What you see below, is a comparison between 1024×768 and 1920×1080. We overlapped both resolutions to compare the player model size and as you can see there is absolutely no difference.


Why are some people playing with stretched resolutions?

A stretched 4:3 resolution gives you a small visual advantage, because player models appear slightly fatter and small gaps wider on your screen. However, there are always two sides to every coin and if you already tried to stretch your 4:3 resolution, you might noticed a weird mouse feeling. This is the result of enlarging the smaller field of view to fill the whole screen. Your horizontal mouse movement seems faster than your vertical movement due to the distorted resolution – even if an equal mouse movement between both aspect ratios will grant you the exact turn in degrees. You can modify the m_yaw setting to make the X and Y axis 1:1 on a stretched 4:3 resolution, but this step will change your horizontal mouse sensitivity and a probably mess up your muscle memory. You can use our interactive comparisons to check the differences between both aspect ratios and see the advantage of fatter player models.

Interactive Comparisons (4:3 Stretched)
de_dust2 – Mid Doors de_dust2 – Model Size
  • adikate

    was wondering myself how a 4:3 resolution could improve something after reading it in a forum lol so thx 4 clearing things up

  • Tony Corleone

    thanks for the information.i wish i had skins to donate :(

  • zekoen

    Swapped to 16:9 after reading this. Makes sense, thanks.

  • Marcus Bernett

    I tested this myself, the model is smaller…

    I made 2 screenshots, put a box around both models and then overlapped those. I didn’t stretch the pictures.

    I have a 16:10 Monitor, I compared a 16:9 resolution to a 4:3 one. The model on 4:3 was bigger, how is it, it’s not bigger for you ppl? I just stood still, changed the resolutions and made screenshots, put those in paint and made boxes around both models and then I overlapped those boxes to see if it is the same, and no, 16:9 was smaller.

    • World and model proportions don’t change with different resolutions. You just forgot to adjust the height of your 4:3 image while comparing both resolutions ;) 4:3 resolutions are usually vertically stretched to fill out the display height.

      • Al Pizano

        there’s multiple screenshot comparisons on google/csgo reddit where they overlap and 4:3 is bigger models than 16:9, strectched is yields even bigger fatter models.

        • Kevin Dorland

          False. Simply doesn’t work that way. Don’t care what a random forum post says there’s a lot of bullshit out there.

          • Trinity.nSane

            when I plan 4:3, the left and right sites are cutted off and it is streched to left and right that csgo covers my whole monitor. That means the Model is also a bit streched to the site. In compare the enemies model is shown a bit wider on my monitor what makes it for me easier to aim at long distances.

  • Cry More

    FPS difference between 5:4 4:3 16:10 16:9… 5:4(1280×1024) higher fps than 4:3(800×600)

    FPS boost 50%+ from 5:4 to 16:9.

    FPS lower than 260 on cs go is suck, can’t play with 16:9, FPS lower than 260 give me headache.

    tips for all. With a hint of my experience.

  • Joseph Bartel

    “…because the player models appear bigger… (however) there is absolutely no difference.”

    “A stretched 4:3 resolution gives you a small visual advantage, because player models appear slightly fatter…”

    I don’t quite understand the difference in these two statements. The first quote is saying that the player models do not appear bigger in 4:3, while the second quote is claiming that they appear fatter. I’m not sure if this is a typo, or if I just missed the point.

    (The quotes came from the last two sections)

    • Christ Yensen

      When u stretch out a 4:3 image to fit into a widescreen monitor perfectly, it stretches it longways but not upwards or downwards making the models wider than they usually are. But since it is stretched out horizontally and not vertically, your mouse will have more sensitivity going sideways than it does going up or down also. which makes it harder to accurately move the cursor to the correct position in a diagonal motion.

      If you don’t stretch 4:3, then you just have an image exactly like a widescreen one except the left and right sides are chopped off and it’s not stretched, so all the models stay in proportion.

      tl;dr: things get fatter when you stretch them and remain in proportion when you scale them.

      edit: There’s even images depicting what he means.

      • Jonathan Wedholm

        It only feels like it’s faster. It’s the same sensitivity. So it’s not harder to aim with 4:3 stretched

        • Christ Yensen

          If you made your desktop twice as wide as it is supposed to be (by stretching it), but left it at the same height, then moving your mouse sideways will feel twice as fast as moving it upwards. Of course stretching makes it harder to aim!! Specifically because the cursor feels like it’s moving faster along the stretched axis than it really is. Sure, it’s the same sensitivity, but it feels different. That’s what makes it harder.

          • Nik Lan

            Thats completely bullshit. I was playing 1.6 for over 12 years. I swapped to cs:go in late 2012 and playing 4:3 Stretched since then. You may think its harder to aim, but I do not have this feeling. For me its perfect to aim so basically you cant generalize your feelings with it^^

  • ZooL

    Even better, using “mat_setvideomode” you can set what ever resolution you want including 1920×700 or 1920×200 etc… can lead to an OP view like this:

  • Vad1us

    You are a wrong about model size and resolution. It is hard to explain but i will try.
    You are comparing 1024×768 and 1920×1080. On 1920×1080 monitor the same resolution will be like 1×1, but on 1920×1080 monitor and 1024×768 resolution will be 1,875 wider and 1,4 taller(1920/1024 and 1080/768). It happens because resolution of the game is expanding the game to fit to the resolution of the monitor. Monitor has more pixels than 1024×768, so 1 pixel of 1024×768 = 1-3 pixels of monitor, so models are bigger, but you see less space. Dont believe? Make 2 same photos(not screenshots) while playing with different resolution. You will see your mistake. Hope you will change it soon.
    All other your articles are pretty awesome!

    • Algernon

      Did you not read the section titled “Why are some people playing with stretched resolutions?”

      He literally explained what you just did. A smaller resolution without stretching does indeed not give any visual advantage. A smaller resolution will always be smaller unless it is stretched out. Pixels are all the same size without stretching.

      • Vad1us

        1. Did YOU not read what i wrote?
        2. Im not talking about streched.
        3. Article says that smaller resol =/= bigger models, but it is not true! They are wrong! Models are bigger, BUT sens is the same, so everything seems a bit faster.
        4. Read again if you didnt get it.

        • lol

          You are simply wrong. Models looking bigger does not equate to them being bigger. Do you seriously think any pro (that plays for a living, mind you) would play on a native res if models were smaller and legitimately harder to hit? If what you were saying were true everyone could just decrease their horizontal sensitivity on 4:3 and gain an advantage anyway.

          • Vad1us

            I did not say that they are bigger, just saying that they is looking bigger, but in article they say that they are not. Someone like it, someone not, someone dont care, but you should realize it. And this paragraph is not helping to understand that.

          • zaebawski

            They are not even looking bigger. Test it yourself. Changing resolutions in game works not like with windows on your desktop. Field of view does not change.
            There is funcy thing when run in windowed mode. When comparing Full hd vs 640×480, models in 640×480 look smaller in fact.

          • Ulris Ventis

            This has nothing to do with Windowed mode. It only works for Fullscreen.
            In Fullscreen low res can get stretched vertically, staying 4×3, and it can be stretched via your Display horizontally to fill the whole screen, making 640×480 (etc) stretched to 16×9 screen.
            4×3 has less FOV than 16×9 – it’s a fact, but it doesn’t matter much in CS GO, the fov it is Instead what matters is, stretched 4×3 makes all objects appear around 2 times WIDER, like you can see on screens above.

            It doesn’t however affect ingame models anyway, which should be obvious to everyone, only the way the appear on screen. That helps aim better why it is used by pro.

          • zaebawski

            >>That helps aim better why it is used by pro.
            This question
            remains open — why they use it. Some play 4:3 with stretched, some
            with blackbars, some full hd. Some say it’s just a habit from old days.
            Also, it seem you have to adjust your vertical sensitivity to make it really helping on aiming when using stretched 4:3.

            idea what I heard somewhere seems more legit to me. The point is that
            if there are less details on the screen – your brain process it faster.
            Less details for brain -> faster processing -> faster reaction.

          • Ulris Ventis

            I understand the copy/paste, but I’m speaking from my own experience. Larger objects on screen helps for better more precise aiming. That’s simple. Basically what your last passage was about. Simply making heads twice as wide visually makes a huge impact.
            Horizontal FOV doesn’t matter at all in CS GO, it doesn’t affect anything, MIGHT help sometimes, but with proper movement around the map it won’t make a difference.

        • Kevin Dorland

          You and the other guy are saying the same thing yet disagreeing. It’s hilarious xD

  • Jonathan Wedholm

    1280×1024 is 5:4… Do some research

  • Em Kay

    i have 1024×768.. can play anyhow? please help

    • xXShakeXx

      Yes you can, just set it on graphic settings on the game and you are ready to go.

  • TJ

    Yes, if you go from 1980×1020 to 1360×1020 black bars, there is no difference in player models; however, 4:3 in smaller resolutions like 1024×758 stretched, the player models look HUGE. Sure, it kills peripheral vision, but I think it’s a small trade off since it’s something that can be covered by teammates or instincts.

  • Mada

    Hi,does using 16:10 res makes the body fatter in a way? or vice versa?

    • Liam Hawkes

      Only slightly, not as much as 4:3, but it does increase it slightly. It also chops the FOV slightly, again not as much as 4:3 but still

  • Thomas McEnroe

    If my resolution is 1366 x 768, does anyone know a good change from that? Like does anyone know good custom resolutions?

    • juanme555