What Screen Tearing Is In Video Games (2023)

Screen tearing is an avoidable roadblock when monitoring the performance of your system's hardware. Too much or too little FPS results in screen tearing, depending on the game settings.

Screen tearing results from the monitor requesting more or fewer images from the GPU, leaving some milliseconds of rendered frames to blend, causing tearing. In other words, unsteady render times between the GPU and monitor cause screen tearing.

This article covers the settings needed to alleviate frame tearing and what you can look for in balanced hardware.

Table of Contents

  • What Does Screen Tearing Mean in Video Games?
  • How To Fix Screen Tearing
    • Variable Refresh Rate
    • Adjusting the Display Resolution
    • Vsync
    • Nvidia Adaptive Sync
    • Reset / Revert Graphics Drivers
    • Disable Frame Limit Settings In-Game
    • Change Your PCs Power Plan
    • Is Screen Tearing Common?
    • Does Vsync Lower FPS?
    • Is Screen Tearing Bad for My Monitor?
    • Can A Bad GPU Cause Screen Tearing?
  • Summary of Screen Tearing In Video Games

What Does Screen Tearing Mean in Video Games?

Screen tearing in video games is the blending of rendered frames due to a monitor requesting either too many or too few from the GPU. It looks like a horizontal split or multiple splits in the image on your screen.

Screen tearing happens in video games due to their full utilization of the GPU and primarily one CPU core. Having a high refresh rate and a monitor to handle the frame refresh is essential for experiencing little to no frame tearing from your system.

Screen tearing results from frames that have not had a chance to render being skipped for the newest available frame. This issue stems from the monitor's refresh rate and active display settings.

What Screen Tearing Is In Video Games (1)

Depending on the game type (especially for first-person shooters), screen tearing and stuttering can affect damage calculations if the weapons are hitscan vs. projectile bullet calculations.

How To Fix Screen Tearing

Depending on your monitor and game settings, there are multiple ways to address screen tearing while gaming.

(Video) Screen Tearing Example

Variable Refresh Rate

The variable refresh rate is designed for monitors and GPUs to ensure minimal frame tearing from multiple applications. If a video is playing at 30FPS, you can expect your monitor to limit itself to 30FPS for the video to display correctly. When gaming, this threshold is often raised to the monitor's max refresh rate, the GPU producing more or less than the monitor can take.

In recent years companies like AMD and Nvidia have made significant developments in GPU and monitor manufacturing. Systems like G-Sync and FreeSnyc establish rendering pipelines for the GPU and monitor to alleviate frame tearing, which we discuss later in this article.

Adjusting the Display Resolution

Trying games at different resolutions may allow you to experience your favorite games in more detail while minimizing screen tearing. Often, games pick the native resolution of your monitor and assign the scale of textures rendered at 100%. You can adjust this for more or less detail depending on your GPUs resources and your display’s resolution.

This site is a helpful tool for adjusting the display and rendering resolutions to find the best settings for those with lower-resolution monitors but with GPUs that easily render higher resolutions.


Vsync (vertical sync) is a system that introduces a common denominator for monitors displaying frames rendered. Vsync locks the monitor's refresh rate to the GPU render rate and introduces a buffer, ensuring no significant frame tearing happens.

The typical refresh rate for vsync is between 30Hz and 144Hz monitors, allowing coordinated communication between the monitor and the GPU at any time. If the FPS drops below the optimal range of 30 to 60FPS, this falls short in some areas, causing stuttering or occasional frame tearing.

Nvidia Adaptive Sync

Before getting into more intuitive solutions like G-Sync, Nvidia has released an adaptive solution for vsync to micro-manage the GPU-generated frame when displayed. It accomplishes this by unlocking the frame rate when it's bound by vsync and turning vsync back on when the performance attempts to go over the frame cap.

Adaptive Sync is a primitive solution depending on the game's performance. It takes some trial and error due to introducing higher input times compared to AMD Enhanced Sync & NVIDIA Fast Sync technology.

AMD Enhanced Sync & NVIDIA Fast Sync

Slightly different from adaptive vsync, AMD’s enhanced sync and Nvidia’s fast sync accomplish the same goal for graphics cards set to manage their frame rate caps and performance while reducing input lag.

Adaptive sync unlocks the frame rate if, under a certain threshold, fast sync and enhanced sync both meter the render time by disabling vsync and introducing a GPU side frame buffer to combat input lag.

(Video) Shroud about Screen Tearing

Overall, enhanced and fast sync is supported back to the GTX 900 series and the AMD RX 500 series of GPUs. Cards older than those series are not eligible for these settings.


The most well-known terms when choosing AMD or Nvidia oriented peripherals are the Freesync or G-sync modules built into monitors. Typically, free sync is more common in lower/mid/ and high-end monitors due to its wider accessibility and low-cost implementation from AMD to manufacturers.

On the other hand, G-sync monitors are slightly more expensive than Freesync, requiring manufacturers to pay and coordinate with Nvidia for G-sync hardware to work on their products. The trade-off is an arguably better syncing system than the competitor, so some consumers would still pay for it despite the higher price.

However, not all is lost between team red and team green! In 2019, Nvidia announced some of its graphics cards would be compatible with freesync depending on the GPU model, driver, and connector bound to DisplayPort 1.2 connection or higher.

You can find it in your Nvidia control panel if you need help enabling G-sync or G-sync compatibility.

What Screen Tearing Is In Video Games (2)

Reset / Revert Graphics Drivers

Restarting your graphics drivers could solve the screen tearing or stuttering seen in an otherwise stable frame rate.

A simple way to reset your graphics drivers is by inputting the following combination (Windows+control+shift+B). If that doesn’t work, we suggest looking at other methods for fixing issues related to your GPU.

Disable Frame Limit Settings In-Game

Depending on how the game is programmed, disabling the frame limit from 60 FPS to the maximum supported should alleviate the frame stuttering seen when achieving lower FPS.

Typically, you would want to adjust the resolution (and include the refresh rate if given the option) and raise the frame rate cap to the max refresh rate. If your GPU, CPU, and RAM cannot reach that desired refresh rate, then turning the option down to reduce the potential of frame tearing is a good idea.

(Video) How to Fix Screen Flickering or Tearing while Playing Games In Windows 10 [Tutorial]

Here is an example using Battlefield 1’s settings:

What Screen Tearing Is In Video Games (3)

I can pick them in subcategories to modify the full-screen resolution and refresh rate. In this game, the maximum refresh rate is preselected and tied to resolution, and this becomes a different case when switching to full-screen mode.

What Screen Tearing Is In Video Games (4)

Going to a borderless screen mode locks the ability to change BOTH the refresh rate and resolution due to going with the native screen resolution and refresh rate. This is not the case with every game, but additives like G-sync/Freesync compatible monitors can make the difference when generating FPS to correspond with refresh rate.

Change Your PCs Power Plan

While more relative to laptops than desktops, windows has a default power setting for both desktops and laptops. This may seem insignificant, but windows' power plan can affect everything from connected USB devices to peripheral disruption via the display connections, resulting in screen tearing while gaming.

You can change your power setting by searching in windows “Edit Power Plan,” clicking “Change Advanced Power Settings,” and then making sure “performance” is selected rather than “balanced” or “power saver,” which negatively affects your PC during gaming.

What Screen Tearing Is In Video Games (5)

What Screen Tearing Is In Video Games (6)

Is Screen Tearing Common?

Screen tearing is expected in the highest-performing systems where monitors cannot display a fraction of the frames generated by the graphics card. This is prone to happen if the frames generated are too much or lacking for the monitor to display, which can vary from game to game.

(Video) How To Fix Nvidia Screen Tearing Issue [Solution]

Does Vsync Lower FPS?

Vsync lowers FPS at the cost of frame stability displayed on the monitor. You will notice less frame tearing if the FPS is stable through Vsync. If the FPS drops due to the demands of the game or external factors, you may experience stuttering.

Is Screen Tearing Bad for My Monitor?

Screen tearing is not harmful to your monitor or any connected peripherals. Screen tearing is a byproduct of the GPU over or underproducing frames that have the potential to be alleviated by a Gysnc or FreeSync compatible monitor.

Can A Bad GPU Cause Screen Tearing?

GPUs that are thermal throttling, experiencing unstable clock speeds, or encountering power-related problems can cause massive FPS fluctuations and inadvertently cause screen tearing or stuttering. GPU-bound issues could signal a dying GPU and warrant further investigation into your system.

Summary of Screen Tearing In Video Games

Screen tearing is one of the most addressable issues between game settings and what you can do in windows to accommodate your peripherals and PC best. Over the past few years, services like G Sync and FreeSync have supported more monitor models as screen refresh rates increase.

At Apex Gaming PCs, we have a plethora of FreeSync monitors ranging from 27 to 34 inches equipped to deal with screen tearing and stuttering encountered while gaming on one of our prebuilt systems. Whatever your display needs or issues, we hope to be of service at Apex!

Written By William Wilson

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FPS vs. Resolution: What is Better For Gaming


What Screen Tearing Is In Video Games? ›

It occurs when your game's frame rate (produced by your GPU) and your monitor's refresh rate don't sync up, resulting in horizontal or vertical splits occurring in one or more places across the screen.

Do you get screen tearing on 144hz? ›

Simply put. With 144hz refresh rate you are less likely to get screen tearing, but it will still occur, assuming that your video card is so powerful that it is sending more than 144fps to the monitor. Anything less than 144fps will not result in screen tearing.

Is VSync for screen tearing? ›

VSync or Vertical Sync is a technology that helps resolve screen tearing issues. It does that by capping the game's frame rate and matching it with the refresh rate of your monitor.

Does higher fps reduce screen tearing? ›

The higher your frame rate, the less noticeable screen tearing will be. This is because the updates will have smaller change between frames, so the sheering between frame buffers will display less of a difference in movement under the same circumstances as opposed to lower frame rates.

Is screen tearing the same as stuttering? ›

If the fps of your video card and the refresh rate of your monitor aren't synchronized, you'll see horizontal tears in your frames. This is called screen tearing. Does your monitor refresh more frequently than the fps of your GPU? Your images will stutter, which is called screen stuttering.

Is there screen tearing on 240Hz? ›

Note that the higher the refresh rate, the less noticeable screen tearing will be; that's why most competitive gamers opt for 240Hz displays and play with VSync disabled.

Is 165Hz worth over 144Hz? ›

Will you be able to tell the difference between 144 and 165 frames per second? Most likely not, to be honest. But any game running at 165Hz will be smoother than 144Hz, even if you don't overtly perceive the difference. In competitive gaming, even a 13% increase in frame rate is something.

Does VSync ruin fps? ›

VSync is far from a perfect solution and can negatively affect your gaming experience, even if it is useful and working as intended. If a monitor and a game are having trouble syncing up, then VSync can lower your frame rate significantly to try to find a point where they can.

Is VSync bad for fps games? ›

By itself, VSync has no bearing on graphical quality, but enabling it eliminates ugly screen tearing. While that may seem like a no-brainer, it can also tank your frame rate and increase input lag—both of which are the bane of competitive gaming.

Does VSync ruin performance? ›

Even when VSync is working well it's not perfect. It may affect the gaming experience as it reduces the frame rate till it finds the perfect balance, resulting in stuttering increases and input lag. It happens in all types of games but is most noticeable in fighting and shooter titles.

Does a better GPU fix screen tearing? ›

The display resolution should match the GPU output resolution. In addition, you should set the display refresh rate to its maximum value. Adjusting the resolution and refresh rate can resolve screen tearing issues quickly and effortlessly.

Can a bad GPU cause screen tearing? ›

There are two leading causes for screen tearing effects: configuration issues between the graphics processor unit (GPU) generating images and the monitor that displays them. A disparity between the frame rate of computer-generated images and the monitor's refresh rate that displays those images can be one cause.

Is screen tearing noticeable? ›

Screen tearing may be noticeable when playing video games or watching movies. Screen tearing is most noticeable when the game is in motion and it's difficult to notice when the game is not in motion.

How common is screen tearing? ›

Screen tearing is a commonly occurring problem in high refresh monitors. But, you will also notice this problem on standard 60 Hz monitors.

Is screen tearing caused by monitor or GPU? ›

We have likely all experienced screen tearing in one form or another. It occurs when your game's frame rate (produced by your GPU) and your monitor's refresh rate don't sync up, resulting in horizontal or vertical splits occurring in one or more places across the screen.

Why do I have high FPS but stuttering? ›

Overheating machines, underpowered GPU, inadequate RAM, and CPU bottleneck are all likely to cause stuttering during gaming. In this case, you need to update your hardware device. Apart from that, system settings and software settings affect your gaming experience as well.

Is 360Hz worth it over 240Hz? ›

Answer: If your PC system can sustain over 240 frames per second, then a 360Hz gaming monitor is worth considering. Keep in mind that the difference between 240Hz and 360Hz is subtle, but if you're a professional or aspiring competitive gamer, it's worth the investment as every millisecond counts.

Is 240Hz noticeable over 144Hz? ›

Basically everyone notices the difference between 60Hz/120Hz and 240Hz. When talking about 144Hz and 165Hz, the move to 240Hz may not be as immediately visible, but the lower lag and smoother response will still be there regardless of whether or not you can “see” them.

Is 240Hz worth over 144Hz? ›

A 144Hz monitor can show 144 unique frames per second with 6.94ms between each frame, whereas a 240Hz monitor shows 240 frames with 4.17ms between each frame. What is this? This means that a 240Hz monitor can show a new image 2.77ms faster than a 144Hz display.

Can RTX 3080 run 1440p 165Hz? ›

And even if RTX 3080 is a powerful beast, going over 140 FPS in the newest games in high resolution is a challenge even for these 3000 cards! I mean, if you are playing GTA 5 or CS:Go you can be relaxed, RTX 3080 can easily do 1440p 165Hz+.

What is the highest Hz monitor you can get? ›

Built for competitive gamers, 360 Hz displays powered by NVIDIA G-SYNC are 1.5X faster than conventional 240 Hz displays and take full advantage of ultra-high frame rates in today's biggest titles, including VALORANT, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rainbow Six Siege, and Overwatch.

Are curved monitors better for gaming? ›

Curved gaming monitors offer a more immersive gaming experience compared to flat monitors. They do this by bringing the sides of the screen more within your field of vision so that the image doesn't look washed out at the edges.

Does triple buffering increase FPS? ›

With triple buffering enabled, the game renders a frame in one back buffer. While it is waiting to flip, it can start rendering in the other back buffer. The result is that the frame rate is typically higher than double buffering (and Vsync enabled) without any tearing.

Is triple buffering good? ›

The advantage of three buffers is that the GPU does not have to wait for the display to finish before it can swap buffers. Instead, the GPU can swap to the third buffer. Triple buffering further improves parallelization between the GPU and the display controller.

Why do people not like VSync? ›

Its only hated by the esports wannabes who think they need to have every nanosecond of reaction time. For everyone else its a good thing. Even with Gsync and frame limiters there can still be tearing so its recommended to turn on vsync for best visuals. Enabling V-Sync ingame doesn't help as it actually overwrites VRR.

Do I want anti aliasing on or off? ›

Among all of the graphics settings you need to tweak in PC games, anti-aliasing is one of the most important. It can tank your performance or make your game look terrible if harnessed incorrectly.

When should I not use VSync? ›

The answer is simple. If screen tearing interferes with your gaming experience and causes frequent screen tears, you should enable VSync. On the other hand, if you are facing input lag or a decreased frame rate, turning VSync OFF will be the correct alternative.

Why does VSync make my game smoother? ›

VSync forces your graphics processor unit and monitor to work in unison with fine-tuned cohesion. This synchronism effectively eliminates screen-tearing and promotes smoother, more fluid gameplay.

Is VSync good for 60hz? ›

So really, vsync is great but its very important to maintain your framerate at or above 60hz. You are right, anything above 60hz is fairly unnecessary and recent nvidia drivers have included a global framerate limit to stop your graphics card running away with itself.

Does VSync fix stuttering? ›

NVIDIA's Adaptive VSync fixes both problems by unlocking the frame rate when below the VSync cap, which reduces stuttering, and by locking the frame rate when performance improves once more, thereby minimizing tearing. Adaptive VSync dynamically turns VSync on and off to maintain a more stable framerate.

Is fast VSync worth it? ›

When to turn VSync on. If your GPU is rendering more frames than your monitor is capable of displaying, it's smart to have VSync enabled. However, if your game's frame rate is lower than your monitor's maximum refresh rate, there is no particular need to have VSync on.

Is G Sync better than FreeSync? ›

G-Sync has a better quality than FreeSync, also at low refresh rates. G-Sync doubles the number of Hertz when they reach below the minimum and avoids screen tearing this way. G-Sync prevents screen tearing and stuttering, while FreeSync only reduces it.

What if GPU is better than CPU? ›

The main difference is that GPUs have smaller, simpler control units, ALUs, and caches—and a lot of them. So while a CPU can handle any task, a GPU can complete certain specific tasks very quickly.

Can GPU outperform CPU? ›

GPUs are excellent at handling specialized computations and can have thousands of cores that can run operations in parallel on multiple data points. By batching instructions and pushing vast amounts of data at high volumes, they can speed up workloads beyond the capabilities of a CPU.

How do you tell if your GPU is blown? ›

5 Signs Your Graphics Card Is Dying
  1. Graphical Glitches Gradually Worsening. This is one of the most obvious signs a graphics card is reaching the end of its lifespan. ...
  2. Strange Fan Noises. ...
  3. Crashes Galore. ...
  4. Significant Frame Drops. ...
  5. Blue Screen of Death.
Feb 9, 2023

What fixes screen tearing? ›

To configure the refresh rate of the display:
  1. Right-click the Windows desktop, and then select Screen resolution.
  2. Select Advanced settings.
  3. Select List All Modes.
  4. Select a resolution and refresh rate that is supported by all monitors. (Your monitors may support multiple refresh rates. ...
  5. Select OK, and then Apply.

Why do I still get screen tearing with Freesync? ›

You just need to cap the frame rate at the maximum refresh rate. If you try to play at 100fps on a 75hz Freesync display you will get tearing. If you exceed a displays refresh rate you get tearing. This is because the monitor cannot refresh fast enough to keep up with the frames being generated.

Can game mode cause screen tearing? ›

Disable 'Game Mode'

This mode usually helps users get their rig optimized as it aims to get the maximum performance out of your CPU without the usual strain it would cause. However, a lot of users have been experiencing screen tears when Game Mode is enabled so potentially disabling it could solve all of your problems.

Should you cap FPS with G Sync? ›

You deal with input lag after your gpu outputs beyond your monitor's maximum refresh rate, however, if you do this. Capping your frame rates a few Hz below your monitor's maximum is the best option to keep g-sync enabled and avoid input lag that comes with v-sync.

What is VSync in games? ›

Vertical Synchronization (VSync), helps create stability by synchronizing the image frame rate of your game or application with your display monitor refresh rate. If it's not synchronized, it can cause screen tearing, an effect that causes the image to look glitched or duplicated horizontally across the screen.

Why am I getting screen tearing at 60hz? ›

what frame rate are you getting where 60hz is tearing, it's likely too high and you should cap the frame rate or enable V-sync to prevent visual tearing.

Does bottlenecking cause screen tearing? ›

A GPU bottleneck can cause your monitor to display visual artifacts such as screen tearing or stuttering. These artifacts are caused by the GPU's inability to keep up with the monitor's refresh rate and can be very annoying. This damage gradually increases with time, and you often don't notice what's happening.

Does CPU bottleneck cause screen tearing? ›

Does CPU bottleneck cause screen tearing? Neither. Screen tearing happens due to mismatched timings between the GPU draw frame speed and the monitor refresh rate.

How do I get no screen tearing without VSync? ›

How To Fix This Error
  1. Changing the monitor's resolution and refresh rate.
  2. Disabling or enabling your NVIDIA vsync option.
  3. Disabling all full-screen optimizations and “game-modes”
  4. Checking the graphics drivers for any errors.
  5. Turning the frame limiter off.
  6. Disabling the smooth scrolling option.
Feb 8, 2023

Can RAM cause stuttering? ›

If your RAM timings are too loose, this can cause stuttering since your RAM now requires more clock cycles to complete an operation. So what's the solution? In most cases, XMP will load a RAM's rated timings. If this doesn't fix your stuttering, you will have to manually adjust your RAM timings.

Why do I lag in games with good internet? ›

You may be too far from your router, your service provider may be experiencing outages, or your internet speed may simply not be fast enough to ensure smooth gameplay. To get your ideal gaming experience, your Wi-Fi signal needs to be stronger, and your internet speed must be fast enough to avoid delays.

Is it bad to have too much FPS? ›

If the fps is too low, movement will appear jagged and jerky. But you can also run into problems if your fps is too high due to synchronization errors, which could overload your monitor and cause it to malfunction.

Are 144Hz monitors better for eyes? ›

A higher refresh rate means a smoother-looking screen that's easier on the eyes. So, if you're trying to ease your eyestrain, a refresh rate of 120 Hz is optimal. There's no need to pursue those high-end 144 Hz or 240 Hz monitors from Amazon or Best Buy.

What are the disadvantages of 144Hz? ›

The other issue with 144Hz monitors is the frame rate usage itself. While it can support 144 frames per second, that completely depends on your GPU. If you have a weak GPU, the most expensive 144 Hz monitor in the world won't let you get very high frame rates.

Is 144Hz fine for gaming? ›

Answer: If you're playing competitive games, a 144Hz gaming monitor is definitely worth it. Not only does it provide you with a more enjoyable and responsive gaming experience, but you also get an advantage over your opponents who have regular 60Hz displays.

Is 144Hz better for eyes than 60Hz? ›

Higher refresh rates are better for eye health. It lets your perceive motion more fluidly and strain your eyes less. As someone who works in IT and games a lot, thus spends MANY hours in front of a computer, I can tell you 144 Hz is much easier on the eyes, specially after many hours day after day.

How many FPS can the human brain process? ›

Most experts have a tough time agreeing on an exact number, but the conclusion is that most humans can see at a rate of 30 to 60 frames per second. There are two schools of thought on visual perception. One is absolute that the human eye cannot process visual data any faster than 60 frames per second.

How many Hz can the human eye see? ›

Human eyes cannot see things beyond 60Hz. So why are the 120Hz/144Hz monitors better? The brain, not the eye, does the seeing. The eye transmits information to the brain, but some characteristics of the signal are lost or altered in the process.

What frame rate is the human eye? ›

The short answer is that the human eye does not really have a frame rate, but for practical intents and purposes, it is about 10 fps.

Is 240Hz monitor overkill? ›

The first thing to remember about monitor refresh rate is that there's no such thing as overkill. So no, 240Hz isn't “too fast”. Remember, there are 360Hz and faster monitors out there, but we think 240Hz is becoming the new sweet spot for higher refresh rate.

Is 165Hz overkill? ›

The simple answer to that is no, not a big difference. Since 165fps is just 21 frames per second more than 144. That's just a 13% increase. Most people aren't likely to notice those extra frames, but the clincher is that if you're getting a new monitor for gaming, you should know that 165Hz is basically the new 144Hz.

Why do pros use 144Hz? ›

Summing up, we can say that a 144Hz (or higher) setup gives you a much smoother and responsive image, as well as a more direct and responsive connection to the game. This is an invaluable advantage if you're playing competitive games.

What FPS is needed for 144Hz? ›

Ideally, you'll want the game's frame rate to match the monitor's refresh rate 1:1 for an ideal experience. For example, your system should be outputting 144 FPS to get the full benefit of a 144Hz monitor.

Is it worth upgrading from 60Hz to 144Hz? ›

A higher refresh rate results in smoother, more fluid visuals and reduced motion blur, which can significantly impact gaming performance and overall experience. Smoother Gameplay: Upgrading from a 60Hz to a 144Hz monitor can lead to smoother, more fluid gameplay.

What refresh rate is best for gaming? ›

If you're a casual gamer, 60 Hz and 95-110 PPI should be fine. If you're in a competitive league, 144 Hz and 110-140 PPI might be a better fit. Some top-of-the-line gaming monitors have a refresh rate of 240 Hz and screen resolution above 140 PPI, which can be essential for a professional gamer.

What is the highest fps a human can see? ›

Some experts will tell you that the human eye can see between 30 and 60 frames per second. Some maintain that it's not really possible for the human eye to perceive more than 60 frames per second.

Is 60Hz vs 120Hz noticeable? ›

The higher the number, the smoother the screen will appear to the human eye. This means that a 120Hz display – which updates itself 120 times a second – will look noticeable slicker and more natural than your average 60Hz screen which only updates itself 60 times a second.

Should I get 60Hz or 144Hz for gaming? ›

Answer: For undemanding competitive games where you can easily reach around 144FPS, a 144Hz monitor is the way to go. If you care more about better graphics and visuals, and you mainly play new games, getting a 60Hz monitor with a better panel or a higher resolution may be a better route for you.


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