I don't know if anyone's pointed this out but...
1280x1024 does NOT create a distorted image if you are rending a 3d image. A 3d image could be rendered at 2048x384 and you would still be able to display it without any geometric distortion. The only thing that would change would be the ratio of horizontal to vertical pixel over a given area of the screen.
While a *3d* rendered image would not be geometrically distorted by simply rendering it at 1280x1024 (5:4 PIXEL ratio) and then displaying it over a SCREEN with a geometric ratio of 4:3, an image rendered at a resolution of 1280x1024 WOULD end up being geometrically distorted if you were to proceed to display that 1280x1024 "2d" image using a 4:3 pixel ratio RESOLUTION (1600x1200 for instance) on a screen with a 4:3 geometric ratio.
2d images on a 2d desktop of 1280x1024 (5:4 pixel ratio displayed over a 4:3 screen ratio) however, will appear to be vertically "squished" unless the said image content is specifically designed to be displayed over such a resolution and screen ratio.