Everything You Need to Know About 4K Gaming. What is 4k gaming

It all depends to some extent on the types of games you want to play and the frame rates and levels of detail at which you expect these games to work – indie games are easily played in 4K on much weaker hardware.

What’s 4K? And does it matter for video games?

You may not realize it yet, but 4K resolution is here.

The TV industry may have failed in its drive to impose 3D on consumers, but 4K resolution will not disappear. Coupled with improved display technologies such as high dynamic range (HDR) video, 4K is the best reason to upgrade to a new TV since the previous resolution jump from 720p to 1080p at the end of the first decade of this century.

Of course, the most important factor is the price, and that’s where we finally hit the tipping point. Most high-end TVs these days are 4K displays and are no longer significantly more expensive than 1080p TVs of the same size. But if you are thinking of purchasing a 4K TV, you may be wondering what is so special about 4K. After all, a 4K TV can’t do much for your living room that your existing 1080p setup can’t.

Video games can help spark the 4K future. There have been rumors in the past few months that both Sony and Microsoft are introducing new 4K-capable versions of their current-generation consoles. It’s unclear at this point if these enhanced systems will support native 4K games, but will reportedly at least upscale existing games to 4K and play 4K Blu-ray.

But what exactly is 4K? Why is it such a big deal – is it even a big deal? What does this mean for games? We’re here to answer these questions and more.

Max and Furiosa aim guns from a truck in Mad Max: Fury Road

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

What is 4K resolution?

The size of an image is referred to as its resolution, and is expressed in pixels. As with a printed photograph as, say, a “four by six” image, resolution is usually given in width times height. The PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox One can display video at 1920×1080 pixels, or “1080p” for short, while most games in the previous generation of consoles ran around 1280×720 or “720p”. (“P” stands for “progressive” which is short for “progressive scan”, a technique in which the display draws each line of a single frame sequentially from top to bottom within one refresh cycle.)

The term “4K” can be a bit confusing as the way it is most commonly used is technically confusing. For starters, you can visualize a 4K image as being about 4,000 pixels wide and about 2,000 pixels high. In the movie industry, 4K refers to an image size of 4096 pixels by 2160 pixels, which is exactly twice the width and height of the 2K movie standard; is wider than the normal 16: 9 aspect ratio.

the “2160p” doesn’t quite slide off the tongue

In the television world, 4K video is called “ultra high definition”, which is based on the terminology of 720p (“high definition”) and 1080p (“full high definition”). It seems the video industry has decided to call it “4K ultra HD” – or just “4K” for short because the full name is a bite. The width and height of an Ultra HD image are exactly twice that of a 1080p image, so the 4K Ultra HD video resolution is 3840 by 2160 pixels. (Under the existing naming convention, you’d expect people to call it “2160p”, but that’s not entirely understandable.)

To easily understand the increase in resolution from HD to ultra HD, let’s count. A 720p image contains 921,600 pixels and a 1080p image contains 2,073,600 pixels – 2.25 times as many. With a huge number of 8,294,400 pixels, a 4K image is four times the size of a 1080p image and nine times the size of a 720p image. (Note that in the illustration below, the 1080p rectangle occupies a quarter of the full 4K image.)

It’s worth noting that even with the huge pixel jump from 1080p to 4K most people find it hard to tell them apart in direct comparison. It comes down to a typical American living room and the limits of human visual acuity.

“If you go to higher resolutions like 4K or 8K, there’s an obvious difference to 720p, but the difference is best appreciated when you’re sitting close to the screen and the TV is more than 55 inches,” said Dr. Barry Sandrew, an expert in digital imaging who is the founder, chief technology officer and creative director of Legend3D, a well-known stereoscopic 3D and visual effects company.

In the average American living room, people sit about three meters from the TV. According to Chris Heinonen, a reviewer for Reference Home Theater and The Wirecutter, at this distance from a 50-inch TV, it is very unlikely that someone with a 20/20 vision will be able to distinguish between 1080p and 4K resolution. Heinonen has put together a calculator indicating that you don’t need to sit more than 6.5 feet from a 50-inch TV to be able to see the benefits of 4K over 1080p.

If you really have some money to spend, you might as well go all out and get the biggest display you can find. Introducing the Philips 4065UC 4K monitor for your consideration:

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In addition to all this confusion (which we hope to address below) you also have the refresh rate: 4K at 30fps is not the same as 4K at 60fps, although both may claim to be “4K” in any promotional material which you are reading right now. Whether you’re buying a console or a TV, you need to read the fine print as much as possible of these specifications: resolution, HDR, color gamut, and frame rate.

Whether you’re talking about 4K, HDR or UHD, for a truly native experience you need the content itself, the playback device, the display device, and even the entire cable to support the same standards. Skip any of these fours and instead you’ll get a blurry UHD approximation where a lot of confusion arises.

4K on the Xbox One S

The Xbox One S was the first of the large consoles to get UHD support when it was introduced last year, but that UHD support is only meant for streaming video (think Netflix) and discs played in the built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray player. All Xbox One games can run at 4K resolution, but some clever scaling happens behind the scenes – an example of the approximations we talked about above.

These are not 4K games that are displayed in 4K resolution – they are 1080p games that are scaled up to 4K size, albeit with the help of some very intelligent algorithms. Some games also see slight spikes in frame rates, sometimes up to 60 frames per second. In all accounts, the upscaling to 4K in games is impressive on the Xbox One S, which might give you a break if you’re thinking of dropping some cash on the newer X model.

Game developers have no way of adding any additional code or resources to 4K upscaling on the Xbox One S, but they can add HDR support as the Xbox One S also has HDR capabilities (HDR10 to be exact). While future games will likely include this, from what we can tell you right now, the list of HDR-enabled games is not that long at the moment. Although some big titles like Gears of War 4 have been updated.

If you have a UHD TV, the Xbox One S does a fantastic job of making your standard Xbox One games look better on the big screen, especially if those games have been patched with an added HDR goodness – although it’s worth reiterating that this isn’t true 4K gaming.

4K Support: Yes for streaming and UHD Blu-ray. Not for games. They are just scaled up.

HDR Support: Yes, for selected games and streaming applications.

UHD Support: Yes, Ultra HD Blu-Ray media.

Monitors running at 4K resolution have four times the number of pixels than similar-sized 1080p monitors. This means that you will not only experience excellent picture quality and picture clarity, but also a ton more on your desk.

What does a 4K monitor do?

The main purpose of a 4K monitor is that it has a much higher resolution than 1080p, usually twice its horizontal and vertical pixels, so it offers four times the number of pixels.

This leads to a sharper image, especially up close, and can help bring out finer image details for a more realistic picture, whether you are watching photos, watching a TV show or movie, or playing a game.

However, increasing the resolution has diminishing returns. While it cannot be denied that 4K looks prettier than more traditional HD resolutions like 1080p, the differences between them aren’t quite as pronounced as when switching from SD to HD.

You can see more details up close with 4K, but this allows you to enjoy crisp images on larger displays.

This is also where you will see the greatest benefits of this resolution. 4K on a laptop’s 15-inch display is largely wasted, but once you cross the 27-inch 1080p can look a bit strained, which is where higher resolutions like 1440p, and in this case 4K, really come into play.

Promotional image of the ASUS CG32UQ HDR game console with a blue-green glow behind it

What do you need to watch movies on a 4K monitor?

Another thing to consider when purchasing a 4K monitor is whether your PC is powerful enough to run it.

If you just want to run Windows apps or watch 4K movies, you don’t need anything too powerful. If your GPU is at least the last five years and you have a reasonable mid-range CPU and memory, you shouldn’t have a hard time using a 4K monitor.

However, you need to make sure that the 4K monitor is connected to the computer with a cable and connector that supports 4K resolution.

DVI-D and VGA aren’t good because they just don’t have the bandwidth for such a connection.

HDMI isn’t a bad choice, but the oldest one to use are HDMI 1.3 or 1.4, which support 4K at 30Hz at most, but it’s a less than ideal viewing experience.

HDMI 2.0, however, can handle 4K @ 60Hz without any problems, resulting in a much smoother picture. However, for everything else, you’ll need HDMI 2.1.

DisplayPort is arguably the best connector standard to use in 4K, and even older DisplayPort 1.2 connections are capable of handling 4K at frequencies up to 75Hz. DisplayPort 1.4 can go as high as 120Hz at 4K resolution, with newer standards going far beyond if required – though they are especially rare.

USB-C is also an option, especially if you’re leaving your laptop, although it has to be one of the faster versions of that connection to get the most out of 4K.

Higher resolution does not directly affect CPU and memory processing. There are still the same number of items / objects in a given frame. More pixels is simply more GPU load, not more CPU usage.

4K Capable Hardware

Here are some of our types of 4K-capable hardware:

Monitors For 4K Gaming

For screens, it is more profitable to get a bigger screen to get the most out of UHD.

As of this writing, UHD monitors are available in various sizes from 24 ″ to 40 ″. Each size provides a slightly different viewing experience as the pixel density varies depending on the screen size.

While they are definitely on the high end of the price range, here are a few options that have proven to be quite popular. First of all, we have the Samsung U28D590D – 28-inch 4K display which has fairly positive reviews overall. It’s also the smallest screen we recommend for 4K resolutions, unless you’re sitting very close to your computer screen.

Samsung 4K monitor

Samsung U28D590D 28 ″ UHD Monitor (from Amazon.com)

If you are looking for a bigger screen another option is the BenQ BL3201PH which is a 32 inch display that will really make your 4K experience impressive. This screen has excellent reviews as well, however unfortunately it can be well beyond the price range of most people.

Benq 32 inch UHD computer monitor

BenQ BL3201PH 32 ″ IPS LED 4K Monitor (from Amazon.com)

If you really have some money to spend, you might as well go all out and get the biggest display you can find. Introducing the Philips 4065UC 4K monitor for your consideration:

4K 40 inch UHD computer monitor

Philips 4065UC 40 inch UHD computer monitor (from Amazon.com)

TV Screens For 4K Gaming

TV screen as a monitor

At the moment, 4K-capable monitors are quite expensive. If you just need a 4K experience but don’t necessarily have a lot to spend, you might consider purchasing a TV screen over your computer monitor.

Choosing a 4K TV over a monitor can result in a larger UHD screen, at a much lower price than a 4K computer monitor. Note, however, that viewing quality may not be as clear at close range (TVs are generally designed to be viewed from a distance, and therefore are not of the same quality as computer monitors). Also, be aware of input lag which may be an issue with some TV screens.

This video covers some of the main points to consider when considering using a TV instead of a computer monitor in your setup:

Which Gaming PC Builds Can Handle 4k Resolutions?

As mentioned earlier, playing in 4K can be very straining, especially on your graphics card.

Our $ 800 build is barely suitable for entry-level 4K games, but you’ll have to tweak your game settings a bit and work at a lower frame rate. Stay tuned for our advanced builds coming soon!

If you’re just looking to upgrade your graphics card, check out these video card candidates that can support 4K games.

If you want to play in 1080p, your best bet is to use a 21.5 ″ -27 ″ monitor. Anything bigger than that and the pixel density starts to weak for that particular resolution.

The best monitors for PC gaming

AOC monitor

source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Headquarters

When you need to play on your computer, you need a gaming display that can handle all the pixels your GPU sends you. Adding sync technology to the mix will make your game catalog shine, no matter what you’re playing. Depending on your GPU and available budget, we have the best recommendations for different resolutions.

Although we have included it in the list above, please don’t choose 720p. Whenever. A 1080p monitor should be your minimum entry point, and displays have gotten to be relatively inexpensive at around $ 100. You can even choose one that supports AMD FreeSync technology for smooth gameplay.

When should you jump to 1440p or 4K?

Best 1080p monitor


Inexpensive and fast

Let’s say you’re an FPS enthusiast looking to upgrade your game with a new monitor, but don’t have the resources to back up your ambitions. ASUS has you covered. The VG248QG has a refresh rate of 165Hz and a response time of 0.5ms, and can be purchased for around $ 250. Incredible isn’t it? The 24 inch LED display has a resolution of 1080p and an aspect ratio of 16: 9.

Even more pixels


source: Rockstar Games


Buying a great deal on a new 27 inch (or higher) monitor for your gaming space will be the perfect investment, allowing you to choose a screen that offers increased refresh rate and higher resolution. The 1440p is becoming increasingly popular as consumers are switching to more powerful hardware at affordable prices. The latest AMD and NVIDIA GPUs will be able to run games at 1440p (as well as 1080p) and even support VR.

Seeing your computer handle 1080p games would be a reliable way to estimate how 1440p will drop. If you’re consistently breaking your monitor’s refresh rate barrier (60Hz is the norm, or 60fps) then switching to a 1440p monitor could be the perfect upgrade to your experience.

Also, check out benchmarks from reputable sources to see how your graphics card and configuration can handle the additional demand. Selecting a card with a higher refresh rate will also allow your graphics card to refresh the screen image faster, which will help eliminate blurring and tearing of content with fast-moving content.

Best 1440p monitor

LG UltraGear 27GL850-B

More affordable games

With a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and 1440p resolution, you’ll love the LG UltraGear 27GL850-B.

Best 1440p GPU

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

The RTX 3070 may not be the best dog in NVIDIA’s 30 series, but this mid-range GPU will easily outperform the older RTX 2080 Ti, but at a fraction of the original asking price.

4K or bust

4K resolution is a totally different ball game. It is an extremely demanding format and should only be deployed if you have sufficient graphics power. We are not only talking about high-end specifications, but about absolutely beastly configurations. Even NVIDIA’s new RTX 2080 Ti can struggle to power display content in 4K resolution. Keep in mind that you have to aim for high FPS as well as tweak graphics options and upscaling to improve your gaming experience. And 100 FPS with maximum detail at 1440p would be better than 20 FPS in 4K.

You need to consider response time, resolution, refresh rate, and timing technology.

It’s also possible to look at SLI and multi-card setups when considering entering the Ultra HD (4K) market. But if you don’t have the space to upgrade to a larger display or just don’t feel the need to do so, the 21 ” Full HD set is capable of immersing yourself in the many virtual worlds you can buy today. It all comes down to personal preferences, budget, and available processing power.

When looking at new monitors, you will have to calculate the available budget not only for the display but also for the necessary processing power to be able to push out all the pixels. If you have a powerful card, experienced steady frames at 1080p, or have ordered a new NVIDIA GTX card, 1440p is an option that shouldn’t cause many problems. As factors, it’s worth considering resolution, response time, refresh rates, and other features.

The NVIDIA RTX 3090 is perfect for 4K gaming. This GPU monster can easily cope with even more demanding games at high settings on a UHD monitor. Turn on ray tracing and DLSS and be ready to blow out the air.

Gaming At 4K

While you may think we only care about competing 1080p games, make no mistake, we think playing on a 4K monitor is truly special. If you switch, you’ll soon be amazed by the intense color and stunning visual experience.

Monitors running at 4K resolution have four times the number of pixels than similar-sized 1080p monitors. This means that you will not only experience excellent picture quality and picture clarity, but also a ton more on your desk.

As with the 1080p monitor, we decided to take some time to test and test the best 4K monitors available in the market today – below is our number one pick by checking all the right boxes when it comes to an immersive 4K display.

Acer Predator XB273K Gpbmiipprzx 27

1080p Vs. 4K Monitor: The Difference

Choosing a new gaming monitor is never easy. These kit items cost pretty well, and with so many options available, it’s really hard to make sure you’re getting the best for your hard-earned money. To see if playing 4K is worth it, let’s look at the key differences between 1080p and 4K – hopefully we’ll provide you with the tools to make the most informed decision.

Screen Size

1080p vs 1440p vs 4k

If you want to play in 1080p, your best bet is to use a 21.5 ″ -27 ″ monitor. Anything bigger than that and the pixel density starts to weak for that particular resolution.

However, if you want to experience the absolute best graphics on the market, you’ll need a 4K gaming monitor. To really take advantage of this technology, you need a monitor larger than 24 ”. You might be able to experience 4K resolution on a 24 ”monitor (you know, if you can actually find one to buy one), but at this size the text will be very difficult to read. For games in 4K resolution, 27 ”or higher is the preferred size.

In-Game Visuals

Here is one of our RTX 2060 GPU test videos. While this graphics card is powerful, it is still not considered strong enough to meet the challenges 4K brings. That said, it still gives a clear indication of the in-game differences between the two resolutions.

1080p may be “Full HD” but 4K is “Ultra HD” – and, like Street Fighter, Ultra is always better (and so for image quality).

As you can see in the video above, when the graphics are set too low on a 4K monitor, the shadows don’t look that good. Even so, it still displays exceptional color quality and image clarity.

Long Term / Future Proof

These days, you still can’t go wrong when investing in 1080p monitors, mainly because they offer excellent refresh rates and response times – two basic specs when gaming at a competitive level. That being said, with the recent price drop of some 4K monitors, now may be the perfect time to buy a single-player role-playing monitor.

4K games have already caught on in the mainstream, so don’t worry that this type of technology will disappear any time soon. And since it’s still relatively new, you should be able to enjoy your games in 4K without worrying about updating your monitor anytime soon. Sure, there are 5K monitors out there, but we don’t have the hardware to make use of them yet, which leads to our next criteria.

GPU Series Cost

GPU Normal series cost Ti series cost
RTX 3090 1550 to 1580 Not applicable
RTX 3080 $ 750 to $ 780 Not applicable
RTX 3070 $ 540 to $ 600 Not applicable
RTX 2080 700-800 USD $ 1100 – $ 1300
AMD RX 6900XT $ 999 Not applicable
AMD RX 6800XT 679 Not applicable
AMD RX 6800 579 Not applicable
GTX 1080 600 – 500 PLN 900 PLN – 700 PLN
RTX 2070 $ 450 – $ 550 Not applicable
GTX 1070 560 – 460 PLN 430 PLN – 400 PLN
Radeon VII 600 – 700 PLN Not applicable
VEGA 64 pLN 350 – PLN 450 Not applicable
RTX 2060 pLN 350 – PLN 400 Not applicable

This means that the price of a 4K monitor setup is much more than just purchasing a monitor. You have to consider the total construction cost if it needs improvements.

Compatibility Issues

Like graphics cards, almost every decent monitor you can buy today, depending on brand and features, is guaranteed to run at 1080p.

Moreover, almost all AAA games have native 1080p support.

But if you have a 4K monitor, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to play all your games in 4K.

This is especially true of older games, mainly because the images are basically scaled down rather than displayed in true 4K. And of course, there’s a possibility that an older game just doesn’t have enough high-quality graphics resources to take advantage of 4K.

That being said, almost all of your modern AAA game titles support 4K.


You can get a decent 1080p monitor for less than $ 200. However, prices will vary depending on your monitor’s refresh rate, adaptive sync technology, response time, panel technology, and brand.

On the other hand, while the price of 4K monitors has dropped drastically from over $ 600 (or even $ 1,000) to around $ 300- $ 500 these days, they’re still expensive compared to 1080p monitors. And that’s before you stop considering advanced features like refresh rate, adaptive sync technology, and response times.

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Why gamers choose Dell

Choose a gaming monitor

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Constant innovation
Dell’s reputation for innovation and commitment to quality has resulted in multiple awards and excellent reviews from respected publications, web sites and consumers.

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Dell displays are extensively tested to ensure each monitor meets customer expectations for reliability and performance.

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Dell monitors are designed to comply with environmental certifications and ship without polystyrene packaging.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best 4K gaming monitor?
The best 4K gaming monitor will combine astonishing visuals with faster refresh rates and reduced input lag for a more competitive and immersive gaming experience.

What components are essential in the best 4K gaming monitors?
The best 4K gaming monitors will have fast refresh rates to facilitate decision making. For example, the best 144Hz monitors allow gamers to watch and absorb the action on the screen a fraction of a second faster than screens with the standard 60Hz refresh rate. Greater color support and contrast ratios help improve the quality of on-screen images, and fast response times reduce the time it takes to display player data on the screen.

What’s the best monitor size for gaming?
The best size for a gaming monitor is 24 inch to 32 inch. It provides users with a screen that allows them to see images in more detail, but is not so large that it is difficult to follow sequences of quick actions.

Is the ultra-wide screen suitable for gaming?
An ultra-wide monitor or dual monitor can provide users with a more enjoyable and immersive gaming experience.

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