4K vs. 1080p

Although the human eye has a finite resolution, we are always in pursuit of a higher definition. As 4K gaming becomes progressively more accessible, PC gaming enthusiasts will have a lot to mull over before making the jump or sticking with the HD standard of 1080p resolution. There are many reasons why upgrading to 4K is a good idea for any PC gaming enthusiast that wants to safeguard his or her setup for the future, but the price-performance ratio may not be enough to convince you that the switch is necessary. In this article, we compare the basic features and costs of 4K vs. 1080p gaming, so you can determine which resolution is best for you and your budget.

Gaming Resolution

Before we dive into a display comparison, it is important to understand what 4K and 1080p resolution mean. 1080p is an imaging mode with a vertical resolution that is refreshed progressively. This standard HD graphics technology typically assumes a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9 or, in other words, a pixel count of 1,920 pixels x 1,080. 4K, also known as Ultra HD or UHD, is an imaging mode with a horizontal resolution. 4K UHD display typically assumes a pixel rate of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. As a result, 4K has four times the pixel resolution and twice the line resolution of a 1080p display. These display differences and the demands of 4K technology will play a key role in your decision.

Cost and Performance

We know that 4K is being groomed to be the next standard in image resolution size, but what does that mean in terms of the games you play now or even your gaming setup? More than likely, you will have to upgrade your monitor and graphics card before you can start streaming and enjoying 4K content. There is a wide range of 4K-ready hardware available to you, but not all games can support 4K resolution. Plus, 1080p hardware is considerably more affordable. UHD images are effectively twice as sharp as 1080p images, which affords you a lot more detail if you already bought a 4K monitor. You can also expand your library by adding PC games that support UHD resolution. However, 4K has been known to cause noticeable frame-rate dips even if you have powerful hardware.

4K technology is expected to have a much faster adoption rate than that of Full HD resolution. If you’re in the market for a new PC or you’re looking to do away with that loud and dusty tower, then you can probably get the most mileage out of your upgrade by landing on the 4K side of things. Splurging on a 4K gaming setup will come as a steep startup cost, but you can expect prices to come down precipitously as developers and gamers continue to test the limits of 4K performance and frame rate. If visual fidelity is of less importance or you game competitively, you might enjoy smoother and more precise gameplay by sticking with 1080p resolution for the time being. Plus, you can save money and splurge on other components or accessories.