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Do HDMI Cables Make a Difference in Gaming?

Do HDMI Cables Make a Difference in Gaming?

People who know how HDMI works understand there’s only so much an HDMI cable can do to boost the audio/video signal.

The devices linked with the cable do the majority of the heavy lifting in an HDMI setup.

HDMI cables either work, or don’t, because it’s digital information at play, not analog data.

But manufacturers never fail to come up with claims that their HDMI cords offer a lot better performance than the average HDMI cable lying in your drawer, and that it’s worth spending the extra money on their latest offerings.

How much truth there is to those claims?

Do you need new HDMI cables for your gaming setup? Is it worth ditching your existing cables for minor audio and video performance improvements (if any)?

Let’s do a deep dive to learn more.

Do High-End HDMI Cables Improve Graphics?

HDMI Cable 10 ft - 1 Pack - 4K Resolution 2.0b Ready

Click this image for more information

High-end HDMI cables could improve graphics, but it depends on what “high-end” means to you.

If you believe a high-end cable is a gold-plated connector-sporting cord, you are wrong.

Although several popular HDMI cables now have gold plating on their connector points, the yellow cladding is no indication the cable is a solid performer.  

The materials used and the overall build of an HDMI cable determine the wire’s longevity, but they do pretty much nothing in terms of improved performance.

On the other hand, if a “high-end cable” translates as increased bandwidth and more incredible signal speed to you, then you’re talking.

Long story short: if your HDMI cable is a relic or of an older HDMI standard, you could experience refresh rate and resolution issues when plugging it into recent, more advanced hardware. Or, the graphics performance won’t be as desired.

Do HDMI Cables Make a Difference in Gaming?

A man playing game

An HDMI 2.0 or 2.1 cable could provide better gaming performance than cables rated for use with earlier HDMI version hardware, as 2.0 can handle a lot more bandwidth than HDMI 1.4.

And HDMI 2.1 takes those capabilities only further.

Launched in 2018, HDMI 2.1 supports 8K resolution and higher with a maximum 48 Gbps bandwidth.

While HDMI 2.0 can do 4K at 60 Hz, v2.1 facilitates 4K at 120 Hz (plus HDR), and 8K at 60 Hz. The 2.1 standard shines through in high-end gaming.

Which HDMI Cables Are Best for Gaming?

4K HDR HDMI Cable 6 Feet

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More than the HDMI specification, the cable’s speed rating matters. And that is precisely why HDMI categories its wires based on speed and not HDMI standards.

HDMI cables are categorized for their speed capabilities as follows:

  • Standard (4.95 Gbps bandwidth; good enough for sending 1080p signals to your television, but nothing more)
  • High Speed (10.2 Gbps minimum bandwidth; supports 4K but only at 24 fps)
  • Premium High Speed (up to 18 Gbps of bandwidth; supports 4K at 60 fps)
  • Ultra-High Speed (48 Gbps maximum bandwidth; supports 4K at 120 Hz)

Premium high-speed and ultra-high-speed HDMI cables are undoubtedly ideal for cutting-edge games. Standard HDMI cables are at the other end of the spectrum, and are pretty much passé — at least in the gaming world.

On the other hand, high-speed cables could cut it, provided your gaming hardware pushes 4K content at 24 fps or fewer. For 4K streaming at 60 or 30 frames per second, the high-speed cord will not be able to cope.

Check Cable Descriptions

HDMI Cable 4K 60HZ 6 Foot

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When shopping for the right HDMI cables for gaming, look for items with the qualifiers, “premium high speed” or “ultra-high speed”, somewhere on their packaging.

If you can’t find those terminologies, look for identifiers such as “18 Gbps/48 Gbps” and “4K60/4K120” in the product description, listing, or packaging.

If you couldn’t find them either, it’s safe to assume the cable is not up to snuff.

Kindly note, some “high speed” cables could claim to support premium high-speed cable features such as 4K60 video, 18 Gbps bandwidth, etc. It’s, therefore, essential to read the labels before making the purchase.

Our HDMI Cables Recommendations for Gaming

Monoprice Certified Premium HDMI Cable - Black - 10 Feet | 4K@60Hz, HDR, 18Gbps, 28AWG, YUV 4
Zeskit Maya 8K 48Gbps Certified Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable 6.5ft, 4K120 8K60 144Hz eARC HDR HDCP 2.2 2.3 Compatible with Dolby Vision Apple TV 4K...
KontrolFreek 12FT (3.6m) HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable Supports Ethernet, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), High Dynamic Range Video and 8K Ultra HD @ 60...
Monoprice Certified Premium HDMI Cable - Black - 10 Feet | [email protected], HDR, 18Gbps, 28AWG, YUV 4
Zeskit Maya 8K 48Gbps Certified Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable 6.5ft, 4K120 8K60 144Hz eARC HDR HDCP 2.2 2.3 Compatible with Dolby Vision Apple TV 4K...
KontrolFreek 12FT (3.6m) HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable Supports Ethernet, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), High Dynamic Range Video and 8K Ultra HD @ 60...
Monoprice Certified Premium HDMI Cable - Black - 10 Feet | 4K@60Hz, HDR, 18Gbps, 28AWG, YUV 4
Monoprice Certified Premium HDMI Cable - Black - 10 Feet | [email protected], HDR, 18Gbps, 28AWG, YUV 4
Zeskit Maya 8K 48Gbps Certified Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable 6.5ft, 4K120 8K60 144Hz eARC HDR HDCP 2.2 2.3 Compatible with Dolby Vision Apple TV 4K...
Zeskit Maya 8K 48Gbps Certified Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable 6.5ft, 4K120 8K60 144Hz eARC HDR HDCP 2.2 2.3 Compatible with Dolby Vision Apple TV 4K...
KontrolFreek 12FT (3.6m) HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable Supports Ethernet, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), High Dynamic Range Video and 8K Ultra HD @ 60...
KontrolFreek 12FT (3.6m) HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable Supports Ethernet, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), High Dynamic Range Video and 8K Ultra HD @ 60...

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

The above information should do you good when shopping for an HDMI cable suitable for your gaming requirements.

But if you don’t want to read up materials and base your shopping decisions on them, or do not have the time and energy to research cables and compare them, let us cut you the ordeal.

Here are our top HDMI gaming cable recommendations you could blindly pick from and call it a day:

Monoprice Certified Premium HDMI Cable

Sale
Monoprice Certified Premium HDMI Cable - Black - 10 Feet | [email protected], HDR, 18Gbps, 28AWG, YUV 4
  • These certified premium high speed HDMI cables are the only HDMI cables to be tested and Certified...
  • Comprehensive testing: Each cable length has been individually tested and Certified to deliver the...
  • Dual video stream: This high speed HDMI cable supports the simultaneous delivery of dual video...

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Did we say, “bang for your buck”? That’s what the brand Monoprice and its offerings are all about — case in point: the Monoprice Certified Premium HDMI Cable.

The cable supports 4K at 60 Hz and offers up to 18 Gbps of bandwidth. Granted, it’s not capable of 48 Gbps and 4K at 120 Hz. But it shall still chug along fine for most console and PC gaming requirements.

HDMI-authorized centers have comprehensively tested the cable to support all HDMI specification features. In other words, the cord is certified to provide the complete 18 Gbps of bandwidth.

The Monoprice cord also boasts a high EMI-resistance level, which essentially means reduced interference when there are wireless devices in the cable’s vicinity.

If your previous HDMI 2.0 cable purchases didn’t live up to their expectations or were disappointments, this Monoprice cable would be the one you’d find relief in.

Pros

  • Thick, high-quality build
  • 4K, 60 fps, works like a charm
  • Dual video stream
  • Monoprice’s after-sales support is reliable

Cons

  • Increased thickness also means less flexibility

Zeskit Maya 8K Ultra-High-Speed Cable

Zeskit Maya 8K 48Gbps Certified Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable 6.5ft, 4K120 8K60 144Hz eARC HDR HDCP 2.2 2.3 Compatible with Dolby Vision Apple TV 4K...
  • Cable length: 2m / 6.5ft
  • Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable Certified (w/ Hologram Sticker)
  • 48Gbps bandwidth for latest features HDR, HDCP 2.2 & 2.3, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

To be honest, you don’t “need” an HDMI 2.1 cord capable of 48 Gbps bandwidth and 4K at 120 Hz. But if you have a gaming console capable of 4K at 120 fps, and a monitor with a 120 Hz refresh rate, pairing them with an HDMI 2.0 cable would be a grave injustice.

The Zeskit Maya 8K is an ultra-high-speed cable that can do 4K at 120 Hz, and 8K at 60 fps. The 48 Gbps bandwidth support means it can do HDCP 2.2 & 2.3, eARC, QFT (quick frame transport), QMS (quick media switching), ALLM (auto low latency mode), and much more.

The cable bears the UHS label provided by the HDMI Forum, verifying it is compliant with the purported HDMI 2.1 standards. It uses Category 3 approved connectors and has an extremely low EMI rating.

Kindly note, the aforementioned certification program began around November 2020, and Zeskit launched this cable in March 2020. As a result, all cables sold before December 2020 will not carry the sticker.

If your unit doesn’t have one, fret not and seek an exchange. And if you choose to keep the cable, you would still have an HDMI 2.1-compliant cable.  

Pros

  • Well-built and quite flexible
  • Uses approved Category 3 connector
  • Low EMI rating
  • UHS sticker
  • Compatible with all HDMI 2.1 devices

Cons

  • Some quality control issues

CableCreation 8K Ultra-High-Speed HDMI Cable

KontrolFreek 12FT (3.6m) HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable Supports Ethernet, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), High Dynamic Range Video and 8K Ultra HD @ 60...
  • HIGH SPEED DATA CAPACITY: KontrolFreek’s High-speed 12FT HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable supports HDMI...
  • SHARP & CLEAR GAMING EXPERIENCE: High-quality gold-plated contacts minimize interference, signal...
  • ULTRA DURABLE DESIGN: Aluminum housing with flex strain relief and a high-quality nylon braided...

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

The CableCreation high-speed 8K HDMI cable supports all advanced audio and video formats specific to HDMI 2.1.

For instance, support for 12-bit color processing tech and unique Dynamic HDR means you see ideal brightness, depth, detail, and contrast in your gaming scenes.

The smooth and fluid gameplay means no screen tearing and choppy animation. The cable also supports 3D, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, eARC, and much more.

The cable comes in different colors (red, blue, green, and grey) and lengths (3.3 feet to 10 feet). It’s sturdily built and surprisingly pliant. The casing is aluminum, and the connector is plated with 24K gold.

Though the gold covering doesn’t necessarily improve cable performance, it certainly helps keep the cord corrosion-free for longer.

If you’ve not erected an HDMI 2.1 entertainment center at your place yet, the cable would happily wait and perform once you’re ready to roll with your HDMI 2.1 equipment.

Pros

  • Ticks all the right boxes for a 2.1 cable
  • Triple shielding for optimal conductivity and signal transmission
  • The braided outer sheath means extreme longevity
  • Gold-plated, corrosion-free, heat-resistant connector

Cons

  • It could have been longer than 10 feet

Honorable Mentions

The following are some HDMI cables that were considered for the list above but couldn’t make it due to specific reasons:

Amazon Basics High-Speed HDMI Cable (18Gbps, 4K/60Hz) - 15 Feet, Nylon-Braided
KontrolFreek 12FT (3.6m) HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable Supports Ethernet, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), High Dynamic Range Video and 8K Ultra HD @ 60...
HDMI Cable 8K / 4K – 10ft – with A.I.S Shielding – Designed in Germany (Supports All HDMI Devices Like PS5, Xbox, Switch – 8K@60Hz, 4K@120Hz,...
Amazon Basics High-Speed HDMI Cable (18Gbps, 4K/60Hz) - 15 Feet, Nylon-Braided
KontrolFreek 12FT (3.6m) HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable Supports Ethernet, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), High Dynamic Range Video and 8K Ultra HD @ 60...
HDMI Cable 8K / 4K – 10ft – with A.I.S Shielding – Designed in Germany (Supports All HDMI Devices Like PS5, Xbox, Switch – [email protected], [email protected],...
Amazon Basics High-Speed HDMI Cable (18Gbps, 4K/60Hz) - 15 Feet, Nylon-Braided
Amazon Basics High-Speed HDMI Cable (18Gbps, 4K/60Hz) - 15 Feet, Nylon-Braided
KontrolFreek 12FT (3.6m) HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable Supports Ethernet, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), High Dynamic Range Video and 8K Ultra HD @ 60...
KontrolFreek 12FT (3.6m) HDMI 8K Ultra Gaming Cable Supports Ethernet, 3D, Audio Return Channel (ARC), High Dynamic Range Video and 8K Ultra HD @ 60...
HDMI Cable 8K / 4K – 10ft – with A.I.S Shielding – Designed in Germany (Supports All HDMI Devices Like PS5, Xbox, Switch – 8K@60Hz, 4K@120Hz,...
HDMI Cable 8K / 4K – 10ft – with A.I.S Shielding – Designed in Germany (Supports All HDMI Devices Like PS5, Xbox, Switch – [email protected], [email protected],...

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

  • The Amazon Basics high-speed HDMI Cable is similar to our budget Monoprice recommendation. However, when poring over the reviews for the two cables, quite a few satisfied Monoprice cable buyers mentioned the Amazon cable let them down earlier. That moved the needle in Monoprice’s favor for us.  
  • KontrolFreek 8K gaming cable almost made it to our list. But because it had relatively less buyer feedback, it had to be pared out. You may, however, still check the cable out and buy it if it meets your needs.
  • The KabelDirekt 10ft HDMI 2.1 cable would have been a part of the list if we extended the list to four products. We chose to keep the list short consisting of three cables, and the KabelDirekt cord, therefore, couldn’t be a part of it.

Conclusion

A man playing game with control

Gaming on a 4K monitor capable of a 120 Hz refresh rate would need a cable that can do a lot more than the standard HDMI cable, which you use to watch your favorite movies and shows on your 1080p TV.

That, however, doesn’t imply you must pay a premium for cables that cater to your 4K at 60/120 fps gaming needs. The HDMI cords recommended above do the job pretty well and relatively affordably.

If a sales guy tries to sell you a cable for a hundred dollars, or if you come across an overtly elaborate landing page with 3D mock-ups and close-up shots of the cord in question from all possible angles, steer clear.

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