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Does 4K Matter for Gaming?


Here’s some good news: 4K monitors are now more affordable. That means that anyone who wants to upgrade their gaming setup can now save a few bucks buying 4K compared to buying it years ago. 

However, does this mean that you have to upgrade to a 4K monitor to enjoy a better gaming experience?

For a short answer, not necessarily. 4K resolution, although more affordable today, does not necessarily improve your gaming experience if you factor in refresh rates and fluidity.

Nonetheless, we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of getting a 4K monitor for gaming. 

Most importantly, by the end of this post, you will be able to decide for yourself if investing in a 4K monitor is worth it or not.

What are the Advantages of 4K in Gaming? 

A man playing game on 4K monitor

There are several advantages of a higher-resolution monitor, and the most popular one is the improved image quality. 

This is better explained when compared to another widely used gaming monitor, the 1080p.

A 1080p monitor  has 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels. On the other hand, a 4K monitor  has 3840 horizontal pixels and 2160 vertical pixels. 

If we use the same-sized 27-inch monitor, then the density of the pixels is higher at 4K. This means that the image quality is better and the image will look more realistic. 

If you’re playing a single-player game with landscape graphics, then the difference between the two monitors is going to be very obvious. 

Another advantage of the 4K monitor is the range of colors it can create. It also creates more depth in the images compared to a 1080p monitor’s image depth. 

And then there’s future-proofing. With the commercialization of 4K monitors, there’s a high chance that they will replace 1080p as the new standard in TV and gaming. 

When this happens, it’s only going to be a matter of time before the prices become even more affordable. 

What are the Disadvantages of 4K in Gaming?

girl playing games on HDR monitor

Despite having improved images, there are also downsides to buying a 4K monitor. 

First is the cost. 4K monitor prices have gotten lower over the years, but they’re still significantly more expensive than a 1080p monitor .

If you factor in the cost of buying a GPU, this can be even more expensive. This makes people wonder if it’s worth spending hundreds of dollars on. 

The second downside is the refresh rate. 4K monitors  have generally lower refresh rates compared to 1080p monitors because there are more pixels to manage. 

Of course, there are newer 4K monitors that have 60 frames per second (fps), but these models cost a lot. 

This is also the reason why professional e-sports gamers prefer to use 1080p. If you’re playing competitive games, then you would rather have a higher refresh rate than a better quality image. 

Lastly, there is limited content available on 4K resolution. Not a lot of games are available in this version just yet, so it’s not ideal to buy a 4K monitor for gaming. 

When Should You Buy 4K or 1080p for Gaming?

A man chosing monitor in store

Based on the advantages and disadvantages of the two monitors, there are clear instances when you should buy one over the other, like:

  • When you’re on a budget. (1080p monitors are fairly inexpensive, while 4K monitors can cost a few hundred dollars for lower end models.)
  • When you play a variety of games. (1080p monitors remain to be the standard today and because of that, a lot of games are still at this pixel level.)
  • When you play high-speed competitive games. (1080p monitors have fewer pixels; thus, refresh rates tend to be a lot faster than that of 4K monitors.)

On the other hand, there are also instances when buying a 4K monitor is better. Like:

  • When the games that you love already have a 4K version. This is a no-brainer. Since 4K is starting to be more common, some games already have their 4K versions. 
  • When you want to watch movies and TV shows with a higher pixel density. A 4K monitor will have more pixels in any area compared to a 1080p monitor if both monitors were of the same size. So if you watch a lot of scenic videos, a 4K monitor can deliver a better image quality. 
  • When you don’t plan on buying a monitor anytime soon. In other words, if you want to future-proof your TV set, then 4K is the best choice since we’re already moving to use more 4K than 1080p monitors. 

Is 4K Worth It for Gaming?

Woman playing game on multiple monitors

The answer depends on two main things – the games you play and the image quality you are going for.  

We would say that a 4K monitor  is worth it if you play games with your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. These two consoles have 4K-ready games that will allow you to enjoy a 120 fps refresh rate. 

As for image quality, there is no doubt that 4K is better than 1080p; however, be prepared to set up a monitor that’s at least 27 inches so that you can see the significant difference in image quality. 

But then again, this depends on whether the image quality is a priority for you. 

However, if you don’t play games on the consoles we mentioned, then your choices for 4K-ready games are limited. This reduces the “worthiness” of a 4K monitor. 

With that said, a big part of determining whether a 4K monitor is worth it or not is knowing what games you frequently play or are planning to play. Then, identify if those games have a 4K version. 

As of today, 1080p versions are still the most prevalent. This makes 1080p a more value-for-money choice  over 4K if you had to pick just one monitor to use. 

Conclusion

A man playing game

So, does 4K matter for gaming?

At the end of the day, the answer will depend on your priorities, budget, and the games that you play.

4K does have a lot of benefits including better images and depth and relatively wider screens. 

However, it does have some disadvantages too like lower refresh rates, more expensive prices, and limited game choices. 

We hope this article helped you determine if a 4K monitor is worth it for your gaming experience.

Last update on 2022-08-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.


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