1080p vs 4K for Gaming: Is There Really a HUGE Difference?

1080p vs 4K Gaming

The release of the first 4K monitor back in 2013 opened an opportunity for gamers to experience gaming in 4K resolution. Sony and Microsoft even jumped in the bandwagon soon after and released 4K-Ready consoles.

Since then, more and more 4K monitors are being released and prices dropped significantly. With that in mind, is it really worth getting a 4K monitor today for gaming?

We pointed out the differences below to give you a better view of whether or not you should get a 4K monitor today.

Gaming at 1080p

Gaming at 1080p resolution is still the standard for gaming these days. In fact, professional competitive eSports gamers prefer gaming on a 1080p monitor for a reason.

It isn’t just about the frame rates but it’s because you need a monitor that’s larger than 24” for a 4K resolution. Larger monitors may sound great but this puts competitive gamers at a great disadvantage because of the large area the eye needs to travel.

Our Pick
ASUS VG248QE

ASUS VG248QE

The ASUS VG248QE is our personal pick from all the 1080p gaming monitors because of two things: it’s a 144Hz/1ms 1080p gaming monitor with a really, really cheap budget. It does the job out of the box but just make sure you have a spare DisplayPort or DVI-dual link cable for the 144Hz refresh rate.

Gaming at 4K

Gaming at 4K resolution is outstanding. Compared to 1080p resolution, you'll right away see how great the color quality and depth is.

A 4K resolution has 4 times the pixel count a 1080p monitor has. This means you will see better image quality and clarity overall. Comparing them side by side shows the difference and superiority of a 4K monitor over a 1080p monitor.

The fact that there are so many 1080p gaming monitors out there is something you should consider. We have checked a lot of gaming monitors here at WePC and we surely have a personal favorite...

We also have a personal pick in the 4K monitor category. For this matter, we went for the best 4K gaming monitor that offers more than just being a 4K resolution...

Our Pick
AOC AGON AG271UG

AOC AGON AG271UG

One thing we personally love about the AGON AG271UG is the fact that this is an IPS monitor. As most of us know, IPS monitors show far better image quality compared to TN panels. So instead of just staring plainly in awe at a 4K resolution image, you also immerse yourself deeper into the graphical image display from an IPS panel.

1080p vs 4K monitor: The Difference

Screen Size

1080p vs 4K monitor The Difference Screen Size

A 1080p resolution is best experienced on a 24” monitor. Anything that’s larger than that and you’re bound to see individual pixels.

If you want to experience the best graphics details in 4K resolution, get a monitor that’s larger than 24”. It may be possible to experience 4K resolution on a 24” monitor but texts will be very hard to read. Ideally, a 27” monitor is preferred when gaming in 4K resolution.

In-Game Visuals

1080p monitors may be tailored as Full HD but 4K monitors are recognized as Ultra HD for a reason.

As you can see from the video above, a 4K resolution that's set to low settings shows poor shadow graphics quality. Even so, it still displays outstanding color quality and depth.

Long Term / Future Proof

Investing in a 1080p monitor is great these days but considering how cheap 4K monitors have become, it’s likely that you’re interested in getting one.

These are still new, which means you get to enjoy playing games in 4K resolution without any worries of replacing them anytime soon. Sure there are 5K monitors out there but we just don’t have the hardware yet, which leads to our next criteria.

Hardware Requirement

Hardware Requirement

Most graphics cards you could get today are able to run games at 1080p over 60 FPS in most AAA games.

If you wish to play AAA games in 4K resolution, you need a GTX 1070 or a GTX 1080, as well as their Ti variants. To date, these are the only graphics cards capable of running 4K resolution. In fact, the GTX 1080 Ti is the only graphics card capable of running AAA games at 60 FPS in 4K resolution.

Compatibility Issue

Most monitors you could get today, depending on the brand and feature, is guaranteed to run in 1080p resolution.

If you get a 4K monitor, it’s not guaranteed that you play all the games in 4K resolution. Sure most of the AAA games may support 4K but not all games support it. This is especially true in older games because images are basically upscaled instead of being displayed in 4K.

Price

You can get a 1080p monitor with a budget of $200 or even less. Prices vary depending on the monitor’s refresh rate, adaptive sync technology, response time, and brand.

A 4K monitor, on the other hand, is still expensive compared to 1080p monitors. On top of that, you need to consider features such as adaptive sync technology, refresh rate, response time, and brand.

So the real question is...

Should I Get a 1080p or a 4K for Gaming?

It all boils down to preference, really.

If you wish to play competitive games, I’d recommend you get a 1080p monitor. This should give you the benefit and advantage of being able to play effectively.

A 4K monitor may sound great but the fact that this needs a large monitor puts competitive gamers at a great disadvantage.

If you just want to play games in 4K or perhaps graphics detail and quality is what matters more to you, a 4K monitor will definitely be a smart investment. With the popularity of 4K rising, it’s likely that this is going to be the new 1080p standard soon.

Final Thoughts

So is it worth getting a 4K monitor for gaming?

Definitely. The overall image quality and depth of color is something you won’t experience on a 1080p monitor no matter what adjustments you make.

The real question is: do you need it?

Not necessarily. There are a number of factors that you need to consider and this include whether or not you have the hardware that’s capable of displaying a 4K resolution. TN vs IPS Gaming: Which Monitor is Best for Gamers? This is another thing that you need to consider when choosing a 4K monitor.

If you want to maximize the graphics quality of images displayed, get an IPS panel. On the other hand, go with a TN panel if you want to play competitive games on a 27” 4K monitor.

If hardware and money isn’t an issue, by all means, do get a 4K gaming monitor and you’ll never have any regrets.

If you're looking for the best 4K gaming monitor to buy in 2018, check out our buying guide

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