If you’ve been in the gaming community for awhile, then you’ve probably watched the development of 4k gaming monitors with great interest. But if you’re new, or simply uninformed about the latest gaming gadgets, then you could be wondering what the fuss over 4k monitors is all about.
Since their release, new 4k monitors have dropped in price, and they are available almost everywhere. Some models can be bought for a couple hundred bucks, and you can often find some great bargains on discount models. But are they really worth the extra money?
The main point of difference that 4k monitors have over their predecessors is that their maximum resolutions are higher. At 3840×2160, this is almost four times as many pixels as a standard 1920×1080 or 1080p display, which is why people are getting so excited.
What To Consider Before Moving To 4k: Your Operating System
There are a few unexpected anomalies when using a 4k monitor for Windows machines. For starters, if you have a small 4k monitor, then everything will look tiny on it. Although you’ll be able to see a lot of content on the screen, it could be hard to read any of it, which is a symptom of their extreme resolutions (3840×2160).
Another issue is that desktop web pages are designed for typical display sizes, meaning that you may see a narrow column down one part of your screen. The good news is that if you are willing to invest in a 4k monitor that is large enough, this problem is eliminated!
One other solution for using a 4k monitor on Windows is by making a couple of tweaks under the hood. These changes can help fix the problem of small interface elements, thereby making them appear larger, but still sharper than they’ll look on a lower-resolution display.
Windows 10 has a set of native scaling features to make the transition to 4k much easier, but even then their solution is far from perfect. Some applications will still look blurry when they’re enlarged to suit a high-resolution display.
Window’s rival, Mac OS X, deals with this issue better, as the Retina displays on Apple’s Macs also work with 4k displays. Still, some applications are not up to date to work with 4k out out of the box, but most Mac applications are being updated to support high end display scaling.
Linux desktops also have different scaling features, as most popular distributions of the open source OS include high-resolution display support.
4k For PC Gaming
A big reason for why people are excited about 4k monitors is their untapped gaming potential — although there are some important caveats here.
In order to run games at 4k with high quality settings, you’re going to need to invest in some high-end hardware. The new resolutions provided by these screens are so demanding in fact, that there’s a good chance that you’d prefer low-resolution gaming with more frames-per-second than 4k gaming. Most games today are not yet optimized for 4k, and they might not look as good as you might expect them to.
Additionally, 4K demands that get not just one, but two or more top of the line graphics card in order to get the most out of your setup.
So in general, 4k gaming is not quite feasible yet due to the extra demands that it places on your rig (and not to mention your wallet). Still, if you’re keen to experiment with the bleeding edge of 4k, then you could get away with using the monitor for games but at lower quality settings, which seems to be the only practical solution, at least for the time being.
Conclusion: Is a 4k Monitor Worth it?
So is a 4k display worth the extra cost, hassle, and expense of updating the rest of your rig? The answer is that it depends. There’s always going to be some growing pains when updating to any new piece of hardware that hasn’t been fully adopted by the market; it just comes with the territory.
It also depends on what your intentions are with using the monitor. Because keep in mind that you can use a 4k display for more than just gaming: videos will render incredible detail, photos will look great and have vibrancy to them. In short, there’s a lot of untapped potential for 4k monitors, and we’ve only just started to get the most out of them.
4k monitors are perhaps the hottest things to hit the gaming community for this year. But like most things electronic, if you’re patient enough to hold out for a few months to a year, then we should see 4k screens significantly drop in price, as well as giving time for manufacturers and software companies to enable their applications to work with 4k.