4k Gaming – Reviews of the Best PC’s, GPU’s, Games, Benchmarks, Monitors Available for Sale 2016
Top 5 GPU’s for Gaming at 4k Resolution
1. Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
|This is it, the Nvidia GTX 1080 is the single best GPU we’ve yet seen by a long shot, the 4K gaming graphics card we’ve been waiting for since 4K gaming was a thing and now its on sale for one stunningly affordable price. Across all performance metrics for HD, 1440p and most importantly, 4K gaming, nothing from either AMD or Nvidia beats this superb Pascal-powered GPU and its GDDR5X memory. We can’t recommend the GTX 1080 enough!||
4.6 - 213 Reviews
2. Nvidia GeForce GTX TITAN X
|The GeForce GTX TITAN X combines sleek design with killer graphics. This GPU allows you to enjoy incredibly realistic graphics that don't tear thanks to the NVIDIA G-SYNC display technology. Some technical aspects that amplify your gaming experience include: a 3,072 CUDA Core, 12GB of GDD5 memory, Temperature Target Control and power efficient performance.||
4.7 - 175 Reviews
3. Geforce GTX 1070
|Meet Nvidia’s spectacularly advanced, VR and HDR-capable GTX 1070 GPU, one of the latest models in the gaming company’s next-generation line of high performance graphic cards. The GTX 1070 in particular is the competitive 1440p and high frame rate HD gamer’s graphics card par excellence and its heavy duty specs back this claim up nicely with a 1506MHz core clock, 8GB VRAM and Nvidia’s new Pascal chipset architecture, which is designed to offer exceptionally fine handling of both Virtual reality gaming and high dynamic range gaming as both emerge much more in late 2016 and 2017.||
4.6 - 228 Reviews
4. Geforce GTX 1060
|Nvidia’s GTX 1060 is the GPU makers answer to today’s frame rate hungry HD and 1440p gamers. Thus this GPU includes the new high-efficiency Pascal chipset architecture of all 2016 Nvidia cards and also offers up the same advanced HDR support and Virtual Reality gaming capacities along with too many other powerful features to list here in detail. Featuring a 1506MHz core clock, 192GB/s memory bandwidth and a 6GB GDDR5 VRAM, the GTX 1060 is one very serious card that comes at a very decent price if you’re interested in excellent performance for your competitive 1080p and 1440p gaming needs.||
4.7 - 131 Reviews
5. AMD Radeon RX 480
|One of the best mid-range GPU available on the market. Polaris architecture with 14nm processors in order to deliver high performance gaming. HDMI 2.0b, Displayport 1.4 & 1.3, HDR and Freesync. Overall an excellent GPU for the price range.||
4.3 - 202 Reviews
Top 5 4k Gaming Monitors
1. Acer Predator XB321HK bmiprz 27-inch / 32 inch IPS UHD G-Sync Monitor
|The Acer Predator XB321HK is probably one of the best 4K gaming monitors we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing to-date. With superb connectivity for all sorts of PC gaming and workstation needs, the inclusion of Nvidia G-Sync technology for smooth gameplay and some truly excellent color and contrast specs, the XB321HK delivers just about everything a serious 4K PC gamer could want. Its massive 32 inch display also offers plenty of immersion.||
Our Rating: A-
2. ASUS MG28UQ 28" 4K 1ms Gaming Monitor
|The Asus MG28UQ may not be the flashiest 4K gaming monitor on the market but it delivers all the essentials superbly and at an excellent price. HDMI 2.0, HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort and multiple USB 3.0 ports all share space in a sleek matte black monitor which is fully adjustable for height, pivot, tilt and rotation. Even better, AMD GPU synchronization in the form of AdaptiveSync technology for an even smoother 4K or 1440p PC gameplay experience at a great budget price.||
Our Rating: A-
3. LG Electronics 4K UHD 27" Monitor 27UD68-P
|LG’s 27UD68 is one seriously advanced and stylish piece of 4K PC display technology. Its virtually bezel-free display offers excellent immersiveness and includes AMD FreeSync for smoother 4K gameplay. Furthermore, as an IPS monitor with 10-bit color support, the 27UD68 renders excellent color vibrancy and wonderfully wide viewing angles. Even better still, the connectivity specs of this model are downright cutting-edge, with dual HDMI 2.0 ports and DisplayPort 1.2a.||
Our Rating: A
4. Samsung UE590 UHD-QHD Monitor U28E590D 28-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor
|AMD FreeSync, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 and some truly stunning visual performance all combine together in the stylish design of the Samsung UE590 4K IPS monitors. These are sincerely excellent models of 4K gaming and home office display technology. Coming in both a compact 24 inch model and a spacious 28 inch version, the UE590 is decently priced and one of our favorite 4K gaming monitors to-date.||
Our Rating: A
5. Dell 4K S2817Q 28" Screen LCD Monitor with Built In Subwoofer
|Dell’s S2817Q comes loaded with superb connectivity specs and offers some of the best performing built-in speakers we’ve seen on any 4K monitor in recent memory. With multiple USB 3.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2 and mini DP 1.2 as well as dual HDMI 2.0 ports with MHL, the S2817Q comes with everything you need for a complete gaming hookup. This model’s color and contrast performance are great and the IPS panel delivers excellent viewing angles. Also, did we mention that the S2817Q is wonderfully priced?||
Our Rating: A
What is 4K Gaming?
4K ultra HD gaming isn’t so much about the games themselves as it is about the hardware. Right off the bat, you should understand that.
Yes, there are games being put on the market that are specifically designed for native 4K ultra HD resolution as their ideal and while there are also older games that simply won’t work well on a 4K PC. However, the real meat of gaming in this awesome ultra HD resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels really lies in the hardware you use to play all sorts of PC games designed with HD or outright 4K in mind.
This is because if you already have a 4K UHD PC in hand, you can take almost any newer game, even if it hasn’t been developed to scale completely to 4K UHD graphics and simply upscale it so that it renders (usually) smoothly on a fully 4K screen. Of course, there are also games being sold that play best at 4K resolutions, are designed for 4K resolutions and can only be played on Full HD PCs if they’re actually scaled down to their lowest levels of detail.
Thus, in simple terms, 4K PC gaming is all about having a killer UHD Monitor (or 4K TV that hooks up smoothly to your PC) and a gaming rig PC with the GPU, processing, connectivity and RAM hardware to handle playing the best ultra-detailed games at full-blown ultra HD resolution.
However, this isn’t exactly easy to pull off and only very, recently have graphic cards begun to emerge which are genuinely capable of managing 4K gaming at serious frame rates and detail leves.
Best of all, the game hardware landscape has improved a lot since the more pessimistic days of mid-2014. If you read some of the content on the web that comes from mi last year, you’ll often hear about how you can only have 4K gaming at 30 frames per second or less, or how you need at least 3 or 4 GPUs running together to manage any sort of ultra HD gameplay at anything resembling a smooth flow of motion and decent detail levels. And then there was also all the talk of pricing and how ridiculously expensive UHD PCs are.
Well, these things have changed quite a bit in the last year, and while 4K gameplay is still not nearly as affordable as normal HD PC gaming, it’s getting a lot cheaper than it was even 7 months ago. Best of all, the key manufacturers of GPUs, Nvidia and AMD have finally started kicking out graphics cards that can really chew up 4K resolution on most games at at least decent frame rates in high and ultra detail levels and at excellent frame rates in mid-level detail settings.
This is a definite improvement over 2014 and GPUs like NVIDIA’s new 2016 Pascal graphics cards, the somewhat older GTX 980 Ti and Titan X from Nvidia or the new AMD Radeon 300x line and the Radeon 295X2 are not only solid at most types of 4K PC gaming, they’re also surprisingly affordable. All the more when you take into account that these new GPUs can work alone in a 4K PC. You no longer need to buy several graphics cards and hook them together.
So what tools will I need to game at ultra HD Resolution
For starters, all gamers who want to do their gameplay at full 4K resolution will need that most basic and fundamental piece of hardware: the 4K ultra HD display screen.
This can take the form of either a 4K PC monitor, of which there are many available models now, or a 4K TV, which will come with a lot more connectivity options and a far more robustly noticeable UHD resolution clarity thanks to its larger size.
Whichever of the two is the case, the display absolutely will also need either an HDMI 2.0 port or a DisplayPort 1.2 connection port built into it. This is crucial for running 4K graphics between the PC and the screen at a robust and smooth Hz instead of the 30 Hz offered by HDMI 1.4 ports.
Almost any smaller, cheaper 4K TV from Samsung, Sony, Vizio or LG will easily give you at least the HDMI 2.0 ports and some models even include DisplayPort 1.2 connections. However, 4K TVs, even small ones, will also cost at least $800 and that’s at a bare minimum.
On the other hand, 4K monitors are a lot more affordable and a number of models now well for well below $500, though not all of them include connectivity for HDMI 2.0, so this is something that you’ll have to check as you shop around. Additionally, if you can get your hands on a monitor with G-Synch technology built into it. You will not only experience smoother gameplay, the machine is also guaranteed to have compatibility with the best 4K video cards on the market, which come from from Nvidia
Next up is getting your hands on a robust GPU and a solid processor. These are two of the most crucial parts of a clean, smooth gaming experience in 4K and we cover them in a lot more detail below.
GPUs for Gaming your way to 60 frames per second
The real holy grail of gaming in either HD or ultra HD resolution on a PC is managing to pull it off at very close to or even beyond 60 frames per second. This is what has been so difficult with 4K PCs since the possibility of gaming at this resolution even emerged and only now are GPUs emerging that can handle all those pixels fast enough to deliver the smoothness of 60 frames per second.
The bottom line is that this simply isn’t easy to pull off and we have to give a lot of kudos to makers like AMD and Nvidia for having pulled off what they’ve managed. The temperature and power strains on a GPU that manages to refresh 8.2 million pixels 60 times per second are big and this is why even powerful graphics cards like AMD’s former flagship the R9 290 couldn’t pull off more than 30 fps on resolution heavy 4K games and even then would often heat up to a skin-frying 95 degrees celcius.
Only recently have GPUs like Nvidias amazingly powerful new GTX 1080 and Titan X (2016) Pascal graphics cards, or to a lesser extent their GTX 980 Ti, Titan X (2015) and somewhat older but still very powerful Titan Z emerged with the ability to actually handle many UHD games like Crysis 3, Assasins Creed Unity, Battlefield 4 and Ryse: Son of Rome at speeds of up to or sometimes even beyond 60 fps. Furthermore, all of these are single GPU units, which makes their achievement all the more impressive.
Then there are the newest AMD graphics cards. These can also perform admirably at 4K resolution and relatively high frame rates while managing to do it without running nearly as hot as used to be the case. The AMD Radeon 295X2 is one particularly powerful unit that regularly manages 60 fps even at high detail settings for many middle-weight 4K games and can come close to 60 frames even for really graphics intensive games like Battlefield 4.
Then there are the new 300X GPUs like the R9 390X, which is also a very decent single GPU unit and comparable to Nvidia’s GTX 980 Ti in terms of processing power.
Finally, and these are brand new, there are the AMD Radeon Fury and Fury X cards, which are essentially the new flagship GPUs from AMD. Their performance in 4K settings is genuinely impressive and has even been shown to beat the Titan X during benchmark testing in some regards.
These latter GPUs come with high-bandwidth memory (HBM) as an integral feature and due to its ability to run much better memory bandwidth than the aging GDDR5 infrastructure, they offer some of the fastest and most efficient single-GPU power available today.
Another crucial thing to keep in mind about any of the above GPUs is their cooling requirements and power supply needs. For example, the Radeon 295X2, with it’s dual GPU architecture, comes with an entire liquid cooling and air cooling combo that your PC tower will have to make room for. Furthermore, it sucks up a monstrous 500 watts of power and you need to be ready for this with the right kind of power box. The Titan X from Nvidia, on the other hand, eats up 600 watts of power and though it’s air cooled and much more efficient at keeping to a reasonable temperature, installing it means making sure that that heat gets funneled out of your PC tower and not into the rest of your internal hardware, where it can build up.
Finally, the really hardcore GPUs and power requirements described above are all about gaming at the full 60 frames and at high detail levels. If you’re happy with enjoying your 4K games at medium or low detail settings or can manage at a slightly choppy 30 frames per second, your 4K gaming experience becomes a lot easier. AT these settings, even a couple of Nvidia GTX 970 units or possibly a single 980 will be more than enough.
We’ve actually reviewed several of these graphics cards (or all of them, depending on when you read this) here at 4K.com and you can check out those review above on this same page.
What to look for in a 4K Monitor
4K monitors come in all shapes and sizes, and many of the latest models not only offer better than ever connectivity, they also cost less than they used to.
For the time being, no UHD monitor is equipped to handle ultra HD resolution at more than 60Hz, so pushing your gamin to beyond that level is pretty much pointless for now. However, sooner or later, DisplayPort 1.3 will emerge in newer 4K PC displays and then GPU technology will have to catch up all over again.
Right now however, 4K monitors for PC gaming have a couple of crucial requirements. For starters, make sure your 4K screen comes with at least a DisplayPort 1.2 port. This will give you your 60Hz refresh rate and all of the GPUs we covered above are built with DP 1.2 connectivity.
You can also go for a monitor with both DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0. Of these, there are only a few on sale as of this writing but they offer an entirely new connectivity option for high frame rate UHD gaming and they’re also useful for 4K movie/video streaming from a media box when it comes to market. However, bear in mind that the only GPUs which offer HDMI 2.0 connectivity so far are those from Nvidia, and only their latter models. AMD hasn’t yet caught up to this trend since Display Port dominates the PC market.
The second major factor in choosing a monitor that’s good for gaming involves response time. You want the fastest you can get your hands on and this means going for a TN screen. These monitors offer the best grey-to-grey response times of as little as less than 1 milisecond and –best of all– they’re also the most affordable 4K PC displays on sale right now. The downside of TN screen however is that they also don’t produce the kind of rich color and off-angle viewing clarity that 4K IPS or IGZO screen manage. However, with IGZO and IPS, things not only get pricier, they also get slower since response times slow down to 4 or even 7 milliseconds.
Finally, aim for a 4K monitor with either FreeSync or G-Sync technology built into it. These will match your screens refresh rate to that of your GPU and create a much smoother overall performance, regardless of the native GPU refresh rate. G-Sync belongs to Nvidia and is designed to mesh with its GPUs, while FreeSync is AMD’s technology and aimed at AMD GPUs. Of the two, G-Sync is generally the smoother performer.
Whatever 4K monitor you go for, just make absolutely sure that it is not a 30Hz panel. These are common and very affordable, but what they give you in terms of price is completely ruined by the fact that they simply suck with 4K gaming. No matter how good the rest of your 4K gaming rig is, if your monitor is capable of only 30Hz, it will cause graphics to flicker and you’ll never get to enjoy the smoothness of 4K at 60 frames per second. This is no fun if you’ve already spent $1000 on a GPU specifically because it’s supposed to deliver smooth high frame rate gameplay.
Some Recommendations for your 4K Gaming PC
A full blown 4K gaming rig that’s built to truly handle high levels of 4K graphics at high fps is simply not going to be cheap. The high end GPUs we mentioned above all cost at least $400 (the AMD R9 390X) and as much as $1000 (the Titan X from Nvidia). And these are just your GPUs.
Your PC monitor will run you to at least $400 for a decent TN 60Hz model, and you’ll also need a compatible power supply, motherboard, CPU and some seriously solid RAM, at least 12 and ideally 16 GB of it.
Putting this all together for yourself will cost at least $2300 if you want to play 4K games at maximum possible frame rates and maximum possible detail. If you’re willing to settle for lower levels of 4K gaming, then you could probably put together a 4K gaming PC for just over $1000.
A Word on Game Consoles
While 4K PC gaming can be done at 60 fps with upscaled 1080p HD games and even some of the still few 4K 2160p UHD games out there, even if somewhat expensively, console gaming is a slightly different story.
You can definitely play your favorite console games on a PlayStation or Xbox from a 4K TV and get great graphics and decent rendering at 30 fps with the TVs upscaling engine and the console’s HDMI 1.4 connection. However, if you want to aim for gameplay at 60 frames, you’re still somewhat out of luck.
Most game consoles still just offer Full HD gameplay at 60 frames and their manufacturers are only now beginning to put serious consideration into the upgrades that would make both of the major game consoles on the market fully 4K-ready on the 4K UHD TVs that are growing steadily more popular. Basically, we probably won’t see serious advancements on this front for at least a few more months, until near the middle of 2016 that is.
The Future of 4K Gaming
Where is 4K gaming going you wonder? Well, it’s definitely headed towards the mainstream of home entertainment. It’s already almost there with PC games and it will just be a bit longer before the same happens more formally with console games running with 4K TVs. Here is some available sample 4k videos and here is where you can find movies in 4k.
Just like HD gaming took off and became the gold standard of the gamers experience, the same will happen with its 4K counterpart, at least with offline gaming for the time being and later with online games as internet speeds more widely reach the kinds of 15 to 30Mbps speeds that they’d need to handle game streams at 3840 x 2160 pixels.
Some Awesome 4K Games
Finally, we move down to the meat of the matter with a mention of the kinds of 4K-ready games you can already play. Remember, any game that has been developed with 1080p HD playing in mind is already good to go for any 4K PC or laptop because it can be upscaled by your video card.
But as for native 4K games, the following are some excellent choices to test out if you’ve got your own 4K PC and are rearing to go:
Grand Theft Auto V
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor