Is A 4K Monitor Worth It?

Answer:

If you have a powerful GPU and don’t mind being limited to ~60 FPS, you should get a 4K gaming monitor.

For professional purposes and everyday use, a 4K monitor is worth it, as they’ve become very affordable lately.

With more and more content being available in 4K resolution each day, getting a 4K monitor seems like an inevitable move.

Higher resolution means more details and better image quality for your favorite TV shows, movies, and games as well as more screen real estate for your spreadsheets and web-surfing.

Whether getting a 4K monitor is worth it or not depends on what you’re mainly doing on your computer; do you play video games, are you a content creator, or do you just want everything to be crystal-clear and sharp? Whatever it is, we’ll help you decide. 

4K Monitors For Gaming

If you have a 4K-capable gaming console, then getting a 4K display is a no-brainer for you. Since you are already locked at 30 or 60 FPS anyway, there’s no reason not to get a 4K monitor for your Xbox One X or PS4 Pro.

With the PS5 and Xbox Series X, you should definitely take advantage of their powerful hardware with a 4K 120Hz display.

PC gamers, on the other hand, are in a tight spot as they can choose between a lower resolution display with a higher refresh rate, a 4K monitor, or an ultra-widescreen – which could be considered as something in-between the two.

In the end, it mainly comes down to your personal preference and what type of games you play.

1080p vs 1440p vs 4K PC Gaming & System Requirements

In case you mostly play competitive and fast-paced video games, you’d be better off getting a 1080p or 1440p gaming monitor with a 240Hz refresh rate.

Lower resolution means more frames per second, which results in lower input lag and smoother performance, something every serious competitive player will prioritize.

If you prefer better visuals and exceptional picture quality, then you should pick a 4K or an ultra-wide monitor instead.

Keep in mind though that you will need a powerful GPU. In order to comfortably run the 4K resolution at 60 FPS+ and high settings in newer games, the RTX 3080 is recommended.

For the best performance results, you should pick a 4K gaming monitor with the variable refresh rate technology.

Variable Refresh Rate: FreeSync vs. G-SYNC

is 4k pc gaming worth it

Most of the 4K gaming monitors come with the variable refresh rate technology either in the form of NVIDIA’s G-SYNC or AMD’s FreeSync.

This technology allows you to synchronize the monitor’s refresh rate with the GPU’s frame rate. As a result, you gain a more stable FPS rate without screen tearing and stuttering within the dynamic refresh rate range.

4K Monitor For Professional Use

do i need a 4k monitor

If you are a content creator, getting a 4K monitor can certainly sound tempting as you’d be able to provide your subscribers with the impeccable picture quality.

Video and photo editing will also be more enjoyable due to the higher image quality with more vivid details and more screen real estate.

However, there are certain things you should consider. Since the 4K resolution offers such high pixel density even on a 32-inch monitor, elements like text and icons will be tiny – meaning that you will have to scale the image up, and some applications in Windows don’t scale all that well.

Due to the high pixel density of the display and poor scaling support of some software such as Photoshop, you’d get a highly detailed image overview, but the interface would be either too large or too small in comparison to the rest of the screen. All this can be bothersome, but it is tolerable.

should i buy a 4k monitor

Another thing you should take into account is your hardware. Rendering 4K content requires a lot of RAM, a strong GPU/CPU, and you will need extra storage – according to how complex your videos are and what format you’re using.

So, even though you can get a 4K monitor cheap nowadays, hardware to properly power it for some purposes is still expensive.

And when you consider that most of your viewers will still be watching your content in 1080p since it’s still the standard and the most widespread resolution, you might want to ask yourself whether it is all really worth it.

In conclusion, if you can afford to edit in 4K, then getting a 4K monitor is probably worth it, but at the same time, you shouldn’t feel like you have to rush to get one since 1080p is still the most popular resolution.

4K Monitor – Everyday Use

what is a 4k monitor

If you’re just looking for a monitor to watch 4K movies and TV shows, to web-surf, and for other basic multimedia activities, a 4K monitor is a viable choice. In fact, some 4K monitors are even cheaper than some 1440p displays.

Unless you are gaming, you won’t need a powerful system either.

Any 4th or 5th generation Intel integrated graphics supports 4K resolution, and you will be able to watch 4K movies without any issues. Still, a dedicated graphics card is preferred, at least a cheap one such as the AMD Raden RX 550 or NVIDIA GTX 1030.

You should also keep in mind that to watch 4K content online via streaming, you need a fast internet connection, at least 25 Mbps.

When choosing a 4K monitor, there are additional things to consider, such as display size, panel, connectivity, etc. You can learn more about that here.

Conclusion

Getting a 4K monitor can be worth it since there’s an abundance of compatible content available nowadays.

However, if you want to play video games or use it for professional purposes, you need to make sure your hardware will be able to handle it before you go out and purchase the monitor.

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Rob Shafer
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.