With the release of the latest graphics, cards hype for 4K gaming has never been higher. Although 4K looks cool and all but 1080p still reigns when it comes to competitive gaming. At 4K you will have 2160 x 3840 pixels at your disposal whereas 1080p offers only 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The interesting thing is that you can play 4K games on a 1080p monitor. But your experience will differ due to hardware limitations. I’ll be explaining these limitations in detail in this post.
Can You Play 4k Games on A 1080p Monitor?
Let’s first take a look at the 4k game titles. Although ‘4K games’ might sound fancy it just means these games are made to play in 4K resolution. The same definition goes for 1080p games.
So, does that mean you can play a 4K game on a 1080p monitor? The answer is a resounding yes. And, you will have both upside and downside to this situation.
Just as lower resolution contents can be upscaled to 4K, the 4K can be downscaled to any of those lower resolutions. So, what does that mean?
It means that when you run the game, it will automatically run in 1080p. The number of pixels of 4K resolution will be converted into 1080p so that they fit the monitor perfectly
Comparison Between 4k and 1080p
|Height x Width||3840 x 2160||1920 x 1080|
|Optimal viewing distance||>2 ft||>5.2|
|Common media||Streaming, gaming||Gaming consoles, Blu-ray|
|Total pixel count||8294400||2073600|
GPU Performance on 4k vs 1080p
As 4K comes with four times the pixel count of a 1080p monitor. This means the GPU has to handle significantly more pixels. That is why older models of graphics cards do not fare well with the latest 4K games.
Let’s take GeForce RTX 3080 as an example.
|Game Title||Frame rate in 1080p||Frame rate in 4K|
|CyberPunk 2077||102 FPS||40 FPS|
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla||85 FPS||50 FPS|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||152 FPS||55 FPS|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||120 FPS||59 FPS|
|Need For Speed Heat||125 FPS||87 FPS|
It is apparent that in each of the games GPU produces a higher frame rate in lower resolution. Besides all other high-tech tricks, it is mainly because the graphics card has a lower load to handle.
Is 4K Better Than 1080p For Gaming?
4K produces a smoother picture with better details. You would not experience any quality loss even when playing in 4K on big screens.
I would recommend getting a screen larger than 32 inches if you are going 4k. Because the difference would be indistinguishable due to high pixel density on smaller screens. This high resolution offers clearer and crisper image.
The 1080p resolution does not come with details like 4K. It puts significantly less load on the GPU. As a result, you will enjoy a higher frame rate.
It is almost impossible for 4K to beat 1080p resolution when it comes to frame rate. That is why it is a favorite among competitive gamers.
Although 4K is better than 1080p, it has a drawback. The system costs way more money than its lower counterpart. It would be a wise choice if you are not going into competitive gaming and have money to spare.
My Recommended Laptops With 4K Display
Best Budget: HP – Envy 13.3″
There aren’t many that can compete with its 4k when you are on a constrained budget. Although the screen is ~13 inch you will enjoy maximum pixel density.
Best for artists: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581
You will have a secondary screen at your disposal. When combined, this laptop will offer you a lot of creative flexibility.
Best for gaming: MSI GE66 Raider
This laptop comes with a core i-9 and RTX 3080. You will be able to run all the latest titles with maximum performance.
Recommended 4K Monitors
Best overall: Samsung UE57
This 28-inch monitor is not only durable but also offers great durability. You will enjoy a high level of pixel density and a clear, crispy picture.
Best for Gaming: ASUS TUF gaming
This monitor is packed with everything you will need in competitive gaming. From freesync, HDR to eye care and shadow boost, you will enjoy a large arsenal.
Best for professionals: LG 27UN850-W Ultrafine
The color grading makes this monitor of the best candidates. Not only does it come with a borderless design, but it also supports 99% sRGB colors.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Can a 1080p monitor play 4K?
Yes, 1080p monitor can play 4K content
Can I play 4K games on a 1080p laptop?
Not only you can play 4K games on a 1080p laptop but also you can enjoy a few perks too like supersampling.
Can my graphics card run 4K?
Most recent graphics cards can run 4K games. But, how well they can do so depends on numerous factors.
Can you tell the difference between 1080p and 4K on a 1080p monitor?
It is very hard to differentiate between 1080p and 4k on a 1080p monitor. Both contents will look the same as the 4K content will be downscaled.
What is the 4k resolution?
4K resolution has pixel height of 2160 and width 3840 pixels.
Both 4K and 1080p have different use cases. 4K offers the best experience at a steep price. You will have to spend significantly more on a 4K system.
On the other hand, 1080p won’t make a hole in your wallet. Also, it will offer better performance if you are into competitive gaming. So, it is up to you to compare use cases and pick the one best for you.