When you’re looking for your next monitor, you’ll probably be looking at the resolutions that are supported. Of course this is determined by your graphics card’s abilities as well, but generally it’s one of the first things you look at when looking for a new gaming monitor.
In this article, we’re going to give you the full lowdown on what the best resolution for PC gaming is in 2018.
What’s The Best Resolution For Gaming?
When it comes to gaming, a higher resolution always requires more power. So before we go any further, you need to know if your graphics card is capable of running the resolution you’re looking at.
That being said, the most commonly used resolution for gaming today is still 1920 x 1080 (Full HD 1080P). Even most budget graphics cards can comfortably run this resolution in 2017.
This would be what I’d consider the absolute minimum resolution for gaming. So we can’t really say it’s the best! If you’re using a lower-end PC for gaming, this might be the best resolution for you though!
The Most Common Gaming Resolutions:
- 1280×720 – HD / 720p
- 1920×1080 – FHD (Full HD) / 1080p
- 2560×1440 – QHD/WQHD (Quad HD) / 1440p
- 3840×2160 – UHD (Ultra HD) / 4K 2160p
- 7680×4320 – FUHD (Full Ultra HD) / 8K 4320p
Of all these resolutions, the most sought after are 4K and 8K resolutions. These require some serious power though.
Generally your resolution is going to be effective if you can run at a minimum of 60 FPS (Frames Per Second). So if you can’t run a game on the highest settings at a minimum of 60 FPS on a 4K monitor then this isn’t going to be the best gaming resolution for you.
A higher resolution does offer it’s advantages, you’ll have nicer graphics and if you’re a competitive player it’ll give you the edge you need over players with more basic setups. A higher resolution is only better though if you can use it and still experience truly smooth gameplay.
4K is considered by most at this point to be the true successor to 1080p setups. The feeling being that over time 4K will become the most commonly used resolution. It uses 4x the amount of pixels as 1080p so the difference isn’t understated.
A Quick Note On Frame Rates
There’s a little bit more sage advice we have for those of you looking to find the perfect resolution for your gaming setup…
Not all 1080p or 4K monitors are created equal. We’re not just talking about brands either.
A standard $100 1080p monitor is probably going to have a frame rate operating on 60Hz. If you have a decent graphics card, you could still upgrade to a 120Hz monitor that would allow you to output 120 frames every second.
One thing we don’t recommend is running before you can walk, and you need to either upgrade your system specs steadily, or spend a lot of cash in one go to get a high-end system to be able to handle the highest resolutions.
As of the latest figures in the Steam Hardware Survey, 1080p is still the most used display resolution and that figure has grown from 2016 by 5.5%.
This suggests that most people still don’t have the money to upgrade their system to a full 4K display.
What we can’t discount is that a lot of gamers use multi-monitor setups though, and this complicates things. Someone running 3 1080p monitors on 120Hz could still struggle to run 4K. You need a truly beastly setup to run 4K smoothly. While there’s no doubt that you need a high end system to run three 1080p monitors, that’s still the equivalent of one whole monitor off of the 4K standard.
The 1440p Factor
Could this little liked display resolution be the best resolution for gaming?
More high-end gamers who don’t quite have the budget to take the leap to 4K yet are adopting this resolution. With 27″ monitors being the standard, this is my personal preference over a multi-monitor setup for gaming.
If you’re consistently hitting 60 FPS or 120 FPS on your 60Hz or 120Hz 1080p monitor, you’ll find upgrading to 1440p a safe bet. This could be an ideal improvement to your overall gaming experience, and if you’ve benchmarked properly, you’ll know whether you can handle going for a monitor with a higher refresh rate which’ll keep fast-action game smoother than a more basic 1440p display.
At this point, 1440p could be the best resolution for most gamers that aren’t interested in multi-display setups in our opinion.
So Should I Upgrade To 4K Or Not?
If you came to this article looking to find out simply whether or not 4K is the best resolution, if you should upgrade to it and whether you can actually run it… Unfortunately the answer is probably not if you’re not using SLI or Crossfire. If you’re not using at least two very high-end GPUs you’re still going to honestly struggle.
We’ve seen systems that run 1440p at 60FPS comfortably get maybe 20FPS out of 4K on the same settings, but 20 frames per second isn’t good enough to get a consistent gaming experience on the highest settings of any game. It won’t be smooth and some of the newest games will be unplayable on those settings.
It’s not worth the reduction in game experience, so at this point, we can’t really say 4K is the best resolution for gaming. Generally.
Finding the best resolution for your personal gaming experience is based on your hardware, your budget and ensuring that you do the proper benchmarking. Bigger is not always better!
It’s a very subjective thing, as there’s undoubtedly someone reading this who has the system there to support 4K and if you do great, but in 2018 with 1080p still dominating the landscape it seems only logical to say that 1440p displays are the best option available.
What’s your opinion on the best resolution for gaming? Do you think it’s subjective or do you have a more objective point of view? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!