Well worth playing at 4K
Playing in 4K - is it worth it?
4K gaming was already on everyone's lips before the launch of Playstation 4 and Xbox One. At that time, however, very little remained of the promise made by Microsoft and Sony. There was no "real" 4K even with both Pro consoles - rather, tricks such as upscaling were used. In addition, only selected games for PS4 Pro and Xbox One X support said resolution. There is no need to talk about 60 frames per second here.
After 4K, 8K is already around the corner
Now, however, the PS5 and Xbox Series X are just around the corner, which definitely bring a decent performance with them - that much is certain. Already months before the release there is talk of an 8K resolution that the two gaming devices should support. However, you shouldn't buy a TV that allows this, as the PS4 and Xbox One have already shown when it comes to 4K gaming. But what is it like to play with "real" 3840 x 2160 pixels? DER STANDARD dared to try it with a PC.
Still not really cheap fun
First of all, 4K gaming is still not cheap fun today. On the one hand, you need a powerful graphics card and then also a display that offers the said resolution. If you want to achieve a frame rate above 60 FPS, you can quickly get well over 1,000 euros for the two products alone. Acer provided the STANDARD with a 27-inch screen with 4K resolution and up to 144 Hertz (Predator XB3) and MSI provided an RTX 2080 Super for testing - both come together for a price of around 1,800 euros.
Office work and media consumption in sharp focus
As a 4K newbie, using the desktop for the first time is a feast for the eyes. In a direct comparison with a Full HD screen, the difference is very clear. In direct comparison, the 1080p display looks cloudy, almost blurred. The upgrade is also very positive for office work and media consumption of 4K films or series. Once you get used to the resolution, you don't really want to go back.
Sobering result in gaming
When it comes to gaming, the "wow effect" is no longer too great. For that you have to go back a little. As already mentioned, gaming in 4K resolution requires very powerful hardware. Even this, however, reaches its limits if you also aim for a high frame rate. With the hardware-hungry Control an average of 60 FPS is achieved with activated ray tracing - but the value often fluctuates below that. If the improved light display is deactivated, it fluctuates between 80 and 100 FPS.
Focus on resolution or FPS
Also at Doom Eternal At 4K resolution with maximum graphics settings, the frame rate fluctuates between 60 to 80 FPS. Especially with fast shooters, however, it is now the case that the images per second definitely have an influence on the gaming experience and - from a certain level - also on the result. Even with one of the most powerful and expensive graphics cards currently available for the consumer market, you have to choose between resolution and FPS - if you want to play new and hardware-hungry games with the highest possible settings.
The change from 60 Hz to 144 Hz is more significant
For older and less complex games like League of Legends, GTA 5, Overwatch and Rocket League the full 144 Hz of the screen are used. However, the question arises as to why you should bring such expensive hardware into your home if you only use games that are not too hardware-hungry and where the differences between 4K and Full HD are not too great with normal use. The change from a screen with 60 Hz to 144 Hz, on the other hand, is very noticeable.
In a way, a question of faith
So what about 4K gaming in 2020? You still need a lot of money to play with the said resolution and a frame rate of more than 60 FPS. Is it worth the big investment? Yes and no. In a way, it is a question of faith whether you want the highest possible resolution or frame rate. In the case of the second, at least the author had a greater "wow effect" when gaming. At work and media consumption, however, 4K was a boon - but you don't need powerful gaming hardware in the PC.
What happens next with 4K gaming
Lastly, it will be exciting to see how the PS5 and Xbox Series X are advancing this topic. A new generation of consoles has always paved the way for technical progress for the masses. It is to be expected that the new gaming devices will actually enable 4K resolution and 60 FPS. Whether this also works with activated ray tracing is another matter. (Daniel Koller, April 19, 2020)
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