4K GAMING 2019

While 3840×2160 panels have been around for several years, its only recently that video cards are even close to being able to play all games at 60 fps consistently. At present we are using an EVGA GTX 1060 3GB which works hard to play first person shooters at 3840×2160, What is more eye opening however is that the GTX 1060 can play many titles fine at full UHD resolutions.

LG 27UL500-W small

The GTX 1060 continues to be the most popular video card by far on Steam for the last 12 months and counting. The GTX 1060 is roughly 4 TFLOPS of single precision processing performance. More powerful cards are available but the cost can be stupendous. The LG 27UL500-W supports HDR10 which makes games that can handle 10-bit per color look all the more better. DisplayPort has more bandwidth than HDMI which is the best option for 4K gaming today.

The level of detail in computer graphics has improved considerably over the years. Consider that the image from Alien Isolation was rendered at 3840×2160 shows the shadows to considerable good effect while allowing the finer details to remain.

PERFORMANCE

Some games may need to have the graphics adjusted if the game is running too slow. Most games have many options that affect the rendering performance. If you have a 2GB card rendering antialiasing may be more than the VRAM has capacity. This is less of a problem with 4GB and 8GB cards which have more room for texture buffers etc. The best bet for 4K gaming is an 8GB card so that games can take better advantage with 64-bit systems.

Right now the Radeon VII is the best AMD card but its still hard pressed to play AAA games at 43840×2160 cranked up. Still the card is very powerful and it can definitely handle a wide range of games fine. The GTX 2080 Ti is nVidia’s best card but it costs more than double what the Radeon VII does. Still this card is the best choice for 3840×2160 gaming at present.

GAME ISSUES

Some games do not work well with the scaling feature in Windows 10. The best bet with a 4K panel is to use 100% and use reading glasses if the text is not readable.

The 150% scaling makes old games like Halo: Combat Evolved to think it is running at 2560×1440 etc. More recent games like Rage cannot achieve full screen at all. This means the panel needs to have the default scaling set to 100% as many games cannot handle it properly.

The bug in Sega’s Aliens: Colonial Marines that restarts the game over and over when quit as been a festering problem since the game was new. This annoying problem forces players to reboot the machine to as even killing the game with the task manager fails. Get into the game’s folder and right-click on the ACM.EXE and select properties and compatability and make the game run as an administrator then reboot and the game should work properly.

GTX 1060 3072MB

Wolfenstein: The Order (VULKAN) complains that there is not enough VRAM even on its lowest settings. Games using VULKAN are known to be more demanding of VRAM.

MOTIVATION

The biggest motivation with a 3840×2160 panel is to select new video cards more for VRAM than anything. NewEgg can filter video cards by VRAM. The cheapest RX 570 available with 8192 MB VRAM but the RX 580 has more GCN units to perk up rendering. nVidia cards are much more expensive for models with 8 GB or more.

The eBay list has RX 580 and RX 590 cards and DisplayPort to filter out the BIOS mods etc. AMD is most likely going to rebadge the Polaris 20 cards which means they will be widely available for mainstream gaming through into 2020. Cards with the faster GDDR6 will make the Polaris based cards run quite a bit better.