What Is 4K Resolution Computer Monitor?

If you have been shopping around for the best laptops or PCs lately, there is a high chance that you have come across the word 4K resolution more times that you can remember. You have seen it in adverts and we have mentioned it in our laptops reviews innumerable times. So, what exactly is a 4K resolution computer monitor?

Read ahead, we have prepared a detailed explainer to let you in on this revolutionary computer display resolution.

What is 4K Resolution Computer Monitor?

A 4K resolution monitor is a computer display with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. This means 3,840 horizontal pixels and 2,160 vertical pixels or 2160p. A 4K monitor is also known as an ultra-high-definition or UHD monitor. The name 4K stems from the fact that the monitor has approximately 4,000 horizontal pixels. That is 3,840 pixels to be exact.

Computer monitor with a 4K resolution

This might be a bit confusing since you are used to such resolutions as 1080p being named after vertical pixels as opposed to horizontal ones. To dilute the confusion, 4K is also sometimes referred to as 2160p which refers to the vertical number of pixels.

Apart from their use in computer monitors, the 4K resolution has also revolutionized viewing experience in digital televisions and cinematography. This resolution is twice that of the more popular 1080p and four times that of a standard HD monitor. This is why many computer companies are racing to embrace it for their high-end consumers.

4K Versus 1080P Resolutions

To get a clearer picture of just how powerful 4K monitors are, let’s see how it compares with the more known 1080p or Full HD resolution.

A 1920×1080 FHD resolution packs approximately 2.1 megapixels. On the other hand, a standard 4K computer monitor with 3840×2160 resolution has about 8.3 megapixels. That’s not only double the resolution, it’s also four times the number of pixels. This results in sharper onscreen images opening doors for innumerable creative tasks and entertainment experiences.

With this amount of  pixels, you can edit and view 4K content at their native resolutions without the need to scale. While this might not mean much for everyday computer users, it is a huge opportunity for professional creatives to skyrocket the quality of their work.

Now that you understand what 4K resolution computer monitor is, an even bigger question crops up; do I need it?

Woman looking at her computer monitor after creating a 3d image

Should you Buy a 4K Computer Monitor?

You probably have nothing against 1080p resolutions. You enjoy your movies okay, play hardcore games, and can run some creative tools without pulling your hair. So, why would you need double the resolution? First, the boosted picture clarity is hard to resist. There is also better vibrancy and picture sharpness to hook you for hours.

Secondly, and perhaps the reason you might be forced to switch to 4K monitors even if you don’t want to, is because more content creators are now joining the 4K bandwagon. This means that your favorite movies, TV shows, and games will come in 4K and the only way to enjoy them is to have a 4K resolution display.

In fact, UHD is quickly becoming the standard HD, and to have anything lesser in the future would be laughable.

What’s the Problem with 4K Computer Monitors?

It is true 4K resolution has attracted a loyal following from computer enthusiasts yearning for more clarity and sharper images. For everyday tasks like browsing, running office applications and watching movies, 4K is a welcome innovation.

However, there are cases where too many pixels can be problematic. No one understands this better than the gaming community.

To achieve a comfortable frame rate with a 4K display, you will need a powerful graphics card. Robust GPUs such as the GeForce GTX 980 can only handle up to 20fps at maximum in-game settings. A more powerful dual GeForce GTX 980 can achieve 30 frames per second.

Close up image of a computer monitor

The only way you can play on a 4K monitor with single cards and maintain acceptable frame rates is if you use AMD’s dual-GPU Radeon R9 295×2 or NVIDIA’s Titan X.  Still, you can only go so far. You may have better luck with less taxing games but if you want to game at more than 60 fps, you might be disappointed.

To salvage the situation, you can use refresh monitors that are compatible with AMD’s FreeSync or Nvidia’s G-Sync technologies. This may help boost game performance at lower frame rates.

There is also the issue of affordability. 4K resolution in itself is already expensive. But to use it, especially for gaming, you will also need expensive graphics. That is a double tragedy for gamers and creatives on a budget.


It is undeniable that 4K computer monitors are revolutionizing our viewing experiences. You can now enjoy sharper images and more clarity while gaming, watching movies, or doing some creative tasks.

However, the issue with affordable but compatible graphics may make budget gamers take a pause when it comes to 4K displays. All in all, this is the resolution of the future and soon or later, everyone will be forced to embrace it.

Liam Weissman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on FancyAppliance.com.

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