PC gaming seems to be making a transition from Full HD gaming to 4K gaming, while enthusiasts have enjoying HD gaming for years now naturally the next step will be 4K gaming or 4K/UHD, whose characteristics are significantly different.
But as many PC gamers have found, switching to 4K gaming is not for the faint of heart and requires a very power computer, and a lot of money.
While there are only a handful of video cards ready to take on 4K gaming, some reviews have shown that the AMD R9 295X and the Titan X are the two heavy weights right now but we still need to ask the question, is a 4K gaming system worth it ?
You need at least $4000 in your pocket
To be able to game at such high resolutions, you are going to need a top of the line CPU and GPU as well as super fast memory and a speedy hard drive, as for achieving great frame rates we need to buy at least an $800 video card or even $1000 one.
Where is 4K now? Well that depends what do you want to do with 4K. There are some who just want 4K resolution to surf the web and do basic computer work for such scenario you might get a way with an integrated GPU that is if it can support 3840×2160 pixels. But if you want to game at 4K you are going to need something better.
For this scenario you are going to need a 4K/UHD and at least an AMD R9 295X2 or if you have more cash lying around, a Titan X however a cheaper alternative could also be the AMD R9 290X.
Here is a good comparison between these two cards, in a recent benchmark of some recent games such as Battlefield 4 in 4K and Diablo 3 in 4k.
Clearly the R9 295X2 has significant improvements over the 290X and it seems like the tougher the game in terms of image quality, the R9 295X2 shines even better, the R9 295X2 is also 2.5 times better in FPS than the R9 290 in Battlefield.
What about the Titan X ? Last we checked in Metro: Last Light it struggled to reach 60 FPS, unless you have plenty of money to spend on a Titan X SLI you will spend double the cost over a GTX 980 in SLI and improvements just don’t seem worth it.
So we still see the R9 295X2 as the best card for the money to game at 4K, however it doesn’t perform as great in every game due to driver issues, but its still a better option than the Titan X, at the moment.
Problems with 4K monitors in Windows 8.1
There are some users reporting that there are times when the computer does not start properly and you get a ‘lost’ graphical configuration errors. This is mainly due to the drivers, usually happens with AMD Catalyst drivers. A simple fix is to just reboot the computer.
There is also the scaling issues some users are reporting, however not all users, some are actually reporting that 4k looks gorgeous in Windows 8.1.
But nonetheless, the future looks brighter with Windows 10 as the new Microsoft Operating system is promising support for up to 8K displays.
Worth to upgrade to 4K to game?
The 4K monitors have dropped significantly in price, from the early thousand dollar models to some now as low as $400 or $600.
At this point its fair to say that some users are reporting anywhere from minor bugs to full system errors when it comes to running a PC with 4K resolution and currently there are many drawbacks almost continually. The problem so far seems to be linked to software as its not adapted to UHD interfaces. Playing, for example, Civilization V in 4K, with the amount of text to be read, turns out to be impossible in a few minutes after starting the game.
Recommended 4K components
Here is a “sample” list of components you could use for 4K gaming, keep in mind you may save a few bucks by opting for a cheaper AMD R9 295X.