If you want to upgrade your viewing experience to 4K, then first you need to have the right components. Not only do you need the right monitor, but you also need the right graphics card that has 4K support. As such, in this article I will comprehensively answer the question “Does my graphics card support 4K”.
Well the most conclusive way to check whether your graphics card supports 4K or not is to check the technical specsheet of the installed GPU. If you have an integrated graphics card, check the spechseet of the CPU. If you have a dedicated graphics card, then check its specific specsheet.
However looking at the spechsheet alone would not matter much if you do not know what to look for.
The most important things to note in order to understand whether your graphics card supports 4K resolution or not is to check the max resolution supported by the graphics card, the ports on the graphics card and the refresh supported by the ports.
I will explain all this in detail in the text below.
So Does My Graphics Card Support 4K Resolution?
As mentioned earlier, in order to figure out whether your GPU can support 4K or not, you must refer to the specsheet of the GPU.
You must particularly look at:
- The max resolution supported
- The ports on the graphics ard
- The supported refresh rate
Also note that just because your graphics card’s chipsets supports 4K, does not mean much by itself particularly if you just have an integrated graphics. You also need to have the right ports and the right monitor.
I explain all this in detail one by one.
1. Checking the 4K Resolution Support on a Graphics Card
4K resolution is defined in many ways, as such 4K, Ultra HD and UHD are all different names that
Now if you have an integrated graphics card, then you will look into the CPU’s spechseet to figure out the graphics card you have and its resolution specs.
If you have a dedicated graphics, you would look up the model name of the dedicated graphics card itself.
4K Support on Integrated Graphics Cards:
If you have an integrated graphics card, then head over to the CPU’s detail. Below you can see a sample specsheet showing the details for Intel HD 630 as found on a fairly old 7th Gen Intel CPUs.
You can see that the Intel HD Graphics 630 supports 4096×2304 resolution. Meaning it supports 4K resolution.
The good news is almost all of the integrated graphics card released in the last decade or so support 4K resolution.
Take for instance the Intel HD Graphics 4600 released with the 4th Gen Intel Core CPU in 2013 below. This too supports 4K resolution.
I want to reiterate here, that just because your integrated graphics card support 4K does not mean your PC has 4k support, you need to have the right ports on the motherboard too.
4K Support on Dedicated Graphics Cards:
For dedicated graphics card, you have to check the spec sheets for the card itself.
The image above shows the specsheet for a mid range NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti dedicated graphics card.
You can see that a typical dedicated graphics card supports resolution much higher than 4K. This lower-mid range graphics card can support resolution of 7680×4320 or 8K resolution! – twice as much as 4K.
2. Checking if The Graphic Card Has the Right Ports to Output 4K
In addition to the support for the right resolution, the graphics card also needs to have the right port in order to display 4k.
The following table shows which ports support 4K resolution and which ports do not.
|Port||4K Support||Max Resolution Support||Max Refresh Rate|
|VGA||No||2048 x 1536||60 Hz|
|DVI||No||2560 x 1600||60 Hz|
|HDMI 1.4||Yes||4096 x 2160||120 Hz @ FHD Resolution
30 Hz @ 4K (3840 x 2160)
24 Hz @ 4K (4096 x 2160)
|HDMI 2.0||Yes||4096 x 2160||60 Hz @ 4K Resolution|
|HDMI 2.1||Yes||Upto 10240 x 4320 (10K)||Upto 120 Hz @ 10K resolution|
|DP 1.2||Yes||3840 x 2160 pixels||60 Hz @ 4k Resolution|
|DP 1.3||Yes||7680 x 4320 (8K)||120Hz @ 4K
30Hz @ 8K
|DP 1.4||Yes||7680 x 4320 (8K)||Upto 60 Hz @ 8K|
|DP 2.0||Yes||Upto 16K||60Hz @ 16K resolution
80Hz @ 10K resolution
You can see from the table above that other than VGA and DVI ports, almost all other ports support 4K resolution.
As such, if your dedicated graphics card, or the motherboard only offers the VGA and DVI ports, then you will NOT have 4K support EVEN IF the GPU supports it.
With Integrated Graphics Card MOTHERBOARD Needs to Have the Right Ports
The video output ports that you see on the back of the motherboard are powered by the CPU’s INTEGRATED GRAPHCIS CARD! In other words, motherboards DO NOT have onboard graphics processing.
If your motherboard only has a VGA or a DVI port, then it will NOT be able to support 4K resolution EVEN IF the integrated graphics card in the CPU supports it.
Dedicated Graphics Cards Come With Their Own Video Output Ports
If your PC has a dedicated graphics card, or if you intend to buy a dedicated graphics card, then you need to make sure that it has the right port as well.
Fortunately, with dedicated graphics this isn’t much of an issue since even the weakest dedicated graphics card have one or more HDMI 1.4 ports if not a multitude of ports including display port.
Note that when using a dedicated graphics card, the video output ports on the motherboard get disabled. There is a way to enable both but that isn’t ideal as explained here.
3. Max Supported Refresh Rate
Finally you MUST take note of the refresh rate supported by different ports – this is almost equally as important as the 4k resolution itself in many cases.
Refresh Rate basically defines the amount of times a monitor or a TV can redraw the image on the screen in a second. So a 60 Hz refresh rate means that monitor can draw the image 60 times per second.
Each new image is called a frame. So a 60Hz refresh rate monitor has the potential to display 60 frames per second. I say POTENTIAL because frames per second is a function of how powerful your graphics card is, more on this below.
As such, it is highly advisable to make sure that the motherboard or the graphics has an HDMI 2.0 or a better port in order to display 4K at 60Hz.
HDMI 1.4 ONLY Displays 4K at 24Hz!
Most older motherboards and graphics cards, offer the HDMI 1.4 port. While HDMI 1.4 port DOES support 4K display, it only supports it at 24 Hz refresh rate!
Meaning the maximum frames per second it can display is 24.
While for static display or for movies 24 frames per second should be acceptable. For high speed motion such as when gaming, 24 frames per second is abysmal to say the least.
Gaming on 24 frames per second would be atrociously lagging and sluggish.
The following video shows the different between 24, 30 and 60 FPS:
Displaying 4K Resolution at Higher Than 60 Frames Per Second
The same concept applies if you want to experience 4K at higher than 60 frames per second.
Most monitors that we are used to have 60 Hz refresh rate. The monitor screen you are reading this article with most probably has a 60 Hz refresh rate.
As far as the HDMI ports go, you need to have HDMI 2.0 or better in order to support 4K resolution at 60 FPS.
In most cases a monitor with 60Hz refresh rate is more than enough. However, certain gamers or enthusiasts like to enjoy their games at 120 frame per second or higher.
To get higher than 60 FPS, you not only need a monitor that can support 4K resolution at higher than 60Hz, but also need to have the right ports on both the monitor as well as on the motherboard or the dedicated graphics card.
For instance, if you want to experience 4K at 120 frames per second, then first you need to have a 120Hz monitor and also make sure that the dedicated graphics card or the motherboard has either HDMI 2.1 or DP 1.3 ports or better.
Refresh Rate vs Frames Per Second
While refresh rate and frame per second are highly related, refresh rate is the function of the monitor, whereas, frame per second is the function of the graphics card.
The refresh rate of the monitor defines the max frame per second it can support. The frames per second defines how powerful your graphics card is.
As such, if you have a monitor with 60 Hz refresh rate, it will NOT guarantee that your games will play at 60 frame per second. That depends upon whether your graphics card can actually pump out 60 FPS or not.
Alternatively, if you have a 60Hz monitor, but you have super power graphics card capable of pumping 120 frame per second, your visuals will only be limited to 60 FPS as that is the max potential of the monitor.
What About Laptops? How to Check 4K Support On Laptop?
The same principles apply as above.
You have to make sure that you have the graphics card as well as the ports that can support 4K resolution.
Most laptops do have an HDMI 1.4 port to connect an external display. In case if does not, then unfortunately there is no other way to connect 4K support to your laptop.
Of course to get 4k @ 60 FPS, you will need to make sure that your laptop has a newer power such as HDMI 2.0 or better.
Does My Graphics Card Support 4K Gaming?
4K gaming is very resource intensive especially if you want to maintain 60 FPS.
Whether your graphics card would support 4K gaming at playable frames rates or not depends upon three things:
- What graphics card you have
- The game you intend to play
- The graphical settings of the game you intend to play
AAA games would require a much beefier graphics card to play on 4K, particularly on high graphics, as compared to eSport titles such as League of Legends – which can be played on 4K even on a potato PC.
To check if your graphics card is capable enough, I recommend two three: