How Do I Know Does My Graphics Card Support 4K?

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:

  1. The max resolution supported
  2. The ports on the graphics ard
  3. 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.

Intel HD 630 4k support
Intel HD 630 in 7th Intel Core CPUs for Desktops has 4K support. Source: Intel.com

You can see that the Intel HD Graphics 630 supports 4096×2304 resolution. Meaning it supports 4K resolution.

A Note on Different 4K Resolutions

A Note on 4096×2304 4K vs 3840×2160 4K

If you take the literal and official definition of 4K then that resolution corresponds to 4096×2304. This resolution is often referred cinema 4k resolution.

However, for commercial purposes i.e for devices such as TVs and Monitors, 4K resolution is referred to as 3840×2160 or UHD! This is basically twice the resolution of FHD on both the vertical and horizontal sides giving TVs and monitors a uniform increase in pixels across both dimensions.

As such if you see a graphics card that supports literal 4K (4096×2304), then it intrinsically means that it supports all 4K resolution including the commercial 4K resolution (3840×2160). Why? because the former is larger than the latter.

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.

intel HD 4600
Almost a decade old integrated graphics card supports 4K resolution. Source: Intel

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.

asus rog gtx 1660ti graphics card
ASUS ROG GTX 1660Ti Graphics Card Specs. Source: ASUS

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.

Port4K SupportMax Resolution SupportMax Refresh Rate
VGANo2048 x 153660 Hz
DVINo2560 x 160060 Hz
HDMI 1.4Yes4096 x 2160120 Hz @ FHD Resolution
30 Hz @ 4K (3840 x 2160)
24 Hz @ 4K (4096 x 2160)
HDMI 2.0Yes4096 x 216060 Hz @ 4K Resolution
HDMI 2.1YesUpto 10240 x 4320 (10K)Upto 120 Hz @ 10K resolution
DP 1.2Yes3840 x 2160 pixels60 Hz @ 4k Resolution
DP 1.3Yes7680 x 4320 (8K)120Hz @ 4K
30Hz @ 8K
DP 1.4Yes7680 x 4320 (8K)Upto 60 Hz @ 8K
DP 2.0YesUpto 16K60Hz @ 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.

Common Display Ports
Common Vide Out Ports. Source: Wikipedia

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

Does My Graphics Card Support 4k
Video output ports on ASUS Prime H510M-E

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

dedicated graphics card specs
Video output ports on a graphics card can be found on the specsheet. Source: ASUS ROG STRIX GTX 1660Ti 

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.

NVIDIA GT 710
One of the weakest dedicated graphics card GT 710, also has an HDMI port.

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.

Also Read: Do You Need Two Graphics Cards for Dual Monitors?

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.

To Get the Best Experience

To get the best 4K experience:

  • Have a graphics card that supports 4k resolution
  • A graphics card or a motherboard that has the right ports
  • The port version that supports 4K at 60Hz or more.

For gamers

  • A powerful graphics card is required to game at 4K resolution while pumping out 60 FPS.

FAQ

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:

  1. What graphics card you have
  2. The game you intend to play
  3. 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:

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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

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