The Reality Of 8K Gaming: Should You Bother?

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Can You Even Spot The Difference Between 4K And 8K?

Story Highlight
  • Not many graphics cards can currently run games at 8K resolution and provide decent FPS.
  • While 8K has four times the pixels, the visual difference isn’t noticeable due to games lacking 8K assets.
  • A gaming PC meant for 8K gaming can cost above $8,000, while a 4K gaming PC is relatively cheaper to build.

Delving into future possibilities of gaming is one of my favorite pastime hobbies, and recently, I have found myself intrigued by the possibilities and the reality of 8K gaming. Essentially, “8K resolution” refers to 7680 x 4320 pixels, a massive four-time leap from 4K resolution. Imagine every frame of your game loaded with four times the details, offering an experience I can’t even describe with words. But is 8K gaming even worth it, and should you bother with it? Let’s find out!

Current State Of 8K Gaming Hardware

The first thing you need to game at 8K is to have a powerhouse for a system. For now, the RTX 4090, NVIDIA’s flagship GPU, is one of the only graphics cards capable of running most games at 8K and providing a smooth gaming experience. I know it’s a bit hard to believe, so I decided to test it out myself, and the following are the results of my testing:

RTX 4090 Performance At 8K
Performance benchmarks of GPUs at 8K resolution. (Image by Tech4Gamers)

As you can see, according to my tests, the RTX 3090 averages around 30 to 40 FPS in the four games at 8K, providing a console-like gaming experience. On the other hand, the RTX 4090 easily averaged over 60 FPS at 8K max settings with DLSS enabled, making it a fine contender for the resolution. Of course, both graphics cards provide an impeccable 4K gaming performance.

Before you ask me why I’m content with only 60 FPS at 8K, the main reason is that there aren’t many 8K monitors that have a higher refresh rate. Furthermore, the ones available go up to a price of $4,000, like the Samsung Neo QLED 8K QN800 85-inch TV screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. So, there are a lot of improvements needed in this area before 8K can become more accessible for users.

Is The Visual Difference Noticeable?

After discussing the current state of 8K gaming hardware, is the visual difference from 4K to 8K even noticeable? On paper, you should be able to see four times the pixels, which should make the images more apparent than ever before. However, in reality, most games don’t even have 8K gaming assets.

Through my own eyes, the jump from 4K to 8K resolution was less noticeable than the jump from 1440p to 4K. There’s only a slight difference in the sharpness and details of the images when I’m playing games. Even with a larger screen, there’s not much to see when 8K still isn’t preferred by many games.

In more straightforward terms, what I’m trying to say is that most games don’t support 8K natively. So, while your monitor or TV screen might be running a game at 8K natively, you won’t see much of a visual difference. YouTuber Linus Tech Tips demonstrates this by tricking his team into thinking they’re playing games at 8K while the monitor is actually running the game at 4K.

YouTube video

Cost Vs Benefit: Is 8K Gaming Worth It?

Defining the reality of 8K gaming, there aren’t many graphics cards or monitors that can help you fulfill your eye candy desires. Moreover, the ones currently available aren’t necessarily too affordable, either. There are times when I ponder if the RTX 4090 is even worth it; probably for 8K, sure. But that costs a lot, too.

To showcase how expensive 8K gaming currently is, an 8K monitor can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $4,000 by itself. Additionally, the RTX 4090 can be found for ~$1,800 right now. Other additional costs will easily take the PC’s final price to around $8,000, give or take.

On the other hand, a 4K or 1440p gaming setup will only cost a fraction of the price and provide similar eye candy. We built a gaming PC under $2,000 that offers remarkable 1440p gaming performance. Similarly, our $5,000 PC build is perfect for 4K gaming with zero bottlenecks, even with ray tracing enabled.

Its Time Will Come

Lastly, while 8K gaming holds the promise to revolutionize gaming, it still needs to mature before games start to adopt 8K assets that showcase the true beauty of the resolution. For now, showing you the reality of 8K gaming makes me state we shouldn’t bother with it until technology advances a bit more.

The next generation of graphics cards will surely bring an entirely new landscape with their overwhelming performance, which might incite developers to focus on 8K gaming. I will gladly jump on the hype train when that happens to see the true beauty of what lies above 4K.

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