PC & Video Games

Gaming below 4K on 4K display/TV

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  • Apr 20th, 2020 8:07 pm
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[OP]
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
27602 posts
7951 upvotes

Gaming below 4K on 4K display/TV

I'm gonna have to do some trial and error to see what looks better overall but perhaps some others have some insights/experiences as to what works best... As I'm sure we all know, 4K/60FPS gaming for modern AAA titles with even moderate demands is not going to happen (at least not well) until you spend about $1k on a GPU, which of course some people (myself included) are not willing to do. I.e. Please refrain from comments like "upgrade that potato", "get a 2080 Ti", etc. :lol: It's neither necessary nor will I spend stupid money on a GPU either (I can afford one but no intention whatsoever to spend that kind of money on a videocard).

Obviously the "easy" solution to that is to game on a monitor that has a native res of 1080p or 1440p instead. However TVs are basically all 4K today... Of course it depends on the game and how demanding it is but in order to maintain a 60FPS or better target frame rate, some compromises will need to be made.

For reference, I have an RX 5700 which isn't fast enough for 4K but also is a pretty good step above what's needed for most games at 1080p/60FPS. Right now I've just been sticking with that (1080p/60FPS) but in order to get more out of the GPU I have some of the following choices, most of which I haven't fooled around with yet but will venture to in the near future:
1. Game at 1440p (my TV supposedly accepts 2560x1440 as well but I haven't got it working yet as it may require custom res to be setup).
2. Instead of outputting 1440p, use VSR (or in-game equivalent) to "internally" render the game at 1440p but output at 1080p
3. Go for a target of 120FPS instead as my TV will accept 1080p/120Hz input.
4. Just continue at 1080p w/60FPS+ target and crank visual settings all the way up; perhaps up the AA as well
5. Try to do 4K but bring game settings way down to try to get to 60FPS

In #1, 1440p brings about the "problem" that not only is it not native it also isn't an even/square conversion like 1080p is, when the TV scales it to 4K. Also I'm not sure what input lag is like with 1440p.

In #2, that involves two scalings--downscale to 1080p by the GPU/OS and then upscale by the TV back into 4K, not sure if that will be worse or what. AMD and Nvidia seem to think DSR/VSR is better than increased AA (?) but I think that's also assuming the output res is the native res of the display? Also some games do this via in-game options, so not sure if it's better to use the driver to do that or the game--there's so many variables here :|

In #3 & 4 gaming at 1080p sounds "bad" but it's an even/simple upscale for the TV and using 120Hz will actually cut the input lag as my TV cuts some additional processing when it's fed that signal apparently.

#5 seems like it wouldn't work out, don't think a 5700 has enough horsepower for a lot of games even if things are turned way down, plus losing visual effects will probably make games look worse overall. VRR is not an option here so running at like 40FPS or something really doesn't have any benefit and 30FPS is, well, 30FPS--who wants to do that? lol

As said I'll probably have to do some experimentation but I'm sure other ppl have run into a similar dilemma so perhaps they can share their results.
5 replies
Deal Fanatic
Feb 11, 2007
8695 posts
3057 upvotes
The LG C9 OLED 4K TV is an amazing tv for its price point.
It is the highest rated tv on RTNGS.com. Its previous models have pretty much unanimously swept the best TV
reviews the last 3 years in a row.

https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/lg/c9-oled

It supports Variable Refresh Rate.
https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/ne ... lable-now/

Not all tvs are created equal.
4K UHD blu-rays are amazing on it.

top-4k-uhd-hdr-blu-ray-recommendations-2329335/

I'm more impressed with the visuals of 4K HDR movies done right than with 4K HDR video games.



FF7 Remake does not have true HDR or true 4K (it is 1620p upscaled to 4K but it looks great).
Games like Fifa and NBA 2K are 4K 60 FPS on both PS4 Pro and XBox One X, but its visuals are not that demanding.

.
Last edited by XFactor11 on Apr 20th, 2020 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
27602 posts
7951 upvotes
Hey thanks, what you say looks all true to me but I think you slightly missed what I was after... I'm not in the market to buy another TV--already have a main TV which is a 4K LCD and that's the TV I'm going to be mainly gaming on. It doesn't have VRR but supports 1440p (according to Rtings review) and is a 120Hz panel which also supports 1080p/120Hz input. It also puts the C9 to shame for HDR brightness BTW :P

I'm just looking for what will end up looking best out of the five or so options listed.

BTW this is besides the point but I wouldn't dare game or use a PC on an OLED (which is one of the reasons I didn't/will never buy an OLED as a main TV). So, even if I were in the market for a new TV I wouldn't buy an OLED for this purpose. I like OLEDs but the cost and feasibility of use is just not in the cards for me. I'd consider one for other uses/different room but they're also too expensive for that--why spend $2kish on a spare-room 55" TV when you can spend $500? lol. And yes I know there are people that game on OLEDs just the same, but nah I'm not spending $2500-3000 and taking that risk myself.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 11, 2007
8695 posts
3057 upvotes
For PC gaming I use monitors.
I don't want to put a massive desktop or keep moving and unplugging an expensive laptop next to my main TV.

On PC I use the LG 4K IPS monitor but it is fake HDR because it only outputs at 300 nits.
Real HDR is 1000 nits of brightness. Many PC monitors claim to be HDR but that is false advertising.
The 4K monitor is roughly $400.

My secondary monitor is one of the Playstation 3D tvs I use to watch 3D blu-rays on once in a while.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
27602 posts
7951 upvotes
XFactor11 wrote: For PC gaming I use monitors.
LOL I understand all of what you're saying, trust me, but I'm not in the typical use scenario I guess, so doesn't apply to me. I know all about TVs and native res, and nits and HDR performance, believe me. I'm only interested in thoughts about gaming at lower than native res and what's the best way to go about it I'm asking because there are many different ways to go about it.

I appreciate the input but I still don't think you're getting it. You have to realise I have a certain case usage scenario and that's not going to change. I have a specific TV, a specific machine with specific GPU and all I'm really interested in here is what ends up being the best route for gaming experience/visuals on that equipment. I'm not gonna be going out and buying a brand new C9 to replace my TV, I'm not going to be moving this machine elsewhere to game on a monitor, use a keyboard and mouse and play FPS, etc. like the typical gamer. Those things are not happening lol. I'm not a hardcore gamer, this is just casual gaming on a TV, that's it.

Side rant:
XFactor11 wrote: I don't want to put a massive desktop or keep moving and unplugging an expensive laptop next to my main TV.
Your problem is you are building massive desktops still, in 2020. I stared on mATX builds in/around 1999 (yes the PIII days) and never looked back. I've built ATX systems over the years for other people who insist, but myself I only have one ATX machine and everything else is mATX or ITX. And heck back in those days (the 00s) doing things on the smaller size had a lot of hiccups and compromises. Today you have basically everything in down to ITX form-factor--great motherboards, great PSUs, great cases, powerful GPUs--all of these things are available now and there is rarely a need for some gi-normous machine that has seven slots in it. It's insanity IMO, and I was even using two GPUs in Crossfire an mATX build (a pretty-small SG03) up until not that long ago. For decades I haven't understood why people needed monster machines and I really don't understand it today. It's madness. How many people are actually making use of all 7 slot spaces in their ATX builds? There might be some but I hazard a guess that the vast majority have one GPU taking up two and rarely three slots (if it's got a big cooler) and that's it.

Nowadays SSDs are also tiny little m.2 sticks as well, so you don't even need one single drive bay in a system anymore, not one! Whaddya need all that space for in a computer in this day and age...or even years ago? Never made one iota of sense to me to have massive computers.

Without going through even more details, I'm not plugging in or moving anything here, I have several computers in my house, not just this one. They are of varying ages, hardware, etc., along with two laptops. This system happens to be an HTPC which is an ITX build in an SG06 and fits neatly and unobtrusively right beside my AVR and matches the AVR due to some Silverstone employee obviously owning a certain make/model/series of AVR. There are no LEDeez or RGBeez here, nothing to yell "hey there's a computer here, in the living room!" etc. Nothing huge or massive going on. Yes it's an HTPC after HTPC's came come and gone in style, lol. I'm typing on it now as a matter of fact.

This is the machine I'm using, this is the TV I'm using, this is where I'm doing the gaming, that's it. I'm not sure why I need all this explanation now, but there you go--hopefully it clears it up.

All I'm saying is I'm not buying a card capable of full 4K gaming as those are outside of what I will spend. All I'm asking is as the thread title asks--what's the best route for gaming below 4K on a 4K display. I don't mean to sound rude but I'm not looking for info on TVs, panel types, HDR, where to do my gaming, consoles, or any of that. I get where you're coming from (except the massive PC builds lol) but my use case is not changing. I'm just asking about less-than-4K gaming on a 4K display.

I guess it's mainly gonna be trial and error and some more intarweb research.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 11, 2007
8695 posts
3057 upvotes
You could also try hooking up Steam Link to your TVs.

I am not sure how much input lag those have because it is streaming directly from your PC in another room to the TV.
That also only works for games in your Steam account.

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