Computer Monitors – Is Higher Resolution Better? Part 3
The Hidden Problem
Your monitor outputs the signal it receives to the best of its ability. Your computer outputs as many frames as it can. However, the cable that connects the two together is normally the cheapest piece of junk your monitor manufacturer could find. Even if you bought an aftermarket cable, unless you really did a lot of digging, aftermarket cables are also often really expensive and still pretty terrible.
Each frame is data, 30 frames at 1080p is a lot of data, 60 frames of 1080p is twice as much as 30 frames. Now in part 2 we learned that 4K is four times as many pixels well it is also four times as much data per frame. This can add up to huge amounts of data being sent down the cable connecting your monitor and gaming PC. Your cable is probably not up to the task of transferring 4K video much less supporting higher frame rates.
There are four major types of video cables used in gaming PC's; VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort.
VGA is a bare minimum cable incapable of supporting high frame rates and resolutions.
DVI is much more complex with multiple versions of the cable but only the latest versions of it are capable of supporting HD video and frame rates.
HDMI is the most popular type of video cable. It is most commonly found in just one type but there are different types of HDMI connectors but more problematic is that there are now three types of HDMI cables and there is no way to tell them apart. Standard HDMI can not support HD video, High Speed HDMI can support HD video, and the new HDMI 2.1 or 48G cables can support resolutions up to 10K at 120hz.
DisplayPort is the newest type of cable and is growing rapidly in popularity especially in PC gaming. It has one type of cable and two types of connectors so it is much simpler than other HD capable options. It natively supports 4K video at 120hz.
Now at first glance it looks like you have three good options but hidden problem is that the manufacture of these cables is almost completely unregulated and meeting the minimum specs is the only requirement not the complete specification. So a high speed HDMI cable may support 1080p but chances are it will not support 4K because it's not required to in order to be labeled High Speed. The same thing applies to DVI and DisplayPort cables. Do not worry though! You do not need to spend a fortune for cables either. In fact most expensive cables are still bad cables!
Just get your cables from Monoprice.com and you will get the highest quality cables with the highest data transmission rates I can even find for prices cheaper than most cheap cables you can find! I do not work there I just hate bad cables.
What does this have to do with upgrading to a 4K monitor? You need to have the right cables for the job. Most monitors will not actually tell you when there is a problem with the cable and you are suffering degraded picture quality or frame rate as a result. So on top of the expensive monitor and the expensive hardware you also need to purchase a good cable all just to slow down your frame rate, make your text drive you crazy and cost you a fortune just probably not even see .
Do not waste your money on a 4K monitor or the hardware to support it!