Does 4K work over HDMI?
You have your eyes on that beautiful 4K Monitor you saw at the store, but now you are wondering whether that beauty will work with the HDMI ports on your computer; will it even work with your existing HDMI cables? cables can be expensive, fortunately however not so expensive versions exist which you can buy, they can be easily replaced. still what can you do about the HDMI ports? it’s not like you can just change them like you can do with your cables right?
Well in this article I have the answers you need, they are simple and straight to the point, so keep reading.
To answer the first question that brought you here quickly: Will 4K work over HDMI? the simple answer is: YES! but (there’s always a “but” I know) not on its first incarnation HDMI 1.0 that is, because of the high quality of the data transferred through the cables, 4K uses an insane amount of bandwidth, whence you will need HDMI 2.0 to be able to use 4K over it at its full glory, keep in mind you will need “High Speed” HDMI cables as well if you are existing cables are not.
Everything is not bad news though, you could even manage to connect a 4K monitor to your computer’s HDMI 1.0 port and it some cases (If the video card is fast enough to drive that beast of a monitor) you will be able get away with it, however keep in mind that the “refresh rate” factor will make your eyes bleed with that setup, unfortunately your monitor will only be able to run at a refresh rate of 30Hz, running on that configuration most certainly will make things on your screen look and feel slow or laggy, let alone playing games.
Now this is very important as well, not only should you at least have HDMI2.0 to take full advantage of your 4K monitor, the HDMI cables themselves should say “High Speed”, because regular or very old HDMI cables might not work at all. again do not get tricked by the sales man trying to sell you those expensive 4K HDMI cables, you DO NOT need them! just ensure they are “High Speed HDMI cables”.
Also keep in mind that not only the HDMI ports and the cables play a part on this game, your Graphics Card (Video Card) must be capable of driving your monitor, I would say anything below a GeForce 960 or compatible driver might give you issues running at the high resolution of 3840 x 2160 that is standard for 4K.
You might say: Ok I have the right cables but the HDMI ports on my computer or laptop are just 1.0 is there way for me to change them? if they are built onto your motherboard you certainly cannot unless you change your whole motherboard which is a huge endeavor that only a pro should perform, but there’s an easy way, you can just buy a new Graphic’s card that is 4K/HDMI2.0 compatible and upgrade your computer, most computer’s HDMI ports are built into the Graphic’s card not the motherboard, some have them in both, upgrading your machine’s Graphics Card (GPU) can be a very simple task, as easy as removing your PCs side case panel, unplugging the old one, inserting the new one, then putting the panel back on.
There’s yet another option available to people who like you are desperately willing to get into the 4K bandwagon craze right now – Displayport! yes, your computer might not have an HDMI2.0 port but chances are it might have a Displayport, if it does then try that. with Displayport you should be able to run at 60Hz and the image might even be sharper looking for you, in my personal opinion I rather use Displayport even over HDMI 2.o, not sure if it is my imagination or simply placebo effect but I find the image to be sharper and the colors more vibrant over Displayport, but then again that’s my personal opinion, others might not agree on that.
Once you are all set you will be able to start enjoy the beauty of 4K, as all early technology adopters though you might find yourself running into some small issues such as certain applications looking too small on the screen and other minor annoyances , be sure to check my upcoming article on how to overcome some of those obstacles.
PS: If you liked my article please don’t forget to share it and post some comments here, I would love to hear your opinions and or questions.
Hello HanTN, in my personal experience DisplayPort looks slightly sharper than HDMI, but that's just me, your experience might vary though, as different GPUs might provide different outputs, so if HDMI might indeed look better to some people.