What Is 5K Resolution? A Basic Definition

27-inch iMac with a 5K display. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

5K is a display resolution measuring 5120 x 2880 pixels. Resolution explains how many pixels a display, like a PC monitor or laptop screen, has in length x width format. The more pixels, the sharper the image looks. 

In the world of computing, there aren't 5K laptops ready yet, but there are a few 5K desktop displays. For example, Apple's 27-inch iMac Pro all-in-one PC and LG's 27-inch Ultrafine 5K monitor output at 5120 x 2880. 

So who needs 5K resolution with their PC? Few games benefit from running at that high of a resolution. You'll need a powerful graphics card to power 5K, and both of the 5K displays mentioned target creative professionals. So unless you fit that category, you can probably be satisfied with a lower-resolution screen.

Common Monitor Resolutions

Swipe to scroll horizontally
5K5120 x 2880
4K3840 x 2160 (typical monitor resolution); 4096 x 2160 (official cinema resolution)
Ultra HD (UHD)3840 x 2160
QHD aka WQHD aka 1440p2560 x 1440
2K2560 x 1440 (typical monitor resolution); 2048 x 1080 (official cinema resolution)
WUXGA 1920 x 1200
Full HD aka FHD aka 1080p1920 x 1080
HD aka 720p1280 x 720

This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.

Further reading: 

Scharon Harding

Scharon Harding has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, she covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.

  • AllanGH
    a/Djdwe54View: https://imgur.com/a/Djdwe54

    5K is the industry's latest way of unburdening the impatient of their money; and fostering the mentality of continual and frequent upgrades, just to "keep up with the Joneses"...