4K, also known as 2160p and UHD, is a popular display resolution. Resolution explains how many pixels a display has in width x height format, and the more pixels a screen has, the sharper its image should look. The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), a group of motion picture studios that creates standards for digital cinema, defines 4K resolution as 4096 x 2160 (opens in new tab), but this resolution is rare in consumer products. You’ll usually see PC monitors, laptops and TVs labeled as 4K have a 3840 x 2160 resolution. However, this resolution is officially considered Ultra HD (UHD). As such, you'll often see displays labeled as 4K/UHD.
Most modern GPUs (opens in new tab)support 4K/UHD output, though you'll need a fairly powerful graphics card (opens in new tab) to play games at this resolution. For this reason, a lot of gamers prefer running games at 1080p (opens in new tab)resolution (1920 x 1080).
There are a numerous high-end laptops (opens in new tab) with 4K screens available. There is also a lot of 4K monitors on the market today, and they can be relatively affordable. However, if you want a 4K gaming monitor (opens in new tab) with a high refresh rate (120Hz or more), you'l have to pay a premium.
Common PC Display Resolutions
|5K||5120 x 2880|
|4K||3840 x 2160 (typical monitor resolution); 4096 x 2160 (official cinema resolution)|
|Ultra HD (UHD)||3840 x 2160|
|QHD aka WQHD aka 1440p||2560 x 1440|
|2K||2560 x 1440 (typical monitor resolution); 2048 x 1080 (official cinema resolution)|
|WUXGA||1920 x 1200|
|Full HD aka FHD aka 1080p||1920 x 1080|
|HD aka 720p||1280 x 720|
This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary (opens in new tab).