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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

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: 

  • AllanGH

    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"...