Running 4K Monitor At Low Resolution

Running 4K Monitor At Low Resolution: Good Idea?

4K monitors are very common now, they are budget-friendly and that’s why most of the users choose them for better quality. But the GPU has to do very hard work in rendering all the pixels in a 4K resolution.

That’s why lowering the resolution a bit of a 4K monitor makes sense while doing high-end tasks like gaming, Multitasking, Streaming, especially if you have an average kind of GPU.

So today, I am gonna discuss running a 4K resolution monitor in lower resolution like 1080P or 1440P, is it actually possible and increase the fps and overall performance. And most importantly should you do it or not?

Can 4k Monitor Run At 1080p?

A 4K monitor can be run at 1080P resolution. In 4K resolution, the GPU (Graphics Card) has to render 3840 x 2160P=8.2M pixels but when it is shifted to 1080P resolution, the GPU only has to render 1920×1080= 2.07M pixels which reduce the load from GPU tremendously and increase the overall performance and fps.

Now, here are some things that you should keep in mind if you want to run a 4K monitor at 1080P:

It is not necessary to lower the overall monitor resolution. Rather, you can reduce the resolution on the game or the software itself.

Doing this you can get good resolution in windows, but the specific software or game will be displayed at 1080P.

As computer resolution without any software GPU doesn’t put much load on GPU, the graphics card can easily handle it for you in this case.

But if you wanna keep it simple then you can go to Display Resolution (settings) and set the resolution at 1080P or 2K accordingly.

As running a monitor at low-resolution increase FPS, most of the gamers still lower their in-game resolution to reduce the load from the GPU. Then GPU can focus on gameplay and it overall boosts the fps.

Now, this trick only works if the GPU you are using is an average one, basically just somehow rendering 4K resolution. And in 4K, there are not enough resources left for the game after rendering pixels for display.

This mostly happens when we try to get 4K gameplay or graphics from entry-level or medium cards.

But if your GPU has enough memory and capable of good performance. In 4K resolution too, it is gonna give good performance, and lowering the resolution also doesn’t impact much in premium GPUs.

As it already has enough resources, so adding more unused resources by lowering the resolution will not basically impact the performance much.

So, if your GPU is not that powerful or using integrated graphics that come with a CPU, you can reduce the graphics from 4K to remove the extra load from the GPU and improve FPS.

Know More About Monitor:

Should Dual Monitors Be The Same Size?
Can You Use TV Mounts For Monitors?

Let’s understand it deeper:

Does Monitor Resolution Affect FPS?

Decreasing the Monitor resolution reduces the load from the GPU. As GPU has to render fewer pixels in a second on a low-resolution screen, so it can do it quickly and smoothly and can use remaining resources for other tasks.

But, Monitor Resolution only affects fps if while rendering in 4K resolution, most of the GPU resources are used. Because after lowering the resolution, a big chunk of resources of the GPU is gonna be freed.

In the second case, while using the monitor at 4K resolution, if most of the GPU resources are not used. It has free resources, then after lowering the resolution also, nothing is gonna change, there is no meaning of freeing more resources in GPU as there is already plenty.

So, if the GPU is enough for 4K resolution, it is not used over 85-95% while running at 4K, more likely the performance difference is not gonna be too huge after lowering the resolution.

Rather you can try increasing all the settings to use every single bit of your GPU in this case.

Now, if you are thinking about why GPU affects performance after lowering the resolution, here is the answer:

In a 4K monitor, there are almost 8.2M pixels (3840 x 2160) which after getting signal from CPU, GPU has to render. Basically, the graphics card decides what should be the color of the pixel, how it changes.

(Now, if you don’t have a graphics card, your CPU must have integrated graphics (also called vega graphics) to render these pixels.)

So, the greater resolution your monitor supports, the more pixels the graphics card has to render. And you can imagine rendering 8 million pixels, filling each with different colors, changing them takes how much resources.

That’s why if the GPU isn’t that powerful, all its resources are gonna used only for this rendering of pixels. So, when we decrease the graphics, it has to use fewer resources than before, ultimately gives better results.

But lowering the resolution doesn’t impact much on the CPU uses (if you have a GPU). As all the graphics rendering work is done by the GPU, increasing or decreasing the resolution only affects the graphics card.

Can A 4K Monitor Run 1440P?

A 4K monitor can be run at 1440P. By running at 1440P (2K) the pixels cut at half compared to the 4K monitor. This helps to remove a big chunk of the workload from the graphics card and improve the overall performance.

However, reducing the resolution also decreases the overall graphics quality, but for getting a performance boost it is sometimes helpful full too.

Now there are two ways you can lower a 4K monitor resolution to 1440P.

Reducing For Specific Software:

If you are using any specific software or playing a game and want to decrease the resolution to 2K in that only, you can easily do that by the settings of that game or software.

Direct Monitor Resolution Change:

Now if you want to decrease the resolution completely to 2K, follow this:

  • Go to the settings.
  • In settings, find display and change the resolution to 1440P.
  • You can also right-click and choose display resolution on the home screen.

Does 1440P Look Good On 4K?

In a normal 24-inch monitor, if you are not gaming, running a 4K monitor at 1440P does not create a huge difference. But if you are doing any task where high graphics is involved like playing games, or viewing on a pretty big monitor or TV then you can see the difference. Overall, 1440p on 4K monitor looks pretty ok.

Should You Use A 4K Monitor At 1080P?

If you ask me about using a 4K monitor at 1080P, then I don’t recommend it running too low. You can run a 4K monitor at 2K for the performance boost. If you are gonna run your 4K display at 1080P,  spending so much on a 4K display will be a complete waste of money.

Also, I only recommend lowering the resolution if the graphics card you are using is an average one, otherwise, if you have a premium GPU, lowering resolution will not affect the performance much.

Know More About Monitor:

Curved Vs Flat Dual Monitors
Does Dual Monitors Affect the Performance?

Wrapping up:

In this post, I have discussed running a 4K monitor at low resolution, should you do it, its advantages, and when to do it. I hope you can learn something new after reading this post. But if you have any further queries, comment down below or send me through email.

See you in the next post, be techy:)

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