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Let’s be honest; 4K gaming is an expensive proposition. That’s because the monitors themselves are a pretty penny, and then you need to get a GPU that can run AAA games at that resolution, which is where the real sticker shock happens. The entry-level 4K GPU du jour is the RTX 2080 or the AMD Radeon VII. To really enjoy fluid 4K action at high graphical settings, you’ll need something more expensive or you need to add cards.
If you’ve decided you don’t care about the cost, and are ready to jump into the 4K gaming world, we are here to help.
Here are the best 4K gaming monitors:
Acer Predator XB271HK
It’s hard to call this monitor “cheap” but a 4K, 60Hz monitor that uses IPS technology for better color and has a 4ms pixel response time…that’s the kind of thing you usually pay around $1,000 for (read our review). This monitor has great color reproduction, and pretty good response times for an IPS panel. A couple of its USB ports can be a little hard to reach, and the on-screen display for adjusting settings is awkward. But for great visual quality and performance at a reasonable price, you can’t beat it. It’s also available at Walmart with free shipping.
Most of the 4K monitors that support FreeSync and are marketed toward gamers are TN panels, which have fast pixel response times but poorer color reproduction and viewing angles. LG has a great IPS monitor that may not be billed as a “gaming” monitor specifically, but it has most of the same features other 4K gaming monitors do. It features great color reproduction, is nice and bright at 350 nits, and even includes a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports that support 4K at 60Hz, so you can plug in a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X and get full resolution (but not HDR). You can also get it on Walmart with free shipping.
Acer Predator XB321HK
If you want a really big 4K monitor with Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, you’re going to have to spend a pretty penny. The only currently available model of that size with a full 3840 x 2160 resolution is the Acer Predator XB321HK. This is the 32-inch version of our 27-inch pick, and has all the same features and specs. Except it’s 32 inches across, for glorious full immersion in your favorite games. It costs quite a bit, but for 32-inch G-Sync 4K monitors there aren’t a lot of picks to choose from.
Are you ready for some pleasant sticker shock? You can get a 32-inch, 4K monitor with FreeSync, at less than half the price of the only G-Sync 4K display at this size! LG’s monitor uses a VA panel, unlike the 27-inch model mentioned above, so color accuracy and viewing angles should be better than a TN monitor but not as good as an IPS monitor. Like the 27-inch LG monitor mentioned above, it comes with a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports that support 4K at 60Hz, so you can also plug in game consoles or laptops.
ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ
If you’re looking for a feature-packed gaming monitor, one that also costs a whole lot of money, then the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ is for you. This display actually preceded Nvidia’s 20-series cards, so before they released, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to try and squeeze 144 fps out of your 4K games. With 20-series cards out, and powerful, the world is your oyster when it comes to frame rates. Still, even the 2080 Ti is going go force you to chose to turn down a few sliders to get the frame rate up that high.
Ultimately, the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ is an incredible monitor and a true sight to behold. If you have the money and the hardware, it’s worth a look.
This 4K monitor has plenty of features to entice you into buying: a 1ms response rate, an 80Hz refresh rate, great contrast, and an aggressive style that’s not too aggressive. If you want a gaming monitor with 4K resolution, but you don’t want everyone to know it’s a gaming monitor like with one of Acer’s Predator line, this is a great 4K display. It’s also significantly less expensive than its Predator siblings.
Dell UltraSharp 27 4K
This UltraSharp from Dell isn’t a gaming monitor, per se, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide what you want to use for gaming. It’s response rate is 5ms, so you can blame the monitor when you get killed in an FPS, which is a side bonus. Other than that, it has a great picture and best of all, it pops up on Dell’s sitewide sales events pretty regularly, so you can often times grab one on the cheap.
G-Sync vs. FreeSync
Normally, your graphics card draws a frame, and then has to wait until the monitor’s refresh cycle before it can display it. When the timing of these two events isn’t in sync, you would see partially-drawn frames on the screen (called “tearing”). If you have a monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate, and your GPU just barely missed drawing the frame in 1/60th of a second, it momentarily drops down to 30fps instead of something like 57fps, as it waits for the next 60Hz monitor refresh. Variable refresh rate monitors reverse this relationship to refresh the monitor’s display right when the graphics card is done drawing a frame. If the game finished drawing that last frame in 1/57th of a second, the monitor will run at 57Hz and the frame will be immediately displayed. VRR makes your games look a lot smoother and gives you more freedom to adjust visual quality in games without worrying about causing about a jumpy framerate, or else turning off V-sync and suffering with tearing. This is especially important if you’re an early adopter of 4K gaming, since 4k / 60 FPS is still hard for even high-end rigs to achieve.
There are two such technologies right now, and they’re not compatible with each other… sort of. At CES 2019, Nvidia announced it’s testing existing FreeSync monitors for compatibility with G-Sync drivers released after January 15, 2019. So far, just a handful of FreeSync displays are compatible with the G-Sync driver, but with FreeSync almost always being a cheaper option, it might be worth looking into it.
However, manufactures cards only support one or the other standard, not both. Nvidia’s G-Sync requires special hardware in the monitor and only works with Nvidia graphics cards. AMD’s FreeSync doesn’t require any special hardware—it’s built upon an optional part of the VESA specification. But it’s only supported by AMD graphics cards. So while you can run G-Sync on a tiny number of FreeSync monitors, you can’t run FreeSync with an Nvidia card or G-Sync with an AMD GPU. Your monitor will still work with the wrong brand of graphics card, you’ll just lose VRR support.
For recommendations on pushing your PC into the 4K era, check out our guide to the best graphics cards. We also have guides to the best desks for gaming, the best gaming chairs, and if 4K is too expensive or your PC can’t handle it, we also have guides for the best cheap gaming monitors, too.