1080P Gaming, Not Dead Yet


So, in a previous article I talked about how 4K has become a much more viable option for gamers, especially with the newer displays we are now seeing bringing real HDR to gamers. However, in this article I want to look at the counter point; 1080P and that it might still have some life left in it.

Let’s face it the current market for computer hardware, has been a bit crazy. The economy on a whole has been making it tougher to be a gamer and the current pricing on some hardware just feels like a bridge to far.

My previous article, which tale about the amazing tech that makes 4K seem a more viable gaming option, failed to mention one important thing, the cost. Anew OLED display with a GPU to then drive that amazing display experience will set you back quite a bit of money even with the lower cost options. This means you will end up spending around $2000 for just the display and the card. FOR or sure you will have an amazing looking display, but this cost is outside the budget of a lot of gamers.

The good news is that while an amazing looking game can be a lot of fun, the higher definition aspect is only a small part of what makes a great game. There is a lot of great gaming still available at lower resolutions. You will not have gotten the fancy OLED HDR options, but you can still get solid image quality, high frame rate (ultrasmooth) game play and still keep the cost of your PC gaming hobby under control.

Consider this, as mentioned above a display device and GPU for the latest tech will set you back around $2000 or MORE, that does not take into account the cost for the rest of the new gaming rig. However, all is not lost. I went to PC Part Picker and ran some parts.

As you can see, I was able to build a complete system: a solid modern CPU, a decent NVME drive, good quality parts, a SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 6600 GPU and even a nice 27” high refresh rate display. Yet was still able to come in over $500 less than the cost of the high end 4K display with appropriate card at lowest cost using current pricing.

From a pure gamer perspective this 1080P system is a solid, well priced BEAST. It can run modern games at 1080P and keep near 100 FPS at high detail. It will provide a great gaming experience and does this for quite a bit less money.

Now the elitists will argue that this is not enough. They will focus on the fact this is 1080P and try to tell you that this is just not as good of a gaming experience, I am telling you they are wrong. I have three gaming rigs in my home; a 4K, 1440P and 1080P based system. Of the three the difference in how much fun I have in my gaming is no different no matter which I use. A great game is a great game at 4K or anything in-between.

But wait, the 1080P system does not have any of the cool new features that modern 4K displays can have. True, but many of those features are not well implemented yet. OLED still has potential for burn in issues. Also, HDR support when done right is amazing but it is not done right all the time. Image scaling tech looks impressive but still has limitations and is another generation or two from being available beyond select titles. All of these fancy techs will be more cost effectively available and more widely and properly supported in the next generation or two but right now you’re paying extra for tech that can in some instances be hit and miss.

For $500 less and with a complete system instead of a few parts you can get a GREAT gaming experience that will be more than suitable for current and future game releases. These savings can go toward buying better peripherals or even some great games to play. The base system described above has some solid life going forward and room to upgrade if you choose while leaving you some money for other options.

Before you think this was just a thought experiment, the image below is the above-mentioned system, tweaked to a SFF build part set, in my home being used for gaming. This is not just a theory; I can personally confirm it has a great gaming experience.

The allure of a new 4K system is there for sure and can be hard to resist. However, if your goal is a great gaming experience with a more reasonable budget that can handle games today and for a few years going forward, a 1080P gaming rig is still an attractive option.

The articles content, opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in SAPPHIRE NATION are the authors’ own and do not necessarily represent official policy or position of SAPPHIRE Technology.


Edward Crisler
Edward is the definition of an “old school” gamer, playing computer games as far back at 1977. He hosted a tech talk show for 20 years and is now the North America PR Representative for SAPPHIRE as well as SAPPHIRE’s unofficial gaming evangelist. You can follow him on Twitter @EdCrisler.