What Is A Really Good Video Card for Gaming at 4K?
Broadly asking what is a good video card for gaming is a bit of a loaded question. That being said, we’ll do the best I can! But before we answer it, we need some technical background first.
4K resolution is the least common, and the most difficult to run of the big three (1080p, 1440p, and 4K). In years past, you typically looked at GPUs with 6-8GB of VRAM, a respectable amount of cores, and a price point of about $500-$800. You look for about the same specs now, but as games become more visually taxing, the GPUs become more powerful.
The ESport Breakdown
ESport games such as Rocket League, Overwatch, League of Legends, DOTA, and CSGO don’t typically require much to run smoothly at 4K. These games are even easier to run at lower quality settings at 4K as well (but who wants to turn down graphics…).
Luckily, you can get away with a GTX 1070 for the heavier hitters (Rocket League and Overwatch). Unfortunately, you can't go much lower than a GTX 1070, due to the added resolution of 4K.
Turning these games up to max quality may require a GTX 1080, though that’s really the best card needed for 4K/max/60FPS.
4K monitors with a 144hz refresh rate were only recently released, and as such, we don't have single-GPU hardware that can hit 144FPS pretty consistently.
Games like Shadow of War, Need for Speed, Titanfall, Bioshock, The Witcher 3, and Rise of the Tomb Raider are a bit more demanding to run, and thus can require a beefier video card. That being said, the GTX 1070 is still a valid choice.
If you want to turn up the graphics more on big modern AAA games, you’ll need at least a GTX 1080. This is typically the go-to video card for high-quality 4K gaming at 60FPS.
If you want to max out something like The Witcher 3, you’ll need at least a GTX 1080.
The Big Dogs
There are a few other games like Crysis 3, Deux Ex: Mankind Divided, and Metro Last Light that really hammer video cards to death. These games (The Witcher 3 included) require a GTX 1080Ti (afl) if you want to turn them up high.