The be quiet! Gaming Hardware Guide:
Exploring 1080p, 1440p, and 4K
Are you ready to take your gaming experience to the next level? Understanding the hardware required for gaming and acting upon that understanding at various resolutions can significantly enhance your gameplay. Whether you are upgrading your existing system or building a new one from scratch, the right hardware can make all the difference - and we are not just talking about the CPU and GPU! While processor and graphics card swallow the majority of a PC’s budget and are responsible for the heavy workloads, the ecosystem needs to be on point to support high clocks in modern gaming setups. Because what good is a beefy graphics card, if the power supply is not stable enough or does not provide enough power? How can a CPU unfold its full potential, if the cooler dimensions are too small or the case is starved for airflow? Here is a breakdown of what you should be looking out for if you are planning to pick up gaming on a PC or upgrading to a specific resolution.
Ray tracing and path tracing
Ray tracing and path tracing are both rendering techniques that aim to simulate realistic lighting in computer-generated images, but they differ in their approach and capabilities.
Ray tracing is a rendering technique focused on achieving realistic lighting in real time. This involves tracing the path of light from the viewer's eye and simulating its interactions with objects in the scene, including reflections, refractions, and shadows. The outcome is a highly detailed and lifelike image that faithfully replicates real-world light behavior. Notably, hardware-accelerated ray tracing is supported by Nvidia's GeForce RTX 20 series (or newer), AMD's Radeon RX 6000 series (or newer), and Intel's Arc Alchemist GPUs. This hardware support enhances efficiency and allows for real-time rendering of visually impressive scenes.
Path tracing is a rendering technique that emulates global illumination by tracing the paths of light rays from a virtual camera. This method uses random samples to gradually compute a final image. Unlike traditional ray tracing, path tracing goes beyond direct lighting and accounts for indirect lighting effects such as reflections, refractions, shadows, and color bleeding. This comprehensive simulation results in highly realistic images. However, the trade-off is the substantial computing power and time required for the process.
Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR
Nvidia DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) and AMD FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution) are both technologies designed to improve gaming performance by using advanced upscaling techniques. DLSS uses AI and deep learning algorithms to upscale lower resolution images to higher resolutions in real time, resulting in improved performance and visual quality.
FSR, on the other hand, is AMD's alternative to DLSS and employs a combination of spatial upscaling, contrast-adaptive sharpening, and other techniques to achieve similar performance benefits.
Both technologies aim to provide smoother gameplay and higher frame rates without sacrificing image quality, making them valuable tools for gamers with performance-intensive titles. One key difference should not be omitted, however: DLSS requires an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series card at minimum, while AMD’s FSR standard is open source and works on a wide selection of GPUs from AMD and Nvidia.
V-sync, short for vertical synchronization, is a graphics technology used to synchronize the refresh rate of a monitor with the frame rate of a computer's graphics card. It helps to prevent screen tearing by ensuring that the display shows only whole frames. V-sync can be beneficial for improving visual quality in gaming and other graphics-intensive applications by reducing artifacts and improving image consistency. However, it can also introduce input lag and performance impact in some cases, particularly when the frame rate drops below the monitor's refresh rate.
G-Sync, FreeSync and Adaptive Sync are all technologies designed to reduce screen tearing and stuttering in video games by synchronizing the refresh rate of the monitor with the frame rate of the graphics card. They have all been developed to combat the frame drops that can happen with V-Sync enabled. G-Sync was developed by Nvidia for the graphics card and requires a proprietary piece of hardware in the monitor. AMD’s FreeSync is an open standard and can be adopted by any GPU and monitor manufacturer. Adaptive Sync is developed by VESA and Nvidia is supporting the standard with their G-Sync hardware as well.
Hardware recommendations per resolution
- With 1920x1080 pixels, 1080p, or full HD, gaming offers a standard high-definition experience.
- Most mainstream gaming monitors are designed for 1080p resolution.
- A modern mid-range graphics card, such as an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 7700 XT, can handle 1080p gaming with ease.
- Achieving high FPS (frames per second) is attainable with mid-range CPUs like the Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 series.
- At 2560x1440 pixels, also known as WQHD (Wide Quad High Definition), 1440p gaming delivers a higher level of detail and clarity.
- To achieve stable FPS at 1440p, consider high-end graphics cards like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 or AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT.
- While the requirement for a fast graphics card is important, we recommend at least an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 7 for smooth WQHD gaming.
- Gaming at 3840x2160 pixels, also known as UHD (Ultra HD) resolution or simply 4K, unlocks unparalleled visual fidelity and immersion.
- Achieving high FPS at 4K requires top-tier graphics cards such as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 or AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT, paired with powerful CPUs like the Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 7 series.
So what do you really need for gaming?
For fast-paced titles like Apex Legends, League of Legends, Rainbow Six: Siege or Valorant, high FPS are a must to remain competitive. You can achieve the highest frame rates with 1080p resolution. Other games with rich story lines, lots of exploration, or simply high attention to graphical detail, like Cities: Skylines II, Forza Motorsport, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Starfield, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order are best enjoyed in a more cinematic 4K resolution with full details enabled. WQHD is a lot less demanding on the hardware and can be a good compromise.
Now, the decision is up to you. What kind of games do you like to play and which hardware fits the budget? Investing in high-quality PC components across the board that follow or exceed established industry standards can give you an edge and will also make sure you can re-use most of your components the next time you upgrade your setup, for example with a better graphics card or CPU. From power supply units to cooling solutions, be quiet! products are designed to ensure optimal performance, stability, and quiet operation, empowering gamers to immerse themselves in the latest gaming experiences. With early adaptation of standards like ATX 3.0 (like our Straight Power 12), you do not constantly need to think about re-purchasing most hardware components with every platform or GPU upgrade and you can concentrate on what you like best, be it a casual evening of gaming with friends or training to becoming the best in your favorite competitive game.