4K Gameplay: How Fast Can You Drive? How About 1.5 Billion Pixels a Second

by Brian Caulfield

Acres of lifelike beaches, delectable food, and amazing cityscapes seem to stretch across many booths featuring 4K displays at this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Our booth has some amazing scenery, too: A twisty, photo-realistic track displayed with stunning clarity on a trio of 65-inch 4K Panasonic displays.

Here’s what makes ours different: You can grab a controller and blast through the landscape like a lunatic, as stereo speakers deafen those around you with the throaty roar of a neon green Pagani two-seater.

This is 4K you can pick up and play. At a cost of just under $30,000.

“Amazing,” said Carlos Cuello, a Colombian journalist who writes for Enter.Co, the nation’s largest tech publication, as he watched our live demo. “This is another dimension.”

4K, of course, is the industry term for the latest generation of ultra-high-resolution monitors. It refers to their ability to cram 4,000 or more pixels on a single horizontal line.

To the human eye, it brings an enormous step up from the high-definition displays that can now be purchased for a few hundred bucks at the nearest electronics store.

Creating video that takes advantage of what these displays can do isn’t easy. Videographers have to upgrade to a new generation of cameras and video-editing workstations.

Even harder: creating interactive experiences that can wring the most out of all those pixels. This is something that’s simply beyond what the latest generation of game consoles can do.

Brought to you by Titan: a 12k display you can play.
Brought to you by GeForce GTX Titan: a 12K display you can play.

But it makes 4K content – particularly on multiple screens – the perfect demo of what’s ahead.

“I’m looking at 4K as the panels get cheaper, and more content appears,” said Patrick Danford, a PC gamer who works at Walt Disney Studios, after taking a close look at the water-cooled innards of the PC powering our demo through a clear panel on the side of the machine’s case. “This is pretty cool.”

To build our demo, we started with one of Origin’s ferocious Genesis PCs. We then equipped it with four of our GeForce GTX Titan graphics cards yoked together with our SLI technology.

We then loaded it up with a pre-release version of Project CARS (Community Assisted Racing Simulator), a driving simulator being developed by Slightly Mad Studios. Then, we cranked up the settings to run the game at a ridiculously smooth 60 frames per second.

1.5 Billion Pixels Per Second

Hook up all this to a trio of 65-inch displays and you’re driving more than 1.5 billion pixels per second into an interactive 12K display.

And visitors to our booth are having a blast with it.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Stanley, whose home PC is equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti, as he nodded towards our enormous screens. “If only I could fit those into my apartment.”

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  • darkcg

    I want that chassis.

  • realjjj

    You can’t call this 12k when you don’t even have the pixels for 8k.
    And more than 1.5B pixels per minute is somewhat not true if you run at a flat 60 FPS since the screen is 3840×2160 but that one is at least close enough.

  • Mauricio Reinoso

    Colombian, not Columbian

  • Matthew Timms

    1080p is fine for now

  • BearIncognito

    says you

  • Jorrit Huisman

    triple monitor is awesome for game immersion.

  • Brian Caulfield

    It’s the only way to fly.

  • Garrett Miller

    I’ll hold off for 2 or 3 years, and then it’ll be standard and graphics cards will be powerful enough to max games out on it. It’ll also be a lot cheaper. Never buy technology like this right away.

  • Voreo Sabrae

    says most reasonable people.

  • Chris Anderson

    if people said that about 480p then we wouldn’t have 1080p.

  • rw1234

    3,840 x 2,160 (resolution) x 3 (screens) x 60 (fps) = 1,492,992,000 pixels per second.

  • sciullo779 .

    “4K, of course, is the industry standard term for the latest generation of ultra HD monitors. it refers to their ability to cram 4000 or more pixels into a single horizontal line.”

    im sorry, what? You’re an nvidia blog and you dont even know what 4k is? A “4K” display is 3840 x2160 resolution, so it doesnt have “more than 4000 pixels in a a single straight line” it has 3840….. 4k means 4 times the resolution of a standard high def monitor which is 1080p 1920×1080= 2,073,600 pixels 3840×2160= 8,294,400 4 times 2 million pixels is 8 million pixels, thus 4k resolution…..

  • Sam Cerulean

    MAXWELL, MAXWE/LL, MAXWELL, MAXWELL, MAXWELL, That’s all I have to say. Can Nvidia say anymore?

  • Michael Gray

    4K is somewhat ambiguous, as Cinema Standard 4K is actually 4096 x 2160, however I quite agree that they should know that UHD isn’t over 4000 wide.
    Also as someone stated below it’s not actually above 1.5B pix/sec – quite a worrying article.

  • Lorenzo Monsif

    Omg Stanley is so hardcore, has a 650 Ti!

  • puiselo

    How can you even be that stupid? 4K is not a standard, there are two main types of 4K: Cinema and UHD. UHD is the “pseudo-4k” being only 3840 x 2160 (16:9) where as the true and original cinema standard is 4096 x 2160 (~17:9). This is the true native resolution of 4K cinema projectors, screens and digital cinema cameras.

    Get your facts straight, you silly boy

  • sciullo779 .

    if you actually read the article, they’re talking about 3840×2160 “4k” monitors, not DCI standards. as far as I know no consumer grade monitors exist that are DCI 4k….

    I’m so glad you can attempt to be a smart ass when you never read the context of “4k” in the article, let alone did any research into consumer grade 4K devices.

    Try googling 4k and read before you open your mouth.

  • Brian Caulfield


  • Brian Caulfield

    Fixed. Thanks!

  • darkcg

    Possible to buy one?

  • Firsti Surnami

    saying 4K when not talking about 4K is misinformation by the industry, UHD is NOT 4K.

    3840×2160 is UHD and NOT 4K and no amount of saying it is will change that FACT no matter what misinformation is spread by the ignorant and ill informed or if “4K” is adopted as a cheaper than “UHD” BUZZWORD…….because IT SOUNDS BETTER……

  • Tim

    You’d be right about the pixels/sec if they were only pushing 1 frame/sec. When you take the ~8.3M pixels from each display, it’s only ~25M pixels. Multiply that by 60, and you end up just shy of that 1.5B mark.

  • Michael Gray

    I’m aware of the maths, however in the article they claim: “…driving more than 1.5B pixels per second…”, which, since even at a constant 60fps ( also unrealistic depending on dynamic load and cooling ), still comes to around 1.49B, it is, however small, a false claim.