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.”