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Can a 1080p Laptop Output 4k? (Explained for Beginners)

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There is always something new on the horizon when it comes to technology, and this time the talk is on 4k resolution. 4k offers four times the resolution of 1080p, making for an impressively clear and lifelike viewing experience. You may be wondering if it’s possible to get that same level of quality from your 1080p laptop, and the answer is yes, but not on all devices.

A 1080p laptop can output 4k only if its graphics card and other components like monitor, cables and operating system support that output. Regardless of whether you have a 720p or 1080p laptop, it eventually comes down to the specifications of the graphics card. Note then that your laptop’s display resolution it’s not the only component that impacts whether a laptop can output 4k. So how do you know if your laptop can output 4k?

How To Check If A Laptop Can Output 4K

At this point, you understand that it is the graphics card that determines the output capability of your laptop. To check whether the laptop can output 4k, we should check the specifications of the graphics card. You have to know the type of graphics card used with your laptop to do this. If you don’t know, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Go to your Control Panel and select Device Manager. 

Step 2: Under Display adapters, right-click on the adapter and select Properties. 

Step 3: Select the Details tab in the window that pops up. 

Step 4: In the drop-down menu, select Hardware Ids. This will give you the name and model number of your graphics card. 

Once you know what type of graphics card you have, go to the manufacturer’s website and look up the specs of that particular card. Popular manufacturers are Intel, NVidia, and AMD. You will find information on the maximum resolution supported on the manufacturer’s website. If that value is below 3840 x 1920, the card cannot output in 4k resolution. If this is the case, your laptop will not be able to either.

Can My Graphics Card Output 4k?

There are a few graphics cards on the market that can support 4k resolutions. The most popular ones are NVidia, AMD, and Intel.


NVidia is one of the leading graphics card manufacturers and offers a wide range of cards that can support 4k resolutions. The GeForce 600M Series, GeForce 700M Series, and GeForce 800M Series graphics cards support 4k resolutions.

Some of the most popular models are the GeForce GTX 1070, 1080, and 1080 Ti. Each of these cards has a different maximum resolution that it can support. The GeForce GTX 1070 can support up to 2560 x 1600, 1080 can go up to 3840 x2160, and the 1080 Ti can reach 4096 x 2304.


AMD is another popular graphics card manufacturer that offers several models that support resolutions of up to 4096 x 2304. Some of the most popular cards are the Radeon R280X, R290X, and Fury X.

These cards are similar to NVidia’s in that they each have a different maximum resolution that they can support. The Radeon R280X can go up to 2560 x 1600, the R290X can reach 3840 x216, and the Fury X can output 4096 x 2304. 


Intel is the last of the big three graphics card manufacturers and offers a few models that can support resolutions up to 4096 x 2304. The most popular models are the Intel HD 4600 and Iris Pro 580. 

Both of these cards have a maximum resolution of 4096 x 2304, making them some of the best options for those looking to output in 4k. All Intel UHD graphics cards can output 4k.

If you have any graphics cards listed above or a higher version, your laptop can output in 4k resolutions. However, you should note that even if your graphics card can support 4k, not all laptops are equipped with the right specifications to take advantage of this capability.

Laptop specifications to consider

Now that you know whether or not your laptop can output 4k, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Factors such as the cable connectors, operating system, and monitor capabilities eventually impact whether you can get a 4k output or not.

The external monitor capabilities

Not all displays support 4k resolution. So, even if your laptop can output in 4k, you might not be able to take advantage of it if the display cannot support that resolution. You should make sure that the display you’re using can display resolutions that high. Examples include the Dell P2715Q or the Acer Predator XB271HU.

The operating system

To output in 4k, you need to have an operating system that supports it. Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Mac OS X do not support this resolution. You need to have recent versions of operating systems that can support output in 4k resolution.

The connecting cables

You need the right cables to connect your laptop to a monitor and take advantage of 4k resolution. The most common cables for this purpose are HDMI and DisplayPort. Some of the newer laptops are starting to come with Thunderbolt as well. If your laptop only has VGA or DVI, you won’t be able to take advantage of the higher resolutions.

Can I get 60 fps output from my laptop?

This is a particularly important aspect for gamers as you would want a higher fps for a great gaming experience. Unfortunately, you may not always get high refresh rates like 60fps when using a laptop. Keep in mind that even though your laptop might be able to output in resolutions as high as 4k, the number of frames per second it can do so will be lower. Usually, laptops are not built for gaming, so they will not be able to utilize the full resolution capabilities in the same way that a desktop computer would.

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Pigtou Editorial Team

A group of tech enthusiasts who find pleasure in troubleshooting and resolving various issues. When we're not engaged in writing, we typically enjoy playing table football or spending time with our office dog.
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