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24 Feb 2021

Do You Need HDMI 2.1 For 120hz Gaming? Here's What You Need To Know

So, do you actually need an HDMI 2.1 connection for 120hz gaming, or can you experience 120fps right now using monitors or TVs which have the standard HDMI 2.0 setup?

It's a perfectly valid question, especially with HDMI 2.1 monitors set to be coming out in the near future, so let's clear things up once and for all!

And spoiler alert, it's good news!

Do you need HDMI 2.1 for 120hz gaming?

The short answer is...no! You don't need an HDMI 2.1 connection for 120hz gaming, and many PC players have been able to experience 120fps for some time with an HDMI 2.0 connection.

An HDMI 2.1 connection essentially allows for 120fps at 4K, or 8K at 60fps, while an HDMI 2.0 connection can allow for 120fps, but at either 1080p or 1440p.

Do you need HDMI 2.1 for 120hz gaming

DIVE IN: Some monitors like this one can be used for 120hz gaming (See it on Amazon)

HDMI 2.0 connections also allow for 4K at 60hz, which has been enjoyed for some time thanks to consoles like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. 

Do you need HDMI 2.1 for 120hz 4K gaming?

You certainly do! 120hz at 4K is something that is only possible via an HDMI 2.1 connection, but you'll have to make sure your hardware is up to the task, both with display and platform.

For display, at the moment, HDMI 2.1 TVs are available, but quite pricey, and can deliver gaming on Xbox Series X and PS5 at 120fps and 4K.

TV 120hz 4K HDMI 2.1

120HZ 4K READY: TVs like this one can deliver the goods! (See it on Amazon)

However, we'll likely have to wait until Q2 for monitors to follow suit, as there are no HDMI 2.1 monitors available at the time of writing.

When it comes to platforms, it may sound obvious, but you'll need something capable of outputting 120fps at either 1080p, 1440p or 4K, which leaves you with some PC builds, PS5 and Xbox Series X.

How do you get 120fps with an HDMI 2.0?

If you're interested in playing on a monitor for PS5, Xbox Series X and PC, you'll be happy to know that you can get those blistering fast frame rates right now with select monitors.

Look for monitors which support 120hz, which can usually be found with a label of 144hz, 165hz or 240hz. 

These monitors will likely be 1080p, which is the trade-off in the resolution you'll need to make to be able to access such high framerates, but not for every platform.

Xbox Series X can output in 1080p, 1440p and 4K at 120fps, as can some PC builds also, however PS5 at the moment can only output in 1080p or 4K at 120fps.

What this means is that if you're using an HDMI 2.0 connection, for Xbox Series X and PC gaming at 120hz, your monitor can be either 1080p or 1440p, while for PS5 you'll be limited to only 1080p monitors.

1440p 120hz hdmi 2.1 monitor

1440P, 120HZ: Monitors like these are a good call for PC and Xbox (See it on Amazon)

We'll be sure to update you with all the latest on HDMI 2.1 TVs and monitors as we hear it, but until then, be sure to check out some amazing picks you can get right now!