The PlayStation 5 doesn’t support 1440p output, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work with a 1440p monitor. However, if you’re looking to pair a 1440p monitor with your PS5, there are a few important things you should know about.
Internal vs. Output Resolution
When you read that the PS5 doesn’t support 1440p, it means that it doesn’t support an output resolution of 2560×1440. The “p” is short for progressive scan and it’s not all that important these days since almost all modern HD devices are progressive scan rather than interlaced video.
The important thing to concentrate on here is the idea of output resolution. This is the standardized final output signal the display device receives. So, for example, if your PS5’s output resolution is 2160p (4K Ultra HD) then your monitor will show that it is receiving a 2160p signal. It’s getting data from the device that tells it what color and brightness every one of the 4K pixels must display.
That is separate from the internal resolution of the device. The GPU inside your console can render images at any arbitrary resolution, including 1440p. In fact, it’s now standard for video games to have dynamic internal resolutions that scale up and down to help maintain stable performance.
On a console such as the PS5, a process known as scaling is used to translate the internal resolution pixel grid to the output resolution’s pixel grid. Scaling is its own topic, but if you have the right sophisticated mathematics, you can enhance the detail in the lower-resolution image so that it looks good on the higher-resolution display.
Since the PS5 handles this internal-to-output scaling internally, the results are always consistent. It won’t look as good as rendering the game at the native resolution of the display, but with modern scaling techniques, we can get very close while benefitting from the performance gains by rendering at a lower internal resolution.
Output Resolution on PS5 Doesn’t Affect Performance
On a gaming PC, you can often specify the internal resolution and the output resolution to your preferences. By lowering the resolution for your game, you’ll increase frame rates, and striking a good balance between image quality and smoothness is largely in your hands.
On the PS5 (and other modern consoles) changing the output resolution does not alter the internal resolution at all. At the time of writing, the PS5 only supports an output resolution of 1080p or 2160p. Since the vast majority of games on PS5 have an internal resolution greater than 1080p, the PS5’s scaler now does the opposite job it usually does.
It takes the higher-resolution image and then downsamples it to 1080p. This does result in a loss of detail compared to upscaling it to 2160p but also produces a better image than a native 1080p render. This is effectively a form of supersampling, where the edges of rendered objects are smoothed out by rendering the whole scene at a higher resolution and then scaling it down. This produces a smoother 1080p image.
In all cases, because the internal resolution of the game doesn’t change, performance is exactly the same. However, some games offer an in-game switch to change the internal resolution. These are usually labeled as “performance” or “quality” modes and adjust render settings in accordance with specific performance targets.
The Two Types of 1440p Monitor (and Which Is Best for PS5)
All 1440p monitors have a pixel grid measured at 2560×1440 (QHD) and will accept an output signal at that native resolution. However, just like TVs, computer monitors can accept signals that differ from their native resolution.
In these cases, the scaling is done by hardware inside the monitor and the quality of that scaling will differ significantly across models and brands. All 1440p monitors will accept standard HD resolutions such as 1080p and 720p. However, only some will accept a 2160p signal, which is where the trouble with PS5s and 1440p monitors originates.
If your 1440p monitor only accepts 1080p signals, you must use your PS5 in its 1080p output mode. This means the PS5 scales the image down from 2160p to 1080p, then the monitor takes that 1080p signal and upscaled it to 1440p using its internal scaler. This additional scaling step, though, can negatively affect image quality and this is not an ideal combination for PS5 users.
If you have a 1440p monitor that accepts 2160p input, you’ll get a much better image as a result. Although the monitor is still performing a scaling step, it now has more pixel data than pixels. So you’re getting a crisp downsampled image and more detail than scaling up from 1080p.
What About High Refresh Rates?
One of the key reasons gamers want to use 1440p monitors with consoles is that high-refresh televisions are relatively rare and expensive. 1440p gaming monitors almost universally support a 120hz refresh rate, but most do not support it at 2160p. This is because 2160p at 120hz requires an HDMI 2.1-compliant screen and gaming computer monitors generally have HDMI 2.0 inputs for legacy devices while relying on DisplayPort 1.4 for more advanced display modes.
In other words, if you want a 1440p monitor to accept a 2160p 120Hz signal, it must be HDMI 2.1 compliant. Otherwise, the only way to achieve 120Hz would be to set the PS5 to 1080p 120Hz mode, which 1440p gaming monitors will readily accept. However, now we’re back to the same image quality issue of 1080p to 1440p upscaling.
Recommendations for PS5 Monitor Users
Should Sony ever update the PS5 to support 1440p output, these issues will be entirely resolved. Just as on Xbox Series X, 1440p monitor owners will get a 1440p image at high refresh rates scaled by the console itself. Whether Sony does this is up to them. Until then we recommend one of these options:
- Purchase a 1440p or 4K HDMI 2.1 monitor
- Purchase a high-refresh 1080p monitor
- Purchase a 1440p monitor that accepts 4K 60Hz input.
If you already have a 1440p monitor that upscaled your PS5 from 1080p resolution, it may have a good upscaling solution, so you may as well try it and see whether you like the result!
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