HDR (High-Dynamic Range) has been around for quite some time, but it is only now getting the recognition and popularity it deserves. HDR can drastically improve the quality of the graphics of supported video games and other content. SDR handles luminance of orders 2-3 magnitude whereas HDR can go up to 5 or more. The concept has been around, but there is still some searching you must do before you’re fully equipped with a setup capable of handling HDR.
HDR technology is being picked up by game manufacturers as well. The list of HDR supported games, at the moment, is pretty thin but there are some great ones in there- like the new Devil May Cry 5. Apart from that, you ought to know that there are quite a few HDR monitors available as of yet. Nvidia and AMD, the two largest and most popular graphics card manufacturers have a series of lines that support HDR.
HDR for PC still has shaky grounds. There are not many 4K monitors available that have support for HDR enabled. Pcguide has a list with some very praiseworthy monitor recommendations that you should check out. There are recent updates for Windows 10 which have solved some of the issues up to a certain level though. However, before you jump into any of that, the first and foremost is the graphics card. So before you start having dreams about playing games with HDR turned on, you must first ask yourself whether your graphics card actually has support for HDR.
Nvidia graphics cards
Nvidia has a long line of graphics cards that are not only popular but quite easy to get your hands on as well that support HDR. The GTX 900 series, 10 series, 16 series and the latest 20 series graphics cards all have HDR support built-in them. Right out of the box, you’ll find them to be ready to be used with HDR-compatible monitors or TVs. Those with Nvidia’s 900 series graphics card should know that this line of cards supports HDR only over HDMI 2.0. HDR support for DisplayPort arrived with DisplayPort 1.4 however Nvidia’s 900 series have DisplayPort 1.2 in them.
Lucky for us, that’s all there is to it. With the launch of their GTX 1000 series, they fixed this as the 1000 series cards had DisplayPort 1.4 in them whereas 16 series and 20 series have DisplayPort 1.4a.
AMD graphics cards
Apart from Nvidia, AMD also has cards out there that have been very widely used for a long time. They’re not one to shy away from a challenge and also have their line of graphic cards that support HDR. AMD’s RX400 and RX500 fully support HDR with HDMI2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4. Additionally, Vega architecture and Radeon 7 are also able to support HDR. The older R9 300 series of cards also support HDR, but they come with a catch.
If you have a card from R9 380 series by AMD (R9 380, R9 380X, R9 390 or R9 390X), you’ll know that these come with HDMI 1.4b and DisplayPort 1.2 output ports. These can be used to display HDR content over to your monitor or TV. However, they can only go up to 30fps and a color depth of 8-bits. This is due to the bandwidth limitations present in the HDMI1.4b and DisplayPort 1.2 output ports. The new HDMI2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 can easily go up to a color depth of 10-bits, which can make quite a big difference. Additionally, they are not limited by the 30fps lock either.
After reading all of this, there shouldn’t be any doubts left in your mind as to whether your graphics card has support for HDR in it. There are Nvidia and AMD cards available that you can get to enjoy the marvelous and superior HDR content. However, the next step will take you to have to select the perfect monitor for your needs. These types of monitors can sometimes end up costing quite a hefty sum. Not everyone has the means nor the budget for these costly monitors. Therefore, we recommend reading this list of some very good monitors that will bring you some terrific graphics while being on a budget.