HDMI 2.0 vs HDMI 2.1 - which is better for gaming?

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A picture of an HDMI cable that shows the HDMI 2.0 vs HDMI 2.1 comparison when it comes to bandwidth
Credit: BenQ

If you find yourself caught between choosing HDMI 2.0 or making the leap to HDMI 2.1 for your gaming setup, we understand the dilemma. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a head-to-head comparison of HDMI 2.0 vs HDMI 2.1.

Whether you are in the market for the best gaming TV or gaming monitor, the choice of the HDMI version is a crucial factor that can significantly impact your gaming experience.

So, let's dive into the HDMI 2.0 vs HDMI 2.1 comparison and empower you to make the right decision for an immersive gaming experience.

HDMI 2.0 vs HDMI 2.1 - what's the difference?

Feature HDMI 2.0 HDMI 2.1
Maximum Resolution 4K @ 60Hz4K @ 120Hz 8K @ 60Hz
Bandwidth 18.0 Gbps48.0 Gbps
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) Not supportedSupported
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) Not supportedSupported
Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) Not supportedSupported
Dynamic HDR Not supportedSupported
Quick Media Switching (QMS) Not supportedSupported
Quick Frame Transport (QFT) Not supportedSupported

The main differences between HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1 can be primarily seen in terms of refresh rate and bandwidth.

HDMI 2.0 supports a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz at 4K resolution. This means that it can display up to 60 frames per second on a 4K display, which is suitable for most standard gaming and video content.

On the other hand, HDMI 2.1 supports higher refresh rates, including 120Hz at 4K resolution and even 60Hz at 8K resolution. This increase in refresh rate allows for smoother and more fluid motion, resulting in a more immersive and responsive gaming experience.

When it comes to bandwidth, HDMI 2.0 has a maximum bandwidth of 18.0 Gbps. Whereas, HDMI 2.1 offers a substantial increase in bandwidth, reaching up to 48.0 Gbps. This expanded bandwidth enables the transmission of 4K or 8K content at higher refresh rates.

In addition to the differences in refresh rate and bandwidth, HDMI 2.1 also introduces notable gaming-focused features that are absent in HDMI 2.0. These features further enhance the gaming experience and contribute to smoother, more immersive gameplay.

HDMI 2.0 vs HDMI 2.1 - which is better for gaming?

For gaming, HDMI 2.1 is generally considered better than HDMI 2.0 due to its higher refresh rates and dedicated gaming features.

HDMI 2.1 supports higher refresh rates, including 4K resolution at 120Hz and even 8K resolution at 60Hz. Higher refresh rates result in smoother gameplay, reduced motion blur, and a more responsive gaming experience.

In addition, HDMI 2.1 has gaming-focused features like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), which reduces screen tearing, and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which automatically enables game mode on compatible displays, minimizing input lag.

If you're searching for a gaming TV or monitor equipped with HDMI 2.1 to enhance your gaming experience on your PC or console, Samsung S95C, LG G3 OLED, and Sony Bravia XR X90L are standout choices to consider.

Is HDMI 2.0 good enough for gaming?

If you are a casual gamer who doesn't place a significant emphasis on visual fidelity and isn't striving for the absolute best gaming experience, HDMI 2.0 is generally good enough for your gaming needs.

HDMI 2.0 supports a maximum resolution of 4K at 60Hz, which is suitable for most mainstream gaming consoles and graphics cards. It also supports features like HDR (High Dynamic Range), which can enhance the overall visual quality.


However, if you are a dedicated gaming enthusiast who seeks the best possible experience and wants to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies, HDMI 2.0 falls short of meeting your needs, making HDMI 2.1 the optimal choice.

And that concludes our HDMI 2.0 vs HDMI 2.1 comparison. For those in search of an OLED gaming TV, it is essential to be aware that there exists a superior option to OLED. Indeed, QD-OLED is better than OLED.

For more articles like this, take a look at our AV and How To page.