What graphics card do I need for HDR and what PC games support it?

Graphics card HDR header

HDR on PC is a bit of a mess, but provided you haven’t been put off by Windows 10’s hazy support for it or the astronomical prices of the best gaming monitors for HDR, then the next step on your path to high dynamic range glory is to get a graphics card that actually supports it. Below, you’ll find a complete list of all the Nvidia and AMD graphics cards that have built-in support for HDR, as well as everything you need to know about getting one that also supports Nvidia and AMD’s own HDR standards, G-Sync HDR and FreeSync 2.

We’ve also put together a list of all the PC games that support HDR as well. There aren’t many of them, all told, but we’ll be updating this list with more titles as and when they come out so it’s always up to date.

HDR: Nvidia graphics cards

The good news is that all of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 900 and 1000 series desktop graphics cards are primed and ready for HDR straight out of the box. Hooray! The bad news is that the 900-series can only do it over their HDMI 2.0 connectors, because their DVI and DisplayPort outputs don’t support it. Boooo. This is because HDR support for DisplayPort was only introduced in DisplayPort 1.4. Nvidia’s GTX 900-series, on the other hand, are stuck with DisplayPort 1.2.

Fortunately, Nvidia rectified this for their 1000 series of GTX graphics cards. As you can see from the table below, these can do HDR over HDMI and DisplayPort, because all of them come with DisplayPort 1.4 connectors. You can also bet the upcoming Nvidia Turing graphics cards will support HDR as well.

HDMI 2.0
HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4
Nvidia GeForce GTX 950
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
Nvidia GeForce GTX 960
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti
Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X
Nvidia Titan X
Nvidia Titan Xp

HDR: AMD graphics cards

For those on the AMD side of the fence, you’re looking mainly at their Polaris family of GPUs – that is, the RX 400 and RX 500 series – as well as their high-end Vega graphics cards. You can also expect AMD’s Navi graphics cards to support HDR whenever they eventually come out.

However, if you happen to have one of AMD’s older R9 300 series cards, you may well be in luck, as these also support HDR over their HDMI 1.4b and DisplayPort 1.2 outputs, albeit with a few limitations – namely, they can only reach a maximum of 30fps at 4K and a colour depth of 8-bits rather than 10-bits when connected over HDMI due to bandwidth limitations.

HDMI 1.4b / DisplayPort 1.2
HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4
AMD Radeon R9 380
AMD Radeon RX 460
AMD Radeon R9 380X
AMD Radeon RX 470
AMD Radeon R9 390
AMD Radeon RX 480
AMD Radeon R9 390X
AMD Radeon RX 550
AMD Radeon RX 560

What graphics card do I need for Nvidia G-Sync HDR?

Alas, even though Nvidia’s 900-series of GTX graphics cards are capable of producing an HDR image, you’ll need one of the 1000 series to make use of Nvidia’s G-Sync HDR standard – specifically, the GTX 1050 or higher.

You’ll also need to make sure it has the correct driver – R396 GA2 or higher – and that your PC is running Windows 10. Nvidia also recommends using your graphics card’s DisplayPort 1.4 connection.

What graphics card do I need for AMD FreeSync 2?

AMD’s FreeSync 2 tech is a little harder to untangle than Nvidia’s G-Sync HDR, as every graphics card that currently supports regular FreeSync also supports FreeSync 2. That means all of the AMD cards listed above, as well as the Radeon HD 7790, Radeon HD 8770, R5, R7 and R9 200 series (excluding the R9 270X and R9 280X), and the R5, R7 and R9 300 series (excluding the R9 370X). It also includes the Radeon R9 Nano cards, Radeon R9 Fury cards and the 2016 edition of the Radeon Pro Duo.

As a result, this means all of these cards can, in fact, do HDR, as long as they’re hooked up to a FreeSync 2 monitor and you’re playing a game with FreeSync 2 support, AMD have now confirmed to me. That rather limits your choices a bit – not all the games in the PC game list below actually have specific FreeSync 2 support, for instance – but at least there’s a smidge more flexibility than Nvidia’s G-Sync HDR cards.

Personally, I’d recommend sticking with the RX 400, RX 500 and Vega graphics cards listed in the table above to be absolutely sure you’re getting the best HDR experience possible with your AMD card, but at least older graphics card owners aren’t completely left out in the cold here.

What PC games support HDR?

It’s pretty slim pickings on the HDR front at the moment, but every month the list gets that little bit longer. There are more coming, too, such as Anthem, Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, Forza Horizon 4 and Metro Exodus, but right now, these are all the games that support HDR on PC:

11 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Thanks for researching and writing these HDR articles, Katharine!

    I’m still hanging out in high-ish frame rate land for a little while longer before hopping onto the HDR train (budgets and color specs are my main excuses), but I look forward to doing so and appreciate being able to keep up with industry developments RPS-style, in the meantime.

  2. MrEvilGuy says:

    Is this why RE4 looked so good on my computer? I haven’t played any of the other games.

  3. kalirion says:

    I’m confused. Hasn’t the Source engine had HDR support for years? Hell, I remember seeing screenshots of Half Life 1 with HDR back before HL2.

    • hloken says:

      Different kind of HDR. Half-Life 2 Lost Coast used “HDR rendering” but that can’t really change the physical characteristics of your display. It’s fun that HDR has so many different meanings, makes it much less confusing. ;-)

    • Avioto says:

      Stole this from Reddit:

      “You’re thinking of HDR Rendering, which was marketed as just ‘HDR’ back in 2006. HDR Rendering essentially mimics how the eyes and cameras work when adjusting for exposure, using an SDR display by messing with contrast, shadows and luminosity, to give the imagine the impression of having a higher dynamic range between scene to scene. The display and game aren’t actually outputting HDR, they’re just pretending to to make the image seem more realistic

      HDR display, which this list is referring to, is a technology in displays that allows them to show more colours at higher brightnesses and contrasts. This means you can have much more accurate colours in games, and have a much higher degree of contrast, luminosity and shadows within the image itself, making it output as close to the eye can see, instead of simulating how the eye sees on a more limited display.

      Unfortunately games that were marketed as HDR back in 2006 to about 2016 are not compatible with the new HDR, as games have to be specifically be updated to work with the new technology’s colour range. though they will work, they’ll just appear in in their SDR colour ranges.”

  4. TotallyUseless says:

    Errrr that’s rather a small list of games… not worth going crazy over HDR imo.

    However if Skyrim, Fallout 4, Witcher 3, Project Cars 2 and Assetto Corsa Competizione would update their games for HDR, then I’m in with this HDR.

  5. mercyRPG says:

    Hell caught up again with the rich people: first there was the Tesla car craze, where they fry their internal organs from increased EM radiation, even more if they use a phone inside a car with the killer microwaves bouncing back & forth, just like in a microwave oven. Now there are the HDR monitors which damage the eyes, but they will realize it too late. Excellent punishment for idiots with bloated salaries!!

    • shenhan says:

      If you HDR damages your eyes, I dare you go outside on a sunny day.

    • airmikee99 says:

      This has been one of those moments where I’m starting to really love DuckDuckGo searches. Whereas Google or Bing would have taken me to a website that explains this nonsense about phone and car microwave radiation (seriously, cars and phones don’t produce any ionizing radiation, which is the bad stuff) DDG instead showed me ‘Tesla Fries’ from a restaurant in Los Angeles called ‘The Edison.’ Now that is actual, useful, real information, not some conspiracy nonsense bullshit about the dangers of non-ionizing radiation.

      Thank you, mercyRPG, for the tip about the shoestring sweet potatoes, they sound delicious.

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