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

GPUs and HDR explained

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HDR on PC continues to be a bit of a mess these days, but provided you haven’t been put off by the astronomical prices of the best gaming monitors for HDR or, indeed, the ongoing debacle surrounding Windows 10 support for it, then the next step on your path to high dynamic range glory is to get an HDR compatible graphics card.

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. I’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 I’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, 1000 series and new RTX Turing 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 outputs.

Fortunately, Nvidia rectified this for their 1000 series of GTX graphics cards. As you can see from the table below, all of these can do HDR over HDMI and DisplayPort, because all of GTX 10-series cards come with DisplayPort 1.4 connectors. Nvidia’s RTX 20-series, meanwhile, are even more future-proof, as these have DisplayPort 1.4a ready and HDMI 2.0b outputs, which can do HDR at resolutions up to 7680×4320 (8K) at 60Hz when those monitors eventually become available in the future.

HDMI 2.0 HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4a
Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070
Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080Ti
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070Ti
Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti
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 and 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
AMD Radeon RX 570
AMD Radeon RX 580
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64

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 or the RTX 2000 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 and Metro Exodus, but right now, these are all the games that support HDR on PC:

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Who am I?

Katharine Castle

Hardware Editor

Katharine writes about all the bits that go inside your PC so you can carry on playing all those lovely games we like talking about so much. Very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests.

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