You can now stream Steam games in ridonkulous 8K resolution, but you probably don’t want to
Pack those pipes with pixels.
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Steam’s most popular games may be dominated by e-sports titles that run on practically any PC, but Valve doesn’t just cater to the masses. This week, a Steam update added the ability to stream Remote Play games at a pixel-packed 8K resolution.
“Results may vary depending on hardware,” Valve’s patch notes warn, and they aren’t kidding. 8K gaming only recently gained attention as a way for Nvidia to pitch its ferocious $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card. Even still, our 8K testing with the 3090 proved that achieving playable 60 frames per second-plus frame rates with good graphics settings isn’t possible in most games, especially ones that lack support for Nvidia’s AI-enhanced DLSS upscaling technology.
Another patch note illustrates how far away 8K gaming truly is for most people. Valve also tweaked Remote Play to stream at 1080p resolution by default “to prevent accidental 4K streams.” Most current graphics cards can’t even handle 4K gaming well. 4K packs four times as many pixels as 1080p resolution, and 8K pushes four times more pixels than that. Oof.
Even a beefy GPU isn’t enough to take advantage of Steam’s new feature. You’ll also need an 8K television to stream your games to—prices for 8K TVs on Amazon start around $2,000 and go up to $30,000—and a high-end router capable of slinging all those pixels without falling over itself.
Most people won’t have anywhere near that level of firepower at their fingertips, but just like with Valve’s luxurious Index VR headset, it’s great to see Steam continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible on the PC. You won’t see a console capable of this. That said, if you’re looking for more practical features that can power up your PC gaming, be sure to check out our guide to 17 obscure Steam tips and tricks.
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Senior editor Brad Chacos covers gaming and graphics for PCWorld, and runs the morning news desk for PCWorld, Macworld, Greenbot, and TechHive. He tweets too.