Now that 4K displays have become more commonplace, we’re seeing a handful of manufacturers start pushing 8K resolutions. At CEATEC (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) this week, Japanese manufacturer J-Display will show the first 8K monitor — a 17.3-inch panel running at 7680×4320. That works out to nearly 520 PPI, which means the human eye would be unable to distinguish pixels at just seven inches. Given that most people find a seven-inch focus rather limiting, it means this display is going to be retina at any sane distance.
According to J-Display, the new 17.4-inch IPS panel is built using LTPS (low-temperature polysilicon). We’ve talked about this technology in the past, and it’s one of the most-advanced methods of building conventional LCDs — even better in some respects than Sharp’s IGZO. J-Display is also claiming a 120Hz refresh rate, wide viewing angles, and apparently positioning the hardware as a video production display.
As Hot Hardware notes, there are some key points left unanswered in the current copy. Chief among them is what connection standard this monitor could possibly be using to hit 8K resolutions at 120Hz. Right now, the highest-bandwidth technology available in consumer hardware is HDMI 2.0, which is supported by Nvidia’s high-end Maxwell cards. HDMI 2.0, however, maxes out at 4096×2160 at 60Hz. It might be possible to tweak the standard to allow for 8K @ 30Hz, but that’s just 25% of the necessary bandwidth. HDMI has a dual-link standard, known as Type B, but I’m not certain it’s ever been employed in consumer hardware, and doubling up bandwidth would still only allow for 8K resolutions at 60Hz — half of what J-Display is claiming.
Things aren’t much clearer on the DisplayPort side of the fence, either. DisplayPort 1.3 (not currently supported on any GPUs) allows for 8K @ 60Hz, but again — no current manufacturer is shipping graphics cards that can even support it. Of course, J-Display could be relying on a custom-built solution, like Apple did with its 5K iMac, but the need for such solutions points to how long it’s going to be before 8K panels actually go mainstream. J-Display obliquely alludes to this when they refer to the 4K/8K broadcasting that’s expected to be widespread in Japan by 2018, but neglect to mention that it’s 4K that’s expected to go live to consumers. 8K will hopefully be ready for the Olympics in 2020, but there’s no plan yet to roll the standard out toconsumer hardware.
There’s also no mention of a price tag, but we’re willing to let that slide for now. OLEDs and 4K panels were staples of the convention circuit years before they were ever available for consumers to purchase, and we expect to see 8K follow a similar pattern. Even if it was possible to buy an off-the-shelf GPU to drive this kind of panel, we doubt consumers would enjoy the experience very much.
Our recent Fury Nano review showed how GPU power consumption (measured in the number of watts required to draw each frame) closely tracks the game’s resolution. In each case, the amount of power required per frame of 4K was roughly 4x the power requirement of 1080p. Quadruple the pixels and you quadruple the power consumption. Extend that out to 8K, and we’d be looking at nearly 80W of power per frame. That’s 9.6KW of system power required to drive an 8K panel at 120 FPS.