The best HDMI 2.1 cables for RTX 3090 and 3080 graphics cards

HDMI 2.1 for Nvidia RTX 3090

Nvidia recently unveiled its new-generation of RTX 3000-series graphics cards, headed by the monstrously powerful RTX 3080 and RTX 3090. These cards pack new generation GPUs, alongside new memory, new RT cores, and new tensor cores, for absolutely staggering performance. All of it is rendered and transferred down the latest generations of high-end cabling: HDMI 2.1, and DisplayPort 1.4. Those high-speed ports are necessary too, as both the RTX 3080 can render games at 60 FPS at 4K resolution, even with ray tracing enabled, thanks to Nvidia's advanced deep learning super sampling technology. The RTX 3090 goes even further, however, with Nvidia claiming that it can output a steady 60 frames per second at 8K resolution with ray tracing enabled.

Whether you're targeting high-speed 4K gaming or even high-speed 8K gaming, though, you need the right cable for the job. HDMI 2.1 is the first HDMI generational leap in years to require a brand new cable to make the most of it. DisplayPort 1.4a is compatible with older standards, but that doesn't mean it's not worth using one of the latest and greatest DisplayPort cables you can get your hands on.

Cable Matters has excellent options for both.

RTX 3000 – the HDMI 2.1 pioneer

TVs and monitors that support the new HDMI 2.1 standard have been available for a while, but until now, there haven't been any source devices that supported it. The next-generation Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will offer HDMI 2.1 support, but they aren't set to launch until the holiday season.

Nvidia's RTX 3000 series graphics cards, including the RTX 3070, 3080, and 3090, are the first to support HDMI 2.1 at the source-end, making it possible to take full advantage of HDMI 2.1 TVs for the first time. That makes PCs equipped with an RTX 3000 graphics card the best way to experience 8K movies and TV, too.

Do you need an HDMI 2.1 cable for the RTX 3090?

The Nvidia RTX 3090 is the most powerful graphics card ever made. It might not be cheap, but it offers the absolute pinnacle of performance, whether you want to game at the highest resolutions and frame rates, or capture 8K footage to stream to your followers and fans, no matter where they're from.

Gaming at anything less than 4K resolution with a graphics card this powerful wouldn't do justice to its potential. That doesn't mean you have to use an HDMI 2.1 cable, but you should. Older HDMI standards will leave you limited to 60 FPS at best and without the ability to use HDR for the full visual treat of gaming at the bleeding edge.

Image credit: Nvidia

That's especially true if 4K doesn't feel enough for you. Nvidia demonstrated that you can even use an RTX 3090 to game at 8K resolution. This is the first graphics card to ever be capable of rendering a game at such a resolution and is an amazing leap in performance considering its last-generation predecessors, the RTX 2080 Ti and Titan RTX, would regularly struggle to hit high frame rates at 4K resolution – especially with ray tracing enabled.

Nvidia claims that the RTX 3090 is so powerful that it has the ability to play a number of games at 8K without difficulty. They include Apex Legends, Destiny 2, Forza Horizon 4, Rocket League, World of Warcraft, and World of Tanks. All of those games can meet or exceed a comfortable 60 FPS at 8K, but the list of playable games is even greater when you factor in its deep learning super sampling technology.

With DLSS 2.0 enabled, you can even play Control, Death Stranding, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood at 8K resolution with a 3090 and hit near or above 60 FPS on average. These are not low-intensity indie games with ray tracing enabled, so that is an especially grand achievement, even for such a monstrously powerful card.

To run any game (or indeed, video) at 8K resolution, you absolutely need to use an HDMI 2.1 cable. DisplayPort 1.4a connectors can technically handle 8K resolution, but they're limited to 30 frames per second. You wouldn't be able to use HDR either, unless DSC is enabled.