Maybe you are interested in getting a gaming monitor, but you don’t even know what to look for. These days you can spend long hours on the internet researching what to look for in a gaming monitor, and in the end, you will be more confused.
In this article, I will share the significant features to look at when picking a new monitor for your gaming setup. This will greatly help you to make sure that you are buying the right monitor for your games.
Panel Type: TN or IPS?
Basically, TN panels are all about price and speed, while IPS panels focus on improving user’s viewing experience. Both panels are decent, and they both have pros and cons.
For example, your screen response time should be the same as the display time. A good gaming monitor must have a response time that is at least 5ms, but a lot of displays using TN panels have a response time of 1-2ms which is quite impressive for professional gaming.
Has a lesser latency and works better with high refresh rates
Poor color reproduction
Limited viewing angles
Impressive color reproduction
Wide viewing angles
One of the major factors that you need to consider when looking for a monitor is the refresh rate, although we are talking about something that seems minor but it makes a big difference.
The refresh rate is simply the number of times a monitor refreshes a picture that is being displayed on the screen. Basically, a higher refresh rate means a smoother picture quality. This can make your game appear more realistic and responsive, but most of the time, the difference is really the human reaction.
Most of the monitors that are available right now run either a 60hz, 120hz, 144hz or 240hz refresh rate. These numbers look quite high, and you might be wondering why someone will go for 60Hz when there is 240Hz.
The truth is that it still depends on how quickly the human eye can process the image on the screen. Some will invest their last dollar in a higher refresh rate, whereas; others can’t even see the difference. If you have the opportunity, it’s financially reasonable to check out this feature in person before paying for it.
60Hz – Considered to be the least you can have for a smooth gaming experience.
75Hz- Just a bit better than the least, but only a marginal difference
120Hz –Crystal clear difference in playability and quality, but still not the best or the most popular
144Hz – This is just a little better than 120Hz, but the more accepted standard is definitely good enough if you are willing to buy a high refresh rate display today.
240Hz – Although, it is the highest, not quite notable as the difference from 60 to 144, besides, quite rare to see with most hardware currently on the market.
FreeSync and G-Sync
The first thing you need to know is that these two technologies will require DisplayPort ports on both your graphics card and your monitor, and you will also need a DisplayPort cable to connect them.
It’s possible to experience some issues where these two will not sync up, depending on your FPS and refresh rates. And when this happens, it will result in screen tearing, which is one of the annoying graphical things no one wants to experience while playing their favorite game.
What are FreeSync and G-Sync?
Nvidia developed G-Sync, and AMG developed Freesync. The idea was to come up with a method that can prevent screen tearing without hitting heavily on performance.
Just like any other invention, both options have their pros and cons. However, we’ve noticed that monitors that come with Nvidia’s G-Sync are slightly more expensive because it needs the presence of dedicated hardware to work on the screen.
These two features have important similar features and some key differences and I will briefly talk about them. This will give you an idea of what to expect if you want to go for a gaming monitor.
FreeSync produced by AMD will only work with AMD GPUs and FreeSync-compatible displays. However, FreeSync supports all devices that are compliant with the latest DisplayPort standards; it does not need the presence of dedicated hardware to work.
G-Sync, from Nvidia, supports all Nvidia GPUs and works with G-Sync-compatible displays. However, G-Sync needs to have specialized hardware built into the display to work correctly.
Both FreeSync and G-Sync seek to be better than V-Sync, which is a hardware-based method of combining your framerate with your refresh rate to eliminate screen tearing.
However, this will definitely affect input latency, and your display framerate will be heavily affected if you attempt to go below the refresh rate. This is where the –Sync technologies are better because they do not cause input lag, and they will still make sure that your refresh rate and framerate are perfectly synchronized.
In addition, do not forget that your system must have Nvidia GPU for G-Sync to function or AMD GPU for Free-Sync to work.
Which is better?
If you have a graphics card already, simply go with the one it supports. Free-Sync will do everything that G-sync will do, but the former is cheaper.
Resolution and Monitor Size
A lot of people believe that a larger screen size is always better, which is not true. Although it might be true with televisions, the size becomes less important when you move closer to the screen. Besides, remember that it must not be bigger than your desk.
It is a popular belief that sizes from 24” to 27” are the perfect ones for gaming. You only need to sit 3-4ft away from the screen of monitors in that range, and you will still be able to see everything conveniently. Large monitors can be quite important for competitive gaming, but remember that they can be expensive too.
Below is a list of the popular sizes and their screen resolutions:
1080p and 24 inches – Quite common, will work with most gaming rig.
1440p and 27 inches – Not really common, will require decent high-end hardware to actually enjoy it.
4K and 27+ inches – Quite rare, you will need the best hardware available to get the ultimate experience out of it.
Widescreen (16:9) or Ultrawide (21:9)?
The screen resolution of a monitor is one of the important factors that you need to consider if you want your games to look great. A higher screen resolution means a higher number of pixels, which means a better picture quality.
The size of the monitor will also dictate the resolution wish to run. A lot of people play their games on a 1080p, which comes out great on a 24″ monitor. However, if you want to do the big numbers like 1440p or even 4K, you will need a bigger screen size.
I will recommend that you use a single 16:9 monitor for gaming. Although huge and multi-monitor setups can work, but they do not have much support for gaming. In some cases, it can be quite disappointing, especially in competitive multiplayer titles, where they won’t allow you to use a wider FOV.
Before you pay for a large screen, ensure that you have the necessary video hardware support. This is because as the pixel increases, it automatically creates more work for your GPU. So, if you are interested in the high FPS image quality, make sure you have the high-end hardware support system to handle it.
How Much Should I Spend?
If you are an amateur gamer, you will quickly realize that the most exciting features that enhance your gaming experience also hurts your bank account. All the attractive and powerful features come at a cost.
Some high-end monitors cost up to $1000, but it’s still possible to get a good monitor for a price that is far less than that. It all depends on the type of monitor that you want and how much you are willing to pay to get it.
If you are more interested in FPS and screen resolution, then your priorities may differ from someone that wants their game to appear amazing.
Also, it depends on how much you are willing to spend on the rest of your gaming setup. Below is a breakdown of how you can go about it:
If you are not willing to spend much on the system setup (maybe $300 to $500 total): I will advise you not to spend more than $200 or any less than $100.
If you are looking to setup a midrange gaming system (anywhere from $600 to $800 total): it will be reasonable to spend around $200 or not more than $400.
If you are planning to build a high-end gaming system (around $1000 and up): You are free to spend as much as you wish, but it will be reasonable to start around $300-400.
What features are most important?
Just like I mentioned earlier, it depends on what prioritize more, are you looking for a smooth gameplay experience or a gorgeous gameplay experience?
If you are interested in a comfortable and smooth gameplay, this should be your priority:
A monitor with a refresh rate that is not less than 120 Hz! This means that if you are on a tight budget, you should go for 1080p and 1440p if you have the money.
The response time of your monitor must not be more than 3ms!
G-Sync or FreeSync – Will be quite okay and effective.
You can choose between HDR or deep color gamut, although the support for HDR is limited.
You don’t have to go for an IPS panel if it means sacrificing other vital features
However, if you are looking for elegance above all, this should be your priority (this is more expensive).
IPS – You should go for an IPS panel because it offers better color reproduction and wider viewing angles that will give you the ultimate gaming experience.
HDR and deep color gamut – Expensive and not readily available, but it will be great if you can get it.
4K- 4K will definitely give the ultimate image clarity
Response Time – Should not be more than 5 ms! We are creating elegance, but you will still want an enjoyable gaming experience.
G-Sync or FreeSync – Not really important, but it will still be helpful if you can get one.
Other Things To Consider
There are other few things that you need to look out for when doing your research about the best gaming monitor. I have shared some of the significant ones, but there are other extra things which include:
HDR – You will generally see this feature on TVs and not monitors. But if you can get a monitor with HDR, it will make your games look amazing. It takes your gaming experience to another level of awesomeness that you will definitely enjoy.
Variety of ports – If you will be using your monitor with more than one system, then you need to look out for ports like HDMI, VGA, DVI, and DisplayPort. All these ports are quite important, especially if you have a lot of external devices.
Response time – Ensure that the response time of your monitor is as low as possible to prevent ghosting, monitors with a response time as little as 1ms are perfect for gaming.
Monitor types – You should also check out widescreen monitors that sports a higher screen ratio. They can be quite useful when playing strategy games. However, some competitive games will not allow you to use it because they believe it will give you an edge over others.
If you are interested in a monitor that will bring out your game as clean and real as possible, then you should lean towards monitors with a higher refresh rate and lower response time. For example, a monitor with a refresh rate of 120Hz and a response time of 3-4ms will make your game appear smooth.
If you are not really looking for performance, then you should go for a large monitor that supports HDR or a 4K resolution. This will give you the ultimate gaming bliss but at a higher price tag, and it will also increase your game’s workload.
I’m sure you now know the important things to look for in a gaming monitor. Although it might seem minor to you, it determines how well you will enjoy your gaming sessions. Whether you are looking for a monitor for competitive gaming or you just want your favorite game to appear as real as possible, choosing the perfect monitor is quite important.