There is a wide range of computer monitor options to choose from, but if you filter your needs to a specific task, such as gaming, you’ll be able to pick the right gaming monitor more efficiently. If you just choose a monitor on a whim without considering your needs, there’s a chance the monitor won’t meet your expectations.
For gamers in search of the perfect gaming monitor, here’s why you should take the time to find the right one:
Size and resolution
Screen size and resolution go hand-in-hand because the resolution you choose will affect how the pixels of images are displayed. You’ll find that most gamers opt for monitors between 22 to 27 inches, since going with larger-sized displays mean they’d have to play from a distance and going with anything smaller-sized means high resolutions won’t be “seen.”
When it comes to resolution, gamers choose between the three: 1080p (Full HD), 1440p (QHD/2K), and 2160p (UHD/4K). The choice will also depend on your GPU power (lower resolutions are unable to provide higher frame rates), so you would have to decide if your priority is visual quality or performance (or both).
Measured in Hertz (Hz), the refresh rates of a monitor measure the number of times a monitor refreshes the image displayed every second.
When you choose from monitors, learning about the refresh rate gives you the idea of how many frames per second the monitor can display.
Common refresh rates of gaming monitors are 60Hz, 144Hz, and 240Hz. Of course, make sure you consider your GPU (graphics processing unit) since the GPU must be able to handle the refresh rate. Going just by a high refresh rate wouldn’t matter because the GPU is the hardware responsible for showing off the images on your monitor.
Response time refers to the time it takes a single pixel to switch from white to black and white again, or switch between gray shades.
The pixel response time is measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower it is, the smoother images move on the screen. The higher response time, on the other hand, causes images to blur because the pixels cannot adapt quickly to the changes of colors between image movements.
You’ll find response times better on TN panels (up to 1ms) since the lowest response time of IPS panels are 4ms. But if you haven’t really been aware of response times, there’s a good chance you won’t notice the difference between 1 or 4 milliseconds response time.
Developed by VESA, Adaptive-Sync adjusts the monitor’s refresh rate to match the GPU outputting frames as it happens.
Most gaming monitors in the market today are equipped with either the AMD FreeSync or NVIDIA G-SYNC since this technology prevents screen tearing on the monitor while playing games.
AMD FreeSync is only compatible with AMD graphics cards. This is more popular for people who are buying their monitors and computer components together since there is no extra cost to take advantage of the FreeSyn tech when you decide to go with a monitor with FreeSync.
Meanwhile, NVIDIA G-SYNC would only work with NVIDIA graphic cards. Unlike FreeSync, G-SYNC adds a premium of around $120 more to the base price of a G-SYNC-powered monitor.
LCD Panel type
Technically, LCD panels come in several forms, but the ones used for gaming fall down into these two panel types: TN (twisted nematic) and IPS (in-plane switching).
Each panel type has strengths and weaknesses, so your decision would rely on whether you want faster response times or want to prioritize color reproduction accuracy.
TN panels are known to have excellent response times, while IPS panels offer better viewing angles and vibrant images.
Your high-end monitor will be useless if it isn’t compatible with the ports of your computer, gaming console, or other devices you wish to connect to your display. It is essential to have knowledge of types of cables for monitors.
As such, make sure that the gaming monitor you choose has the following ports:
- DisplayPort 1.4 – The most popular choice for audio/video transfer on PC.
- HDMI 1.4/2.0 – Transfers video and audio, but only handle average refresh rates
- 3.5mm Audio Out – Connects your audio device (speakers or headphones) directly to the monitor instead of your CPU.
If you need USB ports for your USB devices and want them to be plugged into the monitor directly, ask about these connections before buying the monitor. They’re available, but not as popular.
It doesn’t matter if you only play games leisurely or compete professionally in esports and online games. If the monitor cannot perform properly while you play your game, it takes away the joy in gaming and who would want that, right? Considering the options above ensures you get your money’s worth and you get to play games as hassle-free as possible.