What to look for in a gaming monitor?
A monitor is one of the most long-lasting pieces of equipment that you will have.
15:36 10 August 2019
An old display monitor will not do, especially when gaming is your primary focus. You can never truly enjoy whatever you’re doing without a display monitor that will show you the most vibrant and brightest pictures. Otherwise, you risk making your otherwise fantastic setup seem lackluster.
But what are the things that you need to be on the lookout for when looking for, not just any monitor but a gaming monitor? How will you decide which one is the right one for you? Can’t you simply invest as much money as you can spare and buy the biggest, baddest boy on the block? Fret not, we’re here to help you get out of this conundrum.
Resolution and Size
No matter what, the thing that you will always see and take note of first, will be the size and the resolution. These days, gaming monitors sport 1080p (Full HD), 1440p (QHD), and 2160p (4K). The resolution tells you the total number of pixels the monitor has in the format of length x width. Higher resolution will mean better picture quality and much more vibrant and accurate colors. Low resolution will mean that there is very limited screen space, resulting in pixelated images.
One thing that you need to keep in mind while going for a high resolution monitor is your hardware power. Can your GPU actually put out the power needed for a 4K resolution monitor to deliver full performance? Keeping this in mind can save you quite a lot of bucks.
With 4K becoming more and more popular and trendy, you should definitely look into getting one for yourself, provided your GPU can pump out the power needed to actually get what you’re paying for. Should you choose to do that, PCguide’s list of the best 4K monitors will serve as a good stepping stone in helping you choose the right one.
Refresh rate, measured in Hertz (Hz), determines how many times per second will your monitor refresh to redraw everything being displayed. Along with telling that, it also determines how many frames per second you will get. Once again, the limitation comes in the form of GPU’s maximum performance. A 240Hz refresh rate monitor will serve you no purpose if your GPU simply does not have the juice required to push out 240 frames per second. The monitors you find on the block will have the following refresh rates:
- 60 Hz
- 120 Hz
- 144 Hz
- 240 Hz
Almost everyone who has looked up gaming monitors, or monitors in general, will have seen TN, IPS and VA panel type on the boxes or specs list. Going into detail of these three panel types is not something you particularly need to know. So we’ll spare you the itty bitty details and give you a rundown.
Twisted nematic (TN) panel types are the most common and cheapest. They’re fast because they have the highest refresh rates among all three panel types, but they offer poor viewing angles. In-plane switching (IPS) panels are the all-rounders of the panel technology, offering very well balanced color quality, good viewing angles and very strong performances in grey-scale modes. Lastly, vertical alignment (VA) panels offer the best contrast ratios and very vibrant colors. VA panels are known for their ability to display deep-blacks but that comes at the price of ghosting effects which can hurt the gaming experience.
For gaming intents and purposes, TN panels are the most ideal ones due to their high refresh rates and fast pixel responses.
Adaptive Sync (G-Sync and FreeSync)
With the aid of synchronization technologies, adaptive sync reduces the screen tearing and other motion artifacts. G-Sync and FreeSync are essentially the same technologies but with a few differences. But they are both intended to beat the VSync technology and reduce input lag without any downsides.
For starters, G-Sync is from Nvidia and is compatible with only Nvidia cards. They operate from a refresh rate of 30Hz and go on upwards. If you’re an Nvidia GPU user, the choice is clear for you as you must get a G-Sync supported monitor. However, G-Sync monitors tend to cost somewhat more.
On the other hand, FreeSync is compatible with AMD cards only. Operating at a refresh rate of 40 - 55 Hz, FreeSync offers slightly more variable refresh rates. Your GPU must be able to keep the frames above this limit lest there be complications.
For gaming monitors, these are the primary and very important factors that you must keep in mind when looking for a gaming monitor. Go on ahead and peruse the market with these points in mind and you’ll definitely make a smart purchase.