Choosing the right gaming monitor is an essential step for any PC gamer. With the vast array of gaming monitors available on the market, specs can often be overwhelming and it can be daunting to select the best monitor for your setup. So, what specs do you need to look for when choosing a gaming monitor?
The most important spec to consider when choosing a gaming monitor is resolution. This determines the level of detail and clarity, with higher resolutions offering sharper images. Standard titles are best played on a 1920x1080p monitor, while competitive gamers may wish to upgrade to a 4K resolution monitor.
The size of the monitor is also vital; this is dependent on both the size of the room you are in and your preferred form factor. Bigger screen sizes bring with them a wider viewing area, but will also take up more desk space.
The refresh rate of the monitor is also important. 60Hz monitors tend to be the cheapest but offer the least responsive refresh rate; 120Hz is a better choice for most gamers, while 144Hz displays offer the smoothest, most responsive experience.
The type of panel is also worth considering, as this can affect how colours and shades are displayed. Twisted Nematic (or TN) are generally the most affordable, but suffer from poor colour accuracy, poor viewing angles, and reduced vibrancy. Vertical Alignment (or VA) panels offer slightly better colour accuracy, but still suffer from poor viewing angles.
Finally, Response Time is an important spec to consider. This dictates how quickly a pixel can change from one colour to another. A quick response time can help with motion blur, allowing games to appear sharper. Aim for a response time of 5ms or lower.
When selecting a gaming monitor, size is an important consideration. Screen size affects how immersive the game can be and how much space the monitor will take up. But with the range of monitor sizes available, it can be difficult to decide which is most suitable.
When deciding on the size of monitor, the best indicator is the distance from the monitor to the user. The larger the distance, the bigger the monitor needs to be to retain clarity. If the monitor is too small, then details may be too small to see. Therefore, a minimum screen size of 24” should be considered.
If space is limited, then a smaller screen size may be sufficient or a suitable compromise. However, keep in mind that the smaller size will reduce the level of immersion. For those seeking a more immersive gaming experience, then a monitor over 32” should be considered.
For multi-monitor gaming setups, size should be considered carefully. Too large a difference in size can hurt the gaming experience, so it’s important to select a size that works across all displays.
When selecting a gaming monitor, it’s important not to sacrifice quality for size. If playing on a lower resolution monitor, ensure the game can be scaled up to match the size of the monitor; this will help ensure the details of the game remain clear and sharp.
Refresh Rate Considerations
Refresh rate is an important factor when selecting a gaming monitor. This dictates how fast the screen updates or refreshes its image; the higher the refresh rate, the smoother and more responsive the image is. For competitive gaming, a minimum refresh rate of 144Hz is recommended.
Different games require different refresh rates; some games do not require 144Hz, while others may require much higher refresh rate to be truly enjoyed. In addition, higher refresh rates will use up more GPU power, so users should ensure they have sufficient processing power to fully benefit from a 144Hz refresh rate.
Refresh rate is also closely linked to frame rates; the frame rate of a GPU must match the refresh rate of the monitor for optimal performance. A GPU with a frame rate lower than the refresh rate of the monitor will cause poor performance, resulting in stuttering or input lag. To ensure there are no issues, a GPU should be chosen that can easily reach the desired refresh rate.
Users should also consider the display types available. Different technologies support different refresh rates, and not all displays will be suitable for 144Hz. TN monitors offer the fastest response times, and so are best for fast-paced competitive gaming, while IPS displays offer better colour performance but are limited in refresh rate.
Ultimately, refresh rate should be considered carefully when selecting a gaming monitor; different games require different refresh rates, and some displays may be limited in the refresh rate they can offer. Choosing the right display can greatly improve the gaming experience.
Response Time Considerations
Response time is an important factor when selecting a gaming monitor; this is the time it takes for a pixel to change from one colour to another, and a faster response time can help reduce motion blur and make the image appear sharper. For gaming, a response time of 5ms or lower is recommended.
Different gaming monitors offer different response times and technologies. TFT LCD monitors offer slower response times, as there is a need to entirely redraw the image in order to display a different colour. LED monitors and IPS monitors offer faster response times as they can switch to colour quickly without needing to redraw the image.
As well as offering different response times, the display technologies also offer different colour accuracies and viewing angles. TN panels offer faster response times but suffer from lower colour accuracy and poor viewing angles. IPS monitors offer better colour accuracy and wider viewing angles, but usually have slower response times than TN panels.
Ultimately, response time is an important factor to consider when selecting a gaming monitor, as it can have an impact on both image clarity and responsiveness. Consider the size and type of game to be played when selecting a monitor; a higher response time is most important for fast-paced or competitive titles.
Input Options and Connectivity Considerations
Finally, it’s important to consider the ports and inputs that a gaming monitor supports. Generally speaking, the most common ports are HDMI and DisplayPort. Having multiple ports of each type also allows for multi-monitor gaming setups.
However, more and more gaming monitors are now offering additional ports, such as USB-C, Thunderbolt and USB-A. USB-C and Thunderbolt are used for connecting devices such as laptops and smartphones, while USB-A can be used for connecting accessories such as keyboards, mice or game controllers.
In addition to these ports, some monitors can also feature audio outputs, allowing users to connect external audio devices such as speakers or headphones. This can be helpful if your internal PC soundcard isn’t up to scratch, as the monitor can be used as an audio amplifier.
When selecting a monitor, always ensure that it has all the ports and connectors you need to support your peripherals and devices.
Adaptive Sync and HDR Considerations
When selecting a gaming monitor, two other features worth considering are Adaptive Sync and HDR. Adaptive Sync is technology that allows the monitor refresh rate to be synchronized with the GPU frame rate. This can help to reduce tearing and stuttering, improving input lag.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is another feature that is appearing in more and more monitors. This is a feature that allows the monitor to display images with a wider dynamic range and more vivid colours. However, it’s important to note that only games that support HDR will benefit from this.
When selecting a gaming monitor, Adaptive Sync and HDR are features worth considering. If you’re a competitive gamer or playing a game that supports HDR, then these features are worth exploring, as they can greatly improve the gaming experience and make the visuals of your games more vivid and vibrant.
Panel Type and Viewing Angle Considerations
The type of panel a gaming monitor uses can also greatly affect the overall gaming experience. There are three main types of panels: Twisted Nematic (TN), Vertical Alignment (VA) and In-Plane Switching (IPS). Of these, TN is the most common and is usually the cheapest, but it suffers from poor colour accuracy and poor viewing angles.
VA panels offer a slight improvement in colour accuracy and better viewing angles, but are still not as accurate as IPS panels. IPS panels offer the most accurate colours and have the widest viewing angles, but tend to be more expensive and have slower response times than TN or VA panels.
When selecting a gaming monitor, it’s important to consider the type of panel used. If colour accuracy is important, then an IPS panel is recommended; for competitive gaming, then TN panels are a better choice due to their fast response times.
Cost and Budget Considerations
Finally, cost is an important factor when selecting a gaming monitor. Gaming monitors with higher resolution, size, refresh rate and response time will usually come with a higher price tag. When selecting a gaming monitor, set a budget and stick to it in order to get the best results.
It’s important to also consider additional cost considerations; these include any additional ports or accessories that may be required. In addition, features such as Adaptive Sync and HDR will increase the price of the monitor, so be sure to consider these when budgeting.
When considering budget, always consider the overall value of the monitor. Many manufacturers now offer discounts or incentives, so always keep an eye out for deals and don’t be afraid to shop around.