The monitor is the doorway to the wondrous worlds you’re looking to dive in and choosing it has to be an informed process. Contrary to what you may think, the bigger and more powerful isn’t necessarily the better, and not just from a financial standpoint.
Inside Tech has put together a comprehensive, yet simple guide to choosing the right display and understanding what makes certain features game-changing.
Nowadays, gaming monitors come in three varieties resolution-wise: 1920 x 1080p (Full HD), 2560 x 1440p (QHD/2K), and 3840 x 2160p (UHD/4K).
Clearly, the higher the resolution, the more pixels an image is made up of. Pixels are like details or pieces of a puzzle, so the more pixels in an image, the better and more crystalized it will be.
However, in the context of gaming, it’s always important to remember that you’re usually dealing with limited hardware resources. There’s no point getting a UHD monitor if your system can’t keep up with it.
QHD seems to be turning into the norm, and going for less might be a somewhat short-sighted decision. Most average gaming PCs can handle QHD at 30FPS.
Resolution is usually discussed in tight relation with monitor size that also fits your desk, which brings us to our next section.
Getting anything over 27 inches would mean you’d have to either move away from the screen or move your head sideways.
This is why 27 inches is considered ideal, and generally, the ideal range tends to be between 21 and 27 inches.
The reason why monitor size is tightly entwined with the resolution is that their correlation determines pixel density. For example, if you’re going for a very big screen, but not the corresponding resolution, the disproportion that results in aliasing.
Perhaps the most well-rounded combination of monitor size and resolution, that also isn’t too taxing on your PC, would be a 27-inch monitor with 2560 x 1440p resolution.
Refresh rate refers to the number of times your monitor can recreate an image within a second. It’s measured in Hz and usually come in three values: 60, 144, and 240. The higher the rate, the smoother the picture, but only as long as FPS doesn’t fall behind.
Something that should be stressed on is the importance of the refresh rate for shooters. If it’s too low, you’ll basically be shooting at a target that’s not exactly where it was once the shooting initiated, as, by the time your monitor refreshes the image, the target might have actually moved slightly.
So, if you’re planning on playing shooters, going for at least 144HZ would be recommendable since the most tangible gap in refresh rates is between 60Hz and 144Hz, but again, it depends on your PC’s overall capabilities as well. It’s worth noting there are some monitors with 75Hz and 100Hz-120Hz which are good compromises.
Panel Technology and Response Time
There are three types of panel technology: TN, VA, and IPS, and they mostly define the color aspect of the visual experience and the quality of the viewing angles which refers to the quality of the picture when looked from an angle.
Response Time, on the other hand, refers to the time which it takes for a pixel to turn from black to white or from one shade of gray to another. This is important because if response time is not low enough, fast camera movement will be accompanied by some motion blur and ghosting.
The reason why we’re looking at these two aspects together is that different panel technologies come with different response times.
TN is much less about aesthetics and more about competition since its color reproduction and viewing angles are of the lowest of quality compared to the other two alternatives, but its response time is the highest.
VA is the exact opposite of TN, with spectacularly defined contrasts, vibrant colors, nuanced shadows, and deep blacks. However, this come at a price – its response time is the lowest which can result in some ghosting. This is why it’s suitable for slower-paced, aesthetically pleasing games you can relish and immerse yourself in top 5 video games of 2019 so far, like Assassin’s Creed, for example.
IPS is the middle ground between the other two options, with decent color reproduction and good response time.
Many gaming monitors now come with either AMD FreeSync or NVIDIA G-SYNC, which are technologies that enable the monitor to adapt its refresh rate to GPU dynamically, thus getting rid of screen tearing without taking a toll on performance.
FreeSync works only with AMD graphic cards and doesn’t increase the monitor’s base cost, whereas G-Sync is compatible only with NVIDIA cards and costs a little extra.
These are the most important features you need to consider and juxtapose with your PC’s capabilities in order to create a gaming experience that’s either well-rounded or focused on a specific niche of gaming.