Buying a gaming monitor can be a bit challenging. It requires you to do a lot of research to check your options and consider each specification. And to fully enjoy your games, you don’t only need a powerful gaming PC and graphics card but also the correct gaming monitor.
With several options in the market, designed with different features, you can end up being stuck in choosing from hundreds to thousands of gaming monitors available. With that said, here is a guide to help you understand the basics of selecting the right gaming monitor for your gaming PC.
Important Features of a Gaming Monitor
As stated earlier, there are hundreds of options for you to choose from. Manufacturers have been releasing gaming monitors with cutting-edge features that boost users’ gaming experience with today’s technology. Knowing which specifications and features to look for in a gaming PC will save your time a lot.
Here are the most important features and specifications you should research when checking out a new gaming monitor:
- Screen size
- Color Gamut
- Refresh Rate
- Response Time
- FreeSync & G-Sync
- Panel Type
All of these features are important. However, the order of their importance will vary depending on what you are looking for in your gaming monitor.
According to retailers, most gamers prefer gaming monitors with sizes ranging from 24-inches to 27-inches. Take into consideration that you will be sitting 3-feet away from the screen to see everything at once. Over the years, there were more demands for 27-inches gaming monitors. They can be large, but they are not so big that you will need to move your head to see one corner of the screen to the other.
But before you go for a larger monitor, remember that the price becomes higher the larger the screen size.
The ideal resolution of a gaming monitor is 2560×1440 px (WQHD) with a pixel density of ~109 pixels per inch. With these specifications, you can get the perfect screen space and visual details without any scaling necessary. But you should also expect that a gaming monitor with a resolution as high as 2560×1440 px (WQHD) costs more than a unit that has a usual resolution of 1920×1080 (Full HD).
Here is a list of optimal resolutions depending on gaming monitor sizes:
- 8K Ultra High Definition (7680 x 4320 px) – 32″ inches or bigger
- 4K Ultra High Definition (3840 x 2160 px) – 32″ inches or bigger
- 1440p Wide Quad High Definition (2560 x 1440 px) – 27″ to 32″ inches
- 1080p Full HD (1080 x 1920 px) – 25” inches or smaller
But before you choose your gaming monitor, make sure that your CPU and GPU will be able to handle the resolution at its max refresh rate.
When looking for a gaming monitor, you will definitely want to check its refresh rate. It refers to the times the monitor will refresh its screen every second. Remember that the higher the refresh rate, the better and higher the visual quality of the unit. Higher refresh rates also ensure that what the user sees on the screen matches what your gaming PC is processing.
Basic display monitors usually have around a 30Hz refresh rate. While for gaming monitors, you need at least a 60Hz refresh rate. But for serious gaming, it is recommended that you buy a gaming monitor with a 144Hz display rate or higher.
Another specification to check is the monitor’s response time. This specification refers to how low each pixel takes to change from one setting to the other. The refresh rate is measured using milliseconds (ms) from one shade of gray to another, known as GtG. For gaming monitors, you need to look for a unit with 5ms down to 2ms or 1ms.
Another vital thing about response time is that it minimizes any motion blur and ghosting from your game. Everyone likes a nice and crisp image of video games at all times, whether they are changing their views from left to right at a fast speed. A higher refresh rate with a quick response time can deliver this.
The color gamut is the number of colors a gaming monitor can produce. The more colors it can deliver, the more vibrant the graphics it will stimulate. However, the range of colors that a gaming monitor can have differs depending on its brand. The bare minimum color gamut of your gaming monitor should be close to 100% sRGB coverage.
So remember that when you are looking for a gaming monitor, look for a unit with a higher color gamut percentage (NTSC). This will ensure that the unit can create accurate colors to deliver the highest definition of graphics possible.
FreeSync & G-Sync
Each monitor either comes with a G-Sync or Freesync technology to deliver a smooth and fast gaming experience. Both are adaptive sync software that provides users with a variable refresh rate. This allows gaming monitors to change their refresh rate dynamically. This eliminates screen tearing or stuttering.
FreeSync is only compatible with AMD GPUs and FreeSync-compatible displays. While G-Sync is only compatible with Nvidia GPUs and G-Sync compatible displays. The difference between the two is that G-SYNC offers a wider dynamic refresh range and minimal input lag.
Choosing the right panel type is crucial as it helps with providing good color accuracy and great refresh rates. There are three-panel technologies for gaming monitors: (1) TN / Twisted Nematic, (2) VA / Vertical Alignment, and (3) IPS / In-Plane Switching.
Here is the difference between the three-panel types:
- Twisted Nematic (TN) has better pricing for its faster response time and refresh rate. However, it lacks color rendering and viewing angles.
- Vertical Alignment (VA) delivers great contrast but unfortunately loses in the gaming-performance side. This is why most gamers don’t use VA panel types.
- In-Plane Switching (IPS) provides good color reproduction and excellent contrast, and faster response times. However, they are pricey compared to the other two panel types.