Choose your display wisely, it can be the difference between a 60GB solid-state drive and 2TB hard drives on gaming performance. Some games are more demanding than others, so select an optimal monitor size for you. Also, remember that 1440p high refresh rate monitors cost around 300$ but they save you so much on PC builds.
Important CPU Specs
As with computer cases, the majority of your investment in a gaming monitor will be based on screen size. If you’re willing to spend extra for a larger screen size, this is where it will show up since monitors can have 4+ different sizes available and prices vary immensely between them depending on specific features.
Response Time & Refresh Rate:
Response time and refresh rate are both related to how smooth the picture on your monitor will look while gaming or watching movies. The response time is not as important as most computer monitors have a response time of 1ms or faster which is good enough for even serious gamers nowadays unless you happen to be extremely sensitive.
The real challenge lies in finding the best possible refresh rate/Hz that will guarantee a responsive, clear picture 1080P or above. Don’t worry too much about this though because even sub 20ms response times can have an impact in many fast action games if you’re using only 60Hz monitors and even some 120Hz monitors may have issues with certain CPUs if they are not powerful enough to keep up.
This is one of the biggest factors when choosing a gaming monitor. Resolution refers to how many pixels are pixelated on your screen at once. These include the standard 1080p & Ultra HD (4k) as well as varying degrees of interpolation or scaling that may be used in between them such as 1440p or 2k. The higher number = smaller picture but more pixels so each picture element is more distinct. This is important because the more pixels you can fit on your screen at once, the clearer everything will appear without having to zoom in closer or scroll across the screen constantly to find something.
This is especially important if you’re using an FPS-type game where every little advantage counts and things need to be seen clearly like when aiming a shot or securing a multi-kill. Large &/or high-resolution screens allow for greater multitasking abilities as well due to their increased real estate which can have multiple applications open simultaneously without having to scroll across the display screen constantly.
There are also other factors such as response time which may affect how clear the picture will look vs refresh rate (Hz) but these are not as major determining factors when it comes to choosing a gaming monitor.
The vast majority of monitors on the market are either IPS or VA with TN being far less common but still available as well if you’re willing to spend extra money for better picture quality.
None of these panel types are particularly bad, each has its own set of benefits that make them special depending on what characteristics you want out of your monitor.
This means they also have different kinds of drawbacks so keep in mind you’ll never be able to find a perfect display no matter how hard you try because it just can’t exist.
You have to decide what’s most important to you and remember that every monitor is essentially a compromise between various features and/or price points.
A major benefit of IPS panels is that they offer excellent viewing angles, color reproduction, and contrast ratio which makes them the most common choice for gaming monitors. In addition, they are generally much more adjustable than other panel types like VA or TN which has made them a staple in LED monitor displays as well due to their brightness and widescreen visibility capabilities.
IPS panels are also known to have slower response times which can be an issue when it comes to fast-action games where every split second counts but on slower games like RTS or simulations, this is rarely ever even noticeable unless you’re extremely sensitive.
This means that while IPS monitors might not be the best choice for fast-paced FPS because of their response time, they make up for it by having excellent color representation, contrast ratio, and viewing angles which can all be very beneficial when using other types of gaming genres.
While IPS panels are the most common choice because of their wide array of applications as well as the single greatest benefit (viewing angle), VA panels are a close second due to their unique advantages.
One great thing about VA panels is that they often have much better response times than IPS panels since this was one area where 120Hz+ refresh rates were not able to offer comparable results before 144Hz displays came onto the market in force.
This means that while IPS monitors may be a better option for slower games like simulations or RTS, VA panels will almost always have a clear advantage when it comes to fast-paced games like FPS where split-second decisions mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Additionally, one “hidden” benefit of VA panels is that they often tend to be less expensive than IPS displays depending on the model because they are not as desirable for general use due to their slower response times but this doesn’t necessarily make them inferior in gaming if your needs are something which can take advantage of this hidden gem.
However, keep in mind that just because VA panels have faster response times and better refresh rates than competitors that don’t mean you will automatically see better picture quality; there are still more factors such as In-Plane Switching vs Twisted Nematic Film, Native Resolution, and Panel Size to take into consideration.
In the world of gaming monitors, TN panels are an interesting case because they have distinct advantages and drawbacks which make them best for a lot of people but terrible for others.
The biggest advantage TN panels have over their counterparts is that they often offer better refresh rates than IPS or VA displays at much more reasonable prices.
This means that if you’re just looking for something with a high refresh rate (144Hz+) to use on your computer without spending too much money then TN is likely your best option due to the price/performance ratio when compared against other selections available on the market which may sacrifice picture quality to get the same performance.
However, TN panels also have the greatest weakness in that they are not as desirable for general applications such as text reading or photo editing since their viewing angles and color reproduction tend to be quite bad; often resulting in cross-talk (colors changing when viewed at an angle) or poor contrast ratios if the proper adjustments cannot be made.
This can make it difficult to enjoy darker games like RPGs without having to deal with lots of issues due to the decreased visibility while also being a potential health risk for those who work 9-5 and need something which will help them fight eye fatigue during long days.
This means that while TN panels may offer great performance when it comes to overall refresh rates, these advantages come at the cost of other features which are much more important for other applications.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean TN panels are “bad”; it just means they may not be as ideal for those who game as well because of the weaknesses which can interfere with their primary use.
However, if you fall into the category where a high refresh rate is your biggest priority then they may be worth checking out since many newer models come with FreeSync capabilities (explained below) to help reduce screen tearing; making them one of the better budget options when it comes to fast-paced games like FPS.
IPS vs VA vs TN:
As explained above, each class of panel has distinct advantages and drawbacks but what makes things even more complicated at times is that some manufacturers will combine the benefits of one class with the weaknesses of another to make it more appealing to a wider audience.
The most common combination is VA panels which offer great viewing angles and color reproduction while sacrificing refresh rates (often 24Hz or 30Hz) compared against TN panels, but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically better than IPS screens; there are just other factors that need to be considered before making a choice.
For those who often play darker games then VA panels may be an excellent choice since this combination means you can have good picture quality with fast response times without worrying about too much eye fatigue when playing for hours on end.
However, if you prefer lighter-recolored games like fighting titles then this causes problems since VA panels often tint darker colors to make them stand out more, making it difficult for lighter shades to pop against a darker background.
For these reasons, it’s important to check the native resolution supported by the product; something which can usually be found listed on Amazon’s description: if a monitor has a native resolution that is above 1920 x 1080 pixels then it’ll use an IPS panel while anything below might have a VA panel.
Aspect Ratio & Viewing Angles:
Another thing to consider when looking at different monitors is the aspect ratio chosen by the manufacturer; something which is normally listed alongside the native resolution.
You’re most likely familiar with 16:9 and 16:10 ratios since they are quite popular for general applications like browsing, watching movies, or writing reports but there are also some other options like 21:9 (2560×1080) and 4:3 (1600×900).
For gaming, these aren’t as big of an issue but they can impact your personal experience depending on what you want to use them for; if you prefer faster-paced games then a wider monitor will help give you a larger field of view to spot enemies or obstacles more easily but if you prefer slower-paced games then a wider ratio can make it more difficult to see things when reaching the edge of the screen.
For this reason, you should also consider how far away from your monitor you normally sit; if you intend on sitting close to the screen (30″ or less) then 21:9 might not be an issue since that still provides plenty of vertical space for important information and doesn’t cause issues with seeing anything off-center.
However, if you’re going to sit further back then it may benefit you more to select something like 16:10 so that there is enough horizontal space needed by many PC titles nowadays in addition to taking advantage of your hardware’s horizontal FOV.
Finally, another thing you will want to consider is the viewing angle of the monitor; how far sideways you can tilt the screen before it becomes difficult to see what’s on-screen.
Many monitors suffer from terrible viewing angles where contrast and brightness are greatly reduced when looking at them from a certain angle compared against someone directly in front of them but others offer much better performance; something which can be quite useful if you use multiple PCs with multiple individuals since everyone might not sit in front of the screen all day long. In general, TN panels tend to display better colors when viewed from an angle but they aren’t as good for many other applications like office work or web browsing due to their low maximum refresh rate, response time, and limited screen size.
Some people might think that since they only play games then viewing angle isn’t important; however, this isn’t the case since you will be doing other things like watching movies or web browsing which can take advantage of a monitor with better horizontal viewing angles. For these reasons, you should be sure to check the reviews on Amazon to find out how well different monitors display from an angle if you want one that is suitable for multiple users in addition to gamers looking for something with good performance in action titles or racing simulators.
Inputs & Other Features:
Finally, there are some extra things you’ll want to consider when making your purchase decision including a selection of available inputs, the number of USB ports, and any extra features like built-in speakers or headphone stands.
For example, if your PC is the only place you want to use a monitor then having it be VGA-only with no HDMI input might not matter since you won’t need to connect anything else to it but for those with many devices connected at once then using a monitor with more inputs can mean fewer cables needed to hook everything up just right.
You’ll also want to consider how many USB ports are on the back of the monitor; whether there are two or four which will allow you to connect multiple controllers for console gaming (or accessories like keyboards/mice when needed). Some users even go so far as adding a USB hub to their setup to connect extra peripherals since many monitors only come with two ports and there’s rarely space for more on the back.
Something else you may want to consider is whether or not there are built-in speakers or a headphone stand for your convenience; it seems like an unnecessary feature but sometimes having a built-in speaker can be convenient when using the monitor as a second display (when working) during desktop work and it’s also useful for consoles gamers who might prefer big, powerful speakers over headphones.
Another thing worth mentioning in this section is that some monitors have “Game Mode” settings which are normally advertised by manufacturers as being able to reduce input lag or improve the performance of certain games due to the lower time it takes to render on-screen content; unfortunately, these features are rarely worth using and they only work in specific types of games at best.
Buyers who want the absolute best possible performance will want to go for VGA inputs altogether but by doing this everything else becomes even more important; if you’re going for maximum performance then you’ll probably want a monitor with a higher refresh rate and response time over one with multiple inputs and built-in speakers or headphone stands.
Also, despite what you might be led to believe just because there is an HDMI port this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to automatically get the best picture possible out of all your devices; if you want the best possible signal then Sony’s PS4 and Xbox One both support HDMI 2.0 which is capable of supporting a 4K resolution at up to 60Hz refresh rate or even higher depending on what your PC supports; by comparison, most monitors will only allow 30Hz over HDMI and many won’t go above 60Hz even with DisplayPort.
The last thing worth mentioning here is the ability to use AMD’s FreeSync technology; this feature normally only applies to gaming but it’s something you might consider if you like playing older console games since many of the popular titles from 5+ years ago may not be as optimized for high-refresh-rate gaming and instead rely heavily on vsync (the same goes for any old PC games you might try).
There are some monitors out there that support FreeSync including Samsung’s along with many others like ViewSonic’s and AOC’s although you’ll need a compatible AMD graphics card to take advantage of it; for the average user though, this feature probably isn’t something worth worrying about.
Some monitors come with additional features such as built-in speakers or USB Hubs which will become increasingly important if you plan on using the computer for anything other than gaming (viewing movies, web browsing, typing papers, etc.).
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