Gaming monitors are available in a wide range of styles, sizes, and pricing points. Many factors must be taken into consideration when selecting the finest gaming monitor for you, and the best value is usually determined by the combination of these variables.
It’s important to know what your graphics card can do before deciding on a monitor’s resolution. If your graphics card can only support 1080p, there’s little use in purchasing a 4K monitor. If you plan on upgrading soon and want to “future-proof” your system by purchasing a high-resolution display before purchasing a new graphics card, you may want to consider this option.
The best graphics cards for PC gaming at every resolution can be found in our roundup of the best graphics cards to match with your new monitor (it includes budget choices too!).
1920 x 1080 pixels are the resolution of a typical 1080p monitor. Survey results show that this is the most commonly used resolution for gaming. This price range includes graphics cards like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super, the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT, and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super.
The advantage of a 1080p display is that it is the least expensive and most widely available.
25601440 pixels is a reasonable compromise between 1080p and 4K resolutions, which is the next step up from 1080p at 1440P. With a substantial fidelity gain above 1080p monitors, these 1440p monitors are often considered PC gaming’s sweet spot. The GeForce RTX 3070, our best 1440p graphics card, and the Radeon RX 6800 are both excellent graphics card options in this price range.
There’s 4K, which has a resolution of 3860×2160 pixels and is sometimes known as UHD (ultra-high definition). It offers four times as many pixels as 1080p (double the density in both width and height). High dynamic range (HDR) and 4K (ultra high definition) make this the most sought-after resolution for movies and television. A high-end graphics card like the GeForce RTX 3080 or AMD’s Radeon RX 6800XT is required to play games in 4K resolution without sacrificing visual quality.
Even though 8K is just beginning to emerge, it offers four times as many pixels as 4K. 8K gaming, however, is prohibitively expensive, and the game industry hasn’t yet caught up. GeForce RTX 3090 is available for early adopters, but it is expensive, and at the time, 4K is likely to offer better value.
Refresh rate and response time
Since frame rates are so closely linked to refresh rates, this is one of the most important qualities for gaming. Refresh rate, measured in hertz, tells us how frequently a new image appears on a monitor. Basically, the refresh rate of the display is directly proportional to the number of frames per second (fps) being generated by the graphics card. For PC gaming purposes, 60 frames-per-second is considered the minimum standard for a 60Hz refresh rate monitor. Even if the frame rate drops to 30 fps, the game can still be enjoyed.
In general, smoother, faster, and better-looking game motion is made possible by greater frame rates. Because of this, high-refresh rate monitors have become increasingly popular. A 144Hz monitor, for example, can display more than double the frames of a 60Hz monitor with the appropriate graphics card.
Even for productive jobs, it’s difficult to go back to 60Hz after using a 120Hz or 144Hz monitor. It’s possible to get a display with a 240Hz refresh rate, but it costs a lot of money and is limited to a 1080p resolution.
Response times, in addition to refresh rates, play a significant role. It determines how quickly a pixel-level monitor transitions from one color to the next. To avoid visual artifacts such as ghosting and other artifacts, aim for a lower value. Although a response time of 5ms or 4ms is acceptable, a response time of 1ms or below is preferable for gaming.
Monitors with a high refresh rate, such as the following:
- This is Asus’ ROG Swift PG279Q ($849), a gaming laptop from the company. 165 Hz frame rate, G-Sync, full sRGB color gamut support, and a 4ms reaction time characterize this 1440p monitor.
- XB271HU ($510) Acer Predator. In addition to its 4ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate, this monitor also features Nvidia G-Sync.
Adaptive sync is up next. Synchronizes the refresh rate between your graphics card and your monitor by using this capability. For “buttery-smooth gaming,” the notion is that when the graphics card and monitor are synced up, there is less likelihood of tearing and stuttering.
Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s royalty-free FreeSync are the two most popular adaptive sync solutions. It’s possible that Nvidia’s GeForce graphics cards now support FreeSync because it’s the most common and least expensive way for manufacturers to implement the technology. Using FreeSync with a GeForce card is acceptable, but it’s still advisable to utilize G-Sync with Nvidia GPUs to get the best performance possible.
These two displays, one with FreeSync and the other with G-Sync, are worthy of consideration.
- 470 dollars for the Dell S2417DG. 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time characterize this 24-inch 1440p monitor. G-Sync is also supported.
- G2590FX ($214) by AOC FreeSync, 144Hz, and a 1ms reaction time are all included with this 25-inch, 1080p monitor.
When it comes to gaming on a computer, it’s all about the display size. Remember that screen size, resolution and pixel density all have a role in the overall quality of a display. The more pixels per inch (ppi) an image has, the better it is. Sharpness is related to density. There are a plethora of ppi calculators available online for estimating the quality of a given image at various screen resolutions.
It’s reasonable to expect an average of 92 pixels per inch on a 24-inch 1080p display. However, it’s not ideal. Although the ppi dips below 70 at 32-inches, it is still quite high. To obtain the same ppi as that 1080p 24-inch display, you’ll need to upgrade to 1440p. At 32 inches, a 4K panel is over 138 pixels per inch.
There are a wide range of screens that can be used for gaming that are between 24 and 32 inches. The greater the resolution, the more pixels there are in the image, which improves its quality. It’s fine if you’re in love with the idea of a giant screen but can only afford a 1080p monitor of that size.
- 171 dollars for the Dell S2421HGF. 144Hz frame rate, FreeSync, and 1ms response time on a 24-inch 1080p display.
- It costs $249 for the Asus VG278QR. The 27-inch 1080p display with FreeSync, a 165Hz refresh rate, and a 0.5ms refresh rate is the next step up in screen size.
- $200 for an AOC C32V1Q. A 4ms response time and an above-average refresh rate characterize this inexpensive 31.5-inch 1080p monitor.
High dynamic range
If you’re in the market for a 4K monitor, you should think about getting one with high dynamic range (HDR) if you can afford it. If you’re looking for the best picture possible, HDR is the way to go. HDR and non-HDR images are noticeably different.
However, the quality of HDR is reliant on the brightness of the display, which is a little-known fact. Buying an HDR display with a brightness of less than 1,000 nits is a waste of money. In order to obtain true HDR, you’ll need a bright display, and it will cost you a lot more than a “HDR-ready” monitor.
We’ve put together a list of some solid options for HDR-ready 4K monitors:
- In the $1,300 price range, you’ll find the Acer Predator CG437LK. The 43-inch G-Sync display has a refresh rate of 120Hz, a reaction time of 1ms, and DisplayHDR 1000.
- refurbished Philips 436M6VBPAB ($655). Newegg has a refurbished version of this monitor that’s a great deal.
Panel types and color gamut
When it comes to gaming displays, there are two main panel types that gamers use: TN (short for twisted nematic) and IPS (short for in-plane switching). It’s really up to you which one you choose for gaming. Third panel type VA—vertical alignment—has outstanding contrast ratios and halves the TN speed-to-color-reproduction gap between the two.
Since the response time of TN panels is often slower, “ghosting” problems, when visual artifacts momentarily persist on the screen, are less likely to occur. When viewed from outside the sweet spot, TN panels have a reduced viewing angle, making it more difficult to perceive fine details in poorly illuminated scenes.
Additionally, TN displays have a more “washed out” appearance, with colors lacking the vibrancy that an IPS display exhibits. Despite the sacrifices in terms of color and viewing angle, some gamers prefer the slower response times.
Even though IPS displays are stunningly beautiful, they lack the lightning-quick response times of TN displays. Not usually, at any rate. There have been IPS panels with 1ms reaction times for approximately a year now, but they tend to cost more.
As for color space, it is how true a monitor is to a specific set of colors, like sRGB or AdobeRGB, that it can reproduce on screen. Color accuracy is always preferable, but in content development it is critical.
TN panels that are ideal for gaming include:
- It’s a BenQ Zowie XL2411P ($200). A 144Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time are included in this 24-inch 1080p monitor. There is no FreeSync or G-Sync, although the stand may be adjusted in height and tilt.
- It costs $260 for the Acer KG271. FreeSync, a 144Hz frame rate, and a 1ms response time are all included in this 27-inch 1080p monitor.
If you’re considering an IPS screen, consider the following options:
- The LG 27GL850-B costs $447. One of the first IPS displays with a response time of 1ms was this one. An additional 1440p resolution, as well as FreeSync, may be found on this model.
- the $125 HP VH240a An example of a budget-friendly monitor. It has a resolution of 1080p, a refresh rate of 60Hz, and a response time of 5ms. However, for a price of little over $100, you’ll be happy with how well it performs.
Curved displays, ultrawide monitors, and aspect ratios
Most typical displays have a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is what you see most of the time. Curved screens, on the other hand, typically have an aspect ratio of 21:9 or greater. Although these displays are more immersive, you may need to adjust to them for a few days before they become second nature.
By altering the screen’s curvature, curved monitors offer a sense of depth to the viewing experience. Using “R,” which stands for radius, a monitor’s curvature is shown in terms of how huge the monitor would be if it were completely round. When a 1000R monitor had a radius of 1,000mm (1 meter), it would create a circle.
These kinds of displays are popular among gamers, especially those who play games featuring expansive vistas, such as racing or flight simulators.
In terms of functionality, curved and ultrawide displays are beautiful to look at. However, they are pure “luxury” features. First and foremost, consideration should be given to specifications like HDR, adaptive sync, and display resolution. Curved and ultrawide monitors, in particular, have a lot of these useful features built in.
Do I need overdrive or motion blur reduction?
Many gaming displays come equipped with features like overdrive and motion blur reduction (under various brand names). You must first comprehend ghosting in order to appreciate their value. The ghosting effect is when a moving object leaves a hazy trail behind it on the screen. If the monitor’s pixels take longer to change from Color A to Color B than they do to change back, this is known as an uneven pixel transition.
To eliminate ghosting, overdrive speeds up how quickly pixels shift from low voltages to high voltages. Pixels reach that level rapidly and then change for the following frame before voltage becomes too high when they’re done appropriately.
In contrast, motion blur reduction, also known as ultra low motion blur (ULMB in the photo below), preserves motion resolution as the on-screen action increases.
Is a 60hz TV OK for gaming?
How Fast Should a Gaming TV Refresh Be? Refresh rates of 60Hz are sufficient for older consoles when purchasing a gaming TV. As a result, motion will seem better on TVs with 120Hz refresh rates, such as the Xbox One S/X, Xbox Series X, and PlayStation 5. The HDMI 2.1 port on your TV is all that is needed.
Which is better 120Hz or 60Hz?
A 60Hz TV can interpolate 30 frames per second of video, while a 120Hz TV can interpolate both 30 and 60 frames per second of video. This is why a 120Hz TV has an advantage over a 60Hz TV because it can interpolate more sorts of material.