How to Pick the Right Gaming Monitor for Your Needs

The purchase of a good monitor for your gaming computer is not easy and marketing does not make it easy.
Dell

Finding a good game monitor is not easy, and manufacturers do not want to make it easier. Here’s everything you need to know to find a good one.

What makes a monitor a gaming monitor?

To answer the question in the title without further ado: it is difficult to buy a gaming monitor, because the definition of “game monitor” is somewhat blurred. There are specific features that are good for the game, or to be more specific, are more conducive to a positive gaming experience on a PC. And these features do not always align with what makes a monitor “good” for conventional desktop or notebook uses, such as accurate colors or maximum resolution.

Things are not helped by marketing. If you are browsing Amazon or an electronics store department (if you find one), you might think that each monitor is “good for the game”. But that’s only true in the sense that every TV is “good for sports” because technically, can watch sports on any TV. That’s right, but all these flashy graphics and buzzwords are misleading.

Some features are specifically designed to improve the performance of a monitor for games. Here is what you want to search for.

Image quality

Almost all monitors will tell you that the store description contains good colors, but there are different degrees: brightness, brightness, color accuracy, and so on. Here is what is strange about image quality: it is not necessarily what you want if you play. PC Games.

This IPS monitor has excellent color accuracy, but it is a bit slow for gaming performance.
This IPS monitor offers excellent color accuracy, but it is a bit slow for gaming performance. Dell

The expensive monitors for professional graphic designers and printers use a ton of advanced technologies to achieve the most accurate color possible. But all this technology has to go between your PC and the image you see with your eyeballs, slowing down the time between when your computer renders the image and when you actually see it. The weather is tiny – a few thousandths of a second – but that’s enough to make a difference in fast-paced games like shooting, racing and fighting games. Players also tend to configure their monitors with more dynamism and saturation, favoring an attractive image over a more technically accurate image.

For this reason, inexpensive and gaming monitors generally use the cheapest and fastest “TN” displays, as opposed to more accurate but slower color IPS displays. A new medium term is becoming popular, the VA panel, which offers better colors than TN but a faster display than IPS.

Speed

What do I mean when I say that a monitor is “fast”? Two things: display the response time and the hertz. Let’s talk about the first.

The response time is the time that elapses between when your monitor receives an image from your PC and when it can display it on the screen. Most monitors have a response time of less than 10 ms (one hundredth of a second), a trivial interval if you surf the web or reply to an email. But in fast games, there can be several animation images and the difference between winning and losing.

This Samsung monitor has a response time of only a millisecond in its fastest mode.
This Samsung monitor has a response time of only a millisecond in its fastest mode. Michael Crider

Gaming monitors have LCD screens that focus on a shorter response time, typically less than 5 ms, or even less than 1 ms. It means less time between rendering the image through play and your reaction. It means (hopefully) that you win.

Hertz is another matter. Most monitors and TVs use 60 Hz panels: the computer displays 60 frames per second. Some game monitors go higher, up to 120Hz, 144Hz or even 240Hz. More animation pictures per second means a smoother and more enjoyable game. These panels and monitors who use them are naturally more expensive.

Keep in mind that a game running at 120 frames per second requires a more powerful and powerful PC than the same game running at 60 frames. Do not break the bank on a sophisticated gaming monitor if your PC can not actually use these features.

What about the resolution?

The size of the screen is an easy choice: get the biggest you can afford (and fit your desk). The resolution is more delicate. As in hertz and in frames per second, the more resolution you have, the more beautiful your games will be and the more powerful your PC will be for the game to work properly.

This 4K monitor is impressive, but it's not a great choice for a game console.
This 4K monitor is impressive, but it’s not a great choice for a game console. Philips

The standard resolution of the computer at the moment is 1080p (1920 × 1080), and you can find 1080p screens from 20 to 32 inches. The 4K resolution is another popular resolution, with a display area four times that of 1080p, but it requires a much more powerful PC to use it well. The 4K monitors start at about 25 inches and go up from there. The 2K format (2560 × 1440) is a good compromise, with many gaming monitors offering this resolution that combines good performance with crisp graphics. You can find these monitors in the range of 25 to 32 inches.

There are also “super-fast” monitors, which use the vertical resolution of a 1080p, 2K or 4K monitor, but stretch them even wider for a more immersive experience. These are neat, but naturally more expensive, and the extra resolution means that your PC needs to work harder to render the image.

Other extras

There are some other features that are often included on game monitors. Let’s see them briefly:

  • RGB lighting: The monitor lights on the sides or at the back, usually synchronized with a program on your desktop. Neat, but entirely cosmetic.
  • G-Sync and FreeSync: Special control technology that allows the image to “suspend” the image for about one millisecond so that the PC finishes rendering the entire image, eliminating the risk of tearing the screen. Most gaming monitors support FreeSync, some of the more expensive versions that support NVIDIA’s proprietary G-Sync software with additional hardware. But now, there is a version of G-Sync that does not need additional hardware, but only some monitors (the situation becomes really complicated).
  • HDR: High dynamic range. Supports extra-bright colors in some games, just like HDR TVs. It was more rare before, but it is now equipped with cheaper monitors. Not all games support HDR graphics.
  • VESA: A mounting standard. This has nothing to do with games, but if you want to use a sophisticated monitor mount or mount multiple monitors at once, make sure it supports VESA.
  • Video inputs: All modern monitors must support at least one HDMI input. Game monitors must also have a DisplayPort port in order to take advantage of advanced graphics hardware.
  • Curved screen panel: It’s pretty, and it’s supposed to improve the angles of view. The proof of this is unclear, although it makes sense on larger and wider screens.

Features you should focus on

After all that, you have the knowledge to find the right gaming monitor for your PC and your budget. Here’s a checklist of what you want to focus on.

  • Size and resolution: All you can afford or put on your desk. Do not forget that large screens do not always mean higher resolution. And if your gaming PC does not have the latest hardware, it may be difficult to keep the values ​​of these images more accurate than 1080p.
  • Monitor panel type: Go for TN or VA panels and not IPS unless you need better color accuracy in your daily work.
  • Hertz (Hz): 60Hz is good; 120Hz or 144Hz, it’s better. Again, do not invest in a monitor with a high-speed panel if your PC is not powerful enough to make games as fast.
  • Response timeSomething below 5ms is ideal.
  • G-Sync or FreeSync: Most gaming monitors support FreeSync to reduce the tear of the screen. Highly costly game monitors support G-Sync. You only want to pay extra for G-Sync if you use an NVIDIA graphics card.

Our game monitor choices

With the information above, you should be able to assess your needs and find a monitor within your budget. But if you are in a hurry, we have selected for you the best gaming monitors on the market. All have a high refresh rate, fast response times, compatibility with G-Sync or FreeSync, as well as DisplayPort and HDMI ports to get the most out of your PC’s capabilities.

Premium Game Monitor Recommendation: Acer Predator X34

This huge ultrawide Acer has everything you could want in an uncompromising monitor for PC gaming.
This huge ultrawide Acer has everything you could want in an uncompromising monitor for PC gaming. Acer

If your gaming PC (and your desktop) can handle this very large volume, you will not find a better gaming monitor on the market yet. Thirty-four inches in diameter with an enormous resolution of 3440 × 1440, it also includes a refresh rate of 120Hz (which is difficult to do with this size), G-Sync compatibility and ultra-fast response time. 1 ms.

Best premium gaming monitor

Acer Predator Gaming X34 Pbmiphzx UltraHD QHD Curved 34 “Monitor with NVIDIA G-SYNC Technology (Display Port and HDMI Port)

This huge ultrawide Acer has everything you could want in an uncompromising monitor for PC gaming.

$ 799.99
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Mid-Range Game Monitor Recommendation: MSI Optix MAG321CQR

MSI's 32-inch monitor has the perfect balance of size, features and price.
MSI’s 32-inch monitor has the perfect balance of size, features and price. MSI

If your budget does not let you go beyond a high-end model, this option MSI still offers you a huge 32-inch screen and many features focused on games. These include a 144Hz refresh rate, a 1ms response time, a graphics processor-friendly 2560 × 1440 resolution, and built-in RGB LEDs. The stand is also surprisingly robust.

Best mid-range gaming monitor

$ 379.99
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Budget Game Monitor Recommendation: Dell D2719HGF

its Dell monitor will give you excellent gaming performance that will not ruin you.
This Dell monitor will give you excellent gaming performance that will not ruin you. Dell

At less than $ 200 from most retailers, this Dell monitor would be a good deal even if it did not include gaming features. Its 27-inch 1080p panel is neither the biggest nor the cleanest. but it’s easy, even for a midrange setup, to take advantage of its 144Hz refresh rate. A response time of 2ms is ideal for gaming, but take dedicated speakers – those included in the monitor will not amaze you.

Best Budget Game Monitor

Dell Gaming LED 27 “LED Display (D2719HGF), FHD (1920 x 1080) at 144 Hz, 2ms Response Time, DP 1.2, HDMI, USB, 2W x 2 Speakers, AMD FreeSync

This Dell monitor will offer you excellent gaming performance that will not ruin you – nor your mid-range PC

$ 174.99
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