Which Gaming Monitor Features Actually Matter?

An Acer game monitor displaying a video game.Acer

There is only one thing that the world of computer gaming likes more than games: this impenetrable terminology. "Yes, my screen shows G-Sync, 1ms GTG, a 16: 9 aspect ratio, plus HDR, of course. Dude, you will not see any ghosts on this baby. "

If these few sentences were a clutter of meaningless words, this article aims to decrypt all these specialized terms and help you determine what is most important for your gaming experience. There are all kinds of unique terminologies for components PCs, including processors, graphics cards and motherboards. You can safely ignore many of these terms and get everything that is considered the best for your price range.

The instructors are a little different. They are visual and everyone has their own opinion about what looks good: the colors of the monitor are too faded or those that do not have enough visual "pop". Even the type of graphics card you have can affect your choice of monitor. .

With that in mind, let's dive into the wild world of monitor technology.

Refresh frequency

A refresh rate is the speed at which your monitor can change images.-Yes, even in our technological age, the video is still only a set of still images changing very quickly. The speed at which a displayed image changes is measured in Hertz (Hz). If you have a 120 Hz display, for example, it can be updated 120 times per second. A 60 Hz monitor makes half, 60 times per second, and a 144 Hz refresh rate means that it can change 144 times per second.

Most monitors around the world currently have a standard refresh rate of 60 Hz. The most popular gaming monitors, however, have refresh rates of 120 and 144 Hz. The higher the refresh rate, the better the game. is smooth, provided your graphics card is up to the task.

RELATED: What is the frequency of updating a monitor and how to modify it?

G-Sync and FreeSync

Go with the refresh rate is Nvidia G-Sync and FreeSync from AMD. Each graphics card company supports its own version of variable refresh rate technology (also known as adaptive synchronization). It is at this point that your graphics card and your monitor synchronize their refresh rates to provide a more consistent and smoother image.

When a graphics card inserts more images than the monitor can display, the screen tears. This is when parts of the current image and the next one are displayed simultaneously on your screen.

A video game scene showing an example of a tear in the screen.An example of a tear in the screen. AMD

This not only leads to an ugly gaming experience, but can also give you a headache, or even nausea, if you are sensitive to it.

Adaptive synchronization is a good thing, but you must have a graphics card that supports the technology before it can work. In general, this means that anyone with an Nvidia GeForce card receives a G-Sync monitor and anyone with an AMD Radeon graphics card uses FreeSync.

There is a wrinkle to this, however, as some FreeSync monitors also support G-Sync. This is good news because FreeSync monitors tend to be cheaper than their G-Sync counterparts. However, there are only a few FreeSync monitors that support "G-Sync Compatible". Therefore, be sure to check the reviews to see if "G-Sync on FreeSync" works before you buy.

RELATED: How to Enable G-SYNC on FreeSync Monitors: Explain NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatibility

Offset of entry

The refresh rate is only one part of a very large equation. Another problem to consider is the mismatch of entries, which has two definitions to make things even more confusing. The good news is that both meanings are simple ideas.

When most people talk about input delay, they talk about when you press a key on your keyboard, click with the mouse or move a controller, and when that action is reflected on the screen. If there is no noticeable lag, the keystrokes, mouse clicks and other inputs seem immediate. If there is a delay, you can shoot with your weapon, then it takes half a second or more before this action occurs on the screen. It's bad when you play, especially if you're trying to blow up another human player in a game like Fortnite.

The second definition concerns the image. There is always a small delay between when a video signal hits the monitor and when it appears on the screen. These few milliseconds are sometimes called offset of entry but is more properly called offset display.

An image of a person with feet playing a video game.

Whatever you call it, the result is that when you play a fast game, the bad guys can attack even before you know that they are there, or your character moves to a place where he should not before to realize it and eventually die. .

An offset of the controller's input or a shift in the display gives a monitor a poor appearance, so you will not find these numbers on an Amazon product page. In addition, the input offset is not just a question of your monitor's capabilities. It can be affected by the graphics settings of your system or game, such as V-Sync.

To find out if your prospective monitor has a serious problem with input or display lag, see the reviews through a simple web search, such as "input delay". [Monitor X]. Most monitors should be suitable for most uses, but if you play a competitive game, like CS: GO, it is essential to reduce any entry delay.

Response time

We have a long explanation of the response time for those who want to read about its finer points. In short, the response time is the time required for the pixels of a monitor to change from one color to another, expressed in milliseconds. We often measure the time needed to go from black to white, and vice versa. However, sometimes the response time is 4 ms (GTG). It means gray to gray; the monitor starts with gray and then goes through a whole series of shades of gray.

Generally, the shorter the response time, the better, because it means that the pixels on your screen can transition fast enough to move to the next frame. This is very similar to the refresh rate, and that's because the two concepts are related. The refresh rate is the high-level concept indicating the number of picture frames that can be displayed on your monitor in one second. The response time is the lowest level of individual pixel motion from one image to another.

Fast multiplayer games, such as Street Fighter, benefit from reduced response times. Steam

If the pixels do not move fast enough to the next frame, you may end up with visual artifacts on the screen, called ghosting. When this happens, the objects may look blurry or look like a double, or the background objects may seem to have halos around them. Watch this short video on YouTube that shows a really obvious example of ghosts.

The response time may be important, but unfortunately the response time measurements are not standardized. This means that you have to do some research. Read the reviews and see if critics, customers or users of the gaming forum complain about the presence of ghosting on your monitor.

RELATED: What is the response time of a monitor and why is it important?

TN and IPS

There are usually two types of display panel technologies that you will come across when buying a new monitor: the twisted nematic (TN) and the IPS (switching in plane) . We will not go into the ins and outs of the meaning of these terms and their operation. All you need to know is that TN panels offer the best response times for game monitors. The tradeoff is that many people complain that the colors on TN panels look faded or "washed out".

TN viewing angles also tend to be poorer. So, if you are not sitting in the ideal position of the monitor, you will not see the same amount of detail and some objects may not be as visible during dark scenes.

Opinions differ on the type of panel that works best. It's a good idea to go to the store and check them so you can see the differences between TN and IPS in person.


Rocky seaside scene showing the difference in color between 4K non-HDR and 4K HDR.A promotional image showing the HDR effect on 4K TVs. Samsung

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a great feature of modern monitors. You will find it mainly on 4K UHD monitors, but the HDR can also be used with other resolutions. HDR allows a wider range of colors on the display. As a result, the colors are brighter on the screen and the effect is striking.

In many ways, HDR is even better than 4K. If you are looking for a 1080p monitor, for example, and you encounter one that contains HDR, it is worth it to be taken into account. You should still check the reviews to see if the feature is worth it, though. HDR is a premium feature, which means that you will pay a high price and who wants to pay for a bad HDR?

Quantum Dot Technology

Quantum dot displays use tiny crystalline semiconductors (no wider than a few nanometers), each being able to emit a single, very pure color. Screen manufacturers take a bunch of quantum dots that emit red and green, stick them on a screen layer, and then shine a blue LED backlight. The result is a brighter white, which can be filtered to display a wider range of colors for your LCD screen.

This is a concise explanation of the complex technology. Quantum dots are another technology that makes colors more vivid, improving the overall image on a screen.

RELATED: What exactly is a "Quantum Dot" TV?

Color space

A color space or color profile is the potential color range that a monitor can display. She can not display all the possible colors that we can see. It therefore applies to a predefined subset of these, called color space.

When you examine the monitor's specifications, you encounter several color spaces, including sRGB, AdobeRGB, and NTSC. These standards all have their own way of defining the color shades that a monitor can reproduce. For a detailed discussion on this topic, consult our tutorial on color profiles.

Screen manufacturers generally claim that their screen covers X% of the sRGB color space (the most common color space), NTSC or AdobeRGB. This means that if sRGB sets its color scheme to include a specific range of color tones, the monitor you are looking at can accurately reproduce X% of the colors in that color space.

Once again, the color space is a subject on which the control enthusiasts have strong opinions. It's probably more information than most of us have to worry about. As a general rule, remember that the higher the percentage for each color space standard, the better the chances of the monitor getting good color reproduction.

Maximum brightness

Not all monitors specify brightness in their specifications, but many do. These values ​​refer to the maximum brightness measured in candelas per square meter (cd / m2). When an image appears on your screen, the brightest parts are able to reach the maximum brightness level, while the darkest bits are below that value.

In general, 250 to 350 cd / m2 is considered acceptable, and that is what most monitors offer. If you have an HDR monitor, you usually look for at least 400 nits (1 nit equals 1 cd / m2).

The best rating for monitor brightness is, again, in the viewer's eye. Some people might like to have a computer monitor of 1,000 nit, while others complain that it would be way too much for their poor eyes.

Aspect ratio

An ultra-wide 43-inch Samsung monitor presenting a New York skyline scene at sunset.An ultra-wide monitor in 32: 109 format. Samsung

Finally, there are the proportions, such as 16: 9, 21: 9 or 32:10. The first digit of the report represents the width of the screen and the second the height. On a 16: 9 screen, this means that for 16 units of width, there are nine in height.

If you have ever seen a classic episode of Cheers or any older TV show, you noticed that it was in a square box in the middle of your modern TV screen. This is because older TV shows used the 4: 3 aspect ratio. The average monitor and TV set have a 16: 9 aspect ratio, with ultra-wide screens typically reaching 21: 9, but there are many other reports, such as 32:10 and 32: 9.

Unless you are looking for a common 16: 9 or 21: 9 monitor, it is best to go to an exhibition room to see what these other length reports look like and what you like.

There we did it! You now have ten explanations of the terminology of the monitor and a better idea of ​​what you want. Go ahead and conquer the confusing world of computer screens, my friend.

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