Searching for the best gaming monitor is a confusing task for people. Being a gamer, I myself often struggle to find what should be the best monitor to buy. Like everyone, I have also done the same mistake of browsing endlessly on Amazon. Instead of finding out the monitor which fits my needs, I end up staring at those expensive monitors which I cant afford.
Gaming monitor specs
A monitor is a crucial component in a gaming setup, this is where your eyes spend all the time while playing. It is important that you choose the monitor which is easy on your eyes and overall improves your gaming experience. Following are the specs which you should keep in mind before buying a monitor:
Like any other thing in your life, monitor’s size matters and it is best if you can get a monitor bigger than 24″. We recommend monitor size of 27″ or above if you can afford it.
Unlike your new year’s resolutions, monitor’s resolution is actually something which lasts– Me, obviously
Monitors come in a variety of resolutions. Here is the list of few famous resolutions:
HD (1024 x 768)
FHD (1920 x 1080)
WQHD (2560 x 1440)
Ultra-wide QHD (3440 x 1440)
4K/UHD (3880 x 2160)
If you are buying a 24″ or 27″ monitor try to go for FHD or above, the reason being the pixel density reduces with increased size and you can notice the pixels which is not a pleasant experience. A lot of gamers prefer a 27″ WQHD monitor but that just depends upon how powerful your graphic card is. We will talk about which graphic cards can handle which resolution in a separate post.
Curved Vs Flat
Admit it, we all like curves 😉– Yes you are right, that’s me as well
Ever since the curved monitors were introduced to the market many people were sceptical about its durability and usability. But it wasn’t long until they became preferable over conventional flat-screen monitors. This is attributed to the level of immersion they provide to gamers. In flat monitors, all the pixels are not at an equal distance from our eyes. Whereas in curved monitors all the pixels are at an equal distance and hence they feel pretty natural.
Right now the most popular curved monitor curvature is 1800R (where R stands for Radius of curvature, the lesser this value is the more curved the monitor will be and hence more immersive). Another less popular variant is 1500R which is more curved than 1800R and more preferred.
As it is an era of RGBs a lot of gamers prefer fancy peripherals that have RGBs. Some even go to the extent of buying customizable RGBs. These look cool for sure but can easily turn into a noisy disco club if all your peripherals’ colours are not in sync. So make sure if you are going to buy an RGB monitor you might wanna buy other peripherals from the same brand so as to synchronize them all. Most brands don’t support the synchronization with other brands consciously so as to promote their brands only.
This is the favourite topic of all the gamers. We will discuss it in-depth as this is a really important spec of a gaming monitor.
The Refresh rate is the speed with which a monitor can draw new frames in one second. The gameplay will be buttery smooth with a higher refresh rate. Our laptop displays usually support 60Hz refresh rate which is the minimum requirement for smooth gaming sessions. Nowadays 120Hz and 144Hz are more popular amongst the gaming monitors.
These higher refresh rates are suited for those who do professional gaming or play FPS (First-person shooter) games. Once you get a hang of these higher refresh rates you won’t be able to play games at 60Hz simply because that will start to feel laggy to your eyes.
NOTE: A 60Hz cannot mimic a higher refresh rate monitor display so if you want to experience how those high refresh rate monitors feel, YouTube or any online video platform is not going to help you. The only option is to go to the store and try it
Buying a high refresh rate monitor isn’t enough to get those buttery smooth gaming experiences. You require a powerful graphic card that can process the frames on time and can deliver it to the monitor to display it. With 60Hz monitors, graphic cards have 1/60 seconds (16 ms) to generate a frame to match the monitor’s consumption. With 144Hz it is even less 1/144 seconds (6.9 ms).
This is another important spec for FPS and professional gamers. Response time stands for the time it takes for a pixel to change from one colour to another. The response time given by the manufacturer is grey to grey pixel change which is the maximum response time there can be. Ideal response time of below 4ms is the most preferred.
G-Sync / AMD FreeSync
Before explaining these two features you should know about what is V-Sync. In a previous section, we talked about the time which graphic cards have in order to match the monitor’s display cycle. Since in games all the frames are not of the same complexity (variable calculations in frames) graphic cards cycle is not in sync with monitors cycle and hence results in tearing of screen. This is the reason for the line which you might have observed while playing games with V-Sync off.
How V-Sync work is that it drops a few frames of the game in order to synchronise with the monitor’s cycle. Hence it results in frame drops while playing which no FPS gamer like.
V-sync is a software solution which has its drawbacks. To fix this, graphic card manufacturer introduced two methods G-Sync (for Nvidia graphic cards) and AMD FreeSync (for AMD graphic cards). These new techniques work by synchronizing the monitor’s refresh rate with the frames generated by these graphic cards.
So, you should prefer those monitors which support your graphic cards. Gsync compatible monitors are usually more expensive than AMD FreeSync compatible monitors around $100-$200.
This is important for the gamers who plays for prolonged hours or don’t have their desk and chair at compatible heights. So having this is a good one.
Just another marketing tactic from the manufacturers to lure customers and confuse them. Not a big deal if your monitor doesn’t support one.
Monitors nowadays support HDMI 1.4/2.0, DisplayPort and Type-C. Almost all monitors support HDMI along with DisplayPort. If your monitor has at least one DisplayPort 1.2 you should be good as it provides faster transfer rate even at 4k@60Hz (DisplayPort 1.4 supports 4k@144Hz).
Additional USB Ports
This is more of a convenient kind of spec, if there are additional USB ports in your monitor then you can directly attach cables to Monitor for Keyboard and Mouse. This only helps so that your laptop/CPU isn’t cluttered with wires.
Display type (IPS, VA or TN)
This is the last but not the least important spec you should be looking at before buying a monitor. Mainly there are three types of displays when it comes to gaming.
IPS (In-Plane Switching)
This type of display has good colours and viewing angles but they have poor response time and refresh rate as compared to TN panels.
These displays are preferred by FPS and competitive gamers because response time and high refresh rates matter the most. It is poor in colours compared to other types of display and poor viewing angles.
VA panels lie somewhere between IPS and TN panels. They have good visuals than TN but not better than IPS. They have better viewing angles than TN but not better than IPS.
We would suggest you focus more on following specs after you have figured out if you want to buy a Curved or Flat gaming monitor and how much you are gonna use it.
- Size: Go for 24″ or above
- Resolution: FHD/WQHD (above them you have to have a powerful graphic card such as RTX series of Nvidia)
- Refresh rate: 120Hz or up
- Response time: 4ms or below (1ms for FPS gamers)
- G-Sync/AMDFreeSync: Should be supported depending upon your graphic card
- Ports: Must have at least 1 DisplayPort
- Display Type: IPS/VA (Personal choice)
Thanks for reading this blog. Do let us know your thoughts, feedback or corrections in comments below 🙂