What Gaming Monitor/Display is Best for Me?
Monitors can be a bit of a tricky subject. It can be a bit of a daunting decision to make, as there are a large number of different monitors available on the market. Here we will outline some of the key considerations you should have when choosing a monitor for your setup.
LCD Panel Type:
This is probably the most foreign of concepts to most, the differences between panels on monitors. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) panels all operate similarly but will have different advantages based on some key changes that have been made on how they operate. If you would like an in-depth look at how different panels work feel free to read about this here.
There are three main different types of panels:
- TN (Twisted Nematic) panels
- VA (Vertical Alignment) panels
- IPS (In-Plane Switching)
TN Panels are the most common type of monitor panels on the market and are also the most affordable. TN Panels are known for their exceptional speed, which makes them great for competitive gamers looking to get the edge they want on the competition. The downside to TN is they are not the best-looking panels, so colors can seem washed out and viewing angles can be very harsh on the user.
VA Panels are an additional variant of LCD panels available for displays. They aren’t as affordable as a TN Panel but are cheaper than IPS Panels. VA Panels are notable for their improved quality for colors and their high detail when accurately displaying black colors. So they are great for the price for anyone trying to do more color-sensitive work such as artists and video editors.
IPS Panels are the second most common type of monitor panels and are the most expensive panels when it comes to LCDs and for a good reason. These panels can achieve high color fidelity, achieve high speeds without ghosting, have superior viewing angles, and be able to take advantage of features such as HDR processing for improved image quality. They can be a bit weak in contrast though and are known for having a backlight glow when viewing dark content on the screen. Despite this, IPS are usually the go-to for most gamers who want a great gaming experience that balances high-quality colors with fast response rates.
Response Rate, Hz, and Resolution
These are some key terms you may see when you look at a listing for a monitor online or on our store.
Response rate is how quickly a pixel on your display could potentially shift from a white (which is considered an active pixel) to black (an inactive pixel) and then back to white again. What exactly does that mean? Well, the faster response rate means that each individual pixel will shift faster between colors. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and typically the lower the better. We recommend response rates within 1-5ms
Hz (or Hertz) is essentially the number of cycles per second your display can go through when being used. Your Hz is the physical representation of your framerate, the higher the number the more frames you can physically see with your eyes. While in some games a user could achieve an FPS of an excess of 200 frames per second, your monitor has to be able to display that to you in order for you to effectively be able to see that performance. The higher number the better. A recommended Hz is usually from 100-144hz.
Resolution is straightforward to understand, your resolution is the number of pixels you can display on your monitor. The higher the resolution the better, but do understand that this does affect the performance of your games. If your graphics card has to render an image with more pixels, it will be more taxing on the GPU. This may reduce your framerate in-game, but you will achieve a much higher quality image. A recommended resolution for most displays would be 2560x1440 (1440p). This produces a quality image that is not very taxing on your GPU, which will also allow you to hit higher framerates.
Display connections are the cables/connectors that will allow you to connect your display to your computer. There are some different connectors on the market that can cause some confusion among first-time PC Gamers. We will break down the two main connectors used most often.
HDMI or High-Definition Multimedia Interface was previously the most common connector for gamers to use. HDMI has been used on many devices for a long time now so most monitors and graphics cards will have one port on them.
DP or Display-Port is currently the most common connector for gamers to use on their GPU and monitor. Most GPUs will have two to three DP ports on them and basically, all monitors will support that connection.
So which is better? HDMI or DisplayPort?
Typically DP is the way to go, this is due to DisplayPort having near-perfect compatibility with G-Sync and FreeSync standard monitors. While both of the latest versions of DisplayPort and HDMI support very high resolutions and HDR, DisplayPort’s compatibility with the frame syncing standards by the two major GPU manufacturers Nvidia and AMD is a must. Additionally, DisplayPort provides more adjustability to these standards as well.
AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync
These two syncing technologies allow your monitor to sync each frame near-perfectly with your game of choice. This not only improves your competitive edge but also improves your overall gaming experience. Is any specific standard better? Both offer very similar features, so there is no right or wrong answer on which to go with.
Keep in mind that G-sync only works on Nvidia GPUs. If you have an AMD GPU you won’t be able to take advantage of a G-sync monitor. On the other hand, AMD FreeSync works on both AMD and Nvidia GPUs. Our rule of thumb is to make sure you have one of those syncing technologies on your monitor to make the most of your gaming experience!