What To Look For In A Gaming Monitor

Gamers, especially the hardcore ones, are very meticulous beings, especially when it comes to picking the perfect monitor for a gaming rig. So what do they look for when shopping around?

Size and Resolution

These two aspects go hand in hand and are almost always the first ones considered before buying a monitor. A bigger screen is definitely better when you talk about gaming. If the room allows it, opt for a 27-incher to provide lots of real estate for those eye-popping graphics.

But a large screen won’t be good if it has a crappy resolution. Aim for at least a full HD (high definition) screen with a 1920 x 1080 pixels maximum resolution. Some newer 27-inch monitors offer Wide Quad High Definition (WQHD) or 2560 x 1440 pixels. If the game, and your gaming rig, supports WQHD, you will be treated to even finer graphics than full HD. If money is not an issue, you can even go Ultra High Definition (UHD) providing 3840 x 2160 pixels of graphics glory. You can also choose between a screen with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and one with 21:9.

Refresh Rate and Pixel Response

The refresh rate is how many times a monitor takes to redraw the screen in a second. It is measured in Hertz (Hz) and higher numbers mean less blurry images. Most monitors for common use are rated at 60Hz which is good if you’re just doing office stuff. Gaming demands for at least 120Hz for faster image response and is a prerequisite if you plan to play 3D games. You may also opt for monitors equipped with G-Sync and FreeSync that offers synchronization with supported graphics card to allow variable refresh rates for an even smoother gaming experience. G-Sync requires an Nvidia-based graphics card while FreeSync is supported by AMD.

The monitor’s pixel response is the time a pixel can transition from black to white or from one shade of gray to another. It is measured in milliseconds and the lower the numbers the faster is the pixel response. A fast pixel response helps reduce ghost pixels caused by fast moving images displayed on the monitor which leads to smoother picture. The ideal pixel response for gaming is 2 milliseconds but 4 milliseconds should be fine.

Panel Technology, Video Inputs, and Others

Twisted Nematic or TN panels are the cheapest and they offer fast refresh rates and pixel response making them perfect for gaming. However they don’t offer wide viewing angles. Vertical Alignment or VA and In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels may offer high contrasts, superb color, and wide viewing angles but are susceptible to ghost images and motion artifacts.

A monitor with multiple video inputs is ideal if you’re using multiple gaming formats like consoles and PCs. Multiple HDMI ports are great if you need to switch between multiple video sources like your home theater, your game console, or your gaming rig. DisplayPort is also available if your monitor supports G-Sync or FreeSync.

Some monitors have USB ports for direct movie playing as well as speakers with subwoofer for a more complete gaming system.

What size computer monitor is the best?

This very much depends on the resolution you’re targeting and how much desk space you have. While bigger does tend to look better, giving you more screen space for work and larger images for games and movies, they can stretch entry-level resolutions like 1080p to the limits of their clarity. Big screens also require more room on your desk, so we’d caution buying a massive ultrawide like the JM34-WQHD100HZ in our product lists if you’re working or playing on a big desk.

As a quick rule of thumb, 1080p looks great up to about 24 inches, while 1440p looks good up to and beyond 30 inches. We wouldn’t recommend a 4K screen any smaller than 27 inches as you aren’t going to see the real benefit of those extra pixels in what is a relatively small space by that resolution.

Are 4K monitors good for gaming?

They can be. 4K offers the pinnacle of gaming detail and in atmospheric games can give you a whole new level of immersion, especially on larger displays that can fully display that mass of those pixels in all their glory. These high-res displays really excel in games where frame rates are not as important as visual clarity. That said, we feel that high refresh rate monitors can deliver a better experience (especially in fast-paced games like shooters), and unless you have the deep pockets to splash out on a powerful graphics card or two as well, you aren’t going to get those frame rates at 4K. A 27-inch, 1440p display still the sweet spot.

Also keep in mind monitor performance is now often linked to framerate management technologies like FreeSync and G-Sync, so watch for these technologies and compatible graphics cards when making gaming monitor decisions. FreeSync is for AMD graphics cards, while G-Sync only works with Nvidia’s GPUs.

Which is better: LCD or LED?

The short answer is they’re both the same. The longer answer is that this is a failure of company marketing in properly conveying what its products are. Today most monitors that use LCD technology are backlit with LEDs, so typically if you’re buying a monitor it’s both an LCD and LED display. For more of an explanation on LCD and LED technologies, we have a whole guide dedicated to it.

That said, there are OLED displays to consider, although these panels haven’t made an impact on the desktop market yet. OLED screens combine color and light into a single panel, famed for its vibrant colors and contrast ratio. While that technology has been making waves in televisions for a few years now, they’re only just starting to make a tentative step into the world of desktop monitors.

What kind of monitor is best for your eyes?

If you suffer from eye strain, look for monitors that have built-in light filter software, especially filters that are specifically designed for easing eye problems. These filters are designed to block more blue light, which is the part of the spectrum that affects our eyes the most and is responsible for most eye strain problems. However, you can also download eye filter software apps for any type of monitor you get