Gamers don’t just see video games as games. They’re a transcending experience that pits you against the greatest of challenges. Why settle for the mediocre when it comes to how you experience every new PC release or retro classic?
Whether you’re building or buying a Gaming PC, a monitor isn’t usually the first component people consider as a high priority feature. Consumers don’t take into account the various factors that paint the best picture for whatever gaming they prefer, purchasing a PC monitor without heeding second thought to whether LCD, widescreen, or 4K are the perfect fit for them (5K even goes as far as to make real life look flat and distilled.) We’ve left the bulking block monitor-age, people!
Let’s get lost in the forest of screens and consider that perfect choice of LED or LCD option’s. Today we explore the specifics of choosing a monitor to make every game you play an opulent (but affordable) custom portrait.
Choosing the size of your PC monitor hinges on how much space you have in both your gaming set-up and the depth of your wallet. The power of your Gaming PC also restricts you from instantly filling your living room with a cinema screen to play Overwatch. The larger the resolution required, the more rendering power your hardware will demand. Make sure to make a balance for the best quality experience.
Nevertheless, when discussing gaming monitors, and without sounding crude, bigger is usually more pleasurable to the eye. Widescreen monitors from BenQ, AOC, or Zowie produce a crisp quality image that lets 4K be fully appreciated, with entrancing 16:9 aspect ratios. If you have the space and your heart isn’t set on dual screens, I recommend discovering the beauty of a 27-inch gaming monitor. If you can fit two 27” screens, I envy you and demand an instant invite for a gaming session. The resolution goes unmatched. For those with a smaller amount of space, two 20” screens are a flexible option with multi-purpose abilities.
Believe me, I once spent a summer playing Halo 3 on my best friends miniscule 15” screen. In comparison with today’s market options, I never want to experience that amount of split-screen squinting again. What’s the saying? “Once you play away from a Mac, you’ll never go back.”
PANEL OPTIONS AND TECHNOLOGY
This one can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Panels are the technology that provides how the monitors lighting is displayed. The options are something often overlooked by gamers. With the introduction of recent OLED monitors - which, unlike LCD technology relying on varying LED technology to light themselves, instead power their own lighting through intricate, complicated technology where every pixel is a light source on the screen – gamers have several options to consider with how their monitors are lit.
LCD twisted nematic (TN) panels are an affordable personal preference amongst gamers for their fast refresh rates and pixel response. Viewing them from an angle, you may experience a colour shift and overall colour inaccuracy if they can’t be swivelled to match your eye line. They are still great for matching refresh rates and have become a personal choice amongst those that want to game in 3D.
If you’re a competitive gamer, in-plane switching (IPS) panels will probably not be your weapon of choice. They have slow pixel response times that put them behind in those crucial moments of gaming where timing is key. If you are editing media, these may be more beneficial as they are renowned for their high colour accuracy that provides a pristine image unmatched by other panel technologies.
Vertical Alignment (VA) monitors are a stranger, rarer breed of gaming monitor. More of a midrange choice, they still suffer slow response times and colour distortion when viewed from an angle, but also emit a high contrast ratio and are spectacular colour displays, if placed correctly.
The majority of gamers look for a monitor with the most pixels but never consider which hardware will suit it. Low pixel responses stop the smearing of images in games such as character movement, creating a smoother picture than if a monitor had a high pixel response. But like all technology, a single aspect isn’t so simple.
The more pixel density in a gaming screen, the better the image produced for a realistic effect on the PC monitor. As mentioned, a larger gaming monitor has more pixels but requires more powerful PC hardware. The majority of monitors run 1080 HD and the majority of GPU’s match it seamlessly.
The next step up from HD screens is Quad-HD, experienced in screens any larger than 25 inches. Considering 4K is 3,840 x 2,160 HD, if your PC isn’t a high-end beast, that’s already a big requirement for your graphics card and you will have to consider the limitations of with what you purchase. Remember: not all GPU’s handle 4K.
Refresh rates is something every gamer should consider for their monitor. How fast your gaming monitor refreshes the screen per second is a crucial part of gaming, from a common side-scroller to an intense FPS dual. Measured in Hertz (Hz), you’ll find that the majority of 4K LCD monitors have a refresh rate of 60Hz, meaning the screen is refreshed 60 times per second. Try blinking that! (Authors note: I hope this article at least creates a gallery of readers trying to blink sixty times in a second.)
By today’s standards, 60Hz isn’t that advanced. If a game plays at 120 frames per second, on a 60HZ monitor you will only – you guessed it – see 60 frames a second. These 60Hz monitors experience problematic blur of fast moving images, risking the player a defeat or loss while gaming. Adaptive refresh rate technology, Nvidia’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync, tackles this issue by smoothing up frames per second and slowing potential input lag. If you’re playing a fast-paced shooter like Counter-Strike, every frame per second counts for reaction time with tackling oncoming waves of enemies.
Developed gaming displays evolved from this complication. A crucial part of their popularity came from the fact they had the capability to run at 144Hz. Gamers wanted a PC monitor that could match their increasingly powerful graphic cards: if the GPU could run at 120 frames per second, they wanted a monitor that could as well. Now, it’s universally the norm to have games that run at the common 144Hz. Some monitors have even increased to 200Hz to pace with this.
It’s important that your monitor be equipped with every connector of video input that the desired various consoles and multiple PCs require. While the most common is HDMI, make sure your monitor matches the connector you are using. As video cards can have restrictions on what port types they connect with, it’s easier if both match... don’t waste money on a simple mishap!
The response time of a monitor refers to how long individuals with new colours take to update on the screen, with an average of 15 milliseconds. The lower the response time, the better the gaming monitor. The action and movements is relayed in images as fluid and rapid, with minimal input lag. Competitive gaming relies on no input lag for combat situations, meaning you stay at the top of you game without any unnecessary hitches.
Phil Sells - 27 Oct 2017
Hi, what monitor do you recommend I have a budget of £200, i7 7700k ASU’s Strix R480 8gb gourmet, 16 gb 3000mhz ram. Play Fallout 4, wwc 2, origins 2
Nick - 17 Nov 2019
Please add some advice for those of us whose use case is neither gaming nor general office work but is that of the enthusiastic Internet user who wants to, for example, watch a lot of video clips or stream entire films - presumably their needs lie somewhere in between the other two use cases. But while we understand that in all use cases the faster the response time the less likely it is that "tearing" will be experienced, what kind of response time is needed for the typical action movie (say, a battle scene in Braveheart) ? Also, please clarify the equivalence between response time expressed as *frequency* of refresh and as *time taken* for a single refresh. I suppose that 200Hz refresh rate is equivalent to 5millisecs response time, but I'd love to hear that confirmed by an expert. Thanks.