Gaming is really one of the best hobbies to have. It’s comfortable, it’s social, and it’s pretty cheap if you already own a PC. If you’re serious about gaming, then 1080p 60 fps isn’t going to cut it in 2020. Gaming monitors have become more affordable and bring you a lot of value for your money. Let’s go through some of the most important factors that you should consider when picking out a gaming monitor.
Your Graphics Card Dictates What Monitor You Choose
Anything over a 1920×1080 resolution and over a 60 Hz refresh rate requires more processing power and more RAM. If you want to game with a better monitor, then you should first ask yourself if you own a powerful-enough GPU. For most AAA titles, owning an RTX 2060 or GTX 1070 should let you play inhigher resolutions OR higher refresh rates. Not both. If you want a no-compromise experience, then consider an RTX 2080 or 2080 Ti.
Your Monitor’s Refresh Rate Is Important
Higher refresh rates are currently the biggest selling points for upgrading from your old 1080p 60 Hz monitor. While 60 fps is enough to provide an enjoyable experience, it’s not enough to give you an edge in online shooters, especially fast-paced ones like the popular BR Apex Legends and the popular competitive shooter Overwatch.
A refresh rate states how quickly a monitor can update the information that’s being displayed. 60 Hz means that the image will be updated 60 times each second, meaning that even though you’re rocking an RTX 2080 Ti and your in-game frames are 200+, you only see 60 of these frames each second.
To get more out of your graphics card, you need to invest in a high refresh rate gaming monitor. The current industry standard is 144 Hz, with some 2019 models hitting 240 Hz and some niche models even reaching 300+ refresh rates.
4K ‒ Yay Or nay?
When it comes to visual fidelity, resolution brings the biggest impact. If you have a good GPU, then a 4K display will give you superb visual quality, both in and out of games. 4K refers to the 3840×2160 resolution, or 4x1920x1080. Four times as sharp as a Full HD display!
In single-player games, you’ll be met with stunningly-realistic environments and character renders, giving you a MUCH more immersive and enjoyable experience. That being said, they’re more expensive and if you want to reach super-high frame rates you do need to scale it down to 2K or 1K. But you’ll always have the option to crank the resolution back up to 4K when playing games like Anno 1800, Tomb Raider, The Witcher, Red Dead Redemption II, which are all gorgeous to look at.
When figuring out which gaming monitor you’re going to purchase, you’ll want to keep an eye out for what type of panel technology has been used in building the device. There are three types of panels: TN, IPS, and VA.
TN panels are the most inexpensive type of panel you can find on a gaming monitor. They come in all common aspect ratios and resolutions, are more affordable, but at the cost of color depth and lesser viewing angles.
IPS panels come with the best color replication, giving you the best coverage of the color spectrum you can find on a gaming monitor. They also have great viewing angles and are a no-compromise choice if you can afford them since they’re the priciest type of panel.
VA panels are in-between. You get good color depth and great viewing angles at an affordable price. This is the best choice for most gamers, IPS panels being a bit overkill.
A monitor’s response times refer to the time it takes for a pixel to go through two colors with an off pause. So the pixel will be displaying a shade of red – turn off – turn back on with a different color. These changes occur super fast and response times are affected by the monitor’s resolution and refresh rate. Typically, a gaming monitor has a response time somewhere between 1-5 milliseconds. The higher the resolution and refresh rate, the higher the response time.
It’s hard to quantify exactly how much performance one gets from lower response times. FPS gamers swear that a lower response time gives you an edge over an opponent, but there isn’t a consensus built around this claim.
Before choosing your future monitor, make sure to follow our instructions. If you don’t have a powerful GPU, you won’t be getting the most out of a high refresh rate or high-resolution display. If you want something more affordable, a TN panel can bring fast refresh rates and high resolutions at the expense of color depth, while VA and IPS panels aren’t as taxing when it comes to visual fidelity but cost more. Lastly, if you have cat-like reflexes and want to take advantage of all the features a gaming monitor brings, then get one with very low response times.