Gaming Monitor Buying Guide; Do I need 24, 27 or 34 inches? Full HD, 1440p or 4K? Curved or flat? Is HDMI 2.1 important? If you have just entered the gaming monitor battlefield without a map and guide, these are just some of the questions that are likely to arise for you. We hope this guide answers all your questions about buying a gaming monitor.
Buying a gaming monitor is much more complicated than other monitors, especially if you have a limited budget. Because when buying these types of monitors to save costs, you must determine your priorities according to your favorite games and graphics card features.
Gaming Monitor Buying Guide
If you do not want to spend a lot of time reading this, in short, we recommend that you buy a 27-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1440p and a refresh rate of 144 Hz or higher. Monitors based on this feature cost between $ 250 and $ 450. If you are looking for a cheaper option, you can buy a 24-inch monitor with a resolution of 1080p and a refresh rate of 144 Hz, which you can buy for a price between 150 and 250.
If you are one of the users who want to use the gaming monitor for different tasks, the size of 24 inches will probably be small for you. But in any case, monitors with this size also meet the needs of users for all kinds of games. To save money, at least in the short term, do not overspend. If you are using a 3-year-old system with a graphics card capable of displaying 1440p resolution and 90Hz refresh rate, and you do not want to change it right now, you will save money by not buying a 240Hz monitor.
- Given the limited budget and table you have, buy the largest monitor possible. Few people regret buying a very large monitor, but most people will regret buying a very small monitor. We should also mention the ultra-widescreen monitors, many of which are 34 inches in size and typically use a resolution lower than 4K.
- Before buying a gaming monitor, pay attention to the support of your favorite games in the aspect ratio. For example, if they only support 16: 9 aspect ratio, adjusting them for wider monitors does not provide a pleasant experience.
- Minimum resolution suitable for gaming: 24 inches, 1920 by 1080 pixels; 27 to 32 inches, 2560 by 1440 pixels; 34 to 39 inches; 3440 by 1440 pixels; 43 to 49 inches, 3840 by 2160 pixels. Note that almost all 49-inch monitors have a resolution of 3840 x 1080, which is lower than our recommended resolution.
- Make sure the monitor stand is adjustable so you can easily change its height and angle. For example, some users need a swivel stand to place the monitor vertically on a table.
- Before buying a gaming monitor, pay attention to its design because you will stare at it for many hours. Some of these monitors can be synchronized with other gadgets in terms of lighting. If the monitor is to function as a USB hub, you need to pay attention to cable management so as not to diminish the appearance of the computer desk.
- If you want to buy a gaming monitor for Xbox X Series or PlayStation 5, you need to get a monitor with HDMI 2.1 port for variable rate refresh. Unfortunately, the number of such monitors is very small and they have a high price.
- If you are looking to use multiple monitors, it is best to choose between monitors with narrow margins. Also, if you are one of the users who do not play only in a certain genre, it is better to choose the appropriate monitors according to the selected games.
- You can save money by using the right refresh rate. In other words, if the system graphics card offers a speed of 90 frames per second for running games at best, it is better not to buy a monitor with a refresh rate of 165 Hz. Of course, if you do not have a problem with payment, a monitor with a higher refresh rate will probably be a sensible decision because you may need to replace the system graphics card in the future.
- Response time of 5 milliseconds or less is good for gaming. Monitors with high refresh rates are ideal for action games if they have a response time of 1 millisecond.
- For many games, HDR does not matter because many scenes do not have high brightness or very dark shadows, so you will not enjoy the benefits of HDR significantly. Of course, HDR support for games as a whole is not without its advantages, but you should see how important this feature is to you.
- The wider the color gamut, the better the gaming monitor. Your monitor should cover at least 100% of the sRGB color space and at least 90% of the DCI-P3 color space.
- Contrast is important, but the numbers that companies use as a contrast ratio are almost worthless. All in all, a ratio above 1000: 1 should be good, but overall, if you can buy a monitor with a contrast ratio of 1400: 1 or higher, you will be more attractive. Of course, as we said, these numbers are valuable if they are true.
If these brief and useful tips are not enough for you, then we will discuss in detail the important features of gaming monitors.
Can I use a TV instead of a gaming monitor?
As TVs become smarter and gaming consoles share the same features as PCs and laptops, the distance between monitors and TVs is narrowing. So for gamers, using a monitor to work with a computer and using a TV to play games – at least if not too big – is not unreasonable.
Of course, if you want to use the old screen, it is better to buy an old TV for gaming. Although some companies have launched older monitors, they are much more expensive than TVs based on this technology, and many TVs now have a lot of gaming capabilities.
4K , 1440, 1080p or…?
One of the most important criteria when buying a monitor is the resolution. In the meantime, you should pay more attention to the pixel density, which is the number of pixels per inch of the screen. Pixel density determines the resolution of the screen, and also the size of user interface elements such as icons and text depends on this feature.
Standard resolutions include 4K (3840 by 2160), QHD (2560 by 1440) and FHD (1920 by 1080). In terms of pixel density, we can mention a 27-inch monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which is 81.59 pixels per inch. The same resolution on a 24-inch monitor means a pixel density of 91.79.
Given that the higher the pixel density, the better (to some extent, of course), the better the FHD resolution on smaller screens. Of course, this also depends on the user’s vision. For example, you may be able to see a network of pixels on low-resolution displays, but you will not experience this as the pixel density increases. This, of course, has a lot to do with the content. So the desired pixel density is directly related to the content being displayed and your personal preference.
Is curved better or flat?
Curved monitors are ultra-wide on the one hand, and on the other hand you do not need to increase your distance to use all parts of the screen. Ideally, with such a monitor, you should be able to see all parts of the screen without much need to move your head. If you want to place your monitor on a computer desk and on the other hand you are looking for a monitor larger than 27 inches, it is better to look for curved models. But if you want to buy a 27-inch monitor or smaller, its curvature is not worth much, and we should also mention the higher price.
One ultra-wide monitor or a few regular monitors?
It depends on your needs. For example, if you want to have a fast gaming monitor for gaming and a high-resolution monitor for work, getting two monitors with such features is cheaper than a versatile gaming monitor. On the other hand, if, for example, the color accuracy of the monitor is very important to you and you want a high-brightness monitor to play, it is better to buy two smaller monitors with such features. But if you only need a lot of space for your applications, using an ultra-widescreen monitor will probably better meet your needs.
Is monitor panel technology very important?
To answer this question, we must say almost yes. Of course, almost all current monitors, except for items that are very cheap and of low quality, usually use VA and IPS technology. Some manufacturers refer to their panels as high-speed IPS, but this term is just to dispel the old notion that the IPS panel has a low response time. Since almost all gaming monitors are not much different in this regard, it is better to pay attention to the more important features when buying.
What should be the refresh rate of the monitor?
Refresh rate is the number of times the monitor is updated with new images every second. For example, if the refresh rate of a monitor is 60 Hz, it means that it is updated 60 times per second. In this regard, we must mention the response time of the monitor, which is the time required to change the color of the pixel, and its unit of measurement is milliseconds. The shorter the response time, the better, and for the gaming monitor, it’s better to look for 5 milliseconds or less.
Refresh rate and response time are directly related to each other, and a display with fast refresh rate will be fast in terms of response time. Currently, the highest refresh rate among gaming monitors is 300 or 360 Hz, which is suitable for e-sports (Esports). The size of these monitors is less than 27 inches and they are based only on the TN panel, which does not have much to say about color coverage and viewing angle. All in all, the refresh rate of 120 to 240 Hz meets the needs of almost all gamers.
What is a variable rate refresh? Do I need Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync ?
A wide range of technologies are designed to compensate for the mismatch between the screen refresh rate and the game frame rate, which are placed under the variable refresh rate umbrella. Initially, your gaming monitor should support this feature. This feature allows games to use their own methods to synchronize the two rates, which in computers often means that the game can only use the allowed firmware.
In this regard, we can refer to G-Sync and FreeSync technologies, which are provided by Nvidia and AMD, respectively, and the more advanced type of refresh rate is variable. Monitors require a piece of hardware to use G-Sync, but FreeSync technology does not, so more monitors support it.
Hardware solutions increase the price of the monitor, so before buying these types of monitors, you should see if your favorite games and system graphics card support this feature or not. On the other hand, you should see how important the coordination between the game frame rate and the refresh rate of the monitor is for you. Considering all these aspects and of course your budget, you should choose the gaming monitor that suits your needs.
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