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How to Choose a Good Gaming Monitor

Comfort in the game depends on a comfortable chair and table, the computer’s performance, and the monitor. The quality of the displayed image depends on the settings of the monitor and its refresh rate, color reproduction, and many other characteristics.

Which PC Gaming Monitor Should You Choose? What to remember and what to pay attention to?

The jungle of screens does not choose a gaming screen. We go through the most important things you need to keep in mind if you get a new gaming screen.

Buying a monitor can easily be equated with buying any component for your computer – we mean it’s a mistake. This is probably the most important purchase you can make in terms of hardware. It’s not just about getting a good picture; it’s basically about what gaming experience you want.

This article provides answers to what to look for and what you can more or less ignore.

Gaming Monitor – Matrix Types

One of the first questions to look out for when thinking about which gaming monitor to choose is the matrix type. The basic parameters of the display will depend on the decision made.

It determines the picture quality, color rendition, viewing angles, and so on. This is the main component of the device, its “filling.” Therefore, it is also worth paying attention to when buying a new monitor.

There are different types of matrix. The most common matrix are of four types:

  • TN – the “fastest” matrix but with viewing angles and color reproduction, they are not very good;
  • IPS – lead in picture quality, but only madly expensive models can match TN in speed;
  • VA – they have excellent speed and decent color reproduction, at the IPS level in the same price category. In addition, VA matrices usually have twice or even three times higher static contrast ratio and more uniform backlighting.
  • OLED – OLED screens stand out thanks to their incredible brightness and contrast ratios. It is enough to look at a barely luminous diode to see a significant difference compared to LED matrices.

They are widely used in modern gaming monitors, including the MPG and MAG series from MSI, on the example of which we analyze the topic of this material. VA matrices are in demand due to excellent contrast, good color rendering, and wide viewing angles. This is the best thing you can buy for gaming.

TN matrix for a gaming monitor

TN is a popular solution that can find in both budget monitors and more expensive models. TN panels are cheaper to manufacture but also have their drawbacks. The main advantages and disadvantages of TN-matrix in gaming monitors are presented below.

Advantages of TN matrices:

  • Low price You can buy a gaming monitor with a TN matrix of up to 150 USD.
  • Speedy response times, minimal delays.
  • High refresh rate even on cheap monitors.

Disadvantages of TN matrices:

  • Poor color rendering than monitors with VA or IPS matrices.
  • Narrow viewing angles.
  • Problems displaying deep blacks.

IPS matrix in a gaming monitor

An IPS gaming monitor is a popular choice, especially among gamers on a slightly larger budget who appreciate better color reproduction and wide viewing angles. IPS matrices are more expensive, but they make up for the price with image quality. Their most significant advantages and disadvantages are presented below.

Advantages of IPS matrices:

  • Good color rendering.
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Deep blacks and optimal contrast.

Disadvantages of IPS matrices:

  • Higher purchase price than TN matrix.
  • The response time is worse than for TN or VA matrix.

VA matrix in a gaming monitor

VA matrices in gaming monitors are a solution that can be viewed as a kind of compromise that combines the key advantages of TN and IPS matrices. The offer of gaming monitors with such a matrix is ​​expanding, and its advantages and disadvantages are presented below.

Advantages of VA matrices:

  • Reasonable price – VA matrix is ​​more expensive than TN but cheaper than IPS.
  • Good color rendering.
  • Proper viewing angles – definitely wider than with TN.

Disadvantages of VA matrices:

  • Response time – slower than TN but faster than IPS.

OLED matrix in a gaming monitor

OLED matrices in gaming monitors stands for Organic-Light-Emitting-Diodes. The essence of the technology is that each pixel of the display is a separate light source. A large pixel size allows for much higher resolution, pixel density, and therefore image quality. Rich colors and energy-saving: the advantages of OLED Perfect black Each pixel emits light by itself, so when you turn off one or a group of pixels.

Advantages of OLED matrices:

  • In terms of brightness and color, each pixel works entirely independently of all the others. This helps to display all colors correctly in every area of ​​the image.
  • Viewing angles . The image is clearly visible from a wide variety of viewing angles without loss of quality.
  • Flexibility . OLED matrices can be of almost any shape and design. Due to their extreme flexibility, such displays can be rounded as desired.

Disadvantages of OLED matrices:

  • High price . At the moment, all OLED TVs are very expensive. They have completely occupied the premium class, which many potential buyers cannot afford.
  • OLED displays are pixel burnout (especially blue color), which, in turn, leads to color distortion and loss of contrast. This reduces the lifespan of the TV.

After examining the types of matrices available, a decision needs to be made. It is best to do so based on the types of games you play most often and considering whether the monitor is mainly used for games or perhaps also for work or other applications.

Gaming monitor – which matrix for which games

If one type of matrix met the expectations of all buyers, there would be no point in producing other types of monitors. However, since each type of matrix has its advantages, it is worth considering which solution is best for a particular kind of game.

Buyers most often choose between a TN or IPS monitor, but it is also worth remembering the VA matrix, and, in addition, the type of matrix itself should be adapted to the specifics of the games used.

  • A monitor for dynamic gaming – like action games, FPS, or FPP – can have a TN matrix, providing the fastest response times and possibly the best refresh rate compared to other monitors for the same price.
  • A monitor for RPG, adventure, and strategy games – response time is not as important as perfect color reproduction, deep blacks, and effective contrasts, so an IPS monitor is the best choice.

You can find an IPS monitor with good response times and high refresh rates for higher purchasing budgets.

Players who play games of all kinds and users looking to buy a monitor for gaming and work can also opt for a VA monitor that combines the features of IPS and TN monitors in terms of both quality and price.

What size gaming monitor to choose

No less important than the type of matrix and the resolution of the monitor is its size. This decision should be made based on the available space for the monitor – a small corner table is not suitable for a widescreen monitor with a large diagonal, and a small screen would be a poor choice for a large and spacious table.

What monitor size should I choose? Here are the most popular sized monitors:

  • 24 inches is a popular and very versatile gaming monitor size for work and many other applications. It fits easily on any desk. A monitor of this size performs well at Full HD resolution.
  • 27 inches – A slightly larger screen will provide a better experience when playing games or watching movies. A 27-inch or 28-inch gaming monitor usually has the most common aspect ratio (16: 9) and performs well with Full HD and WQHD resolutions.
  • 34 “and above – Monitors with a screen size of 34″ and up will work great on a large desk. It’s a good choice when looking for a widescreen monitor or curved screen (usually large). Monitors of this size can be bought in various resolutions, but the most prominent gaming monitor will benefit from a 4K resolution.

The largest gaming monitors can be 65, 86, or even 98 inches – but these are expensive and very large solutions for a standard desktop. However, if you prefer to play on the big screen, it is worth considering TV.

Gaming Monitor – What Resolution

Another essential issue to consider when choosing a gaming monitor is monitor resolution. This question should be made dependent on the available budget and the parameters of the computer itself.

The most popular solutions today include:

  • Full HD resolution is still hugely popular, although we will find a huge range of higher-resolution monitors on the market. The advantage of a Full HD monitor will be a lower price point over a WQHD or 4K monitor and that it will work well even with weaker graphics cards.
  • WQHD resolution is a resolution that provides higher picture details than Full HD. WQHD gaming monitors are also not as expensive as 4K models, and we can easily buy a model with that resolution with a high refresh rate.
  • 4K is the most expensive solution and offers 60Hz refresh, which is a big drawback for fast-paced action games. This resolution is recommended for monitors with a large diagonal screen and for computers with a good video card. A 4K gaming monitor is a good choice when shopping for a monitor for games and movies.

The screen resolution directly affects the image detail. Still, the most advanced solution will not always be the best – a lot depends on the tools available (it’s hard to find a 4K gaming monitor for under 20,000 rubles).

Curved screen – yes or no?

Now that we have analyzed the leading technical indicators, it is worth talking about the design features. For example, is it worth looking into curved screens? Many companies have been selling such monitors in stores for about five years.

Why is it getting popular? There are two reasons at once. Firstly, the curved screen gives the picture some volume. This is because the image surrounds the person and creates the effect of depth.

It looks especially great in games with a first-person camera, because in reality, what we see is also around us and not on a flat “canvas.” 

Secondly, the curved screen design allows for an even wider viewing angle when assembling multi-monitor configurations. By putting three monitors together, you can get a panorama with a 180-degree field of view with little or no gaps. Ordinary flat screens can be arranged in a “three,” but in this case, they are located at an angle, which disturbs the perception of the game.

Even though ordinary gamers still rarely use multiple monitors at once, the curved screen is an excellent feature that positively affects the immersion in the game. So our answer is yes. And if you still want to try a bunch of three monitors, then look for frameless ones.

As an example, a multi-monitor configuration of the 27-inch MSI Optix series with a refresh rate of 144 Hz. Among other things, this model boasts the use of Anti-Flicker and Less Blue Light technologies, which do an excellent job with screen flicker and reduce the intensity of blue light.

Gaming monitor Response time

It’s about how quickly the screen’s pixels change from, for example, entirely off to entirely on or how fast they change in grayscale – this partly affects lag in the image. But since there is no uniform standard and it is a single figure taken from a complex context, it is time to bury that specification once and for all.

How is this parameter measured, and what should you know about monitor response time?

Refreshing the image in gaming monitors is one of the most important parameters, especially for a monitor for dynamic action, FPS, and FPP. Higher refresh rates combined with slower response times will provide the smoothest image display.

Higher hertz is always right – to a specific limit.

Some myths surround the frequency of updates. Sometimes, it is not possible to prove that high refresh rates make you a better gamer (almost true). At the same time, few computers can render as many frames per second (FPS) as the screens can display.

But it is precisely at the collapse of these two that a high refresh rate comes into the picture. The higher the hertz, the lower the latency. The lower the latency, the more flow in the image, regardless of whether you are swinging between high-rise buildings located at 250 km / h just outside Edinburgh or have your best friend insight for an approaching gib.

FPS vs. Hz

We take it from the beginning. FPS? Hertz? FPS stands for Frames Per Second. This is how many frames the computer can render and send to the screen. It depends on how high quality you have on the graphics and what resolution you set.

Hertz (Hz), in turn, stands for “events per second” in this case, how many times the screen updates the image per second. So we want the computer to pump out many frames per second, and we then want the screen to be able to display at least as many or more.

  • 60Hz is the frequency used in the cheapest monitors, but also 4K models. It is worth remembering that the effect of the final refresh rate also depends on the cable (interface) used and the screen resolution. The 60Hz refresh is also recommended for work for strategy and RPG games, not fast-paced shooters.
  • 75Hz is a compromise solution for buyers interested in various games but on a small budget. You can buy a 75Hz refresh monitor for a little over £ 1,000.
  • 144 Hz – Recommended refresh rate for players who prefer online battles and fast-paced games. A 144Hz gaming monitor performs well in day-to-day use, but keep in mind that this refresh rate is used primarily by Full HD and WQHD monitors and only a few higher resolution models.
  • 240 Hz is an extremely high refresh rate that is practically only used in Full HD monitors. This type of monitor can be recommended for fast-paced online gaming, especially when they opt for a TN matrix monitor and fast response times.

Gaming Monitor – What’s the Input Lag

Refresh rate and response time are not the only factors affecting the smoothness of the displayed image. An equally important issue is signal latency, that is, input latency. This parameter is specified in units of ms (similar to monitor response time) if manufacturers provide this information at all.

Since input lag is not a fixed element of a monitor’s specifications, many manufacturers overlook this issue before buying a monitor; it is worth looking for monitor tests done in this regard – the lower the input lag, the better.

We can assume that in good gaming monitors, input lag should not exceed 11ms.

FreeSync andG-SYNC

Technologies created in the depths of NVIDIA and AMD change the refresh rate depending on the speed of frame rendering. Visually, we get a smoother picture without image tearing at a rendering speed of 30-60 frames per second or lower. To work, you need an appropriate video card from the manufacturer.

The industry has developed a flexible standard that allows the screen to adapt to the number of frames that the computer produces. It’s called VESA Adaptive Sync. However, you may have heard of it with two other slightly nicer names – AMD Freesync and Nvidia G-Sync respectively.

This technology is built into basically all modern screens, and if one is supported, it will also be supported by the other. The name is set depending on which graphics card you have—Freesync for AMD and G-Sync for Nvidia’s graphics cards. In general, it can be said that AMD graphics cards from 2014 onwards can be expected to support it and all Nvidia cards from the 10, 16, 20, and 30 series.

However, it would help if you connected the monitor via DisplayPort cable. This particular technology does not work with HDMI.

Connection interfaces

Gaming monitors in 2019 are equipped with HDMI and DisplayPort. The former has a 144Hz refresh rate limit, while the latter allows you to squeeze the most out of your system.

Typically, gaming monitors over 144 Hz are a theoretically equipped with DisplayPort. Please note that your video card must support this connection interface.

What else to look for when choosing a gaming monitor?

If we choose the best gaming monitor, we need to analyze the parameters and technical issues carefully.

It is not only the size, format or resolution of the screen that matters, but also the following:

  • Wall Mount Adaptation – If you have an empty wall above your desk, you may want to consider wall-mounting your monitor, but then you need to find a VESA-compliant model.
  • Built-in speakers – many monitors have them, but this is not the rule. If you don’t have separate speakers, you can opt for a monitor with built-in speakers, but don’t expect high sound quality from them.
  • Rotating Screen (PIVOT) – This option is useful for gamers as for buyers looking for a monitor for games and work (for example, graphics, design, and programming). The ability to rotate the screen vertically allows you to work with materials in a vertical layout comfortably.
  • Screen Height Adjustment – Many gaming monitors have a height-adjustable base, which is a great solution especially when users of different heights use the monitor – the ability to adjust the position of the monitor to the user’s height improves ergonomics.
  • Synchronization – Many gaming monitors may be equipped with refresh rate synchronization (AMD FreeSync or NVIDIA G-Sync). This is a good solution when you have a compatible graphics card, because then the refresh rate matches the generated frames.
  • HDR – This solution can be found in more expensive gaming monitors. The offer of HDR gaming monitors is small, but you should be interested in this technology. An HDR gaming monitor provides stronger screen backlighting, better reproduction of colors, highlights, and shadows.
  • Brand – It’s worth looking at the manufacturer’s reputation because it often goes hand in hand with the quality of the solutions offered, or at least with the reliability of specifications and descriptions.
  • Design – A gaming monitor should perform well in games and look good on a table. It is worth choosing the appearance of the monitor by your preferences.
  • Price – many buyers start with an affordable budget. This is a good approach as it allows you to restrict the selection to a specific price range – perhaps one of the more expensive models will impress us with parameters, and we will decide to postpone the purchase until prices drop.
  • Popularity with buyers – It is good to use social signals to make sure other users receive your chosen monitor well. We can look for answers to questions such as, for example, which gaming monitor has the highest rating among real users.
  • Release date. The latest gaming monitor is more likely to find the most up-to-date solutions than a device released many years ago, which is expected to be equipped with an outdated interface and, in general, older technological solutions.

How to set up your gaming monitor

The comfort in-game is influenced by the quality of the selected monitor and the corresponding settings. The position of the screen on the table is essential and the display parameters of the image.

What do you need to remember?

  • The monitor must be in front of the user, any installation at an angle forces you to take an uncomfortable position, leading to back pain. In terms of ergonomics, monitors with adjustable height and tilt are the best choice.
  • The monitor should be at a suitable distance from the user, especially when the screen is large – and an ergonomic solution is considered to be about 40 cm between the user’s face and the surface of the screen (but maybe larger).
  • The monitor needs to be tuned in terms of image parameters – devices can have game modes ready, but you can also create your profile with your preferred settings for color, brightness, contrast, and even refresh rate.

Offering gaming monitors can make you dizzy. There are many models of these devices, so it isn’t easy to make a purchase decision for a specific one, especially when the technical details are foreign to the buyer. Therefore, before buying, it is worth spending a little time reading about the key parameters of gaming monitors and only on this basis to decide on a specific model.

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