Choosing a Game Monitor - What To Look For

What factors do you have to take into account when choosing a gaming monitor? Playing for fun is casuals. Thanks to the great popularity and proliferation of electronic sports, many players seek to acquire the greatest advantage when it comes to playing the hardware they acquire. The performance of our PC is important, obviously, but so are the peripherals we use when playing: mouse, mouse pad, keyboard, headphones … monitor.

It is difficult among so many brands, advertising and nomenclature to be able to choose correctly, especially for the novice user.

In this guide we are going to review some concepts that we should be clear about when purchasing a new monitor for gaming, it should be noted that there is no perfect monitor for all users, since it will depend on many factors such as the distance to the that is going to look, the space we have, our budget and even the type of games that we are going to vitiate. 

Types of panels: VA, TN, IPS, etc …

The first thing we should look for when purchasing a new gamer monitor is the type of panel that it assembles, since a large part of its properties and characteristics depend on it. There are different types of panels on the monitors; we will see the most important characteristics of each of them.

Twisted nematic (TN)

It is the first generation of LCD panels, they are the cheapest to manufacture because they are built with an unwinding and rolling. In these panels the crystals are few and large, and the distance between them is wide so they can move very easily. This facility to move the crystals makes them the fastest panels and the most suitable for games or videos with a lot of movement. The bad thing about these monitors is that the range of colors is the poorest and the angles of vision reduced (160º ) so that the colors are distorted very easily when we start looking at them from the side.

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This configuration makes the crystals have a lot of space to move around and react quickly to sudden changes in lighting, as in action movies or scenes of high movement. Normally these panels have a color depth of 6 bits and a native contrast of 1000: 1.

Types of panels

Vertical Alignment (VA)

The VA panels were developed to alleviate the weaknesses of the TN , in this type of panels the crystals are smaller and more abundant than in the case of the TN, which makes the representation of the colors is much higher and the angles of much wider vision until reaching 178º.

These panels improve the contrast up to 3000: 1 and offer a much wider range of colors than the TN , in exchange, the speed decreases so they are more likely to generate ghosting in scenes with a lot of movement . The ghosting makes a quite annoying wake appear on the screen when we make a sudden movement, in any case, the VA panels of today have improved a lot and this only occurs in the worst quality.

IPS (In Plane Switching)

The IPS panels emerged after the VA to further improve the representation of colors, and this is the main strength of this technology, in addition to perfect viewing angles of 178 °, especially in the very good quality panels.

IPS panels are also formed by many small crystals; the difference with the VA is that in this case the crystals turn on themselves, hence the name of the technology. This type of movement makes the colors even better than in the VA, although in contrast is lost until they are at 1000: 1 and are more prone to ghosting. Thanks to the IPS panels, color depths greater than 10 bits can be achieved, which opens the door to hyper-realistic colors.

The first IPS panels had a lot of ghosting in video games, although nowadays they have improved enormously in this sense and any panel with a fairly good quality will not give problems.

IGZO (Indium gallium zinc oxide)

These panels are developed by Sharp and are based on a new system that improves the active layer of current LCD, this allows electrons can move more easily and reducing energy consumption . This also makes the distance between the electrons smaller, so the speed of transmission between pixels is increased and allows achieving higher resolutions.

Quantum dot

Quantum Dot panels apply a nanoparticle filter to the light source behind them, all the panels in this guide use it, so that light is emitted in a more precise way, this allows to offer a dynamic range of wider colors, up to 30% higher . It also allows improving the contrast with which deeper blacks are obtained.

Screen size

Once we have clear the different types of panels in the gamer monitors we have to think about the size, generally we will find most of the monitors with sizes between 22 inches and 32 inches, although the most common are the 27 inches that have become very popular over the past years.

The 27-inch monitors are preferred in gaming, they offer a fairly large viewing surface and their size on the desktop is not excessive. They also tend to be the ones that best adapt to the normal distance of use of a PC, since the distance of use is a key factor when choosing the size of a monitor. If you are going to use your PC to play from the comfort of the sofa, then it is best to go to a monitor of 32 inches or even more if you find it.

What resolution to choose?

The next step is to choose the resolution of our monitor, because this is the parameter that will determine the density of pixels per inch next to the size. The larger the size of a monitor, the higher the resolution we will need to maintain pixel density and thus the sharpness of the image.

resolution

In a 22-inch monitor it will be difficult to appreciate difference between a 1080p resolution and a 2K or 4K resolution, because the human eye has a limit when it comes to perceiving the size of objects and in these monitors with the resolution 1080p the size of the pixels is already very small. This situation is very different from what we will have in a 27-inch monitor, because there the difference between 1080p and 2K or 4K is already very appreciable.

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Therefore our recommendation is that if you are going to choose a monitor of 24 inches or less, do not think about the 4K resolution, if the economy allows you buy a 2K monitor, otherwise a 1080p should not pose any problem since the difference will be very small. On the contrary, if you are going to opt for a monitor of 27 inches or more, the priority should be a 4K monitor, or at least a 2K monitor if you cannot spend that much money.

Update frequency: 60, 100, 120, 144 and 240 Hz. 

The refresh rate represents the number of times the monitor updates the image per second, this is measured in hertz (Hz) . A 60 Hz monitor updates the image 60 times per second and a 120 Hz monitor updates the image 120 times per second, currently we can find monitors up to 240 Hz.

The higher the refresh rate of a monitor, the more fluidity it will offer, this is especially relevant in games with a lot of movement such as first-person shooter games or driving games. On the other hand, in games with less movement such as strategy, the difference is much smaller and will only be appreciated in some specific details such as when scrolling.

Update frequency

60 Hz is the minimum required in a gaming monitor, in fact no monitors with a lower refresh rate are manufactured. This figure already offers a good experience although if we are going to play a lot of shooting games we are more interested in going to a 120 Hz monitor, those of 240 Hz will be very difficult to take advantage of them.

However, it is not enough to have a 120 Hz or 240 Hz monitor, since we need our PC to process the same amount of images per second or more to take advantage of them, since it is useless to have a 240 Hz monitor if then the game goes to 40 FPS, it will look the same as in a 60 Hz monitor.

This means that if we want to enjoy the experience of having a 120 Hz monitor we will have to have a very powerful PC capable of operating the games at 120 images per second or more, let’s not talk about a 240 Hz monitor anymore …. Nowadays they only take advantage of games related to e-Sports such as Overwatch, Quake and DOTA 2.

Response time

The response time represents what takes a pixel in its step from gray to gray , which is why it is usually indicated as response time GtG. The lower the value the faster the change will be and therefore less ghosting will generate the monitor , currently the fastest monitors have a GtG of 1 ms although the data provided by the manufacturers must be taken with tweezers since it is always spoken of the most favorable conditions.

To reduce the response time, the technology of the overdrive is usually used in the gaming monitors; this is to apply a higher voltage to the pixels to make them change color faster, we must be careful with it since in some extreme cases It can give what is known as reverse ghosting. The overdrive can be adjusted in several levels and can even be deactivated.

G-sync and AMD FreeSync technologies

To understand the importance of G-Sync and FreeSync technologies, we must first understand how the monitor and graphics card work. The monitors work at a fixed refresh rate, on the contrary, our computer does not work at a fixed rate of images per second when we are playing, depending on the scenes and the graphic load the number may vary, so it is possible that A finger moment is giving us 80 images per second and an instant later it is giving us 55 images per second.

This situation poses a problem, because the monitor updates its image always the same number of times per second while the graphics card does not , this creates graphic defects that are known as tearing and stuttering.

G-sync and AMD FreeSync technologies

The tearing consists of cuts in the image of the screen and occurs because our PC is sending more images per second than the monitor can show , to solve this there is vertical synchronization, activating it limits the rate of images per second to the figure that the monitor can display, so that the PC will never send more than the screen can show.

However this has an associated problem, and that is that the rate of images per second if it can fall below the refresh rate of our monitor, this creates the problem of stuttering that consists of small jerks that give a feeling of little fluidity In the movement of the game, these pulls can last up to a second or more in the most serious cases.

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Technologies AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync born to solve the problems of thearing and stuttering , these they do is convert the refresh rate of the monitor variable so that it will always be perfectly synchronized with the number of images per second that sends our PC . The monitor will no longer always work with the same Hertz, but it will adapt to the number of images per second sent by the PC.

Nvidia G-Sync

G-Sync technology requires a specific hardware module that is installed in the monitor, this makes the price of the monitors that include it much higher than the same, but without this technology, the price increase can reach the 200 euros . G-Sync only works with Nvidia cards and requires the use of a DisplayPort 1.2 connector or higher.

AMD FreeSync

AMD responded to Nvidia with the launch of FreeSync , it is a technology that does not require additional hardware so it does not increase the cost of the monitors that include it , this is the most important difference with G-Sync. FreeSync is openly and free of charge to all monitor manufacturers to decide whether to implement it or not. FreeSync is also based on the DisplayPort 1.2a standard but also works with HDMI ports. This technology is only compatible with AMD graphics cards.

AMD FreeSync

At the user level, they are similar technologies and the differences in performance are almost non-existent.

Video Inputs

Another important aspect to consider is the video input. Nowadays gaming monitors use different types of connector to connect to various consoles.

Display Port Connector

This is one of the best video connector because it supports high refresh rates.

HDMI Connector

This does not support high refresh rates like the Display Port Connector but strangely it is becoming the new standard for gaming monitors.

video inputs

Examples Of Best Gaming Monitors For 2019

  1. Acer XR382CQK
  2. Acer Predator X27
  3. Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ
  4. Dell 24 Gaming Monitor S2417DG
  5. Samsung CHG70 27- Inch Curved Monitor
  6. BenQ EW3270U
  7. Samsung CHG90 49- Inch Curved Ultrawide Monitor
  8. AOC Agon AG271QX
  9. Dell 27 Gaming Monitor (S2719DGF)
  10. LG 34UC89G-B