What to Look for when Shopping for a Gaming Monitor?

There are several gaming monitors in the market, however, buying a good quality monitor is tough job. A bad gaming monitor will not only rob your pocket, but, it will also give you a very bad gaming experience. I mean it.

However, one right decision along with a good gaming setup and you can enjoy for 5 plus years.

So, the question is, how to make this decision. There are several factors out there which will decide the quality of your gaming monitor. Let’s look into them one by one.

  1. Panel size and resolution

Ever heard of people tired of having big gaming monitors? Exactly. The bigger the monitor you have, the larger game area you have. It can never be a disappointment. However, before buying a monitor ensure that the panel size is not so big that your entire room looks congested. Plan how big of gaming monitor will look good in your room. Anything starting from 24” will give you a good gaming arena.

  1. Panel Type

There are three main categories of panels.

  • Twisted Nematic Panels
  • Vertical alignment Panels
  • In-Plane Switching Panels

Gaming monitors are something gamers stare at for hours at a stretch so it’s necessary to have a panel which is comfortable for your eyes. The panel type determines the view angle, coloring and several other factors.

  • Twisted Nemantic Panel

This is one of the most commonly used Panels in the gaming world. If you ask me why, the answer is simple – good refresh rates and response rates. We will talk about what is refresh rates and response rates in next section. Apart from good refresh rates and response rates, twisted nematic panels are known for the less power consumption. However, if you want a monitor with good color reproduction this monitor is not meant for you!

  • Vertical alignment Panels

These monitors definitely have better color reproduction as well as viewing angle compared to Twisted nemantic panels. However, these monitors are super expensive compared to Twisted nemantic.

  • In-Plane Switching Panels

In plane switching panels solves almost all of the shortcomings of the twisted nematic panel. This type of monitor panel has best color reproduction, best viewing angle. This technology is also used in computers, laptops and mobile phones. Disadvantage of in-plane switching panel, is high power consumption (it consumes 15% more than twisted nemantic), slower refresh rates.

  1. Response Rate

What is response rate? Response rate is the how fast the pixel can change from one shade of gray to another shade of gray or how fast a pixel can change from black to white. Response rate is measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower the response rate, the smoother the video. We have response rates as less as 1 ms. Also, there are less in-plane switching panels with good response rate.

P.S: 1ms is known as the optimal response rate.

  1. Refresh Rate

Refresh rate of a monitor is the number of times a monitor screen image is renewed per second. It is measured in hertz(Hz). The higher the response rate, the better. Earlier, we used to consider 60Hz refresh rate monitors as the best gaming monitors. Now we have monitors with refresh rate as high as 240 Hz.

However, I will suggest to go with a 144hz one as it will be easier on your pocket and the difference between 144hz monitor and 240 Hz refresh rate monitor is very subtle. 144Hz is considered optimal by the gaming gurus too!

  1. G-Sync or FreeSync

Screen tearing is a visual vexation which is caused due to images gets overlapped on screen as the number of images rendered by the GPU is more than the refresh rate of the screen.

This is when G-Sync and FreeSync comes into picture. Both of these technologies are used to synchronize the refresh rate and the number of frames rendered by the GPU.

The big question is which one is better for you?

FreeSync was developed by AMD and it is completely free. Manufacturers need not pay any penny to AMD. You would be thinking what will you gain from this, right? Well, as the monitor manufacturers need not pay anything to AMD, the cost of these monitors are very less compared to G-Sync based monitors. The downside of FreeSync is that at low frame rates they tend to have a very drastic impact on performance.

G-Sync is proven far better than FreeSync when it comes to quality. They do not impact the performance no matter what frame rate you are playing games at. However, G-Sync is not free. The monitor manufacturers, who use G-Sync have to pay a hefty amount to the Nvidia, the developers of G-Sync. In turn, the G-Sync monitors will cost you a lot more than FreeSync gaming monitors.

I have covered what are the things you need to research into before purchasing a gaming monitor. However, the first thing you need to do before going shopping for a gaming monitor is understand what is your budget. Take a paper and pen (Yes, I’m old school) and write down the maximum amount which you wish to spend on a gaming monitor. Then write down the features you want in your gaming monitor. Last but not least, write down the monitors which have these features and is under your budget. You are good to go for gaming monitor shopping!

P.S: Remember, the better the features of the gaming monitor, the higher it is going to cost you.

Also, do not buy a monitor just because it is cheap. Not all cheap monitors are good. You might end up spending more money on the servicing of your monitor. You definitely do not want to experience it! (Believe me, I do not drink but I know things!)

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