Whether you are a casual player or a hardcore PC gamer, the quality of your gameplay will heavily depend on the kind of hardware you use. To get the most out of the latest PC games, you’ll not only need a PC with powerful graphics, CPU, GPU, RAM and a gaming mouse (by the way, thegamingsetup has a guide for wireless gaming mice), but you also require a monitor that won’t be inundated with tearing, flickering and blurring.
Monitors aren’t created equal and the following tips will help you identify the one that would be most suitable for your gaming needs.
Unless you are in the world’s wealthiest top 1 percent, you likely have a budget for your gaming monitor. It’s important to determine this from the get-go as it will help you save time that would otherwise be wasted looking at screens that are outside your price range. Monitors cost anywhere from a couple of dozen dollars to thousands of dollars.
One would assume that the more expensive the monitor, the better the features. This isn’t always the case. Remember, you’re buying a gaming monitor so be careful not to pay for features that have nothing to do with enhancing your gameplay experience. You can also get great deals for used monitors on sites like eBay.
Ordinarily, the bigger the screen, the better. However, the ideal screen size will depend on how far you’ll be seated from the monitor. If you are too close to a large screen, you lose your visual perspective and can no longer keep track of everything happening during gameplay. A smaller screen allows you to see everything by just staring at the center of the screen. This ensures you have a good reaction time.
Ultimately, you have to strike the right balance on screen size. Also, take into consideration whether the monitor will serve another purpose such as watching TV shows or movies. In this case, a larger monitor means you can be seated on the couch several meters away and watch with comfort.
There are different types of monitor panel technologies each with its own merits and demerits. For competitive gamers, the Twisted Nematic (TN) panel is ideal. TN doesn’t have the best contrast rations, viewing angles and color reproduction but it more than makes up for these shortcomings with its response times, refresh rates and low cost.
If you feel you are selling yourself short by going for TN and don’t mind spending more, In-Plane Switching (IPS) provides the best visual experience.
Your monitor’s resolution is a key factor in the clarity of game images. Panel resolution refers to the pixels that can be displayed in each dimension. Generally, the higher the resolution the better the quality of images.
Nevertheless, your choice of panel resolution should be determined by the processor and RAM specifications of the gaming PC. A monitor with high resolution is meaningless if your PC doesn’t have the processing power to game at such high resolution.
Casual gamers don’t have to think about response time too much. Hard core players, however, will want to make sure the monitor’s response time is adequate. You want every advantage you can get in order to win the game. Look for a game monitor with a response time of 5 milliseconds or less (1 millisecond is ideal).
Most monitors have a refresh rate of 60 Hz (meaning the image on the screen is refreshed 60 times per second). However, some PCs can relay game images at more than 100 Hz. The result is tearing where the screen splits into two, three or four parts that aren’t in sync.
You can choose to either dial down the frame rate for the game or purchase a monitor with a refresh rate that can keep up such as 120 Hz or 240 Hz.
These are just the core considerations for buying a gaming monitor. It’s important that you do your research including taking a look at the reviews of the different models.