Your gaming monitor is arguably the most important part of your game set up. It’s the centrepiece and focus of your room and so we have created this short guide with some top tips on buying a PC Monitor.
Before we get started, it’s worth noting that there’s no such thing as “a best gaming monitor” as it will in most if not all cases come down to the users specific requirements. This guide will pick out some common key factors you should consider when looking for the best monitor buy for you.
Resolution and Screen Size
You could be forgiven for thinking that bigger is always better when it comes down to monitors. It’s an obvious train of thought but one which is simply not true. Resolution is effectively the number of pixels within the screen size whereas screen size is simply the size of your viewable screen.
In determining what is best for you, one of the first things to consider is the amount of desktop space you are willing to give up. This will help you choosing a screen size. You also need to consider how many monitors you want in your setup.
The most common screen sizes are between 20 and 25 inches though some people will also opt for 27 inches upwards. It’s not uncommon to use a 32 inch screen either though we would not recommend it for your desktop. The optimum screen size at an arm’s-length distance i.e. your typical seating distance from your computer is 22 to 24 inches.
Personally, I would opt for something between 24 and 27 inches. If you do use a screen size below 24 inches your are likely to get a much sharper image as the pixel density relative to the screen size increases the lower screen size you go.
If you are considering anything higher than 24 inches, you should consider something with a higher native resolution which will effectively give you a much sharper image. Something with a screen resolution of 2560×1440 would be ideal and will yield much sharper clarity.
What About 4K Screens?
4K or sometimes also known as Ultra HD monitors have a pixel resolution of 4096 x 2160 or 3840 x 2160 (the former being true 4k and the latter what the industry calls Ultra HD) and whilst there would be nothing wrong with opting for one of these, we would suggest that as the format is not fully supported and the relative costs of these its not worth the investment.
Also, to fully realise the effects of Ultra HD or 4K resolution, you need a large screen type otherwise as with small screen sizes you will experience diminishing returns. Typically, you need to be considering above 40 inches to fully realise the effects of 4K.
There’s generally 4 types of panel technology found in the market today TN, VA, IPS, and PLS panels.
TN is generally considered the cheapest and has the quickes response times but suffers from poor viewing angles. As this is not really an issue as you will very rarely be relying on viewing your monit=r from acute angles, this tends to be the most common type people go for.
VA panels on the other hand have better viewing angles and benefit from better colour accuracy but are a lot more expensive and not as responsive as the TN panels.
IPS and PLS panels to offer better image quality but at a much greater cost. For these panels, its worth considering in further detail if you are an advance user and want to really expend the extra to tailor your user experience.
You’re likely to hear about frames per second all the time in the gaming world and how important it is. If you’ve ever tried your same PC or gaming device on an old and then on a new type screen, you will immediately see the difference in quality and this is largely down to the difference in refresh rate though you could be forgiven for not knowing what exactly this is.
Refresh rate means that the rate at which the screen refreshes and the higher it is the more frames you can get in per second. Therefore something like 60 Hz TV is capable of rendering 60 frames per second. A good monitor will typically have 144hz per second and will render a responsive fluid image quality. Gamers that like games such as Call of Duty will benefit from a high refresh rate whereas in other games that do not rely heavily on quick responses, the refresh rate may not be considered as important.
Let’s face it you are going to spend a lot of money on a PC monitor(s) and so there is really no harm with starting with a monitor or brand that matches your set up. The more flexible you can be the better but there is a good selection out there in the market place and you will be staring at it for a long time so you want to be happy with the look of the monitor.
In addition, to give you the greatest flexibility in incorporating the monitor into your setup, make sure you check that the monitor comes with a stand and can be mounted, swivel or rotate. You want to be able to remain flexible so that you can configure your set up at a later date.
Check that your PC graphic cards can support the monitor you are thinking of buying. HDMI is the obvious video input but check whether it also supports DVI and display port interfaces so that you can support up to 4 monitors. HDMI may be fine for the average gamer but if you have any specific requirements, be sure to check for these.
When shopping around for your PC monitor, you’re likely to come across a number followed by the letters MS. This stands for millisecond (‘ms’) and denotes the response time for each pixel turning from black (or grey rather) to white. The higher this number the greater blurring effect you will feel. Therefore always look for a low ms. A monitor with the 5 ms on lower is generally considered as having a quick response time.
The best PC Master monitor is the one that’s going to be suitable for your specific requirements. You want to be choosing an appropriate resolution according to your screen size and the higher the screen size you go there I hear resolution you you’ll need to ensure that you retain a high pixel density to screen size ratio.
You want a monitor with a decent refresh rate and fast response time. Also look for flexibility in the monitor so they can fit in to your gaming setup or be configured at a later date.
Finally the best bit of advice we can give is to not hesitate to visit your local computer store and check out some monitors face-to-face as that really is the best way of gauging the look, feel and sharpness of the image quality.
I’ve listed below are some monitors for you to get started with in considering your PC monitor.
They are by no means, firm recommendations but reflect what are generally regarded as some of the best monitors in the market at the moment.
What PC monitor are you using at the moment of what was your main influencing factor in choosing to get it? Let us know in the comments below.
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