First things first, gaming monitors are not the same as regular computer monitors. These beasts are specially designed for smooth gameplay with higher response times and refresh rates. That being said, there are a few things you should consider before buying one of these eye-catching displays.
1) Refresh Rate
The number above will be anywhere from 60hz to 120hz or even 144hz for the most popular monitors today. The higher this number is, the more visual frames can be displayed within 1 second which means it results in smoother images when in motion (for example movies or video games). Keep in mind that if your graphics card or processor cannot handle high frame rates, then this will result in stuttering which is very annoying and distracting when playing games.
The resolution of your monitor will be either HD, FHD or 4K. HD is 1280 by 720 pixels with the most common being 1366 by 768 pixels. FHD is 1920 by 1080 pixels and is considered an “improved” HD screen. 4K on the other hand is 3840 by 2160 pixels but can also be referred to as UHD (Ultra High Definition). If you want to take full advantage of your graphics card then go for a 4K display otherwise if you are limited on your budget then an FHD would suffice just fine.
3) Panel Type: TN vs IPS
There are two main types of panels used in gaming monitors and they’re called Twisted Nematic (TN) and In-Plane Switching (IPS). TN panels are the most common type in gaming monitors due to their faster response times which results in lower input lag. The downside of using a TN panel is that it has inferior color reproduction and viewing angles when compared to IPS . IPS panels on the other hand have better colors but typically have higher response times than TN so the “smoother” visual effects are not as prominent. If you are an avid gamer with a good graphics card, I would suggest going for a monitor with a TN panel otherwise if you value image quality more then go for an IPS panel.
4) Panel Backlight
There are two kinds of backlights used in LCD panels: LED and CCFL . A LED display uses light-emitting diodes which is more energy efficient compared to a CCFL . The drawback of LED backlighting is that it cannot produce the deepest blacks but most gamers won’t even notice the difference.
5) G-Sync and FreeSync
Nvidia and AMD (respectively) developed two technologies for smoother gameplay: G-Sync and FreeSync. Both of these technologies basically synchronize your graphics card and monitor, they do this by making sure that each frame is sent to your monitor at an interval divisible by both the graphics card’s frame rate and refresh rate, I’ll spare you all the technical mumbo jumbo. The main downside of these technologies is price because monitors with either technology implemented usually start at $300 or higher. G-Sync and FreeSync also work differently so read up on the specifications before you buy another monitor.
6) Input Lag
Input lag is basically a delay between when your computer sends a signal requesting something be displayed and that image being shown on the monitor. The most common type of input lag comes from LCD displays which use an LED backlight as opposed to older models that used CCFL. If you are into FPS , then it’s essential that your gaming monitor has low input lag since anything higher than 20ms will make your shots register too late and give your opponents an edge over you. Measurements for input lag: lower numbers = better performance .
7) Color Shift & Mura (ing)
When viewing angles change or viewing any display from unusual angles, you will notice a shift in the colors (usually blueish) and experiencing “mura” (also known as clouding). The former is caused by a TN panel’s color reproduction while the latter is just lower-end models being cheap with their backlighting.
8) Stand & Ergonomics
Make sure that your monitor can be adjusted according to your preferences, this includes tilting, pivoting, swiveling and height adjustment. Your gaming monitor should have an adjustable stand so it matches your body type for maximum comfort whilst playing games.