How To Buy a Gaming Monitor : Buying Guide

Whether you are a hardcore PC gamer or a pro player, your hardware can mean the difference between defeat and victory. And If you’re a gamer who is seeking to enhance the visual experience of their gameplay, or even to obtain an edge over their competitors, you might need a good gaming monitor.

Gaming monitors come in a variety of sizes, abilities, and with even more different price tags. Normally, picking the best gaming monitor is an individual matter and it comes down to balancing out a variety of aspects to isolate the monitor which gives the best value for you.

But what are the attributes that you should pay attention to a gaming monitor?

We will answer that, as well as give some extra insight, in the following article.

Make Sure You Acknowledge Which Graphics Card You Have

The very initial thing to consider in your search for a new gaming monitor is:-

  1. A) How much you have to invest.
  2. B) Which graphics card you have or are planning on buying.

These two Points will be the greatest dictators in what monitor you should get.

Your budget doesn’t really take much saying. If you have a budget of $120 to buy a gaming monitor, you won’t be looking at $400 or 200 gaming monitors, Though, a lot of gamers neglect the importance of their graphics card in deciding what kind of monitor they can get.

If you have a budget graphics card and you pair it with a high refresh rate monitor, high-resolution, your gaming performance is going to suffer.

The higher the monitor you are considering, the greater the graphics card you need, in order to get a good experience. You can’t play the latest AAA titles on a 4K monitor if you are using a $200 graphics card.

And, on the opposite side, if you prefer a cheap monitor and pair it with a high-end graphics card, you will be wasting your graphics card’s potential.

For example, if you have an RTX 2080 Ti, you can use a 1440P 160Hz monitor Or, you can get a 4K 60hz monitor. Or, you can go with the latest 1080P 240Hz monitors.

On the opposite hand, if you have a GTX 1050 Ti, you will be restricted to getting a 1080P gaming monitor.

When you have a good sense of what type of gaming monitor you can match with your GPU, then you can begin considering some different major monitor features. We’ve listed those below.


Monitors are basically just a group of little pixels that display various colors at different shades. And, all of the pixels on a monitor merge to generate one big single image. The more pixels your monitor has, the greater the quality of the image it will display.

A monitor’s resolution directs you how many pixels it has. For example, a 1920×1080 (1080P) monitor is 1,080 pixels tall and 1,920 pixels wide. And, obviously, 4K and 1440P monitors have even more pixels in them.

Repeatedly, the more pixels a monitor has, the better the image quality it will deliver.

But, as expected, the more pixels a monitor has, the more costly it will be. For gaming goals, you’ll likely want to get one of the following monitor resolutions:

  • 4K (3840×2160)
  • 1440P (2560×1440)
  • 1080P (1920×1080)

There are, lower monitor resolutions out there, but because 1080P monitors are so budget friendly and easily available now, there certainly is no reason to go lower than 1080P.

There are also some rare monitor resolutions out there that should be noted, too…

  • 1080P UW (2560×1080)
  • 1440P UW (3440×1440)
  • 1200P (1920×1200)
  • 1600P (2560 x 1600)

I really have a 1600P monitor as the taller monitor height helps out for office-type work and content creation (and is good for gaming also.) & ultrawide monitors are growing more and more popular, mainly for gaming.

So, before you pick what monitor resolution you want for your gaming monitor, you should seemingly ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Would you have more screen real estate or a better image quality?
  2. How much can you spend on your monitor?
  3. Which graphics card do you have?
  4. What type of games do you play?

Now, let’s just run through those questions really quick…

Again, your graphics card and your budget will be the first deciding factors on what type of gaming monitor you can get.

After that, you’ll need to consider what types of games you play.

If you mostly play games like PUBG, Dota 2 or Fortnite, you’re not gonna see a big difference when playing those games at higher resolutions, because those games aren’t made to have unimaginable visuals.

Rather, they’re created around their competitive nature. And, so you can save some money and get a 1080P monitor and not see an immense difference.

On the other side, if you’re playing games that can render incredible visuals (like Battlefield 1, or The Witcher 3, or Forza), then buying a higher resolution monitor would make sense so that you can take pleasure of the better picture quality.

At last, you’ll need to pick whether you need a higher resolution monitor or large screen size.

Of course, if you have an infinite budget, then you can buy a big screen and a higher resolution gaming monitor. And, everyone will envy you for it…

Refresh Rate

A monitor’s refresh rate is estimated in Hz (Hertz) and it measures how many times the monitor can refresh the displayed image per second. This also concludes how many frames per second the monitor will be able to show.

Monitors can have the following refresh rates:

  • 60Hz
  • 144Hz
  • 240Hz

It is essential to keep in mind that a high refresh rate monitor serves no purpose unless your GPU can push enough number of frames per second.

So, before you decide to buy a 144Hz or a 240Hz monitor, make sure that your graphics card can run the games that you want at such high frame rates.

Adaptive Sync

You should also think about getting either FreeSync or G-SYNC if you want no screen tearing while playing games. A lot of latest gaming monitors already hold either of those two so keep an eye out for that.

AMD FreeSync does not adds any extra cost to the base price of the monitor and it only works with AMD graphics cards, while NVIDIA G-SYNC adds an extra cost over monitor base price which is typical $90-$130 and it only works with NVIDIA cards.

Having either of these tech-enabled will actually get rid of screen tearing at the cost of no performance. Well, there’s a tiny performance penalty, but it’s nothing that you can see.

Screen Size

Today, gaming monitors comes from anywhere between 21 inches and 27 inches since those draw the perfect balance of visual clarity and viewing comfort. Anything bigger and they would have to be viewed from a gap, and anything less and they wouldn’t benefit as much from high resolutions.

Which size you choose is completely up to you, although if you are going for a 1080p monitor, it is best to not buy monitors larger than 24 inches because the lower pixel density will unavoidably lead to some unsightly aliasing.

Panel Technology

Today, most monitors rely on three types of display panel:

  • IPS (in-plane switching)
  • TN (twisted nematic)
  • VA Panels (Vertical Alignment)

Each has their own cons and pros. Without going into the technical variations between the three, let us shortly address the key differences.

IPS panels offer the greatest picture quality due to better viewing angles and color accuracy. However, they are, much more costly than TN panels and they do come with higher response times (the best IPS panels have response times of 4ms.) But, most users won’t see a notable difference between a 1ms response time and a 4ms response time.

TN panels are very cheap compared to IPS panel technology out there. They also offer the best response times (as low as 1ms) and, as such, are the most common panel technology for gaming monitors. The con of TN panels is that they don’t have great picture quality & viewing angles.

VA panels give the excellent viewing angles and a better picture quality to TN panels. However, VA panels have ghosting issues due to higher response time. They are also a bit more pricey than TN panels and come in closer to the price of the IPS panel.

IPS panels give better visual quality in every aspect. This means more vibrant & more accurate color generation, as well as better viewing angles. The biggest pro of a TN panel is that they support faster response times.

Response Time

Pixel response time is calculated in ms (milliseconds) and it describes how much time a single pixel needs to switch from white to black or switch among different shades of gray.

But what it means for gaming?

Basically, the better the response time is, the fluid the camera movements will be. On the other side, a high response time will head to motion blur because pixels don’t have sufficient time to change between colors during high-speed camera movement. Another potential issue is ghosting, but that is only really an obstacle with TVs today.

Momentarily, as stated above, TN panels have 1ms response times while IPS panels can only go as low as 4ms. Which one you prefer depends entirely on whether you favor visual quality or responsiveness. What’s more, you may not even see a difference between 4ms and 1ms unless you analyzed them side by side or are already used to low response times.

Final Wording

And now you know all the major factor to keep in mind when picking a gaming monitor! Keep all of the above in mind and you can rest assured that you will get a good monitor depending on your needs.

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