Smart Monitor Choices


I am always amazed at how people have little understanding of what makes the best choice for the monitor they need to have a great gaming experience. Throwing as much money as you can at it and getting the highest resolution with the highest refresh rate will work but let’s face it, most of us have limited budgets and need to make smarter choices.

First define your game play style. Competitive players need a higher refresh rate for the twitch reactions they need in game. The best gamers in the world however do not use super high spec cards nor super high resolutions. They instead turn down detail and crank 1080 gaming out at 100+ FPS. For this type of gameplay a 144Hz monitor is a perfect choice. While you can get them at higher resolutions than 1080, the majority of players are worried about price and speed first so the 1080 models are a great choice.

“First define your game play style.”

If you are a solo play or a serious MMORPGer then image quality is the factor that matters to your gaming experience more than speed. Higher resolutions have a larger impact on the game experience, so monitors above 1080 are great choices. Speed is less of an issue, RPGs work amazingly well at 60Hz, giving a near perfect game stock

When choosing panel type, IPS vs TN is not the big deal people make it out to be. Again for the competitive player a TN is the better choice, allowing faster response. For the RPG the IPS provides additional color enhancements. The argument about viewing angles is a moot one for 90% of us as we use a single monitor and sit directly in front of it.

Over the last year I have had the chance to play with monitors from 24” to 34”, ultra-wide, curved, IPS, TN, 144Hz and every other configuration you can imagine.

What monitors do I choose?

Right now for my twitch gaming I am torn. Both Philips and BenQ have great 24” monitors at 144Hz for under $300. Recently Acer has introduced a 27” 1440 monitor at 144Hz with FreeSync for $500. If you can afford the extra I would go with a monitor like the Acer for the larger display and run at 1080. For my RPG experience my monitor of choice right now is the LG Ultra-Wide (2560×1080) with FreeSync. The image size is perfect as it does not need a monster card to deliver good frame rates, but gives an immersive gaming experience thanks to the wide format. FreeSync support means the game play is nice and smooth with a compatible card and the latest drivers.

benq stock

In the end monitor selection is a very personal choice as everyone sees differently depending on age, eye condition and a ton of other variables. Try out some different monitors at a store or through friends and find what fits you best. Just remember that you do not need to throw money at the biggest and most expensive model to get the best gaming experience.

Edward Crisler
Edward is the definition of an “old school” gamer, playing computer games as far back at 1977. He hosted a tech talk show for 20 years and is now the North America PR Representative for SAPPHIRE as well as SAPPHIRE’s unofficial gaming evangelist. You can follow him on Twitter @EdCrisler.