Are gaming monitors worth the price, that is the dilemma. There are many options and alternatives on the market aimed for all those who need more than a classic 24inch -1080p monitor. The choice is vast and the number of alternative solutions huge.
If you thought that time has stopped when monitors are concerned, you were completely wrong. Not long ago many people thought that buying a relatively standard Full HD monitor would fully meet our needs and there would no longer be enough motive or advanced technologies to “pull” us into further shopping and stimulate us to go one step further.
Regardless of whether you use IPS or VA monitors or not, it is certain that there are many dilemmas that arise when you buy a new monitor. Namely, it is clear that there will be a great motive for “the return” of the TN panel which has a better price than IPS or other similar models. Some 4K TN monitors have already become relatively available. Therefore, it is not unlikely to be in a position where you have to choose between a quality IPS monitor and let’s say a 27” TN monitor 2560×1440 (1440p) with FreeSync or G-Sync technology support that will be referred to later on. The response time issue is also important as it is much lower with the TN panels while IPS and the other types have better colors and viewing angles.
Another big issue that we encounter is the resolution. The jump from Full HD to any higher resolution is indeed very obvious and expressed, no matter if it is 2560×1440 (1440p) or 3840×2160 (4K).
The difference in the number of pixels is huge. 4K monitors have 4 times more pixels that Full HD, whereas 1440p is also quite demanding – it delivers 3.68 million pixels compared to the Full HD 2.07 million pixels, which is almost 78% more!
These dilemmas combined with gaming (probably the greatest motive for buying such monitors) create even bigger doubt. It is simply hard at this moment to play comfortably in 4K. For that, you need SLI or CrossFire. On the other hand, using a 1440p monitor is less demanding when talking about hardware. Also, when referring to gaming, 4k res brings another concern/benefit, depending on the individual perspective. There is almost no need to use antialiasing (AA) in 4K, which is a good thing, isn’t it? This allows you to save a bit on the performance. On the other hand, the problem with many games is that AA is often linked with the level of details, depending on the choice of developer, thus High details imply that some other settings which you may not need are still on. It will take some time for certain developers to realize that they shouldn’t do that in this post-Full HD world.
60 Hz vs 120/144 Hz
It would seem that there are no dilemmas nor doubts in this category. The standard and most common max refresh rate of LCD monitors are 60 Hz. The refresh rate must not be mixed with FPS (frames per second) but when it comes to PCs these twos are closely connected.
Today, there are monitors with a max refresh rate higher than the standard 60 Hz, so we have models with 120 Hz or even 144 Hz refresh rate. Do such values make any sense at all, or are these monitors better that the standard 60 Hz ones? In short – Yes! Such a big difference is mostly evident in games, even though it can be noticed even when you scroll down a web page or move icons on the screen. There will be less blur and blink in the games. The motion of every figure movement is noticeably smoother. Monitors with higher refreshment rate are far more responsive to day-to-day work compared to 60 Hz monitors. It is enough only to sit by the desk and move your mouse, to be able to see the difference. Although aware that it might seem strange to describe this to 60 Hz monitor users since they don’t have relation to the differences.
Is there any other advantage in having a higher refreshment rate? Of course – yes. If you follow the gaming performances, you have noticed their FPS value. With a good GPU and a good CPU, this value will often be limited to 60 fps for less demanding games, but with a max 60 Hz monitor, the difference will not be so obvious.
The turn off of V-sync makes sense with 120 Hz or 144 Hz monitor because if you have performances higher than 60 fps, you can experience the difference in smoothness although it is quite subjective, as some will find 60 fps very smooth while others will still notice the difference. It is also worth mentioning that you will need quite a strong configuration for the new games for a value higher than 60 fps, so if you want to make the most of a 122 Hz or 144 Hz monitor, this will be one of the limiting factors.
G-sync vs FreeSync
We get to the most interesting issue for gamers which will become a real obstacle in the following years. We need to thank Nvidia and AMD for that. The basic problem of this technology is that you have to use special monitors, which explicitly support G-Sync and FreeSync technologies. Unfortunately, it is in the interest of Nvidia and AMD to bind you, using these technologies with their own products, so you must have their GPUs to be able to use the respective technology. And then you become dependent on the next generations of their GPUs because you surely tend to use the technology built into your monitor. There are other differences too. The Nvidia technology uses a chip built into the monitor, while AMD uses software, making them mutually exclusive.
How much is this visible in practice?
My answer is – certainly it is, especially when it comes to gamers, they can freely choose any of these monitors depending on the GPU manufacturer. To make it clear, the monitors will work both in 2D or 3D on both companies’ GPUs. However, FreeSync and G-Sync technologies will not work if you use the competition’s monitor. But then the monitor becomes a simple one, which you have no reason to pay for.
Between these two technologies, people tend to express that Nvidia G-sync is better, although more expensive. If you are an AMD fan, don’t hesitate to use FreeSync which many also found just a slightly more inferior at this moment.
Both technologies work well in combination with other upgrades and motivate all gamers to start using some of the new monitors. Having a high-resolution fancy monitor is certainly a good motive for all those able to afford new technologies. We’re convinced about the benefits of the AMD and Nvidia technologies, which gives us a reason to recommend them highly.
However, there are other options for better gaming performance. The secret here is the monitor stand. The default monitor stand that comes with your purchased monitor is not always the best selection for your gaming. In most cases, it is recommended that you get your own optimized monitor stand for ergonomic purposes and for a better experience of the game. However we won’t be discussing that in this article, you can read more about Monitor Stand in the link, specifically, the link is about how you find the right monitor stand for you.