Today's review is devoted to one of the most important parts of a PC gaming setup – a monitor. The approach to choosing a monitor should be based on various reasonable aspects, and not just a "It is cool, let's buy it" one. Such parameters are numerous.
Today we will consider a manual on choosing a right monitor, new ideas and tendencies, and then compose a list of ten most interesting and up-to-date devices 2015. Everything will be based not on super-accurate and unique devices, but on personal experience, knowledge of my respected game comrades, communication with leading monitor design and manufacturing engineers and address to old-timers of techno portals and geek forums.
How to choose a gaming monitor?
Even with a super PC if you have an ancient monitor on which cats can sleep on, your gaming will be pointless.
What should we know while choosing a monitor? Such a machine is often bought for 2 or 3 years at least due to its considerable price. You will never upgrade it, so purchase the best product at the very beginning. What are the major parameters to pay special attention to?
Quality and harm – the former is to be the highest and the latter is to fully absent. It's important to remember that while going in for another 10-hour raid elaborated by wicked WoT developers or watching an hours-long stream, your eyes will get tired. Thus, you should take care of them beforehand.
Screen size – let me remind something to holy war fans: we are an extremely subjective source and write our articles based on our own data and the best, in our opinion, resources. That is why I say: 23-27''. This is the range I believe to be the ideal one. The choice is wide, it rests upon the size of your room.
If your personality doesn’t enjoy vast surfaces – or you sit very close to the screen – you shouldn’t buy a 27'' one. It just won’t come into your view and you will need to turn the head which is not hailed as well as any other motion. Concerning screen sizes that are not in the suggested range, those smaller are not a serious matter, while those larger the 27'' ceiling illustrate the above-mentioned problem with space.
Display' resolution – every gamer – even if he or she doesn’t know what it is and how to describe it verbally – is certain to understand what differing resolutions look like in reality. Setting a lower resolution, you get a worse picture but a game runs faster. And vice versa. You will always be bound with physical restrictions either of a game (its developers didn’t add such a high resolution supported by the monitor) or by a monitor - monitors can only display up to a certain, set resolution.
The higher the resolution, the more beautiful and vivid graphics. But there is a reasonable limit. Forums discussing monitors have recently raised a rhetorical question: “Should one buy a 4k resolution monitor?”, and I will answer it. If you have a lot of money, I highlight, A LOT OF money, do it. But don’t bother to buy a super powerful piece of iron as a set. Then your machine will remain up-to-date for at least the next two years. When I say “up-to-date”, I mean that it will allow you to play any game on top settings.
If you don't have much money or a strong desire to buy it, don’t do it: not much time will pass, and this technology, firstly, will be justifiably used, and, secondly, its price will decrease.
Frequency – nowadays the common ceiling is as high as 144 Hz. The total cycle of switching a picture takes 1 Hz. In a game while adjusting video, you set a frequency in fps (frame per second). When you watch a film on TV, you see 24 frames per second, the brain doesn’t divide them and as a result they form a single line, video stream. Games require other frequencies, 60 fps on average. But the newer and the more dynamic the game, the higher speed becomes more desirable. That is why top gaming monitors today have a 144 Hz or 100 Hz frequency.
Contrast. Here another principle works: the higher, the better. It is usually indicated in proportion, for instance, 550:1. Don’t trust figures on brochures. Remember Dr. House’s precept : “Everybody lies”. They write whatever they want as you never check it.
Response time is an inversely proportional parameter. The lower, the better. This is a parameter responsible for how quickly a certain pixel changes its colour. For us it is our reaction. This parameter is of great importance for gamers. Later on we will touch upon the poorest acceptable extent to sacrifice it to.
Matrix type. Today three matrix types rule the market: TN, IPS, *VA. A "best" doesn't exist. If it did, there wouldn't be three competitors.
- TN – the best response, the maximum achieved up to 2 ms. It is perfect for fans of shooters and other games with severe dynamism. Apart from advantages, there are negative points, too: the contrast is weak, the viewing angle is narrow.
- IPS – the full contrast to TN. The viewing angle is as wide as almost 180o . Magnificent colour rendition, deep contrast. The picture is very beautiful. It goes without saying, that the response is a weaker point. Its best value is about 5 ms.
- *VA – is a mediocre mediator in such a dispute. Developers equipping their products with such a matrix say that it incorporates the best characteristics from the previous two types. How to say… No. The attempt took place, but in vain. The viewing angle is almost the same as by a TN but colours are far from IPS.
Everyone decides for themselves what to choose. I would recommend an IPS. I appreciate perfect graphics without noticing lack of response speed. Now that we have covered the basics, it's time to learn it and order a monitor. A small lifehack: first of all go to the nearest electronics supermarket and try to find the necessary model. Look closer, touch it. And then order it.
The Best Size for a Gaming Monitor
Below I will give an explicit overview of today’s 10 best gaming monitors. But I have thought it over and decided to make additional accent on what the size of a monitor should be to suit you perfectly.
The first and most important thing, of course – pay attention to the diagonal. I have already told you about the ideal characteristics. But you won’t profit a lot from plain figures. I recommend that you go in the nearest electronics hypermarket and just gaze. You should feel what monitor looks too huge for you, and what is too small. At the same time, bear in mind the size of your room and intensity of your sitting in front of the PC.
Believe me and my experience – when the monitor doesn’t sit completely in your field of vision (which makes you move your eyes to see the whole screen) you will get tired ten times faster than usual. It concerns especially those gamers who enjoy playing at night when there is no additional light.