What makes a computer monitor best for gaming?

WRITTEN BY Jerry

Posted on June 21 2018


We explore what makes or breaks a Gaming Monitor and what features to consider when buying one.
Does the winner of the Computex 2018 Best Choice Award, the brand-new MSI MPG27CQ Gaming Monitor, have it all?

 
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A gaming monitor is as integral to your gaming rig as your souped-up gaming PC. However, choosing the right one can prove to be a challenge – especially with the myriad of choices and technical specifications floating out there.

Do you look at refresh rates, resolutions, panel types, screen sizes, or adaptive sync support? What do these things mean? We explore the many factors that contribute to forging a truly excellent Gaming Monitor.
 

Panel Types

This particular specification has stirred up many debates among online communities. However, we seemed to have reached some sort of general consensus regarding the utility of different panel types used today. Every panel type has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages; it is left to the buyers to decide what characteristic is more important to their use case.

Most gaming monitors use either TN (Twisted Nematic), VA (Vertical Alignment), or IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels today.

In simple terms – IPS panels offer much better color reproduction and larger viewing angles, while TN panels feature faster response times (<4ms) and are relatively cheaper. On the other hand, VA panels offer the best of both worlds: speedy response times and lower costs compared to IPS panels; better color reproduction and viewing angles compared to TN panels.

Hence, gamers who are on a budget and have a strong affinity for fast-paced games will find gaming monitors with TN panels more suited to them, while gamers who want to maximize their immersion and admire the gorgeous graphics should grab an IPS display. Meanwhile, VA displays are perfect for gamers who don't like compromising too much on either front.
 

Resolution

The resolution of any monitor denotes how many pixels it can accommodate. Since higher pixel counts translate into better image quality, higher is better when it comes to a monitor’s native resolution.

The three most popular gaming monitor resolutions today are:
  • 1080p (also called Full HD)
  • 1440p (also called QHD)
  • 2160p (also called 4K/UHD)
Although a higher resolution does bring better detail and clarity, there is a caveat. The higher the resolution, the more powerful your hardware needs to be. Hence, 4K Gaming Monitors haven't really become mainstream even though they deliver absolutely fantastic visuals. In fact, most mid-range GPUs still struggle to deliver playable frame rates on these monitors.

On the flipside, 1080p screens are slowly starting to fall short of gamers’ expectations when it comes to crispness and visual quality.

Consequently, most gamers seem to agree that 1440p displays strike a balance. They offer brilliant visuals and you won’t need high-end hardware to maintain playable frame rates in the latest games. What’s more, 1440p displays are usually cheaper than their 4K counterparts as well.
 

Refresh Rates

The refresh rate of a monitor indicates how many times per second your monitor refreshes an image displayed on the panel.

How does this affect your gaming experience?

Monitors with relatively lower refresh rates are bound to miss details and lack fluidity, especially when it comes to fast-paced games like first-person shooters, MOBAs, arcade games, or racing simulations. Moreover, if your PC can drive games at high frame rates, a high-refresh rate monitor will ensure you have much more information at your disposal to maximize your gaming prowess and enjoy unparalleled fluidity.

Commonly available Gaming Monitors have refresh rates ranging from 60 Hz to 240 Hz. Although a higher refresh rate is better, the law of diminishing returns does come into play at a certain point.

To this end, the middle ground is usually preferred by gamers – right around 120-144 Hz. This is because 100+ frame rates are much easier to achieve compared to, say, 200+. Moreover, higher refresh rates (144+) offer only marginal noticeable improvements compared to the substantial leap in your gaming experience when moving from 60 Hz to 144 Hz.
 

Adaptive Sync

Adaptive sync technologies eliminate screen tearing in games. The two major adaptive sync technologies are:
  • Nvidia G-Sync
  • AMD FreeSync
Although both these technologies solve the same problem, there is a big gulf when it comes to pricing. While Nvidia G-Sync monitors command a considerable price premium, AMD FreeSync monitors don't.

Moreover, since Nvidia G-Sync requires the use of an Nvidia graphics card and AMD FreeSync requires AMD graphics cards, the choice largely depends on your budget as well as your hardware configuration.
 

Screen Size

Who can say no to more screen real estate? Yes, larger screens are great, but after a certain point it becomes quite a chore trying to keep track of all that's happening on your screen. However, gamers are now able to maintain complete immersion with newer, larger, curved monitors that imitate the natural curvature of their peripheral vision.

The most common screen dimensions for gaming monitors today range from 21 to 27 inches.
 

Color Gamut

A wider color gamut ensures much better color reproduction; it enhances visuals and makes carefully-designed graphics elements look so much better. Gamers love gaming monitors with a wider color gamut as it plays a critical role in improving the immersion delivered by any game.

Rendering a beautiful scene with pinpoint color reproduction is often considered as important as any other part of the gaming experience by serious gamers. Thankfully, standardized color gamut ranges equip us with the information needed to gauge the color range of any given monitor.

The popularly used color gamuts are:
  • sRGB
  • AdobeRGB
  • NTSC
Any gaming monitor featuring a 100% color gamut on one or more of these scales is sure to offer superior color reproduction.
 

Introducing the MSI Optix MPG27CQ 27-inch Gaming Monitor – Winner of the Best Choice Award at Computex 2018!

MSI’s latest entrant into the gaming monitor space, the MSI Optix MPG27CQ 1440p 144Hz 27-inch FreeSync Gaming Monitor, offers a perfect balance of features and quality. It is the winner of the Best Choice Award at Computex 2018 – one of the most prestigious hardware awards in the world.

A host of gamer-friendly features, a killer design, immersive display curves, and commendable attention to detail make this a worthy choice for almost all types of gamers and games. MSI uses a VA panel in this monitor to equip gamers with lightning-quick 1ms response times without compromising on viewing angles (178°) and accurate color reproduction.
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In addition to boasting a wide color gamut of 100% NTSC and 115% sRGB, the monitor also features a 144 Hz refresh rate and a gorgeous 1440p native resolution.

Gamers who lean towards fast-paced games will have access to much more information at their disposal – giving them much more time to react and outmaneuver their opponents. While the 144 Hz refresh rate delivers an extremely fluid gaming experience, the 1440p resolution plays an important role in maximizing the visual detail available to you.

That's not all. FreeSync technology is built into this MSI monitor to eliminate screen tearing in games when using an AMD GPU.
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However, what really sets this monitor apart is the seamless blend of software and hardware. The accompanying software integrates with your games to give you physical LED lighting on the monitor itself – giving you access to rich in-game information with a cursory glance.

Watch video about Optix MPG series monitor Gamesense features

The MSI Optix MPG27CQ 1440p 144Hz 27-inch FreeSync Gaming Monitor truly does seem to have it all – well-deserving of the Best Choice and Best design Award indeed and is one of the best gaming monitors out there. More about Optix MPG27CQ: https://www.msi.com/Monitor/Optix-MPG27CQ.
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Besides, MSI announced a newest Optix MAG series curved gaming monitor including MAG271C, MAG271CR, MAG241C, MAG241CR in Computex 2018. Find out more about Optix MAG series monitor here: https://www.msi.com/Landing/MSI_Optix_MAG271C_R
 
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