4 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Gaming Monitor 

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The perfect way to complete a powerful gaming PC setup is to give it at least one high-performance monitor. A good monitor can do more than simply provide a higher resolution. Displays with higher refresh rates can let you fully utilize higher frame rates (frames per second). With advanced synchronization techniques, many can minimize ghosting with lower response times and eliminate screen-tearing.

If you love games, here are the four most common mistakes to avoid and the best tips to follow before purchasing a new display.

1. Only Paying Attention to Resolution

It’s no secret — the higher the resolution, the more details your computer monitor can display. However, just because a monitor supports a higher resolution doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good choice for your gaming experience. Depending on the specifications of your current monitor, a display with a higher resolution may worsen your in-game performance or make your graphics appear worse.

Besides resolution, the two essential specifications you must check when buying a new monitor are refresh rate and response time. 

  • Refresh rate: Measured in hertz (Hz), the refresh rate indicates the display’s maximum frame rate. A 60 Hz monitor can only display up to 60 frames per second. Even if your computer is powerful enough to render your game at more than 60 FPS, you will not see a difference unless you upgrade to a higher refresh rate. Competitive gamers often use 144 Hz displays or higher for the best performance, which helps them shorten their reaction times.
  • Response time: Measured in milliseconds (ms). This detail shows how quickly your monitor can update individual pixels from full brightness to full darkness (whites and blacks). The faster the monitor’s response time, the sharper the image, preventing unsightly effects such as ghosting or unintentional motion blur.

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Gaming Monitor

2. Failing to Check the Panel Type

In monitor technology, the panel creates images on a display. Panels are made up of a stack of layers, the specific construction of which determines the quality of the colors, contrast, brightness, and response time displayed. 

Most modern computer monitors today, including curved vs. flat monitors for gaming, use one of three panel types: IPS, TN, and VA. A fourth option, OLED, has become more available as well. Understanding the pros and cons of each panel type is critical before choosing a monitor for your gaming PC setup. Choosing the wrong type for your preferred games or daily activities can lower the image quality and degrade your experience.

  • In-Plane Switching (IPS): The main advantage of an IPS display is its wide view angle, letting you see sharp images and intricate details from almost any angle. However, most IPS displays have lower refresh rates and may not be suitable for intensive or competitive gaming unless you opt for one of the latest gaming-specific options.
  • Twisted Nematic (TN): TN displays are prized among gamers for their super-low response time. They are an excellent choice for games where fast reaction times are critical, such as racing games or first-person shooters. However, they don’t have the best viewing angles and are beaten by other monitor types in sharpness and color quality.
  • Vertical Alignment (VA): VA displays offer a middle ground between IPS and TN monitors in terms of view angle, color quality, and response time. While they aren’t the best in any category, VA panels tend to offer the best contrasts, letting brights and darks pop out more. They are well-suited for more cinematic gaming experiences.
  • Organic LED (OLED): Unlike VA, IPS, or TN monitors, which are LCDs requiring a backlight, OLED monitors use LEDs and are backlight-free. It allows them to display true blacks. OLED displays generally have higher color accuracy, wide viewing angles, negligible color shift, and speedy response times, making them highly versatile.
    The main drawback of OLED displays is their price. They are currently among the most expensive choices on the market. They may also suffer from screen burn-in over time.

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Gaming Monitor

3. Not Considering the Monitor’s Size

Resolution is one thing, but the physical size of your monitor is another entirely. While it can be tempting to pick the largest display you can fit on your desk, doing so can be detrimental to your gaming experience and non-gaming tasks. 

For example, it can make typing or reading documents uncomfortable, strain your eyes more when gaming, and cause you to adjust your head excessively to take in every detail. It will also make the image quality appear worse, as you’ll notice effects like pixelation from up close.

A common general guideline is to use the resolution as your guide to find the right size gaming monitor for your needs. Here are a few recommendations depending on your preferred resolution:

  • Standard 1080p (1920×1080): 21 to 24 inches
  • Ultrawide 1080p (2560×1080): 25 to 29 inches
  • Standard 1440p/2K (2560×1440): 24 to 27 inches
  • Ultrawide 1440p/2K (3360×1440): 34 to 35 inches
  • Standard 4K (3840×2160): 27 to 30 inches
  • Ultrawide 5K2K (5120×2160): 38 to 42 inches

For an optimal viewing distance, use the arm’s length rule. Set the monitor on your desk, sit down in front of it as you normally would, and then extend your arm with your hand flat. If you can touch the monitor, set it further back until it’s just out of reach. If you have an ultrawide or high-resolution display, set it a few extra inches back to minimize head movement. Adjust until you find the most comfortable setup.

4. Only Checking the Price

While it is possible to have a good experience gaming on a budget, focusing solely on the price of a monitor and buying the least expensive available can cause you to miss out on many critical features.

You may end up with a lower-quality monitor that bottlenecks your entire gaming setup because it simply does not have the capabilities to use your hardware. For example, it may not have a good enough resolution, suffer from heavy blurring or screen tearing, or even require repairs or replacement earlier than expected.

Always ensure a reputable manufacturer makes your monitor and that it has all the features you need to maximize your gaming and computing needs.

Complete Your Gaming PC with a Quality Display 

Computer monitors have a lot more to offer than different resolutions. When shopping for a new display for your gaming PC, always check the specifications sheet first, as it contains valuable information on what to expect from its performance. Adapting the resolution, panel type, refresh rate, response type, and physical dimensions to your needs and your favorite game will let you enjoy the best possible experience.

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