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Are Gaming Monitors Worth It?


a gaming setup with a gaming monitor and a gaming desktop pc

Gaming on monitors that aren’t made for gaming can be very degrading to the overall experience. When I upgraded to a gaming monitor my overall enjoyment of the games I played skyrocketed.

Are gaming monitors worth it? Gaming monitors are worth it because they can provide better colors, viewing angles, performance, and image quality in games that regular monitors or TVs cannot.

Let’s go deeper into all the things that make gaming monitors the only choice for a gamer that desires the best experience.

Are Gaming Monitors Worth It?

Gaming monitors are without a doubt worth it for all types of gaming.

The lush colors, quick visuals, and sharp images are enough to make every game look 100x better than whatever you are currently playing on that isn’t made for gaming.

There are, however, a variety of different types of gaming monitors that are suited to one type of gamer or the other.

Finding the right gaming monitor for you will take a while but before you can know what you need you must know the terminology.

Things like the best amounts of response time, refresh rate, resolution, curve, monitor size, panel, and so on will all be taken into account.

Instead of giving you a couple of broad strokes and throwing you in the direction of an expensive monitor, we are going to explain what makes a monitor good and let you choose the best monitor for you from there.

But before we get into the different factors that make a monitor good, you must learn the vocabulary.

Gaming Monitor Vocabulary You Need To Know

There are a few different terms that you need to know before we talk about gaming monitors that will be thrown around often in this article.

First, we have refresh rate, this is how many images a monitor will show in a single second. For a monitor, the ultimate goal is to have a higher refresh rate like 144 hertz that your PC is able to reach.

You’ll notice that refresh rate is often followed by a number with hertz afterward because hertz is the measurement the represents refresh rate.

You can know that your PC is able to reach the refresh rate by measuring your FPS (frames per second) while playing a game. The only way you can take advantage of the 144-hertz refresh rate is to have 144 FPS in-game.

Frames per second (FPS) is the measurement of how many frames your graphics card can put out per second and refresh rate is how many images you monitor can show in a single second.

Too low of FPS and you won’t see the benefit of a higher refresh rate. If you have too low of refresh rate and an FPS that goes higher you will experience screen tearing.

Ideally, you are able to stably achieve your monitor’s refresh rate in FPS in-game so you don’t experience frame drops, stuttering, or screen tearing.

Second, we have response time which is the measure of how fast your monitor is able to show a change between one color to another, often it’s described as from black to white or gray to another gray.

Having a lower response time is better because it reducing “ghosting” or in other words when your character moves he won’t have a color following him and neither will moving objects in the environment.

This might be more annoying for competitive gamers that need clear quick visuals I can assure you it is highly disruptive to all gamers regardless of the type of game.

Third, we have monitor panels which include VA, TN, and IPS.

LCD monitors have different types of display panels that will differ in quality, performance and price. With negatives to each, sometimes major and sometimes minimal, it depends.

In recent years I have seen fewer and fewer TN panel monitors and more VA panels which is a good thing for the balance of cost, quality, and speed.

In addition, new technology allows for faster response times, and refresh rates that can extend to both IPS and VA so there no longer has to be as many trade-offs between one-panel type and the other.

IPS has the best colors and viewing angles, however, if you want low response time and a high refresh rate in addition that will cost you a premium price.

VA is the nice in between that has good colors, good response time, and a good refresh rate for a more reasonable cost.

TN is the cheapest, fastest monitor that is going to provide an advantage in competitive games, however, it is by far the worst in picture quality out of the three.

Fourth, we have resolution which is the number of pixels your screen will contain. This in turn will impact how sharp and clear your image is going to appear.

There are a few different general resolutions you need to know and we can dig deeper into the rest when the time is right. Those three are: 1080p, 1440p, and 4k.

Within those resolutions there are ultrawide variants that have even more pixels than the traditional resolution.

When playing games, the higher the resolution the more powerful you will need your PC to be, your GPU in particular.

This is due to the fact that the more pixels there are to render the harder your GPU will have to work to output the images from the game.

If you want to see this for yourself, see the benchmarks I ran comparing my 1080p monitor to my 1440 ultrawide monitor.

I’ll give you the short version so we can keep moving it was a lot! About 40 FPS were lost going from 1080p to 1440p ultrawide using the same graphics settings just on the higher resolution!

We will talk more about how important 1440p is later on, but for now, let’s move into the what’s worth it section of this guide.

Are 144 Hertz Monitors Worth It?

If you are into competitive multiplayer games like CSGO, Rainbow Six Siege, Overwatch, Valorant, Fortnite, COD or any other game of that type 144 hertz is worth it and very beneficial.

144 hertz makes your movement appear much smoother and it gives you more tracking on your enemy’s quick movements across the screen.

They will appear on screen longer, and in some cases, you may even see the enemy sooner than with a 60hz monitor.

Here is a great video demonstrating the difference in each hertz.

One of the biggest leaps you can make in gaming is going from a 60hz to a 144hz monitor because of how silky smooth it makes every game feel.

There is a benefit for people that don’t play those games still. Single-player games will also feel much smoother and the world around you will appear much less choppy.

Of course, in order to get the benefit out of this refresh rate, your PC has to be able to reach it.

Your PC must be able to achieve 144 FPS to take advantage of the 144-hertz refresh rate which is reliant on the game, the resolution, your PC, and the graphical settings.

1080p will be easier to achieve that target FPS but if you have a higher-end PC you should also be able to accomplish 144 FPS in 1440p as well, although it still depends on the game.

If you can reach 144 FPS, then make sure on your new monitor you lock the FPS to 144 or turn on V-Sync.

Either way, capping FPS at 144 is going to prevent screen tearing which happens when the FPS in games is higher than your monitor’s refresh rate.

Are 240 Hertz Monitors Worth it?

As a quick section before we move on let’s discuss 240-hertz monitors. You don’t need them, although higher hertz is always cool you most likely won’t need one.

Maybe if you are a competitive gamer you will like to have the extra hertz, but you also need to have a machine capable of running games at 240 FPS to see the benefits of that refresh rate.

To reach 240 hertz isn’t impossible, if you have a great machine and play on 1080p you can tweak a few settings to reach it but even casual competitive gamers most likely won’t need it.

If you mostly play strategy or single-player games you especially won’t need a 240-hertz monitor because you will be focusing more on visuals.

In graphics-intensive story-driven games, you won’t be able to reach 240 FPS without great sacrifice and even then the game will be plenty smooth at 144 FPS so anything more won’t be super noticeable.

Are 1 MS Response Time Monitors Worth it?

Although the difference between high and low response times may not be as noticeable as 60 to 144hz it is still important to have if you don’t want ghosting.

With higher response time monitors, moving objects in games will look like there is a blur following them around. This is referred to as ghosting and is very irritating to have.

Many TVs have a refresh rate that goes much higher than 10 ms so the difference when moving to a 1 ms monitor can be more apparent than you might think.

A 1 ms response time monitor is going to have quick transitions from one color to the next which provides better, more clear visuals.

1 ms response time gaming monitors are worth it and are available very commonly on both budget and high-end monitors so there is no reason to avoid getting it.

Are IPS Gaming Monitors Worth it?

IPS is an acronym for In-Plane Switching which is a type of monitor panel. This specific type of panel is known to provide better viewing angles and display better colors which greatly improves image quality.

For people that enjoy a nice single-player game that intends to provide a visual adventure like Red Dead Redemption 2, I would recommend an IPS gaming monitor.

I recommend an IPS monitor specifically to people that are looking for better visuals in games because they will get the most appreciation out of the image-quality upgrades.

On that note I would also recommend an IPS monitor to people that are into strategy games because looking over an empire in Total War is very visually appealing with the colors an IPS monitor can produce.

If you care more about performance there are cheaper VA or TN panel monitors that can deliver the same speeds or maybe even faster speeds for a cheaper cost at a lower visual quality.

IPS may have the best visuals, however, VA is a close second and might save you some money if you are okay downgrading the color quality.

Are 1440p Monitors Worth It?

The much more detailed resolution of 1440p provides a huge visual upgrade when moving from 1080p. With a 1440p you can’t see the pixels like you can on a 1080p monitor.

Your display will appear much sharper and the environments inside of games will appear much more detailed.

In a 2560 x 1440 monitor, there are 3,686,400 pixels where in a 1920 x 1080 monitor there are 2,073,600 pixels.

This means that when moving from 1080p to 1440p you will get much better visual quality, however, you will most likely need a more powerful graphics card to maintain a good FPS.

If you get the most enjoyment out of better visuals and prefer non-competitive games I would recommend a 1440p monitor.

If visuals are less important and you are looking for the best performance in competitive games I would recommend a 1080p monitor. With 1080p you can achieve higher frame rates which might be more important to you.

Outside of gaming, the higher pixel count can be very helpful in several other aspects of using a PC.

The text appears much sharper, for video or photo editing I have more space to edit and fine tweaking is easier and when watching movies the quality is much higher.

Everything looks more zoomed out on a 1440p monitor, however, everything is also much clearer so for that reason I can’t see myself ever going back to 1080p.

Are Ultrawide Monitors Worth It?

close shot of the ViewSonic ELITE XG350R-C monitor

My primary monitor is an ultrawide monitor and for both productivity and gaming it has made my experience much more enjoyable.

In singe-player games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the amount of scenic beauty I can bring into one view makes me so much more immersed when on a long voyage through the fjords.

Also, in racing games like Forza Horizon 4, I feel like I am in the driver’s seat of a Lamborghini in a race through the hills of England speeding by one opponent at a time to win the race.

In whatever game I play I feel less like I am watching the story go by on the monitor in front of me and more like I am engaged in the story on this adventure with the main character.

Even in multiplayer games like Rainbow Six Siege, which I have far too many hours in, I can hold down the site with a wide FOV waiting for someone to come into my line of sight to save the round.

When editing a video or adjusting a picture my workspace is much larger with an ultrawide so there isn’t a need to constantly be flipping through my windows or tabs as I try to finish a simple task.

That’s my experience with an ultrawide monitor, although I concede not everyone might want or need one but if you did have the need they are absolutely worth it.

I am able to enjoy every game more and complete every task much quicker by using an ultrawide monitor.

If you are interested in learning more about the exact amazing monitor I use you can see it here.

What’s An Ideal Gaming Monitor For Someone New To Them

If you are just getting into gaming monitors or are new to PC gaming then you most likely don’t need every gadget and feature that is promoted heavily by gaming monitor companies.

However, I think the ideal monitor for you to start on will look something like this: a 1080p monitor, with a 1ms response time, an IPS panel, and a 144hz refresh rate.

On a 1080p monitor with a powerful PC, you will be able to max out the graphics settings and have a great FPS.

You can also benefit from the much better colors you get from an IPS panel while maintaining the speed you need for competitive games if you choose to play them.

Even if you don’t, the smoothness that a 144-hertz display can provide will make any game feel better.

Lastly, the 1ms response time is to ensure that you don’t get ghosting because that is the most annoying thing you can experience outside of a low frame rate.

Especially after buying a nice new gaming monitor you want to make sure that it won’t have flawed visuals like ghosting or it will ruin your gaming experience.

Anything outside of those features is up to personal preference. Many other features can improve your gaming experience even more but this is the ideal gaming monitor to start in my opinion.

If you wanted to get the 1440p resolution to have sharper visuals, you can upgrade. It will come at the cost of performance, but you will get noticeably better image quality.

If the performance loss is too much then you can always get a better GPU later on that is powerful enough to achieve high FPS on 1440p.

If you want an ultrawide for better productivity and a more engaging gaming experience you can get that too.

That will also come at the cost of FPS, if it is 1440p ultrawide like mine it will have even more pixels than a regular 1440p.

Conclusion

The answer to your question is that all gamers should have a gaming monitor because it can greatly improve the quality at which you game.

However, not just any gaming monitor will do. You will have to decide what is important to you based on what games you play and what you intend to do with your monitor.

As you can see above we did put together a basic outline of the gaming monitor most people are going to enjoy and get great benefits from.

The most important things on a monitor are the resolution, response time, and refresh rate. But not all of them have to be maxed out to have a great experience.

Sometimes as the case is with refresh rate you can reach a point where upgrading more doesn’t make sense, and the money is best spent elsewhere.

Do some more research, I recommend you actually go to a tech store and take a look at some gaming monitors for yourself and see what you think looks the best.

There you can find out what refresh rate, resolution, monitor panel, and response time you like the most which can help guide you to the best monitor for you.

You may even discover that you are okay going with a lower refresh rate, lower resolution, or lower panel quality which could bring down the amount you need to spend to get a gaming monitor you like.

Tom

I've been a PC gamer and builder for around 3 years now but my love for gaming spans many years all the way back to the Nintendo 64! Getting into PC gaming there was a lot of information that was hard to understand so I made it my mission to make PC gaming easy!

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