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A Guide to Choosing a Gaming Monitor in 2016

cormac reynolds, @BrightonCormac
05.06.16
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Other than your powerful rig, the most important factor in gaming is how it all comes to you visually - the way you interpret elements on the screen and how fast you interact with them: The monitor. There is a large number of brands available, and they all offer a wide variety of different products, each of them claiming their monitor is the best for gaming and the one you should get.

Naturally, it can't all be true - so read on to learn more about what you should look for in a gaming monitor in my opinion. The monitor frequency, and the monitor panel.

60hz vs 120hz and FPS

In the past few years, since 120hz monitors appeared on the market, there has been plenty of discussion about their pros and cons when compared to traditional 60 hz monitors. In order to be able to properly compare them, lets look into how they function.

A hertz measures the number of times the monitor's image is refreshed each second. A 120hz monitor, thus, refreshes twice as often as a 60hz one, displaying twice as many images per unit of time. This does make for a smoother image, and makes your eyes more at ease, since they need to process less information per each say.

The problem of this theory is the FPS factor. The term stands for frames per second, and refers to how many frames your graphic card can process each second - and send to your monitor to display.

Imagine, for instance, that you're playing at 30 frames per second using a 60hz monitor. This means that, each second, there will be 30 images to process. Considering your monitor displays 60 images each second, there will be 2 equal frames for each 1/30 of a second. This makes for a somewhat unpleasant viewing experience which is likely to influence your gaming negatively.

There's always a relation between the frequency your monitor works at and your computer power - and you need to keep this in mind when you choose betwen the two types of monitor. If you play at over 60 fps with a 60 hz monitor, you won't see any difference when compared to playing at 60 fps, because the monitor cannot process more than that.

If you use a 120hz monitor, however, you'll notice a difference until you reach 120 fps - after that, more frames per second won't make any changes. Particularly in a fast paced game, the difference between 60 and 120 fps using a 120hz monitor is very high.

Personally, I've noticed that even when moving the mouse in your desktop environment you can notice the difference - and it's even easier to perceive in game. The difference will be more noticeable in games that feature fast movement - it'll be particularly large if you're a racing game player or a FPS player. In the end, the extra images will result in a smoother experience, which can get you ahead when gaming against players who use a 60hz monitor.

When you're selecting the best gaming monitor, it's likely that you'll be faced with two options regarding the panel as well - TN and IPS Monitors. TN is the most common type of panel, which is found on the vast majority of the monitors in the market. TN panels are very cheap to make, and have the shortest response time, in milliseconds. In combination with today's popular LED back-lighting, panels consume low energy and offer god brightness - particularly LED ones.

TN panels, however, have a significant con - terrible color shifting which depends on your viewing angle. It doesn't matter if you play right in front of the monitor - you're bound to notice color inconsistencies and shifting around the image, and this becomes even more noticeable on cheaper monitors. TN panels are "ok" regarding color accuracy - some brands are better than others, and some gamers don't care about it and are more interested in lower response times. Others, however, do, and finding balance between response time and image quality is something you should think about.

IPS panels, on the other hand, are newer, cost more and consume more power - but they're a lot better than TN panels at colour reproduction. They offer excellent viewing angles as well - even at 90 degrees to the top or side you have excellent color consistency at the screen. A big drawback for gamers, however, is the response times, which can be significantly slower than TN panels.

However, a recent technology named S-IPS (Super IPS) offers the excellent image of a IPS panel with the quick response time of a TN panel. This would be the perfect balance for a gaming monitor, to me, if it wasn't for a serious a drawback: There are no IPS or S-IPS monitors that operate on 120hz, since there's not much demand for this type of improvement in the field, so it's limited to 60hz. In the near future, the technology is expected to become available - and I'd recommend it to any serious gamer. You're not going to regret getting one, even if you end up having to spend twice as much as you'd pay for a standard 120hz TN monitor.

We hope you have a better idea of gaming monitors and how to choose one. Why not try Plusvouchercode for even better value on monitors like these - please leave a comment below and we will reply.

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