Show me where it hertz
A gaming monitor is today’s most essential upgrade after a good mouse and keyboard. Lindsay Handmer tests 11 screens tuned for gaming greatness.
It used to be that there were normal monitors and gaming monitors, and not much else. But these days, there are a huge range of models that target everything from esports, to different game styles and even GPU brands. Increasingly popular are monitors with high refresh rates, which allow your screen to actually display more than 60fps. While many new games are very taxing, powerful (and even midrange) GPUs can often manage quite high refresh rates. Typically, some sort of adaptive sync technology is needed, to avoid a mismatch between the frame rate and refresh rate, which can cause frame tearing and stuttering.
The minimum resolution nowadays is 1,920 x 1,080, though 2,560 x 1,440 and even 3,840 x 2,160 are increasingly popular. In fact, 2,560 x 1,440 on a 27-inch monitor is a nice mix between high-quality visuals, and not overtaxing your (still high-end) GPU. The better (and more expensive) screens all use IPS panels for high-quality visuals. But TN screens are still faster (and more affordable), so tend to dominate the lower budgets, or models pushing the limits. There is also a wide range of monitors that attempt to bridge the gap between work and play, with great specs for casual gaming, but also features needed for productivity.
Higher-end gaming monitors (especially those using Nvidia’s G-Sync) don’t come cheap. On the plus side, they incorporate all sorts of handy features, such as stands with height adjustment and the ability to pivot 90º and USB hubs.
HOW WE TESTED
Each monitor was tested on a high-end gaming PC, running either an AMD or Nvidia GPU for testing both FreeSync and G-Sync. Connection was via DisplayPort or, where not available, HDMI. Each monitor was tested with a variety of games including Ashes of the Singularity, League of Legends, Elite Dangerous, Starcraft II, Doom and GTA V.