Knowing how to select a monitor for gaming will reduce frustration down the road and provide a competitive advantage. The purpose of this article is to discuss how to select a monitor for gaming in 2022.
There are a lot of features and details that go into monitors and if you don’t know them it is easy to get lost. Screen Size, Resolution, refresh rate, contrast, color depth, upscaling and aspect ratios are all measurements that you should know before your purchase.
Screen size is an important determining factor because it provides greater or lesser Field of View (FOV). In gaming, field of view can be a competitive advantage. If you are playing a first-person shooter and you have a greater field of view, you can see more of what’s around you.
Resolution is the measurement of pixels (tiny dots of color) that exist within a monitor. Resolution is defined by two numbers: width and height. Modern resolutions are:
- 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
- 2560 x 1440 (1440p)
- 3840 x 2160 (4K)
- 2560 x 1080 (Ultra Wide 1080p)
- 3440 x 1440 (Ultra Wide 1440p)
- 3840 x 1080 (Ultra Wide 1080p)
- 5120 x 1440 (Ultra Wide 1440p)
Gamers refer to resolution as the second number (e.g. 1080p where p is pixels). The higher the resolution you have, the more performance from a graphics card it will require. By having higher resolution, you will have better graphics. Also, higher resolution will lower refresh rate and frames per second (FPS).
Higher resolutions are better for immersive graphics-rich games like Elden Ring. Where 1080P is the perfect resolution for first person shooters like Fortnite because it can help reduce stuttering or freezing and improve performance.
Refresh rate is the measurement of how fast the monitor refreshes the image on the screen with a new image. It is measured in Hz and tells us how many times per second the image is updated. A refresh rate of 60 Hz is updated 60 times per second.
Common refresh rates are:
- 60 Hz
- 75 Hz
- 120 Hz
- 144 Hz
- 240 Hz
- 360 Hz – NEW
Refresh rates are correlated to frames per second, but not coupled with it by default. Whether you have an integrated graphics card or a dedicated graphics card, it will render a certain amount of frames per second that it sends through your display cable to the monitor.
If the refresh rate and the frames per second from the graphics card are out of sync it can lead to what is known as a screen tear. A screen tear results in an image that is distorted, where the top half of the screen shows one image, and the bottom half displays another.
The two technologies which deal with screen tear are AMD Radeon’s Freesync and NVIDIA’s G-Sync. These technologies are for the graphics cards and automatically couple the FPS with the refresh rate.
Refresh Rates and Frames Per Second (FPS)
Refresh rates put a cap on frames per second. A display monitor with 60 Hz cannot produce more than 60 frames per second. If you require higher frames per second, common for gamers, you will need a monitor that has a higher refresh rate. 60 FPS is the minimum standard for a smooth gaming experience, so you may want to opt for a display with 144 Hz if your graphics card can produce that amount of frames per second.
Aspect ratio is the shape of your display, or the image being displayed. A 1:1 ratio indicates that the picture is square. Modern aspect ratios are wide-screen and have an aspect ratio of 16:9. Some displays are ultrawide and have aspect ratios of 21:9, 32:9, and 32:10. Ultrawide aspect ratios improve your field of vision (FOV) and can provide a competitive advantage to gamers by allowing them to see a greater field of vision than their competitors.
Contrast ratios are the measurement of color. It indicates the deepest black and the brightest white a display is able to deliver. The higher the contrast ratio, the more rich the colors will look. Contrast ratios are denoted by two numbers, such as 1000:1, whereby the first number is a multiple of the color white and the second number is a multiple of the color black. A contrast ratio of 1000:1 indicates that white is 1,000 times brighter than black.
Color depth tell us how many colors the monitor is able to display and is measured in bits. Common color depths are 8-bit and 10-bit. 8-bit provides us 16.7 million colors (True Color) and 10-bit provides over 1 billion colors (Deep Color) per pixel. Each pixel has an option of 16.7 million colors or over 1 billion colors to choose from. Deep color is found in HDR (High Dynamic Range) monitors.
There has been a bit of discussion about whether or not 10-bit color depths actually matter for gaming. It seems this is more of a reality for console games at this point over PC Games and that this is mostly due to Windows.
Recommended Advice for Gaming Monitors in 2022
Those who are serious about gaming should look for ultrawide monitors with the highest refresh rate their budgets can afford. A high refresh rate paired with an ultrawide display will provide two competitive advantages: 1) faster reaction time for greater FPS; and 2) greater field of vision (FOV).
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