Monitor 101: What Factors Should You Look at Before Actually Buying a Monitor for Gaming


There are now so many types of gaming monitors you can choose from and it’s just so hard to make the right selection that will fit your needs. If you’re not careful enough, chances are that you might end up investing in a gaming monitor that’s too modest for your rig’s capability.

So, what exactly are the things that you should look into before making any purchase? If that’s why you’re here, then you’re in for a treat! Read on as we talk about the major things that matter when shopping for a gaming monitor.

If you want to see which gaming monitor is best for you, check out this article:

But make sure you read the guide below first before checking the link to make it easier for you to make the best selection.

Aspect Ratio

It’s unlikely for most newbies out there to even think about or consider the monitor’s aspect ratio before buying…

…but it actually matters.

In fact, most of you may already know this but for those who don’t, there are 2 very popular types of aspect ratio:

  • 16:9 Ratio – Widescreen
  • 21:9 Ratio – Ultrawide screen

The 16:9 aspect ratio or Widescreen is the standard aspect ratio these days. If you’re a casual gamer who’s just looking for a standard gaming monitor, you shouldn’t go wrong with a monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

However, if you want to up your gaming experience or if you’re a serious competitive FPS gamer, then you’ll definitely want an ultrawide gaming monitor. The 21:9 aspect ratio of an ultrawide gaming monitor gives you the edge of seeing more compared to a standard 16:9 monitor. See the image below to see the difference.

If you do choose a 21:9 aspect ratio monitor, bear in mind that you’ll have to also consider whether or not you should get a curved monitor. Needless to say, a curved one will surely give you a more immersive experience, but it still boils down to preference.

Size and Resolution

The size and resolution of the monitor don’t really matter these days unless you initially want to get a 4K display gaming monitor. Honestly, anything between 24” to 27” should be fine if you’re aiming for a 1080p or a 1440p resolution gaming monitor.

In fact, 24” is the current sweet spot for a 1080p display and is even preferred by professional eSports gamers around the world. It’s because the area the eye needs to travel to spot an enemy is smaller compared to a 27” monitor.

But that aside, you should never go below 32” if you’re going to invest in a 4K gaming monitor. Some say 27” is fine for 4K resolution but hey, you’re getting a 4K resolution here so might as well get the bigger one for a future-proof investment – that is if you can spare a few hundred dollars more.

Panel Type

Another thing that you should look at is the monitor’s panel technology. There are 3 types of panel type a monitor may utilize:

  • TN – Twisted Nematic
  • IPS – In-Plane Switching
  • VA – Vertical Alignment

Competitive gamers should resort only to a TN panel because these types of monitors have the fastest response times among the 3 types of panel, usually 1ms (millisecond). We’ll cover response time shortly in detail below.

This gives gamers the competitive edge of being the first to react in any given situation. Moreover, it’s also the cheapest among the 3 types of panel. But keep in mind that they also have poor color reproduction and poor viewing angles.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz) and this shows the number of times the screen refreshes to display a new image on the screen.

So a 60Hz monitor refreshes images 60 times every second. In most cases, this is perfectly fine for casual gaming. In fact, you won’t even have problems with it – I guarantee. Not unless you’re a hardcore FPS player who’s serious about always being number 1.

Because if that’s the case, then you should aim for a monitor with a refresh rate of at least 144Hz. The difference between 144Hz and 60Hz is night and day and the images you would see on the screen will be a whole lot smoother.

For competitive gamers, the smoothness makes it easier to hit the enemies more accurately. See the video below to see the slow motion comparison.

Response Time

Response time is the measure of how long it takes a pixel to change colors from gray to white, and back to gray, hence, the GTG (Grey To Grey) time. If refresh rate is measured in Hz, a response time is measured in milliseconds (ms).

If you’re going to think of it, the difference between a 1ms and a 5ms gaming monitor isn’t that big. However, the small difference means everything to a competitive FPS gamer.

Casual gamers don’t usually see the difference between a monitor with a 5ms response time from a monitor with a 1ms response time but competitive gamers do.

Ideally, anything between 4ms – 5ms should be fine for casual gamers but for competitive gamers, a monitor with a 1ms response time is the only option that should be considered – nothing more.

Adaptive Sync

If you checked the list of monitors from the link you would find at the beginning of this article, you’d notice monitors with FreeSync or G-Sync technology. Basically, what this does is that this removes screen tearing when playing games.

You’d want to get this only if you have the compatible graphics card for the monitor. Monitors with FreeSync technology only works if you have an AMD graphics card. On the contrary, monitors with G-Sync technology works only if you have an NVIDIA graphics card.

You’re lucky if you run an AMD graphics card since monitors with FreeSync technology don’t have additional costs compared to G-Sync monitors, that aren’t only compatible with NVIDIA graphics cards but also costs around $100 – $150 more.

Opting for monitors with this technology should be a priority if you have the opportunity because this gets rid of screen tearing for a smoother experience.

Final Words

There you have it! Consider the above-mentioned factors before making a purchase so you can guarantee a great investment at the end of the day.