Gaming Monitors – What’s the Difference?

If you’re making the most of the lock down by getting in some serious gaming hours, you really want your game to look as good as it can be. So in this week’s Tech Tuesday, I will talking about the difference between an ordinary monitor and dedicated gaming monitors and which option is best for you.

Features to look for in a Gaming Monitor

Panel size and Resolution

Size is definitely a key feature here when it comes to gaming monitors; bigger is better. If you have the desk space, I would say a 27″ screen would be best due to providing more significant real estate, basically a bigger screen compared to your standard 21″ widescreen monitors. A normal resolution will be 1920 x 1080, or HD. Many newer 27″ models are Quad High Definition (Ultra HD) monitors with a maximum resolution of 3560 by 1440 pixels. This is usually referenced by the phrase 4K Gaming!

A higher pixel count will provide a much sharper image than Full High-Definition monitor. However you will need a more powerful

graphics card that will allow you to play the latest games at the top resolution especially if you want to add effects in.

If you don’t have the desk space for a for a 27″ monitor, a 24″ monitor is an acceptable choice but they are typically limited to 1920 by 1080 resolution.

If you have the desk space and are willing to spend a bit more a 30″ ultra HD monitor can be able to produce a stunning 3840 by 2160 resolution Or if you want to have a curved monitor you can go up to a 34″ screen size. These ultra wide monitors are generally equipped with a 21:9 aspect ration, differing from the usual 16:9 aspect ratio and they do offer a much larger field of view opposed to standard widescreen monitors but they do take up more space.

Panel Technology 

While there are different display panel technologies that are used, each have their own positives and negatives

The most popular and cheapest in the market are Twisted Nematic (TN) due to their quick, fast pixel responses and refresh rates. Though they are prone to colour shifting when viewed at various angles.

Vertical Alignment (VA) these are best known for there high contrast ratio, robust colours and ability to display deep blacks. They do often produce a noticeable ghosting effect. This can result in reducing performance in gaming.

In-Plan-Switching (IPS) These provide the best overall colour quality, strong grey-scale performance with wide viewing angles. However these monitors cannot match the response rate with TN panels and are subject to motion artefacts.

Pixel Response & Refresh Rate

As gaming monitors generally have a faster pixel response and a high refresh rate, they are commonly used with grey to grey pixel response spec. This is measured by how fast the pixel transition from grey to another colour. A low pixel response can help with eliminate moving images and overall higher image quality. I would say a grey to grey response of 2 milliseconds or less is  best but even a 4 millisecond grey to grey response is typically ok for gaming.

Now as for refresh rate, this is how long it will take take for the entire screen to redraw itself, commonly measured in Hertz (Hz). Most LCD monitors are equipped with 60Hz refresh rates, which means fast moving images may appear blurry at this refresh rate and also may suffer from screen tearing.

Monitors with 120Hz or higher refresh rate may help with things such as image blur and eliminate tearing due to there fast image refresh time. Additionally there are other technologies with gaming monitors such G-Sync and Freesync that also allows for fill control to the screen refresh rate upon the GPU. That enables the display to operate with a variable refresh rate. The result is a very smooth gaming experience with decreased input lag. However G-Sync and Free sync monitors require a compatible graphics card with a Display Port 1.2 output.

Latency Explained

When considering the responsiveness of a monitor you must consider what the user feels when trying to interact with the monitor as well as what they see with their eyes. Input lag is all about the delay between the graphics card sending a frame to the monitor and the monitor displaying that frame. The basic component of input lag which affects the feel is referred to as the signal delay and is commonly measured in milliseconds. There are of course other sources of latency beyond simply this signal delay and not all of it comes from the display itself.

Monitors will process the image in various ways before outputting it – some models do this more extensively than others. It is not too uncommon for higher end screens in particular to use internal scalers to handle non-native resolutions, which can add significant input lag. Sometimes the signal must pass through the scaler even if scaling is not required (i.e. running the monitor at its native resolution). Manufacturers will sometimes give PC monitors a dedicated mode which will bypass much of the signal processing; sometimes a dedicated ‘game preset’ or an ‘instant’ or ‘thru’ mode that can be activated through the OSD (On Screen Display).

Here at CoRE!

As always CoRE Educational we are always on hand to advise and source all and any gaming needs. Please feel free to get in touch at 0330 22 35 229 or email me, Abbygail, at