12 Best Gaming Monitors – Updated September 2017

Our buyer’s guide of the top gaming monitors will help you get the best bang for your buck.

Are you looking for a new gaming monitor?

Shopping for a new computer monitor for gaming can be overwhelming. You need to waste a lot of time and effort into personally researching what the best monitor for your money is.

That’s why we’ve created the ultimate buyer’s guide to make your life easier and give you the best bang for your buck! We update our guide each month and save you the trouble of narrowing down the right monitor.

For this guide we have chosen the top gaming monitors and recommended the best 144Hz monitors in three price categories (entry-level, mid-range, and high-end). We compared and evaluated them based on their user experience, resolution, screen size, pixel density, response time, panel type, input lag, contrast ratio, and etc.

The table below gives you a quick overview of the top gaming monitors available out there in the market. Below you can find detailed explanations on why they are the best computer monitors for gaming and see the pricing of each monitor.

 MonitorSizeResolutionPanelAdaptive Sync
Best Entry-level
Monitors
Viewsonic XG240124"1920 x 1080TNFreeSync
BenQ XL2411Z24"1920 x 1080TN-
LG 24GM7724"1920 x 1080TN-
Nixeus NX-VUE24A24"1920 x 1080TNFreeSync
Best Mid-range
Monitors
BenQ XL2430T24"1920 x 1080TN-
AOC G2460PG24"1920 x 1080TNG-Sync
Acer XG270HU27"2560 x 1440TNFreeSync
BenQ XL2720Z27"1920 x 1080TN-
Best High-end
Monitors
Dell S2716DG27"2560 x 1440TNG-Sync
ASUS MG279Q27"2560 x 1440IPSFreeSync
Acer Predator XB270HU27"2560 x 1440IPSG-Sync
ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q27"2560 x 1440IPSG-Sync

Need more gaming monitors? Take a look at our ultimate 120Hz-plus monitor list that was last updated September 2017!

Note: Products are linked to their relevant Amazon store listing which enables you to read useful customer reviews and to learn more about the product

Best Entry-level Gaming Monitors

  • Size
  • Resolution
  • Refresh Rate
  • Panel
  • Adaptive Sync
  • Range
    Minimum to maximum range that adaptive sync will work
  • Response Time
    Tested gray-to-gray (GTG) rate at highest Hz with overdrive off
  • Input Lag
    Delay between monitor receiving the signal and displaying it
  • Brightness
    Measured max brightness level, not advertised level
  • Contrast Ratio
    Measured max contrast ratio, not advertised ratio
  • Inputs
  • VESA Compatible
  • 24 inch
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 144Hz
  • TN
  • FreeSync
  • 48-144Hz
  • 7ms
  • 3ms
  • 410cd/m²
  • 1250:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 2 HDMI
  • Yes
  • 24 inch
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 144Hz
  • TN
  • -
  • -
  • 7ms
  • 5ms
  • 360cd/m²
  • 970:1
  • 1 HDMI; 1 DVI; 1 VGA
  • Yes
  • 24 inch
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 144Hz
  • TN
  • -
  • -
  • 7ms
  • 5ms
  • 360cd/m²
  • 1110:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 2 HDMI; 1 DVI; 1 VGA
  • Yes
  • 24 inch
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 144Hz
  • TN
  • FreeSync
  • 30-144Hz
  • 9ms
  • 4ms
  • 225cd/m²
  • 960:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 1 HDMI; 1 DVI; 1 VGA
  • Yes

Viewsonic XG2401: Best Budget Gaming Monitor

Viewsonic XG2401

Pros
  • FreeSync support
  • Very bright display
  • Great contrast
Cons
  • Poorly constructed stand

The Viewsonic XG2401, making its debut as the first in Viewsonic’s Extreme Gaming display line, is the best 1080p gaming monitor at this price point. It includes a 1920 x 1080 resolution typically seen in 144Hz monitors this size and has a response time is 7ms with an input lag of 3ms. The monitor has AMD’s FreeSync technology built into it and supports a range of 48Hz to 144Hz. It includes a TN panel which like other similar TN monitors is lacking in viewing angles and is very noticeable in portrait mode. It’s not a dealbreaker in our books, but something people should be aware of. It has a max brightness level of 410cd/m², easily making it the brightest of all gaming monitors tested in our review and comes in handy when in a room with a lot sun coming in.

Aesthetically the Viewsonic XG2401 is mostly unremarkable that is until you get to the stand which in our opinion is tacky, but something we would very much put up with at this price point. It’s an ergonomic stand that allows you to adjust the tilt, pivot, swivel, and height though in our experience and those of others it isn’t very precise. Thankfully if the stand is too lacking then you have the option of utilizing the VESA mount with a monitor arm.

A few other useful bells and whistles are here also to be had. The Viewsonic XG2401 has a black stabilization feature that helps with increasing visibility without washing out blacks and losing details. It also includes a headphone hook, two internal 2-watt speakers, a VESA-compatible wall mount, a Kensington lock slot for defending against theft (very useful if you’re in a college dorm), and a ring for easy cable management ring. Port-wise it includes a headphone jack, two USB 3.0 inputs, a DisplayPort input, and two HDMI inputs.

BenQ XL2411Z

BenQ XL2411Z

Pros
  • Includes BenQ Motion Blur Reduction
  • Adjustable stand
Cons
  • No DisplayPort input
  • Lacks adaptive sync
The BenQ XL2411Z is also a 24 inch 144Hz monitor with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. It has a response time of 7ms and an input lag of 5ms. The monitor has BenQ’s Motion Blur Reduction which when turned on nearly eliminates all motion blur one would encounter when playing a high pace game and do so without a drastic hit in brightness. Some other welcomed features are its flicker free display and BenQ’s Low Blue Light technology that allows users who look at their computer screens for long periods of time to have less eyestrain.

The monitor has a reputation of being the best BenQ gaming monitor out there as it is an affordable and effective for competitive gaming. It’s a good monitor for gaming no doubt about that, but that isn’t to say that it is without its flaws. It noticeably lacks the ability to use DisplayPort, has a rather bulky frame, and hard to adjust stand. Also, we and many others have noticed that adjusting the color settings is a must as the out of box colors just don’t cut it. This shortcoming can be relatively easily fixed however.

LG 24GM77

LG 24GM77

Pros
  • Clear Motion 240 helps reduce motion blur
  • Excellent color and contrast quality for TN
  • Adjustable stand
Cons
  • Clear Motion 240 limited to 100/120Hz
  • Glossy display
  • Lacks adaptive sync
The LG 24GM77 144Hz monitor has a glossy 24 inch TN displa with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. It advertises a 1ms response time, but testing reveals a response time of 7ms and an input lag of 5ms. The 24GM77 offers great color quality (especially for a TN display) and contrast out of the box. It eliminates much of the need for buyers to have to tinker with its settings, but if you do feel the need to then it has a ton of settings to tweak to your desire. It features LG’s Clear Motion 240 which helps to reduce motion blur in fast moving images by adjusting the strobe of the backlight. Beware though that this is not without its setbacks. You must set the monitor to 100Hz or 120Hz and in the process lose about 20 percent of the max screen brightness. In comparison to the brightness loss in other similarly priced 144Hz monitors this loss is minimal and in fact among the best.

While NVIDIA’s G-Sync and AMD’s Freesync are absent in the 24GM77 there are some nifty features included. Among them is LG’s Dynamic Action Sync (DAS) which tests show does a very good job in reducing input lag, effectively nearly halving the input lag time when turned on. Also included is LG’s Black Stabilizer which automatically detects the screen darkness and adjusts its gamma to compensate. How useful this is will depend on what you’re doing in the moment. Great for first person shooter? Absolutely. Horror games? Not so much. We should also mention that it has the most connectivity in this price range and includes two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, a DVI port, and a VGA port.

The aesthetic of the monitor will divide people. This LG monitor was obviously designed with gaming in mind. It has its menu buttons hanging off the center of it and can be an eyesore, but then again this will allow you to quickly change settings without having to fiddle with obscured buttons. While this gaming monitor won’t provide you the color reproduction quality of an IPS panel, it does at its bargain price do a damn good job of what it’s made to do: deliver a good image at a fast response time that you will appreciate.

Nixeus NX-VUE24A

Nixeus NX-VUE24A

Pros
  • FreeSync support
  • Good color reproduction
  • Adjustable stand
Cons
  • Not as bright as advertised
The American brand Nixeus is a relative newcomer to the 144Hz monitor market, but it’s always nice to see new faces bring something to the table… and the Nixeus NX-VUE24A is that something. It has a tested 9ms response time and input lag time of 4 ms. Nothing that spectacular, but then again it is worth noting that it’s the gamer’s reaction time that most should be concerned about.

The most remarkable thing about this gaming monitor is the fact that it is the most affordable 144Hz monitor that’s equipped with AMD’s FreeSync. What’s impressive is that this monitor allows for FreeSync wide range from 30Hz to 144Hz. Tests reveal that the monitor’s brightness is around 225cd/m², putting it below the advertised level of 300cd/m². A little disappointing, but it appears that some sacrifices had to be made in order to get a FreeSync gaming monitor down to this price level.

In terms of design this gaming monitor is rather bland looking, but for including FreeSync at this price we’re willing to overlook that.

Looking for more gaming monitors? Our comprehensive 120Hz-plus gaming monitor list was made to help you easily find the perfect monitor. Just updated September 2017!

Best Mid-range Gaming Monitors

  • Size
  • Resolution
  • Refresh Rate
  • Panel
  • Adaptive Sync
  • Range
    Minimum to maximum range that adaptive sync will work
  • Response Time
    Tested gray-to-gray (GTG) rate at highest Hz with overdrive off
  • Input Lag
    Delay between monitor receiving the signal and displaying it
  • Brightness
    Measured max brightness level, not advertised level
  • Contrast Ratio
    Measured max contrast ratio, not advertised ratio
  • Inputs
  • VESA Compatible
  • 24 inch
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 144Hz
  • TN
  • -
  • -
  • 8ms
  • 5ms
  • 370cd/m²
  • 980:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 2 HDMI; 1 DVI; 1 VGA
  • Yes
  • 24 inch
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 144Hz
  • TN
  • G-Sync
  • 30-144Hz
  • 7ms
  • 4ms
  • 320cd/m²
  • 780:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 1 HDMI; 1 DVI
  • Yes
  • 27 inch
  • 2560 x 1440
  • 144Hz
  • TN
  • FreeSync
  • 30-144Hz
  • 7ms
  • 5ms
  • 370cd/m²
  • 985:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 1 HDMI; 1 DVI
  • No
  • 27 inch
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 144Hz
  • TN
  • -
  • -
  • 7ms
  • 5ms
  • 350cd/m²
  • 980:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 2 HDMI; 1 DVI
  • Yes

BenQ XL2430T

BenQ XL2430T

Pros
  • Has BenQ’s Motion Blur Reduction technology
  • Numerous inputs for everything you’d need
  • Premium looking adjustable aluminium stand
Cons
  • High hit in brightness with Motion Blur Reduction
  • Lacks adaptive sync
The BenQ XL2430T 144Hz monitor offers a 8ms response time and an input lag time of 5ms. The great thing about this monitor is that has an “Instant Mode” which even further cuts the lag. This is all without any noticeable drawbacks. It should be noted that BenQ’s entire line of XL gaming monitors has a great reputation among gamers. This is partly because they are so widely in use in professional e-sports tournaments like those for Counter Strike: Global Offensive. If they make the cut for the pros then they’ll likely be sure to satisfy your needs.

Like the prior LG and ASUS 144Hz monitors the BenQ XL2430T features it’s own motion blur reduction technology which gives you sharper fast moving images with less motion blur in them. Again this comes at a cost of the brightness of the screen which in this case is nearly 60 percent. There is good news though: unlike the LG 24GM77 and ASUS VG248QE you can use the motion blur reduction at 144Hz. We should also note that is still a lesser decrease in brightness than many that did not make the cut.

A unique feature that really sets it apart from the rest is its included OSD controller that allow you to quickly switch between customized presets. No need to go fiddle every time you want to launch into game mode or change settings. Gimmicky to some, a feature to others, this will depend on how you intend to use your gaming monitor. Its aluminum stand is something everyone will appreciate. It is a nice break from the plastic ones that are typically seen these days and really helps to give it a more premium feeling. It features physical touch buttons unlike its predecessor’s touch-sensitive ones.

The BenQ XL2430T is the king of connectivity. It has two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, a DVI port, a VGA port, two USB 3.0 inputs, a headphone input, and a microphone input. Hell, it even includes a retractable hook that allows you to conveniently hang your headphones!

AOC G2460PG: Best Budget G-Sync Gaming Monitor

AOC G2460PG

Pros
  • Includes G-Sync and ULMB
  • Fingerprint resistant faux brushed bezel
  • Adjustable stand
Cons
  • Strong performance hit with ULMB on
The AOC G2460PG sports a 24 inch display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution that can run at 144Hz. So what sets it apart? G-Sync! Specifically it’s the most affordable G-Sync monitor on the gaming monitor market and one of the best 24 inch gaming monitor available. Needless to say the G-Sync feature does its job and damn good one we might add. When gaming the onscreen images are silky smooth without any screen tearing to speak of.

The AOC G2460PG includes NVIDIA’s Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) feature which, as the name suggests, is meant to reduce the motion blur in moving images. While it does the job very well it does so at the expense of the monitor’s brightness like other motion blur reduction technologies. Couple this with the fact that it is not up to par with its advertised brightness level which is said to be 350cd/m², but in actuality is 320 cd/m² and you have suboptimal results. Ideally, you’ll want a monitor for gaming to be capable of a high level of brightness when it comes to using motion blur reduction. Personally, we don’t recommend using ULMB in this case as the costs are too great to justify it.

It doesn’t feature a piano finish like many gaming monitors nowadays do and instead it has gone for a faux brushed look which is very fingerprint resistant. This is a very welcome design in our books. It has a green line to subtly cue that’s equipped with NVIDIA’s G-Sync which adds a little character to the monitor in our opinion.

Acer XG270HU: Cheapest 27-inch 1440p Monitor

Acer XG270HU

Pros
  • Great price for a 1440p monitor
  • Includes FreeSync
  • Thin bezel
Cons
  • Only tilt adjustable stand
The Acer XG270HU is the cheapest 27 inch 144Hz monitor in this price level that has a 2560 x 1440 resolution and has FreeSync technology. The FreeSync on this monitor has a range of 40Hz to 144Hz. It has the typical color reproduction and viewing angle that TN displays have to offer. What’s primarily great about this monitor is its resolution. Many other gaming monitors around this price are also 27 inches, but they come with a 1920 x 1080 (1080p) resolution which when viewed in person simply does not deliver because of the poor pixel density. With a 1080p resolution these 27 inch monitors have 82 pixels per inch whereas those with a 1440p resolution have 109 pixels per inch.

It’s worth noting that it manages to be cheaper than its cousin the Acer XB270H which tries to cut corners by lowering its resolution to 1920 x 1080 cousin to compensate for the licensing hike from including G-Sync technology instead. The Acer XG270HU has a 7ms response time, 5ms input lag time, and is incredibly bright with a 370cd/m² display. Unfortunately lost in all this goodness is a motion blur reduction feature that many gaming monitors have nowadays.

All things considered, the best 27-inch gaming monitor in this price range would have to be the Acer XG270HU. The 1440p monitor offers both a higher resolution than its competitors and includes adaptive sync technology, all while being reasonably priced. The only trouble is that the Acer XG270HU’s rather eccentric orange styling or only tilt adjustable stand may not suit everyone.

BenQ XL2720Z

BenQ XL2720Z

Pros
  • Widespread use in competitive gaming
  • Adjustable stand
Cons
  • Color accuracy needs some tuning
  • Touch “buttons” not always responsive
  • Lacks adaptive sync
The BenQ XL2720Z is a 27 inch 144Hz monitor with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. It offers a 7ms response time and 5ms of input lag time which is typical for gaming monitors in this price range. Both the monitor’s brightness and contrast rate are up to par with the numbers that the company advertises. If you’re a fan of BenQ monitors and aren’t concerned with pixel density that much then this should suit you fine however, if you are and are willing to drop some extra coin then the BenQ XL2730Z would be the way to go. It offers the same size, but with a 2560 x 1440 resolution and includes FreeSync which we feel adds up to a much better gaming and viewing experience.

Included is BenQ’s Low Blue Light Plus technology which is a godsend for your eyes and will allow you game for longer and with less eye strain. Software like f.lux already exists to help address this blue light issue that many out there complain about, but we felt BenQ’s solution does a better job at preserving colors and brightness. The BenQ XL2720Z like the BenQ XL2430T before it includes an OSD controller.

Like other BenQ monitors in the XL line, this gaming monitor has a reputation of being a reliable and effective in competitive gaming with various CS:GO teams vouching for its reliability.

Want more gaming monitors? See our complete 120Hz-plus gaming monitor list and easily find what you’re looking for. The newest monitors were added September 2017!

Best High-end Gaming Monitors

  • Size
  • Resolution
  • Refresh Rate
  • Panel
  • Adaptive Sync
  • Range
    Minimum to maximum range that adaptive sync will work
  • Response Time
    Tested gray-to-gray (GTG) rate at highest Hz with overdrive off
  • Input Lag
    Delay between monitor receiving the signal and displaying it
  • Brightness
    Measured max brightness level, not advertised level
  • Contrast Ratio
    Measured max contrast ratio, not advertised ratio
  • Inputs
  • VESA Compatible
  • 27 inch
  • 2560 x 1440
  • 144Hz
  • TN
  • G-Sync
  • 30-144Hz
  • 3ms
  • 4ms
  • 290cd/m²
  • 925:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 1 HDMI
  • Yes
  • 27 inch
  • 2560 x 1440
  • 144Hz
  • IPS
  • FreeSync
  • 35-90Hz
  • 10ms
  • 4ms
  • 340cd/m²
  • 1200:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 2 HDMI; 1 Mini DisplayPort
  • Yes
  • 27 inch
  • 2560 x 1440
  • 144Hz
  • IPS
  • G-Sync
  • 30-144Hz
  • 11ms
  • 3ms
  • 330cd/m²
  • 1030:1
  • 1 DisplayPort
  • Yes
  • 27 inch
  • 2560 x 1440
  • 165Hz
  • IPS
  • G-Sync
  • 30-165Hz
  • 10ms
  • 3ms
  • 330cd/m²
  • 1125:1
  • 1 DisplayPort; 1 HDMI
  • Yes

Dell S2716DG: Best Premium TN Gaming Monitor

Dell S2716DG

Pros
  • Includes G-Sync
  • Great performance
  • Very slim bezel
Cons
  • Pricey for TN display
The Dell S2716DG is the cheapest 144Hz monitor that’s 27 inches, equipped with G-Sync technology, and runs at 2560 x 1440 resolution. What’s surprising is that it’s the only Dell monitor currently out there capable running at 144Hz. Now how much you will like this monitor will largely boil down to whether you prefer an IPS or TN panel as all other specs don’t vary much from its competitors. This 1440p monitor has a TN display and with it comes a faster response time while lacking the color reproduction and viewing angles that other similarly priced IPS monitors have.

In our opinion, this high-quality monitor offers the most elegant looks of them all and it certainly wouldn’t look out of place in an office. If you aren’t willing to budge on response time and insist on a TN display at this price range then this is the most optimal monitor for you.

ASUS MG279Q

ASUS MG279Q

Pros
  • Includes FreeSync
  • Great performance
  • Very slim bezel
Cons
  • IPS glow can be significant
The ASUS MG279Q is the FreeSync version of the popular ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q monitor and it is similar in most other areas. If you like ASUS monitors, but aren’t adamant about G-Sync, have an AMD card, and want to shave off a few bucks off your monitor price then this would be the way to go. We should note that the 1440p monitor is not quite as “swift” as it’s G-Sync brother and it doesn’t allow for overclocking to 165Hz. Tests show however it is on par in other fields as it has a measured response time of 10ms and 4ms of input lag. It is the cheapest 144Hz IPS monitor for gaming in our review. Alternatively if you don’t mind TN displays and wish to save some extra money then the ASUS MG278Q, a TN display version of the MG279Q, is also available.

One drawback of this gaming monitor is the fact that out of the box the FreeSync range is only 35-90Hz, however with a tool named Custom Resolution Utility (CRU) you can easily bump that range to 60-144Hz. Simply launch CRU, tick the “Range Limits” option, and edit it to your preferred rate and approve. Thanks to AMD’s newly updated drivers the Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) feature will kick in should your framerate fall below 60 frames per second so you’re still covered there.

Acer Predator XB270HU

Acer XB270HU

Pros
  • Excellent performance
  • G-Sync and ULMB supported
  • Anti-glare coating
Cons
  • ULMB limited to 100/120Hz
  • Limited connectivity
The Acer Predator XB270HU monitor is in our opinion very appropriately named. With it you will take a hit in response time like all IPS displays, but in return what you get is a 144Hz monitor with excellent color reproduction on a display measuring at 27 inches with a 2560 x 1440 resolution and built-in G-Sync technology. While not the prettiest monitor out there when you couple the XB270HU’s prior specs with its quick response time, overdrive performance, ULMB blur reduction feature, and low input lag you get a beast of a gaming monitor.

When the monitor first came out there were complaints of a lack of quality control, but it appears that Acer has stepped up their game and improved on that. Another thing to note is that when it was first released the XB270HU’s ULMB feature only functioned up to 100Hz while later versions of the monitor now support up to 120Hz. This is still short of 144Hz and beware that this sacrifice has to be made in the refresh rate when turning it on. In terms of connectivity, the sole input available is dedicated to DisplayPort so that’s something to be aware of.

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q: Best Premium G-Sync Monitor

Asus PG279Q

Pros
  • Great performance
  • Includes G-Sync
  • Glorious IPS color reproduction
  • Adjustable stand
Cons
  • Quality control lottery
The ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q is the newest addition to ASUS’s premium Republic of Gamers line. It is the most expensive high refresh rate monitor in this review. This gaming monitor hits all the sweet spots: 165Hz, IPS, G-Sync, wide viewing angle, quick response rate, and little input lag. It truly is the crème de la crème of gaming monitors. In case you may be wondering that 165Hz is not a typo, it indeed surpasses the current 144Hz standard and does so with ease. Out of the box, the monitor is set to 144Hz and by tinkering in the menu you can “overclock” the monitor to 165Hz. We found no setbacks of this “overclock” and surprisingly found the images to be even smoother than before.

The specs largely speak for themselves, but you should know that it being the best ASUS monitor is not without its requirements. In order to run this gaming 1440p monitor at 165Hz you will require a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 graphics card or better. If you’re a gaming enthusiast and shopping in this price range then this likely isn’t a problem for you. Another potential drawback that you should be aware of is that if you want to use NVIDIA’s ULMB feature then you are stuck at resorting to 120Hz and without G-Sync.

It being one of the priciest computer monitors out there doesn’t mean it isn’t without its flaws. Despite being one of the best 144hz monitors you can buy, there are many users that are complaining of severe backlight bleeding in their monitors so be aware that there have been quality control issues. That isn’t to say that most monitors are affected rather this may be due to the fact that buyers with a bad experience are more likely to write a bad review, but regardless we thought a warning was appropriate.

Want to see more gaming monitors? Check out our definitive 120Hz-plus gaming monitor list. Last updated September 2017!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in a gaming monitor?

When you’re searching for a gaming monitor there are many specs that you should be on the look out for as each spec has a role in answering what is a good gaming monitor. You’ll need to beware that oftentimes the advertised number of a specification such as the response time, contrast ratio, and brightness that manufacturers throw out there are unreliable as their methods of testing are different and as a result vary wildly between them.

Refresh Rates: Simply put, the monitor refresh rate is how often your screen updates per second. This is measured in hertz (Hz). Traditionally 60Hz has been the standard refresh rate of gaming monitors. With the rising popularity of gaming monitors this standard was increased to 120Hz and now the most common refresh rate for gaming monitors is 144Hz. When it comes to 60Hz vs 144Hz there is simply no argument. Regardless though some few new models are pushing this rate limit even further such as the Acer Predator Z35 165Hz monitor or the ASUS ROG PG258Q 240Hz monitor.

Whichever refresh rate you opt to focus on you’ll want to make sure that your graphics card is capable of reaching the same amount of frames per second (FPS) otherwise you won’t be getting the full experience out of your new gaming monitor. It’s worth pointing out that monitors can be overclocked to increase their refresh rates, indeed some like the Acer Predator XB241H advertise their ability to be overclocked as a selling point. Others do not openly endorse doing this and your warranty may be voided if you do so.

Response Time: You’ll want to have the lowest response time possible especially when gaming. Many monitors include an overdrive feature that will greatly reduce the monitor’s response time by increasing the voltage of the LCD screen. This can sometimes result in “inverse ghosting” and is not a fool proof method of squeezing those milliseconds.

You’ll notice that the fastest monitors are those that are equipped with TN panels whereas IPS panels have a significant delay. This is because TN panels are inherently faster because of their twisted nematic technology as opposed to their IPS counterparts which use in-plane switching. You usually see companies advertise a product as being a 1ms response time monitor. The fact of the matter is that there is no agreed upon manner between companies on testing response times and, as a result, their figures can’t be used to reliably compare monitors.

Resolution: The larger the resolution that a monitor has then the better the picture quality will be. As a rule, you’ll want to have your monitor increase both in size and in resolution. An increase in just the size will lower the pixel density and, as a result, you won’t have an optimal image quality.

Currently, the best size monitor for gaming is one with a 27-inch screen and the best resolution for gaming is 2560 x 1440 because together they offer the most optimal density with 109 pixels per inch (PPI). There are of course monitors with a much higher PPI due to their 4K resolutions and you might be asking where are the 144Hz 4K monitors? The fact of the matter is that these have yet to offer high refresh rates because current graphics cards simply cannot output the number of frames necessary for high refresh rates to be beneficial at that resolution.

Gaming Monitor Resolutions

Pictured above are the three most common resolutions out there for gaming monitors: 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1080, and 2560 x 1440. There are of course more out there and they can get confusing at times, but these are the ones that are mainly in use for high refresh rate monitors and ones that typically need to be kept in mind. The 1920 x 1080 resolution is typically referred to as 1080p and has a 16:9 aspect ratio while the 2560 x 1440 resolution is usually referred to as 1440p and also has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The 2560 x 1080 resolution is utilized in wide aspect 21:9 ratio monitors.

Keep in mind for example that a 1440p monitor will be more intense on your graphics card than a 1080p monitor would be. It’s a good idea to check benchmarks and make sure that your graphics card will be able to run your favorite games at the native resolution with a high frame rate to make a high refresh rate monitor fully worth it.

Panel Technology: At this time there are primarily two panel technologies in use for gaming monitors and for monitors in general: In-Plane Switching (IPS) and Twisted Nematic (TN). There also exist panel technologies that utilize Vertical Alignment (VA) and Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED), but these are far less common; however, as with anything technological this may soon change. With each different panel type there is a variety of advantages and disadvantages with the key distinguishing factors being the color reproduction, panel response time, viewing angles, and of course price.

FeatureIPS monitorTN monitorVA monitor
Color Reproduction
Viewing Angles
Response Time
Affordability
Most gaming monitor out there are TN displays as they are the cheapest to produce. IPS panels follow after them and there are important differences between the two. TN usually have a lower response time over IPS brethren with a typical difference of 3ms, but IPS monitors are still good for gaming.

You may have noticed how vastly different monitors handle gradients. Some will show a very smooth transition while others will suffer from banding and show obvious steps in the change of color shade. This is because most TN panels are 6 bit meaning that they can display 262k colors while IPS panels are 8 bit and can display 16.7 million colors. As a result, IPS panels are better at color reproduction and are the preferred choice among professionals where accurate color use is very important. Some TN panels use Frame Rate Control (FRC), or dithering, which enables them to use 16.2 million. How effective this is depends on the TN panel itself as they aren’t all created equal and the method is oftentimes inaccurate as it works by “mixing” color frames to output a color previously unavailable.

Adaptive Sync: Increasingly common in 144Hz monitors is the incorporation of adaptive sync technology like NVIDIA’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync. The purpose of both is to remove the stuttering and juddering that a user would experience while gaming because the monitor refresh rate and the GPU frame rate are not equal. Monitors that are equipped with G-Sync are more expensive because it requires a proprietary module be present in the monitor whereas FreeSync does not.

If you want to get a G-Sync monitor then be sure to make sure you have a NVIDIA graphics card and if you want to get a FreeSync monitor make sure you have an AMD graphics card. Otherwise, you will be unable to take advantage of the adaptive sync features. You should note that the range at which FreeSync monitors can function varies while G-Sync monitors have a standardized operating range of 30Hz to the maximum Hz rate the monitor is capable of. To counter FreeSync’s possible limitations AMD has implemented Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) which effectively extends the range.

FeatureAMD FreeSyncNVIDIA G-Sync
Proprietary Module Required
Open Standards
Licensing Fees
Uses DisplayPort

Contrast Ratio: The higher the monitor contrast ratio is then the better the image quality will be. The contrast ratio of a gaming monitor will determine how strong black depth is and as a result how good it can display the difference between dark and light content. It’s important to note that not all contrast ratios are equal. Many times manufacturers choose to advertise a dynamic contrast ratio with an impressive looking number like 1,000,000:1 instead of the monitor’s static contrast ratio. A good contrast ratio for 144Hz monitors is around 1000:1 which is what we typically see.

Brightness: You’ll want a monitor with a decent maximum brightness. Most monitors nowadays are between 300cd/m² and 350cd/m² which is suitable for most buyers. The most important reason as to why you’d want to have a high maximum brightness is the fact that if the monitor includes motion blur reduction technology like ULMB with it then you will take a hit in brightness when turning it on. For many monitors this drawback is simply too large because their maximum brightness was never that great to begin with and so the feature is not worth turning on.

Viewing Angle: These are important depending on how you plan on using your monitors. If you’re planning on creating a multi-monitor gaming setup then you should definitely keep your eyes on this spec. Typically you’ll see TN panels with a 170/160 viewing angle while IPS panels usually have a 178/178 viewing angle.

The wider the monitor’s viewing angle then the more range you will have to accurately view the onscreen images. Since the viewing angles of a monitor will vary based on which panel technology is used you’ll want to see if a monitor with a TN panel has a tilt/swivel feature that will allow your eyes to be on the same level. We encourage people to see if their local electronics store has their monitor that they’ve been looking forward to buying and testing them in person to see how they perform.

VESA Compliance: Whether a monitor is VESA compatible will determine if you’re able to easily substitute the normal stand it came with for a mounting arm by using a standardized hole pattern. This is incredibly useful when creating a multi-monitor setup in which case there are specialized multi-monitor stands. If it doesn’t have one then you may be able to find a third-party VESA mount adapter bracket.

Which cable should I use?

displayportDisplayPort was designed with computer monitors specifically in mind and it offers the largest bandwidth of all inputs. It can deliver refresh rates of 144Hz or higher at 1080p and 1440p with ease and it allows you to use G-Sync or FreeSync if your monitor has it.

For the best gaming experience, we recommend that you use a DisplayPort whenever possible and have Dual-link DVI-D as a fallback. HDMI was targeted toward HDTVs and as a result has been slow to adapt to high refresh rates. It can only handle 60Hz at 1080p while on the bright side AMD has made it possible for future monitors to utilize FreeSync over HDMI. We do not recommend using a VGA input.

DisplayPort: The most popular version of DisplayPort in use at the moment is version 1.2. It is the preferred cable to use for high refresh monitors. It has no problem pushing 1080p and 1440p at 144Hz. It supports video resolutions of up to 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K monitor) with a refresh rate of 60Hz which in bandwidth terms means that it can transfer 17.28 Gbps. There will soon be a newer and better version that has the bandwidth to push high refresh rates at these high resolutions. DisplayPort 1.3 will be able to display a 4K resolution at 120Hz and 1920 x 1080 and 2560 x 1440 resolutions at up to 240Hz in the near future.

HDMI: The most popularly used version of HDMI is version 1.4. It can handle 1920 x 1080 and 2560 x 1440 at only 60Hz. It supports outputting a 4K resolution, but only at 30Hz. HDMI 2.0 will double the refresh rate possible at 4K, but it will still fall short of the 120Hz-plus refresh rates that people are looking forward to. Note that AMD has announced that in 2016 it will be possible to use FreeSync over HDMI while NVIDIA has yet to make a similar announcement.

DVI: DVI has been around since 1999, but it can still be used for outputting 144Hz. Beware though that in order to do 144Hz you’ll need Dual-link DVI as single link simply doesn’t cut it. Whether you use a DVI-D or DVI-I will depend on what your monitor is equipped with.

How do I setup my gaming monitor?

You’d think that setting up a 144Hz monitor would be as easy as putting it on your desk and plugging it… and for the most part it is! The thing is that Windows will default the monitor to run at a 60Hz refresh rate. Numerous people never bother checking if their 144Hz monitor is indeed running at the correct refresh rate until they find out months later by chance that they were gaming at 60Hz the whole time! To quickly address this go to your desktop, right-click and select the “Screen resolution” option, click “Advanced settings”, and then the “Monitor” tab. Here you will know at what screen refresh rate the monitor is running at. You can double check this by going to your graphics card settings:

NVIDIA: Right click on your desktop, select the NVIDIA Control Panel, and then select the “Change resolution” option under the “Display” category.

AMD: Open AMD Crimson and select the “Display” menu, click “Additional settings”, and then select the “Properties” option under the “My Digital Flat-Panels” category.

If you are still in doubt then you can perform a test for frame skipping within your browser. For some games (instructions differ) you can force it to run at 144Hz via the settings, console, or launch options.

  • Nusstopher

    I’m amazed tech sites recommend some of these brands when their QA is absolutely awful.

  • John

    The PG279Q is literally the best gaming monitor in the world right now and i would’ve gotten one if not for the horrible quality control. I mean i see people replacing this monitor 10 times and still can’t get a good one. The bleeding is so severe you’ll see the damn thing everytime you go into dungeons in Skyrim. It is really unacceptable and highly not recommended.

    • Skeletor

      Yeah, I completely agree with all of this. I just played the lottery (see my comment) and lost out with the PG279Q. It’s such an awesome monitor but the backlight bleed was ridiculous. This monitor has been out for a while now so I was hoping they’d have made some QC changes but sadly it doesn’t seem to be the case.

      • John

        I’ve just got myself an XB271HU, best decision I’ve made this year. Damn thing runs flawlessly & just plain amazing. No noticeable BLB too.

  • xdetri

    Please don’t list a glossy screen as a con when it should be a consumer choice. I’m really looking forward to nice 120hz+ glossy displays and your article is perpetuating that glossy is automatically bad.

  • Jim

    Why is the FORIS FS2735 not on the list?

  • Skeletor

    Great guide. I recently returned my XB270HU as I was still within my return window and the PG279Q became available here in Germany. Just as your “Cons” list says, I played the lottery and I lost. I have terrible backlight bleed but other than that it’s perfect. No dead/stuck pixels, etc. I bought it through Amazon and I’ve already got a replacement coming tomorrow. I wonder how many I’ll have to go through.

    Does anyone know why this is still such an issue? For 850€ I thought they’d at least aim to get one of the main monitor issues right but it doesn’t seem to be the case.

  • boe_d

    Are there no BIG “high-end” monitors? 27″ is a pretty big downgrade for me.

    • brubble

      21:9 @ 34-35″ …..google…..

      • boe_d

        Thanks – I had considered some wider monitors but decided I really should get a 16:9 or 16:10 due to the fact the bulk of the time I use my 2 30″ dell’s for work. I do a lot of remote desktop, VNC, teamviewer so I’ll need at least a 2560×1440 resolution. The HP Omen 32 might work although it is sadly only 75hz and doesn’t have gsync. Unfortunately I probably will have to choose something by August.