If work-from-home orders has you looking for a gaming PC, eventually, you're going to need a monitor. As the window into your PC's soul, choosing the right monitor can actually make a difference whether or not you climb up in the leaderboards. If you're in need of options, we've got three.
What to know about gaming PC monitors — The most important thing about buying a PC monitor is knowing the purpose of your machine. Some machines are built only to handle light tasks, like office work. Others are better built to run powerful games or perform intense video editing, which requires more out of your computer's horsepower. Like the rest of your computer, you need to choose the right monitor for the right tasks.
The options we have below are tailored for gaming. This means they're more than sufficient to also help you get through the 9-to-5 workday, but based on your gaming preferences maybe only one will offer what you need.
Here are some general pointers in gaming PC monitors:
Resolution — Whether for work or for play, the bare minimum you should get is a 1980 x 1080 resolution at 1080p. You'll find it advertised as "Full HD." This will help you in both gaming as well as Zoom calls. Anything higher, such as 4K, is gravy.
Size — While some gamers with crazy set ups have big monitors, you don't need a monitor that's as big as your living room television. Evaluate your home set up (such as desk space and how close you're actually sitting) to pick the right size. For most people, 24 inches is a sweet spot. Anything over 30 becomes overkill.
Refresh rates — Again, this is for gamers only, but pay attention to the refresh rates offered on monitors. They are noted by the number with "Hz" beside them. In plain terms, refresh rates are the number of times your monitor "refreshes" an image per second. Bigger numbers means the monitor refreshes that many times, which leads to smoother images. This is crucial for gaming when precision and timing is important. The range to stick to is 60Hz as a minimum and 144Hz for "Okay, that's enough." It's not hard to find monitors with refresh rates higher than 144, however.
Panel types — I'll be honest here, this one stumps me too. But generally, there are three different types of LCD panels available: twisted nematic (TN), vertical alignment (VA) and in-plane switching (IPS). Each have their own advantages and weaknesses. For simplicity, all three monitors we've chosen are IPS, which generally offer the best colors and viewing angles and are the most "professional" compared to other types.
Another major trend is curved monitors, which for gamers offer an advantage of peripheral view. None of the monitors below are curved, but if that's what you're looking for it's not hard to also find them on Amazon.
Without further adieu, here are three options to help you get to work, and play.
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. Inverse may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article.
1. ViewSonic Elite (27-inch)
There is a lot to love in this compact 27 inches. A 165 Hz refresh rate coupled with QHD resolution (so a little higher and crisper than Full HD) make for what we think is the perfect monitor to bring your machine to life. There is even a handy headphone hook, so there's no need for awkward storage of your headset.
2. Acer Predator (27-inch)
A cheaper alternative to the ViewSonic but no less powerful, the 27-inch Acer Predator comes with a WQHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 widescreen and a refresh rate of 144Hz (with possible overclocking to 165Hz with a display port). There is also a headset mount on the back and a convenient cable feeder so your desk doesn't look like a machine from The Matrix.
3. ASUS TUF
Again, don't be fooled by the lower price. You're still getting a beast with the Asus Tuf Gaming 24.5 inch monitor that is capable of a very impressive 280 Hz refresh rate on a Full HD 1920 x 1080 screen. Uniquely, this monitor is capable of switching vertically for a portrait view, so if that's your thing, this monitor should be your window of choice.
Eric's Sick Picks is a weekly column recommending cool gadgets and peripherals in tech, gaming, and culture to improve your lifestyle.