Five Things You Should Consider When Buying a PC Monitor
Without monitors pretty much PC's are useless. They offer views to everything from games, photos, and video, and also its a viewing guide to all the apps you have stored on your computer. Knowingly, manufacturers are aware usage is different with each individual; that's why the market is saturated with several options.
Either way, what's important is how your computer is used in terms of what you're looking for in a monitor. If you're engaging in mundane task on the PC such as web surfing, reading and sending emails, you'll likely elect for the cheaper monitor. Graphically intense gaming, viewing HD video, depending on your budget, getting a 5K, 4K, Quad HD or an HD monitor would be your best option. With that said, you need to ask yourself several questions before purchasing a monitor. What I'm looking for in regards to refresh rates and response times? Do I need a flicker-free, low blue light, G-Sync, or Free-Sync monitor? The answers to these questions are in this written post.
Enough with the rambling, now its time I aid you readers on what you should look for when buying a PC monitor.
1: What About Monitor Resolution and What’s Needed For Gaming?
I'm about to get somewhat technical, so follow along carefully. Each image on an LCD panel is made up of a million tiny dots, better known as pixels. Each Pixel consists of three sub-pixels, one for each primary color. Monitor's resolution is measured in length x width in regards to pixels. The more pixels you have packed into each square-inch of any monitor, images appear smoother and realistic. Much higher resolution (QHD/ 2K or more) is needed if by any chance you decide to purchase a monitor larger than 27-inches.
Usually, the name of the monitor is a clear indicator of how many pixels it has. With some resolutions having multiple names. For example, you have a 5K resolution (5120 x 2880), 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) with an official cinema resolution coming in at (4096 x 2160). Then you have Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160). Surprisingly, PC and even TV owners today are still rocking Full HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution displays.
Having a higher amount of pixels is considered to be better, but there are some things you need to consider. Firstly, graphics card performance. More Pixel means a greater need for processing power from your graphics card. An 5K monitor produces excellent sharp images as expected, but connecting this particular monitor to a system incapable of handling 14.7 million pixels would be pointless, that many pixels would likely hinder overall performance. That’s why you’ll find so many system builders implement an high performing graphics card along with impeccable hardware into their gaming rigs.
Operating system font-scaling is another thing that can hold back any resolution within a monitor. Windows operates best at pixel density when at 90-100 per inch (PPI). Anything higher icons and text will appear to be small, making it very difficult to read. DPI scaling varies when it comes to the PC monitor quality.
2: What Type Of Panel is Needed
You need to know that there are three critical technologies with LCD panels, there is TN panel (Twisted Nematic), VA panel (Vertical alignment) and finally, we have the IPS panel (In-plane switching). There are advantages in each variant, that includes better viewing angles, much faster panel response, and lower power consumption.
You'll find TN panels on lower priced monitors; usually, they'll have low response times, high refresh rates with minimal motion blur and low input lag. VA panel monitors are much pricier, yet comparable to TN panel monitors in terms of performance. Viewing angles are much better with decent color reproduction, better contrast, and image depth. Response times are typically longer with a much higher refresh rate. Finally, we have the IPS, this option is the most expensive out of the three, having slower response times than the TN panel monitors, but much faster response times than VA panel, with high-quality refresh rates. Most gamer’s who have high-end systems will likely opt for IPS panel monitors, but pricing can be quite expensive.
Though panel type is essential when shopping for a monitor consumers must also factor in contrast which is vital in regards to image quality and reliability (5,000:1 is much better than 1,000:1) Also consider this fact, VA panels offer up better image quality out of the three-panel choices.
3: If You’re Gaming Consider G-Sync or Free Sync
Most gaming monitors will either have Nvidia G-Sync with PC's requiring an Nvidia graphics card and or AMD FreeSync for PC’s running AMD graphics card. Both display technologies main goal is to reduce tearing and stuttering during game-play. If you get a chance, go on YouTube, and you'll find tons of videos demonstrating how this technology work. Facts, monitors that run G-Sync tend to be more expensive than FreeSync.
Your preference between technologies depends solely on your computer build and budget. The average cost of most gaming systems is right around $1,200, at that price range that would be considered to be a mid-range system. Nonetheless, if you plan on building a low budget gaming rig with mid-speed graphics cards, you can still use G-Sync and Free-Sync, but for acceptable performance, you need to have a low refresh rate.
4: Option For a Flicker Free Monitor
PC users who glare at a monitor for an extended amount of hours should consider getting a Flicker Free monitor which reduces eyestrain, allowing comfort for long periods. LCD monitors use CCFL tubes ( cold cathode fluorescent) and are included in back-lights that periodically flicker. Emitting blue light, which can cause a glare, causing some individuals to get headaches or eyestrain.
LED monitors are supposed to thwart flickering; however, LEDs are usually on and off, making the screen either bright or dark, LEDs are pulsed at a much faster rate or slow rate, thus people perceiving this to be a flicker, which once again can cause eyestrain.
On the other hand, Flicker Free LCD monitors operate at a 120Hz or higher; thus, the increase in speed cannot be perceived to be a flicker, leading to fewer headaches and eye fatigue. Higher refresh rate monitors mean images are smooth and fluid.
5: Higher the Refresh Rate The Better
Next to pixels, the refresh rate is a crucial factor you should consider when determining picture quality. It tells you the number of times your monitor update new information per second and is measured in Hertz ( Hz). Higher refresh rates equate to a much better, smoother fluid images. For a gamer, the refresh rate is essential if you want smooth game-play, a respectable number you're looking for is around 75 Hz. Most high-end monitors that are made specifically for gaming refresh rate can go as high as 144Hz. If you don't plan on engaging in gaming, a minimum 60Hz refresh rate is sufficient.