A Guide for Buying Gaming Monitors

In today’s market flush with new gadgets and devices coming out every year, it makes it a bit of a challenge to make a choice when buying a monitor to go with your gaming rig. There’s too many choices, too many options to consider, too many factors to weigh in, making the task quite daunting if not downright difficult.

We’ve come up with this “guide” to sort of let you know what you need to consider when shopping for a new gaming monitor. To better understand what the geek at the store is talking about, we’ve come up with a list of frequently used terms or jargon with respect to gaming monitors or even just gaming in general. Here’s our simple, easy-to-follow guide:

Brightness (or luminance) – This is simple enough. Brightness, is how bright an object appears, right? In monitor terms, it’s also that simple, they only use terms like nits, which is a unit of measure of brightness. Many monitors brag about having a brightness of 300 nits or higher, although that may be too bright and cause a strain to the human eye. Around half that amount is ideal for normal vision.

Black LevelAgain, this black level is also measured in nits, and shows how ‘black’ a monitor can appear. The lower the number registers the better it is for the user. A good baseline for this is 0.5 nits for the most basic monitors. This level of ‘Blackness’ is excellent for gaming as well as watching High Definition movies. PLEASE make sure that you buy a gaming monitor which has black level support, such as the aoc g2460pf. The aoc g2460pf natively supports black level!

Contrast ratio – As the name suggests, this is the ratio or comparison between the darkest and the brightest point of a monitor. A contrast ratio of 1000:1 is considered good, while anything under 800:1 is considered poor. The higher the ratio, the better is the contrast rating of the monitor.

Input lag – This is something that gamers do not want to see during game play. An input lag occurs when you move the mouse or click a button and expect a response from the game, and although the game responds, it is rather slow or has a delayed reaction effect, which isn’t good for gaming. Inout lag is something you wish to minimize or altogether eliminate if possible.

Resolution – This pertains to the number of pixels making up a display unit. For example a monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 has 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels. The resolution is usually named after the number of vertical pixels in a monitor therefore we have 720P, 1080P, 1440P, and so on. Common resolutions are 1920 x 1080 for Full HD, 2560 x 1440 for Quad HD and 3840 x 2160 for Ultra HD, also known as 4K.

Refresh rate – This is how many times the monitor updates what’s on the screen. Most monitors have a refresh rate of 60Hz, while the higher end specifications have refresh rates of 100Hz or more. 144Hz is the optimal point in refresh rates, although some monitors could go up to 165Hz and some even go over the 200Hz threshold.

Response time – Somewhat related to input lag, response time is the amount of time the system responds to a certain input, say a mouse click or a keyboard tap. The amount of time it takes to reflect on the screen is called the response time. The lower the response time, the better it is for gaming. The optimal response time is 1 millisecond, while the average is 5 milliseconds.

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