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How to Choose the Best Gaming Monitor

How to Choose the Best Gaming Monitor

Sean Whaley
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One of the reasons so many of us choose to game on a PC rather than a console is the technological capabilities for exceptional graphics. If you want to play The Witcher 3 in crystal clear quality, you’re going to need a gaming monitor that’s a cut above the rest.

However, finding the right one can be difficult - especially if you aren’t terribly familiar with the hardware.

Gamer Playing on HP OMEN PC Monitor

Whether you need a monitor that’s strictly for gaming or a display that can handle the rigorous demands of today’s triple-A (AAA) titles while remaining versatile enough for video editing or other work tasks, we can help you find the best gaming monitor to suit your individual needs and budget.

What is the primary purpose of your desktop computer?

If you plan to have a dedicated gaming PC, you should definitely use a monitor that falls within the same category. After all, what’s the point of buying an elite graphics card if it isn’t compatible with your monitor?

Any serious gamer should stay ahead of the curve and pick up a gaming monitor that can keep up with technology as it progresses.

Since high-resolution gaming has clearly established itself as the standard for the biggest titles, this means QHD or UHD are your best bet for a gaming rig. Soon, there won’t be a single major title that doesn’t come in 2K or higher.

Even if gaming isn’t the only thing you use your desktop computer for, having a high resolution monitor is a worthwhile investment for things like photo or video editing.

The importance of resolution

The bigger the gaming PC monitor, the greater the number of pixels it can fit in its display, and the greater the number of pixels, the higher the resolution.

Any avid gamer will tell you that you need a monitor that’s at least 20 inches or longer in width, although 27-inch and even 32-inch gaming monitors are becoming more common and affordable.

The more pixels you can pack into your monitor, the better the display quality and resolution. If you’re unfamiliar with the different specs that most monitors come with, here are some of the different pixel ratios found in devices and monitors [1]:

HD or HD-ready resolution (720p) - 1280 x 720
FHD or Full HD resolution (1080p) - 1920 x 1080
QHD or Quad HD resolution (1440p) - 2560 x 1440 - Monitors with this level of resolution are commonly found in dedicated gaming displays.
UHD or Ultra High Definition or 4K (2160p) - 3840 x 2160 - This is the second largest display resolution currently available, and is typically found on high-end monitors and televisions. UHD displays are called 4K because they offer four times the resolution of standard HD.
8K (4320p) - 7680 x 4320 - This display offers eight times the resolution of standard HD. Expect to pay a premium for this level of resolution.

Today’s gamer might scrape by on a 1080p monitor, but they won’t be able to enjoy many of the titles at their full potential or the resolution in which they were meant to be played.

If you’re serious about making it to the top of leaderboards in Rocket League or Battlefield 1, you should invest in a QHD monitor at the very least.

Aspect ratio

You should also factor aspect ratio into your monitor purchase. Traditionally, monitors come in a 4:3 and 16:9. In recent years, gaming monitors have moved towards 21:9 ratio which is closer to anamorphic format (widescreen movie display and quality).

Refresh rate

A high refresh rate is an absolute must if you want to rack up headshots in Destiny and Call of Duty.

The average monitor refreshes at 60Hz speeds, but pros at the top of their game will suggest that you step up to 144Hz or 165Hz. Higher refresh rates are better, and result in a much smoother experience, especially for shooting games.

Dedicated gaming monitors like the HP OMEN 25-inch display and HP OMEN 27-inch display feature higher refresh rates, ideal for anyone trying to reach the heights of success in the gaming world.

4K vs QHD

There’s no denying that nothing beats a 4K display. Not only does it give you an excuse to brag to all of your fellow gamers, but you’ll be slaying mythical beasts in God of War the way developers had intended.

So you’re probably wondering, “Should I buy a 4K monitor or a Quad HD?” Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference. You’ll still be able to play your favorite major titles in QHD, even if they get released in 4K. Considering that high definition (HD) was once the standard for displays just a few years ago, four times that resolution now should more than suffice for all of your gaming needs.

There has been a lot of buzz building around 4K display monitors in the last year. This is partly due to the fact that the price of 4K monitors and TVs have dropped significantly, putting them within reach of most gamers. While they can still be expensive, one solution is look for sales on PC monitors which can ease the jump in price from QHD to 4K.

If you are looking for a portable gaming monitor, but need to closely watch your budget, many of the best portable gaming monitors come in QHD resolution. You can get the full experience of your favorite games and titles without having to dish out the extra cash to pick up a 4K gaming monitor.

One option to check out is the HP OMEN 27-inch display. With a sleek black and red design, HP OMEN monitors are in a league of their own in both style and performance.

If you truly have your heart set on owning a 4K monitor or you simply want to stay ahead of the curve, compare these HP 4K computer monitors. For instance, the HP ENVY 27-inch display is ideal for crushing the competition or kicking back and watching Interstellar with a big bowl of popcorn.

Design and style

Who said aesthetics aren’t everything? Well, probably a gamer, but that doesn’t mean sleek design isn’t important to today’s gaming experts.

HP OMEN X 35-inch Curved Gaming Monitor

While hardware always comes first, you can’t deny the satisfaction that comes with owning a monitor that pleases the eye while offering the power and performance you deserve.

Customize your gaming computer setup to suit your needs with something like the a HP OMEN X 35-inch curved monitor so that that you can fully immerse yourself in the virtual reality of your choosing.

Gaming PCs and monitors have always featured a distinctive style, designed to let you know exactly what they were built for at first glance. Our new line of HP OMEN gaming computers, gear, and monitors don’t cut corners when it comes to looking absolutely savage.

If you enjoy the fierce and intimidating color combination of black and red, then an HP OMEN display is the best gaming monitor for you.

Video inputs and features

Unless you’re working with some truly prehistoric hardware, an HDMI input is all you’re going to need when it comes to setting up your gaming PC. Having more than one HDMI input may be nice, but it’s generally unnecessary.

The best gaming monitors usually have a single dedicated HDMI input for consoles or PCs to plug into. Some high-end graphics cards will offer DVI and DisplayPort compatibility; however, this can be excessive for most gaming needs.

In addition to an HDMI input, the best gaming monitors have AUX outputs and USB ports for speakers and additional devices. Nothing beats plugging surround sound speakers into your display and maximizing the auditory and visual experience of all your favorite games.

Quality speakers, along with other add-ons like gaming keyboards and mice can help you make the most of your setup.

Pricing and cost effectiveness

As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for” but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great deal on a quality piece of hardware. The best gaming monitors typically aren’t cheap; however, you can get exceptionally high-quality displays without breaking the bank.

While you can find a reasonably priced monitor for around $200, it will struggle to display games like Dark Souls or Civilization 6. Any monitor within this price range will probably utilize TN (Twisted Nematic) panel technology, which is most commonly found in cheaper gaming monitors because of its fast pixel responses and refresh rates.

However, you may run into some color shifting issues when viewed from an angle. If you want a monitor that won’t run into any compatibility issues with your graphics card and the rest of your hardware, you can expect to spend between $600 to $1,200.

Bottom line

Considering how long this technology will remain relevant despite future breakthroughs in display capabilities, investing in a 4K or QHD monitor is definitely worthwhile.

Although a 4K monitor provides a higher level of display, refresh rates and gray-to-gray speeds might be a more important to you if the bulk of your gaming diet is first person shooters, so weigh each aspect of the purchase decision with your gaming preferences in mind. While some 4K monitors might be cheaper than QHD, don’t think that they will always outperform them.

The best gaming monitors like the HP OMEN will smoke any 4K display in terms of frame-rates and gray-to-gray speeds.

Opting for 4K or QHD means you’ll have optimal performance at the most critical of moments. If you buy a high-end gaming PC, invest in a monitor that can keep up. Purchasing a dedicated gaming monitor will boost your performance as a gamer and allow you to play today's AAA titles the way developers intended.

[1] PC Magazine, Screen Resolution Encyclopedia

About the Author: Sean Whaley is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Sean is a content creation specialist with a literature degree from SDSU. He has a wide breadth of knowledge when it comes to computer hardware and programming.

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