Every PC component contributes to the gaming or working experience. A mouse, keyboard, GPU, CPU, RAM, and monitor all fuse to create the total user experience, but they’re all fairly stable and easy to understand.
Monitors can be tricky. Their specs often include lesser-known terms like “response time,” “input lag,” and “contrast ratio,” not to mention the various panel types behind the display. For those mystified by these specs, or those simply wanting a handy guide to monitor sales during Black Friday & Cyber Monday, we’ve compiled a list of G-Sync, FreeSync, and general use 1080p, 1440p, and 4K monitors.
This list details the best monitors for gaming at budget, mid-range, and high-end prices, scaling all the way up to 144Hz. We’ve got a few “general use” monitors in here for those just seeking 1080p functionality without the flair.
Monitors aren’t always given the most thought beyond resolution and size, for many buyers. The fact is, though, that monitors are incredibly complex components. Attributes like response time, input lag, color reproduction, and viewing angles are all measurements that make a noticeable difference in how a monitor’s picture looks, but even for expert builders, such terms can be confusing; it doesn’t help that the TV & display industry has been plagued with marketing nonsense since the dawn of creation, ensuring that some attributes lose meaning over time.
Not only will our monitor hardware dictionary (which is scheduled to be released soon) help provide an irreplaceable resource for those confused, this article will detail the advantages and disadvantages of the common LCD panel types – the types of LCD technology used in the monitor. While there are minor revisions/versions of monitor panels types, today we will be focusing on the differences between IPS, TN, PLS, and VA panels, but we will also be covering CRT for grounding, despite CRT not being an LCD panel type.
Recently, the monitor industry has amusingly reminded me of laundry detergent. It seems like everybody is coming out with detergents that are four times as potent, and the monitor industry isn't too different in its marketing language. With the rising popularity of 4K, it's just a matter of time until the norm is to have a monitor with four times as many pixels as a 1080p screen.
The normalization of 4k monitors is certainly very exciting, but current-gen GPUs still struggle with playing games at such a high resolution. Similarly, prices for 4K monitors may be dropping, but are still high for the average gamer. Luckily, 2560x1440 screens are a reasonable compromise between performance, pixels, and price.
This round-up looks at some of the best 1440p displays on the market, particularly with a focus on gaming needs.
Last seen at CES 2014, AMD's FreeSync demo went live shortly after nVidia's fanfare about G-Sync, a technology we overviewed here (read this content if you're unfamiliar with frame synchronization). FreeSync and G-Sync are both adaptive refresh rate technologies that effectively ensure the display slaves to the GPU, allowing for a smoother frame output by eliminating both tearing and stuttering (V-Sync on).
Many aspects of the hardware industry are cut-and-dry facts that are easy to understand -- X GPU gets 40 FPS while Y GPU gets 60, for instance. One item that is largely ignored, in part due to its complicated and over-marketed nature, is monitors. Contrast ratio, input delay, response time, pixel pitch, and resolution are all important aspects of monitors, but aren’t always well understood by consumers. On top of this, marketing speak from competing vendors has inflated some specifications to a point of being entirely useless as a unit of comparison.
Due to this, monitor selection can be intimidating or overwhelming. For this reason, we’ve pulled together the best gaming monitors for our 2014 monitor buyer’s guide, including 1080, 1440p, and 4K displays.
A large portion of the enthusiast market caters to overclocking: Intel sells unlocked CPUs at a premium, Asus, Asrock, and MSI all market their motherboards as “overclocking ready” and guaranteed to OC higher, and GPU manufacturers market their graphics cards as having better cooling, a bigger VRM, and binned chips. All this, and monitor overclocking is rarely -- if ever -- advertised or discussed. This may change with the recent popularity of Korean off-brand monitors, like the QNIX 2710.
A lot of enthusiasts have been buying off-brand Korean monitors lately. Now, this alone is hardly newsworthy, but these monitors are a little bit different than the average off-brand product. The QNIX 2710 ($333) is an LED-backlit, 27” PLS -- Samsung's version of IPS -- monitor at 1440p resolution. The QNIX 2710 is abnormal due to its lack of a scaler, which does require you to use DVI-D input, but allows the screen to be overclocked to 96Hz+. Yes -- these monitors can be overclocked. In fact, most users can overclock their QNIX 2710 to 96Hz, and some lucky people reach 120hz (though very rarely).
Due to the lack of a scaler, the QNIX does require DVI-D as the input source, adapters won't work, and consoles are not compatible with this monitor. The QNIX uses Samsung PLS panels, so the colors are quite vibrant and color-banding (inaccurate color presentation) isn’t common. These monitors do use cheaper casings, stands, and packaging to help decrease the cost. The standard QNIX 2710 comes in at $300 with a maximum of 5 stuck/dead pixels, and the “Pixel Perfect" version comes it at $345 with up to 3 stuck/dead pixels -- not quite pixel perfect, eh?
In recent years, 1440p Korean off-brand monitors like the QNIX 2710 have become popular among PC enthusiasts; these korean screens have unique advantages -- including the ability to overclock refresh rates -- at low prices, but often have stuck/dead pixels, backlight bleed, and bad stands. With 4K being all the hype at CES, along with AMD and nVidia both touting their newest “4K Gaming Ready” GPUs, Korean manufacturers have not ignored this upcoming market and the profit that can be had from it.
188 years ago, on 9/21, the construction of the Rideau Canal began in Canada. That has absolutely nothing to do with this weekend sales round-up. It is also a pure coincidence that two of our sales items are only $188 – I promise. This week, we feature a GTX 760 for $188, a 10-button laser gaming mouse for $35, an i5-4690 at only $188, and a 27” G-Sync monitor for $600.
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