Do monitors make a difference in gaming?
When you set up a new gaming system, everyone asks you about the graphics card you have or the processor that you decided to go with or even whether you chose to go for a solid state drive. It is incredibly unusual for someone to ask about your monitor apart from a cursory inquiry to its size.
Does this mean that is isn’t really important?
That the monitor does not really have an impact on the gamer’s experience?
Well, that is a bone of contention in the gaming world with some claiming that the choice of monitor is one of the most important decisions you will make, with others arguing that this is merely elitist claptrap and that the monitor is not really that important on the whole.
The people whose voices are loudest on the importance of monitors are people who are competitively playing first-person shooters like CS:GO, Day Z or Overwatch. These gamers require quick reflexes and instantaneous reaction to succeed, with some believing that a 3-4 millisecond edge is a difference between winning and losing.
The three elements that determine this advantage are the response time, the input lag and the frame rate.
The response time is how quickly each pixel can change from white to black and back to white again, while the refresh rate is how many times the panel can draw the image in a second. Ideally, competitive gamers are looking for low response time, and as high a refresh rate is possible. Input lag is the time it takes between moving the mouse and seeing the effect on the screen, and this again needs to be as low as possible.
It is understandable why competitive gamers feel that the performance of a monitor is so important.
When playing fast-paced games like Overwatch, the margins for the best players are very tight and indeed sometimes milliseconds will indeed make the difference, so it is critical for them to make sure they have the best monitor in terms of performance to make sure that they don’t give their competitors a head start before they even start playing.
On the other side of the argument are casual and pleasure gamers who often feel that apart from the resolution, the monitor is not really that important. These gamers tend to be more focused on the look of their games rather than the performance. They tend to be looking for bigger monitors with a high resolution which will display the game with the brightest colour and the most realistic picture.
They tend to prefer to spend their money on a good graphics card with lots of VRAM and supporting high resolutions, rather than spending a lot of money on the monitor itself. They find that the improvement per dollar is much higher when spending on a graphics card than when investing in a monitor, and so tend to feel that monitors are much less important overall when gaming.
So, do monitors have an influence on gaming?
The answer, I think you will agree, is undoubted yes.
The importance of that influence, however, is determined by the goals of the gamer themselves. You can check out our selection of the best console gaming monitors in 2019.
A monitor is hugely important to someone who is competitively gaming and will have a huge impact on their experience, while for someone who is a more casual gamer, the monitor has a limited influence on their experience.
As with most things in life, it is a case of horses for courses.
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