Is a Gaming Monitor Worth It?

March 30, 2016 | By tuan.mai@nzxt.com | PCDIY

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For PC gamers, one of the most important components is the graphics card. It’s often the most expensive part of our build and for good reason: most modern games are much more taxing on a graphics card than they are on a CPU. While most builders aren’t afraid to shell out big bucks on an awesome graphics card, spending the same amount of money on a gaming monitor would be crazy for them.

But is a gaming monitor worth it?

It’s a similar situation to how we feel about power supplies. Monitors can be a bit under-appreciated when it comes to builds and upgrades. The truth is, you really aren’t getting the full experience of your shiny new graphics card unless it’s on a 120hz or 144hz refresh rate monitor. A display’s refresh rate refers to the frequency at which the image is changed. This means a standard 60hz monitor refreshes its image 60 times per second.  Most monitors have been using this refresh rate for as long as we can remember. It wasn’t until a few years ago that 120hz and 144hz monitors really began to gain traction.

When it comes to gaming monitors, the price tags and technical specs can be extremely intimidating for new builders. With high end gaming monitors costing two to three times more than standard monitors, most people end up choosing the cheaper 60hz options without much thought into considering the alternatives. I’ve been guilty of this myself. It wasn’t until I played my favorite PC games on a 144hz monitor that I realized what I’ve been missing out on all of this time.

With prices for 144hz 1080p monitors reaching much friendlier price points of $250-$300, we’d have a very hard time not recommending it over any standard monitor for people using 1080p setups. If you have the hardware to run your games in QHD (1440p) or UHD (4K), an appropriate 144hz monitor will be much more expensive but still a worthwhile investment. A high refresh rate monitor refreshes the image more than twice as fast as a standard monitor, resulting in a much smoother image. The difference is much more noticeable when viewing high FPS content. This means if your graphics card can produce more than 60fps for your favorite games, you are much more likely to notice a smoother image.

Should you invest in a gaming monitor?

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. I’ve found that the smoother images and scrolling from a higher refresh rate monitor have reduced strain on my eyes after long periods of gaming and allow me to appreciate the graphics and high frame rates much more, some people out there actually prefer 60hz. Just like any big TV purchase, we highly recommend you see the difference for yourself before jumping in or ruling it out completely.

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