When looking to buy a gaming monitor choosing your screen resolution will be a key decision for you to make. There are a number of factors to consider and in this post we’ll take you through all the things you need to think about. We can’t make the choice for you but we can be a guiding hand!
Let’s go through the common monitor resolutions and look at the pros and cons of the different formats.
The common resolutions
There are three key resolutions to consider:
- FHD 1920 × 1080
- WQHD 2560 × 1440
- 4K 4096 × 2304
Realistically, only the first two will be on most mainstream buyers wishlist, if you are an early adopter you might wish to consider 4K but for most people the cost of the higher resolution monitors is just not economical. This will change in the future and it is likely your subsequent purchase will be a 4K or 8K screen, but for now you are probably going to look at 1080p or 1440p.
It is worth noting that these are the 16:9 ratio formats, there are now ultra wide 16:10 monitors on the way, these are slightly wider and often curved, offering a more immersive gaming experience. As always, personal taste comes into play here, I find that I can’t take in all the information a game is throwing at me on a bigger screen, but other’s love it – only you can make that decision! Gaming Monitors UK covers these too, so check out our round ups.
FHD 1920 × 1080: High definition is now the minimum standard. There is no reason not to go for at least a 1080p full high def screen right now. Even if you are on a tight budget you should be able to find options in your price range. If your PC is too old to support a screen like this, it really is time for an upgrade!
To game at this resolution you will need a reasonable graphics card, a low end card from five years ago isn’t going to give you playable results. But the good news is modern day entry level cards such as the Nvidia GeForce 950GTX will allow you to play comfortably at 1080p, you only need to step up to the 960GTX and you’ll be gaming on high settings with the current crop of games. Modern cards will also allow you to make use of adaptive sync technologies such as G-Sync and the new connectivity standards such as DisplayPort or HDMI.
Note that 1080p looks better on smaller monitors, on a large screen everything will look very big.
WQHD 2560 × 1440: QHD or 1440p resolution is gaining in popularity right now, it allows for a higher definition image without stretching all the way to 4K. This res looks great on the increasingly popular 27″ monitor size and is becoming more affordable all the time.
To run games at 144op you are going to need a decent mid range graphics card with plenty of video RAM, 4GB should do it. You should be looking at the Nvidia GeForce GTX970 for example, or possibly the GTX980 if you want smooth results every time.
1440p isn’t suited to smaller monitors, text will appear very small at 23″ you’ll find that 25″ is the minimum you’ll look at when considering this resolution.
4K 4096 × 2304: Gaming at 4K needs some serious hardware to run, at the time of writing you’ll need a top range GeForce GTX980Ti or even two running in SLI mode. 4K gives you an exponentially larger number of pixels to shift around on screen in game and you need a similar large investment to make use of a ultra high definition monitor.
If you are going for one of these screens you’ll be looking at something large, 32″ perhaps. The kind of screen that you’ll be sitting on a sofa in front of.
Which resolution monitor should I buy for gaming?
The first question to consider is how much do you have to spend? 1080p screens are cheaper. 4K monitors attract a premium price. The latter also requires some serious PC hardware behind it to run effectively in gaming.
Next, you need to think about what size monitor you are looking for. Generally, low res is OK for smaller screens, but the bigger you go, the more pixels you need on the screen to get clear images.
I’ve read other sites claim that higher resolutions are always better, so get the best you can afford. But be weary, it’s not as simple as that.
- Is it worth paying a premium for a resolution your PC can’t support? Use the money you save now to pay for a new monitor with modern standards in the future.
- If you are forced to run in a lower resolution than the monitor was designed for, you may end up with scaling issues and fuzzy images.
- High resolutions on small screen sizes result in small images, similarly low resolutions on big screens result in everything looking over sized. There tends to be a sweet spot for each size and resolution, for example HD is good at 24″ but you’ll probably want QHD at 27″.
Given that monitors are an item we tend to upgrade less frequently I would always recommend putting money into getting a higher quality screen. So if a large size is your preference I can see more value in stretching to the higher resolution with a view to upgrade my graphics card later – the next gen cards will be more capable of running QHD and 4K screens. If you are buying a 24″ screen, 4K is rarely going to be a good choice, no matter what your budget is!
I hope this helps to guide you on your decision making path, please check out out monitor lists below: