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Best monitor reviews 2014

best monitor reviews 2014

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Monitors | Reviews | TechRadar

Improve Your View

Whether you're a serious PC gamer or a casual after-hours warrior, your hardware can mean the difference between victory and defeat. To get the most out of the latest first-person shooter (FPS), sports, racing, and other fast-action games, you'll not only need a gaming PC with a powerful graphics solution, you'll also need a monitor that can display the action without subjecting you to blurred images, flicker, tearing, and other motion artifacts. In this guide, we'll help you choose a display that will give you an edge over your opponents while delivering a smooth, immersive gaming experience. We highlight the factors to consider when choosing a gaming monitor, and give our current favorites.

Ultra-wide monitors typically have a 21:9 aspect ratio (as opposed to the usual 16:9), and offer a much wider field of view than a standard widescreen monitor, but they take up a lot of room. A curved-panel ultra-wide monitor has just enough of a curve to make you feel a bit closer to the action.

Panel Technology

There are several display technologies you may find used in a gaming monitor, and each has its pluses and minuses. Twisted Nematic (TN) panels are the most affordable and are popular among gamers because they offer fast pixel response times and refresh rates, but they are prone to color shifting when viewed from an angle. Vertical Alignment (VA) screens are known for their high native-contrast ratio, robust colors, and ability to display deep blacks, but they are also known to produce noticeable ghosting effects, which can hurt gaming performance.

Pixel Response and Refresh Rate

Gaming monitors should have a fast pixel response and a high refresh rate. The most commonly used pixel response spec is gray to gray, which is measured in milliseconds (ms) and signifies the time it takes a pixel to transition from one shade of gray to another (a few companies still use the older black-to-white measurement). A low pixel response will help eliminate the smearing of moving images and provide a smoother overall picture than a higher pixel response. A gray-to-gray response of 2ms or less is ideal, but even a 4ms gray-to-gray response is typically adequate for gaming.

A monitor's refresh rate refers to the time (per second) it takes to redraw the entire screen and is measured in hertz (Hz).

Look for a display with a 120Hz or higher refresh rate, which not only helps reduce image blur and eliminate tearing, but is a requirement for active 3D technology.

G-Sync and FreeSync

The latest gaming monitors use synchronization technology to help reduce tearing and other motion artifacts while lowering input lag (which we measure on all displays we review using the Leo Bodnar Video Signal Lag Tester). Displays equipped with Nvidia's G-Sync or AMD's FreeSync modules give control of the screen's refresh rate to the GPU (instead of the monitor), which allows the display to operate with a variable refresh rate. The result is a very smooth gaming experience, with decreased input lag. Note, however, that G-Sync and FreeSync monitors require a compatible graphics card with a DisplayPort 1.

Dual HDMI ports are ideal, since major consoles use HDMI, while some high-end graphics cards offer both DisplayPort and DVI connectivity. USB ports are also a nice feature, as they make it easy to connect to gaming controllers, mice, thumb drives, and other external peripherals. Side-mounted USB ports make it easy to plug and unplug peripherals without having to reach around the back of the monitor. A powerful speaker system with a built-in subwoofer will enhance your gaming experience and conserve desktop space, and a stand with height, tilt, and swivel adjustments offers ergonomic comfort for those all-night frag marathons.

Price

Screen size, panel technology, and features will determine how much you'll pay for a gaming monitor.

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