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Monitor / TV for pc gaming - what specs should I look out for?

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March 10, 2014 4:16:18 AM

Hi
I'm looking to build a pc for triple-monitor gaming at very high settings and I'm hoping to get 60 to 90 (maybe even higher) frame per sec.

My question is about the monitor / TV screen. I'll be going for 27" monitors most likely, but would rather like 32" if possible).

What specs are important?


    Should I be looking for under 2ms response time? Under 5ms? Under 10ms?
    Does it need to be at 120hz refresh rate? Is 100 ok?


Anything else? (contrast, colours)

Any help, tips, pointers would be very much appreciated.

More about : monitor gaming specs

a b C Monitor
March 10, 2014 5:18:39 AM

Low response time is going to help reduce blur. This is especially important when try to pick out targets on the move. 1 to 2 ms is ideal for gaming.

High refresh rate monitors are good for reducing noticeable tearing. This is key with first-person shooters. Because you're always turning to pick out targets. Tearing is quite noticeable on 60Hz monitors and definitely takes away from the gaming experience. You can turn on V-sync to eliminate tearing on any monitor, but this introduces input lag (the difference between you clicking the mouse and seeing the effect of the click on screen). The best option is to run at higher framerates so it's less noticeable. 96Hz and above seems to be the point by which tearing becomes perceivably non-existent so anything above that refresh rate is ideal for gaming. To add to this, if you have a newer Nvidia graphics card, you can take advantage of G-sync which eliminates input lag, blur, and tearing. Monitors fully supporting G-sync out of the box should be available within the next few months.

Contrast is really important when it comes to gaming. You want to be able to see the enemy lurking in the shadows. A monitor with poor contrast will just show no difference between objects in shadows. Beware the low-end (and really many that are pretty expensive) IPS monitor with poor contrasts. On these monitors the enemy is not discernible in shadows.

Color is important, but just about any monitor is going to provide the colors necessary to game.

Another thing you should consider in a triple monitor setup is the bezel size. You want things to look as seamless as possible between the monitors so the smallest you can find, the better.

If I were to buy today, I'd grad any of the 120Hz or 144Hz monitors available from Asus, BenQ, or Acer (if you can still find them).

This Asus is not a 27", but rather a 24" that has some great reviews and would be great for a triple monitor gaming setup:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Last, you are definitely going to need 2 or 3 high-powered video cards (ie 780s or 780 TIs) to stay consistently between 60 and 90 fps across 3 monitors.
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March 10, 2014 6:16:24 AM

ubercake said:
Low response time is going to help reduce blur. This is especially important when try to pick out targets on the move. 1 to 2 ms is ideal for gaming. ...

Thanks a lot for your reply, ubercake. It's a big help!

For the pc, I'm planning on having two GTX 780s.

I play first person shooters a bit, but the reason I'm getting this new triple monitor setup is for driving/racing simulators which I'll spend 80% (or more) of gaming time on.

I have a few follow-up questions about screens:

    Response time: Is 5ms acceptable?
    Good contrast means something like 60/70/80 million to 1. Yes?
    If I was running a game at more than 60 fps, yet on a 60Hz monitor, what would happen?


With an eye on budget, I wonder if it would be a good idea to get a very good centre monitor, and poorer quality side monitors. That is I would put the money into the centre monitor and less money into the side monitors as the side monitors won't be focused on much at all. Do you think that's a good idea?

Also, if I used a larger centre monitor and smaller side monitors - any opinion on that?
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a b C Monitor
March 10, 2014 6:25:32 AM

For racing games, two 780s will be more than enough to run across three screens (other types of games might require one more 780 for ultra-level graphics across 3 1080p screens). SLI is pretty picky when it comes to the monitors you use and the technology does not like to operate with different monitors. The monitors have to have matching sync polarity.
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March 10, 2014 7:34:09 AM

ubercake said:
If you want 27" monitors, these would be a good option:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/BenQ-XL2720T-Widescreen-1920x10...
http://www.amazon.co.uk/VG278HE-Widescreen-Multimedia-1...

Three of either would be a good option.


Thanks so much for your help. I've been checking out those monitors at Amazon you linked to. They would be my ideal purchase (yet pricey, especially when it's multiplied by three!)

Do you know what happens if I have a monitor with a refresh rate that's lower than the framerate I'm getting the pc to output?

And thanks a lot for the answer to the "using different size monitors" question I asked you. You point out that the monitors need to have matching sync polarity. Is that information that one can usually find in the product description?

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a b C Monitor
March 10, 2014 8:13:42 AM

If the refresh rate is lower than the frame rate, you could experience tearing. Racing games run at really high frame rates in general on most hardware. Tearing at higher framerates is far less noticeable.

Also, regarding the different sized monitors or even different brand monitors:
http://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2668...

Not all monitors even show this in their specifications; even high-end monitors such as those you're looking at. This is a hard nut to crack and the primary reason people get three identical monitors in their setups.
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March 10, 2014 8:31:34 AM

ubercake said:
If the refresh rate is lower than the frame rate, you could experience tearing. Racing games run at really high frame rates in general on most hardware. Tearing at higher framerates is far less noticeable.

Also, regarding the different sized monitors or even different brand monitors:
http://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2668...

Not all monitors even show this in their specifications; even high-end monitors such as those you're looking at. This is a hard nut to crack and the primary reason people get three identical monitors in their setups.


Thanks, again, ubercake, for your answers. This is such precious help you're giving. :) 
Can I just check understanding: "Tearing at higher frame-rates is far less noticeable." So if I'm on a racing game which is being output at a higher frame-rate to a monitor with a lower refresh rate, the tearing will not be so noticeable. (is that what you mean?)

I can see that I may have to buy three identical monitors as getting info on sync polarity may be impossible.
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a b C Monitor
March 10, 2014 8:43:18 AM

Whenever the framerate doesn't exactly match the monitor's refresh rate (and v-sync isn't on), tearing occurs to some extent. This phenomenon is far less noticeable on high refresh rate monitors because at an instant in time the two overlapping frames are on-screen for half the time they'd be on the screen with a 60Hz monitor and the torn image is more closely matched because the refresh happens sooner than on the slower refresh rate monitors. I hope I've described this well?

This article might help describe tearing better:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/g-sync-v-sync-monit...

As a side-bar I'm waiting for the new 2560x1440 G-sync monitor that's supposed to be out later this year.
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a b C Monitor
March 10, 2014 10:42:39 PM

Billy Pilgrim said:
Hi
I'm looking to build a pc for triple-monitor gaming at very high settings and I'm hoping to get 60 to 90 (maybe even higher) frame per sec.

My question is about the monitor / TV screen. I'll be going for 27" monitors most likely, but would rather like 32" if possible).

What specs are important?


    Should I be looking for under 2ms response time? Under 5ms? Under 10ms?
    Does it need to be at 120hz refresh rate? Is 100 ok?


Anything else? (contrast, colours)

Any help, tips, pointers would be very much appreciated.


2ms/1ms is great, especially since you're using a TV as a monitor; otherwise, it wouldn't matter since you would NOT notice the difference unless you were a self-proclaimed "professional" gamer.
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March 11, 2014 12:14:44 AM

ubercake said:
Whenever the framerate doesn't exactly match the monitor's refresh rate (and v-sync isn't on), tearing occurs to some extent. This phenomenon is far less noticeable on high refresh rate monitors because at an instant in time the two overlapping frames are on-screen for half the time they'd be on the screen with a 60Hz monitor and the torn image is more closely matched because the refresh happens sooner than on the slower refresh rate monitors. I hope I've described this well?

This article might help describe tearing better:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/g-sync-v-sync-monit...

As a side-bar I'm waiting for the new 2560x1440 G-sync monitor that's supposed to be out later this year.

Thanks, again, ubercake. You have described this very well indeed.

I've also been reading that article you linked to. It's very good.

That 2560x1440 monitor looks great!
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