People build budget gaming rigs to save money, or sometimes just for the challenge. In either case, balance is important. You’ll get the best possible performance when all the components work together as equals. That goes for the monitor too. There’s no point in buying a super-fast display if your video card can only manage 80 or 90fps. The best way to boost frame rates is to pick an FHD resolution. With a 25-inch screen, you get 90ppi, which is dense enough to provide a clear image without visible pixilation. In this size, there are plenty of 165 Hz and faster screens, all the way up to 360 Hz. But at 144 Hz, there are deals to be had: the Monoprice Dark Matter 42770 is one of the best.
The 42770 delivers on all its gaming performance promises. It operates on both Nvidia and AMD platforms with equal precision. It runs reliably at 144 Hz. And its overdrive works to smooth out moving objects and panning backgrounds, keeping motion resolution high. But lots of 25-inch monitors can do that. What makes the 42770 stand out is color and contrast.
It has a wide color gamut, over 91% coverage of DCI-P3, which is top of the class. And that color is accurate, with no need for calibration. The 42770 boasts reference level grayscale, gamma and gamut accuracy. It also pushes the contrast envelope. With decent IPS panels topping 1,000:1, the 42770 is around 1,300:1, putting it among the best IPS panels we’ve tested.
To be fair, there aren’t many more features to talk about. You don’t get USB ports or speakers or HDR. But these things are not necessary for a good gaming experience. For $200, the Monoprice Dark Matter 42770 provides colorful, fast gaming visuals competently and reliably. At this price point, there is nothing better in a 25-inch gaming monitor. We highly recommended it.