Tips for Buying a Sim Racing Monitor

While many components currently have the term “gaming” in their name, that doesn’t mean they’re any more apt to be classified as such. However, in the case of a gaming monitor, a user must consider a number of factors when choosing a model. All are summarized in this post. And why they matter if you prefer one model over another.

Gaming displays have always been a different breed from the rest of our computing hardware. As a result, there is no such thing as a “gaming motherboard”. And a graphics card will always play, depending on which series you buy. Adding an RGB LED string to a component does not automatically turn it into a “gaming” component. Also, we should consider the qualities of the desktop we need before we buy a gaming monitor.

Racing simulator challenge.
Mexico City e-Prix, Mexico, Central America.
Saturday March 12, 2016
Photo: Adam Warner /LAT/FE
Ref: Digital Image _L5R9197

A gaming monitor, on the other hand, must meet a number of specifications that set it apart from other monitors.

RESOLUTION

Two of the first things to consider when buying a new gaming monitor are its size and resolution.

The size of the monitor is usually the first thing to consider. It is important that the monitor sits properly on your desk and is not overly large. The physical size of the monitor is significant since we should be looking at it from the front all the time. However, it’s common practice to choose as large a monitor as possible (and of course one you can afford).

Monitors with screen diagonals from 19 to 43 inches are on the market. However, the most popular sizes among consumers are 24 and 27 inches. Ultra-widescreen displays, on the other hand, correspond to two normal monitors side by side.

After deciding on a size that we think is appropriate, we have to decide on a solution. In this case, the screen resolution must be compatible with the capabilities of our graphics card. No matter how much we reduce the level of detail, a very basic graphics card will not be able to play games at 4K resolution. The same applies, of course, to the reverse path. We’re wasting our money if we have a powerful graphics card and buy a 720p resolution monitor.

The following are the most common monitor resolutions:

  • 1280×720 pixels (720p) for the lower end.
  • 1920×1080 pixels (1080p) for the mid-range.
  • 2560×1440 pixels (1440p) for the top end of the entry-level range.
  • 3840×2160 pixels (4K) for the highest end.

8K resolution in monitors is not yet widespread and there are no gaming monitors that use it. There are also no graphics cards that can play games in 8K smoothly.

INPUTS & REFRESH RATE

Overall, almost all modern models have one or more HDMI video inputs. The D-Sub15 (VGA) connector is also used by some very inexpensive displays. A gaming monitor can also have a DisplayPort and/or USB-C connector. The former, especially if the monitor uses Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) technology. This is a feature most gaming monitors have.

A monitor’s refresh rate can also be used to differentiate between a real gaming monitor and a non-gaming monitor. A vertical refresh rate of 60 Hz is standard on most displays. Today, gaming monitors are available with refresh rates ranging from 75 to 240 Hz. 144Hz is the most common refresh rate for gaming monitors, with 240Hz reserved for elite gamers who need such a high refresh rate in their setups.

VRR

As we mentioned in the previous section, variable refresh rate technologies synchronize the FPS rendered by the graphics card with those on the screen. This provides better picture quality on the screen and can eliminate screen tearing. And with that, the gaming experience is improved.

Well, this gaming experience will also depend a lot on the graphics card that we have in our PC. If our model is not able to deliver more than 30 FPS at the monitor’s resolution, no matter how hard we try, the gaming experience will not be good.

There are two types of VRR technologies on the market: AMD FreeSync And NVIDIA G-SYNC. AMD FreeSync is the most popular because it is a free technology that does not require paying for monitor licenses to use. Exactly the opposite of the NVIDIA version.

Until recently, to use any of these technologies, the user had to own a graphics card from that company. That is, in order to use AMD FreeSync, the user had to have an AMD Radeon graphics card. And similarly in the case of NVIDIA G-SYNC.

This led to a situation of using the cheapest gaming monitors with the least used/most powerful graphics cards. Recently, however, NVIDIA has made its drivers for its graphics cards compatible so that they can be used with monitors featuring AMD FreeSync technology.

VRR also affects the input lag of the monitor. So the higher the refresh rate of the monitor, the lower the input lag of the monitor. In other words, the faster the changes in the user’s movements are registered on the screen. And thus more precision when playing.

PANEL TYPE AND RESPONSE TIME

There are currently three types of panels used in a gaming monitor, each with their own advantages and disadvantages:

  • TN panels: They tend to have the worst image quality but usually the fastest response times. In fact, they are commonly used in gaming monitors with very high vertical refresh rates
  • v.a Panel: They are much better than TN panels. They support better color reproduction and achieve excellent black values ​​and contrasts.
  • IPS panels: Outperforms VA panels in color quality and accuracy, but contrast levels are significantly lower
  • OLED panels: These new panels are very new to the market. They are far superior to the three previous models in terms of image quality characteristics. However, the issue of screen burn-in that they use is not yet fully resolved

The response time of the gaming monitor matrix is ​​usually another aspect that the user should pay attention to. A gaming monitor must have the fastest response time. Currently, the fastest monitors are those that mount TN matrices, which are around 1ms. Then VA panels are usually around 4 ms, as are IPS panels. Although for the latter techniques have been developed that make it possible to reduce this time to 1 ms.

Still, the OLED panels are the best with a response time of just 0.01ms. It is true that there are users who can notice differences between the response times of different types of panels. But in the end, it all has to do with the type of gamer you are: if you’re a professional gamer, you want the fastest response time; If you are a casual gamer, between 4 and 6 ms is a good value for your gaming monitor.

See you on the track!

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