The basic's on selecting a professional gaming monitor
What makes a gaming monitor different than a traditional LCD monitor? As gaming and eSports has grown, the ability to create a monitor that has specific advantages for gaming has become commercially viable and is now a key part of any eSports player's equipment list. Here are some of the key questions most people ask when choosing of a top quality professional gaming monitor.
What is the right Resolution?
Nearly all gaming monitors are 1920 x 1080 resolutions to match TV outputs for consoles and provide high resolution for PC monitor play. With a typical 24" gaming monitor this is the most common resolution.
Should I go with a 60 Hz or 120Hz monitor?
It depends on what you like to play. Most dedicated eSports players narrow down the games they compete on to either a single class of games (such as First Person Shooters (FPS) or Real Time Strategy (RTS)) and build their system around their preferred platform and the video output of the game. For example, eSport players on the FPS game CounterStrike typically look for a top quality 120Hz monitor is considered essential at the higher levels of competition. However, dedicated RTS players who compete on StarCraft usually prefer a 60Hz monitor, since that is what the game?s native video output will be. If you are playing on an Xbox or PlayStation, these are usually played on 60 Hz monitors in the tournaments.
What about response time and lag time?
For gamers looking to compete in high paying tournaments, the key is to practice on what you are going to play in the tournament. This is especially the case in games such as fighting games, and shooters where reaction time is critical and developing precise timing is essential. This is controlled by two factors in the gaming monitor ? Response time and lag time
Monitor Response time
This is typically measured in Grey to Grey (GTG) response time on the monitor specifications. The current gaming monitors today feature 2ms GTG response time. This has been the standard for the last two years.
Input Lag Time
Input lag time refers to the internal processing of the picture by the LCD panel. This is not a feature you can find on the spec sheet since in the past, the CRT monitor featured no lag time, since it was a dumb device. However, since the LCD panel has to manipulate digital images, the processing time will vary from monitor to monitor. This is rarely noticeable for the average gamer, but becomes an important component of timing for high level eSports competition. Gaming monitors feature lower lag times, but will vary from model to model. Many gamers look to the big money tournaments such as Major League Gaming (MLG) who evaluate these for competitive play, and test for these elements on the various platforms they use.
Do I need NVidia 3D Compatibility?
Depending on the game, eSports players either care a great deal about 3D or not at all. Some games such as StarCraft II, don?t use 3D, while other games such as Call of Duty, and use it extensively. Due to the large amounts of practice they put in, most professional gamers practice and compete in 2D and then use 3D for fun. Because 3D requires both glasses and the emitter to control them, there are two versions of gaming monitors that can play games in 3D using the NVidia system
Compatible 120 Hz Gaming Monitor
These monitors are designed to provide smooth 120Hz frame rates, and also are capable of playing 3D games with a 3D emitter and glasses. These are usually sold separately and are attached to the monitor when you are playing 3D games. If you are an occasional 3D player, or have little or no interest in playing 3D games, this gives you the option in the future without paying extra for the 3D equipment.
Purpose Built NVidia 3D Monitors
These monitors are extensions of the above monitors, but have 1) HDMI 1.4 interfaces that enable you to play 3D on console and PC platforms, 2) integrated emitters for the glasses, and 3) a pair of glasses in the box. The advantage of these monitors is that everything is included, and there are no extra parts or wires on your desk. Of course they are more expensive, but it delivers the ability to have the best of both worlds ? great 2D 120Hz play.
Other Monitor features
While most popular gaming monitors have most of these features, the best ones have special technology that is designed around the needs of professional gamers. Depending on your game, you can find links below to see what features have been developed around your favorite platform, but here are some of the features to look for on a professional gaming monitor
- LED lighting is a must for professional monitor color rendering
- Black Equalization the ability to manipulate the color map to peer into dark areas
- Smart Scaling - the ability to shrink the screen to an optimal size for competition
- Monitor Setup switches mouse like devices that enable you to quickly manipulate or change from one monitor setting to the other.
- Special color modes- the ability to download or customize colors that are optimized for the gaming platform or map you are playing