Best IPS Monitor for Gaming in 2015
Are IPS Monitors Suitable for Gamers?
Gamers generally pay far less attention to the monitors in their setups then they do to video cards, but if you've spent a lot of money on a powerful graphics card, you don't want to waste it by connecting it to a substandard display. Choosing the best monitor to connect to your gaming rig is important if you want to enjoy the beautiful graphics of modern games.
When IPS monitors first appeared on the market they weren't immediately embraced by gamers; their high price and slow response time made it difficult to get excited about them. However, IPS technology has improved, and an increasing number of the top gaming monitors use it.
What Does an IPS Monitor Have To Offer Gamers?
The big advantages of IPS (In Plane Switching) screens are that they have much wider viewing angles than the original TN flat sceens, and are better at reproducing colours and dealing with black in dark images. Viewing angles don't matter that much when playing games; you are after all sitting right in front of your monitor. But good colour reproduction can make a huge difference to how a game looks.
IPS monitors were an immediate hit with photographers and graphic artists, who are fanatical about true colour reproduction, but gamers had two problems with them: their price and their slow response time. Although P-IPS (professional-IPS) panels are still very expensive, the introduction of e-IPS (enhanced-IPS) has significantly brought the price down.
The response time, especially important for first-person shooter (FPS) games, is still slower on IPS screens than TN screens, but it many people would argue that the difference between 1ms and 5 ms is barely noticeable. It does depend somewhat with the type of games you play; first person shooters are traditionally the most affected by 'ghosting' during very fast action sequences. Input lag--the delay between moving or clicking a mouse and seeing the result on the screen--also affects the gaming experience. Some of the monitors described here have the lowest input lag of any LCDs.
If you mostly play real-time strategy games (RPGs), response time and input lag will be less important to you than to FPS players.
What to Look For When Buying a Gaming Monitor
- Screen Resolution. The big news in 27" monitors nowadays is the increasing appearance of WQHD displays at fairly reasonable prices. At 2560x1440 they pack four times as many pixels as HD screens. Two things to consider is that you will pay more than for a standard 1920x1080 monitor, and that the high resolution will make bigger demands on your rig. Make sure your graphics card is up to the higher resolutions before investing in one of those.
- Refresh Rate. The standard refresh rate is 60 Hz, however, you might start seeing monitors with 120 Hz or even 144 Hz. These will give you a smoother experience, but will cost more.
- G-Sync. Ok, this will only matter to you if you have an Nvidia card. G-Sync is a functionality recently introduced by Nvidia, which synchronises the monitor's refresh rate to the video card's render rate. G-Sync eliminates artefacts such as horizontal tearing and screen stutter and leads to a noticeably smoother experience. On the negative side it raises the price of them monitor, and requires quite a beefy computer.
- Performance. The most important thing about any monitor is its performance, both in response time and in its ability to produce vibrant colours. How it deals with dark colours is especially important. Monitors cannot really produce true black (RGB 0), but you want them to get as close to that as possible. Many games are set in dark, sinister settings, and it is important that you can clearly see the details despite the gloomy lighting.
- Ergonomics. How much you can adjust the height, tilt, swivel and pivot of the screen is important if you want to sit comfortably in front of the monitor for hours.
- Connectivity. In addition to the standard DVI port, many monitors come with HDMI, allowing you to connect a Blu-Ray player or a satellite box to your monitor. An increasing number of screens are now coming with DisplayPort, which hasn't really taken off yet, but in the future might well replace DVI and HDMI.
- Backlighting. The newer LED backlighting technology uses less power and allows for thinner monitors than the older CCFL. The monitors below use LED.
27" Acer with Beefed up Specs
This Acer is not cheap. But it does come with pretty amazing specs; described by one reviewer as 'the first no compromises IPS display that I have seen'. Definitely something to consider if you are looking for high-end monitor.
Here's what you will be getting:
- 27" IPS screen with WQHD 2560x1440 resolution, 4x the pixel density of an HD screen.
- A blazing fast 144 Hz refresh rate
- 4 ms (gray to gray) response time. For an IPS screen this is very good, and you should be able to play without ghosting effects.
- Nvidia G-Sync technology for smooth rendering without artefacts.
These specs really cover all the bases. On the negative side input is only through the display-port port, no other inputs have been provided.
ASUS 27' LPS WQHD monitor
If your budget doesn't quite stretch to the Acer, this ASUS is weill worth considering. It is significantly cheaper than the Asus, but does match it for its specs.
- What it does have in common is that it is a 27% screen with WQHD 2560x1440 resolution.
- It does, however lack the super-fast refresh rate and cannot make use of NVidias G-SYNC facility.
- But you do get a screen with excellent colour reproduction and a very sharp picture. The response time is 5 ms (G to G), which is pretty good for an IPS screen and most people would say they would not notice the difference between this and a TN screen.
- You also get better connectivity with input options including HDMI, DisplayPort and dual-link DVI
Note that technically speaking this is an PLS (plane to line switching), but PLS is widely considered to be Samsung's version of IPS (which was developed by LG)
Dell Ultrasharp AH-IPS 24" Panel
If you are looking for something smaller (and cheaper) then the perennially popular Dell Ultra-Sharp range is definitely worth a look.
- The panel here is advanced high performance IPS (AH-IPS). Like other Ultrasharp monitors before it, it uses the 16:10 aspect ratio (resolution 1920x1200 pixels). Many users reckon that the little bit of extra vertical space you get is an advantage for games and productivity. The more typical 16:9 ratio was dictated by wanting to fit in with HDTV resolutions.
- The IPS panel is excellent and it comes factory calibrated to 99% of the sRGB spectrum with an error (delta E) less than 3%, so it works well out of the box.
- Connectivity is good with two HDMI, ports, a DisplayPort and a mini-DisplayPort. There is also a USB 3.0 port at the back.
- The standard response time is 8ms. However you can switch it to a 'fast' mode for smoother gaming.
Liquid-Crystal Monitor Technologies Compared
Cheapest. Great response times. Narrow viewing angles. Can't reproduce all the colours in the RGB spectrum.
(In Plane Switching)
Most accurate colour. Blacks less deep than with VA monitors. Tied with PLS for the best viewing angles. Slowest response time. p-IPS monitors are very expensive, e-IPS are cheaper but not as good at colour reproduction.
A Samsung version of IPS.
Better viewing angles and better colour reproduction than TN, but slower response time. The best technology for producing black colours.
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