We have finally reached a point where games and movies are coming out in 4K resolution, looking better than we ever thought possible. Now, 4K requires several components to work properly, including a powerful CPU, a GPU or two that are ready for the graphics upgrade, the right connections to your gaming rig…and of course a high-resolution computer monitor. We’d like to help out with all this stuff, but for now let’s focus on the most important piece – the monitor. Having trouble picking out your favorite? Allow us to introduce the best gaming monitors of 2017 – and why you should think about buying one.
A note about 4K and monitors: We hate to make things more complicated for you, but it’s important to discuss aspect ratio and 4K. The term “4K” refers resolution that has four times more pixels than previous HD. That’s a very specific amount of pixels, but when looking at monitor screens you are likely to see a lot of different numbers when it comes to horizontal resolution. This is because monitors have different sizes and aspect ratios for different purposes, so pixel numbers have to be adjusted accordingly: This is also why it’s handy to have the term “ultra HD” which can describe screens that have higher resolution than 1080p but aren’t technically 4K. The bottom line here is to look at the vertical resolution number (the second number) – if it’s “1440” then your monitor is ultra HD and you’ll get all the resolution benefits.
At 34 inches, this screen is big enough to take advantage of ultra HD technology (3440 x 1440 pixels), but still small enough to fit on most desks, so you don’t need to worry about expanding your gaming area. Notably, the Predator comes at a natural 60Hz but can be overclocked even higher if you prefer smoother-than-smooth action on your games (the effects on your movies may be less desirable).
Ports include both a Display Port and an HDMI 1.4 port. The generation of HDMI connection is actually very important here, because earlier versions of HDMI cannot handle 4K content. HDMI 2.0 is preferably, but 1.4 is also compatible with 4K. Don’t get a monitor or other device that doesn’t have the right connections for your resolution!
As you can tell at a glance, this screen is curved. We’re not big fans of curved TV screens, because they take up more room and don’t really add any benefits – in fact, they decrease your viewing angle significantly without giving anything in return. However, in this case a curved monitor, especially one this wide, may have its uses. First, there aren’t likely to be many people crowded around the monitor so the viewing angle isn’t as important. Second, that curve saves some valuable width when setting this monitor up.
It’s also worth mentioning that Acer’s Predator line includes a number of towers and monitors that do a very good job of staying on the cutting edge of gaming tech, so take a look at more of the Predator brand if this has you curious.
This Asus model is a bit smaller – we don’t suggest going much lower than 27 inches, because at that point it will be difficult to see any different between 1080p and 4K. The resolution on this model is 2560 x 1440, and instead of being curved the screen actually has a focus on wide viewing angles, so it can easily double as a TV in smaller spaces. Asus has also included a couple filters to reduce eye fatigue for long playing sessions, as well as a 144Hz refresh rate to keep games smooth from beginning to end.
Not only is this monitor significantly less expensive than our Predator pick, but it also has a lot of installation versatility. We know that base looks a bit unwieldy, but it’s large because you can tilt, swivel, pivot, adjust the height, or mount the monitor to the wall as you please. Such flexibility is valuable.
With an even lower price tag, this ultra HD monitor is one of the most affordable you can find. However, dropping the price this low leaves the monitor without many extra features. It does, however, include color preference settings and a 144HZ refresh rate, as well as an external controls to switch between screen presets. There are two USB ports and options for both HDMI and Display Port technology. Like our Asus pick, this model is also very flexible in terms of placement and screen adjustments.
An important note about this monitor – it does support NVidia graphics cards, but it does not support G-Sync. Instead, it favors VESA Adaptative-Sync for Freesync AMD and Radeon cards.