As part of our continued discussion on what kind of gear you need to successfully start streaming along with what features to look for and your best options, we’re turning the focus toward recommended monitors. Obviously, having a monitor is essential, but when you start comparing features, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest tech which may not be optimal for creating a great stream. To help you choose what features to look for, we’re doing a deep dive into gaming monitors.
Gaming Monitor Size & Resolution
One of the first things most people look for in a monitor used for streaming is the size and resolution, so we’re going to tackle those first.
Most monitors range between 22 inches and 32 inches. Unlike when you’re watching movies or a tv show, size isn’t as important when gaming. You’ll most likely be no more than four feet away from the screen, and you need to quickly be able to take in the entire screen.
Best option: 24-27 inches
Monitor resolution is the maximum amount of pixels that can be displayed on your screen, with the higher pixel count providing improved detail and clarity. The most common resolutions for streaming monitors are:
- 1080p – Full High Definition (HD)
- 1440p – Quad High Definition (QHD)
- 2160p – Ultra High Definition (UHD) or 4K
- 4320p – 8K (More commonly seen in televisions, but beginning to be seen in monitors)
While it’s true that a 4k monitor will look better than a standard HD monitor, your monitor is limited by your hardware. Most standard gaming setups can handle 30 frames per second at QHD. However, only a more powerful GPU will get 4k resolution and hit 30 frames per second (fps) and maybe hit 60 fps.
Best option: Depends on if you want a higher performance or higher quality visuals – get what your GPU can handle, though err on the side of a higher resolution that will stay relevant for longer.
Your aspect ratio refers to the proportional relationship between the image’s height and width. Gaming monitors generally have a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, though the 21:9 ultra-wide is now available.
While the 21:9 can produce an amazing image, your software has to support that width. For example, most FPSs won’t support a field that wide, creating a stretched or distorted image. Additionally, this width is considered an illegal advantage in competitive gaming.
Best option: Get a streaming monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Gaming Monitor Speed and Performance
While your image quality is probably your highest priority, you also need a monitor that has the speed and performance to keep up with new games. Consider these features when it comes to what will give you the best performance for your needs.
Monitors have one of three types of panels installed:
- TN (twisted nematic): Great for a fast response and also generally lower in price.
- IPS (in-plane switching): Crisp images with sharp detail that is great for editing and content creation, these are much more expensive and have latency and lag issues.
- VA (vertical alignment): Great contrast and image depth, but the longest response time.
Best option: Most streamers and gamers choose the TN panel for that faster response time.
The number of times per second a screen updates or refreshes the displayed image is called the refresh rate. The refresh rate also sets your streaming monitor’s fps. The refresh rate is measured in Hertz (Hz) and come in the following amounts:
- 60 Hz
- 75 Hz
- 144 Hz
- 240 Hz
The higher your refresh rate, the higher the performance, in theory. However, like the resolution rate, your gaming monitor will perform with your GPU. If you have a mid-range GPU, you probably wouldn’t benefit from 240 Hz.
Best option: Like resolution, factor your GPU into the equation. Professional streamers with a high-end set up would be better off choosing a 240 Hz rather than someone just starting out.
While most monitors come with a VGA cable, it’s safe to say you won’t use it unless you’re playing a legacy console. Otherwise, the most common inputs are:
- HDMI: Generally the standard, especially when watching movies or connecting a monitor to a Blu-Ray player
- DVI: Digital Visual Interface which is a bit older but often works well for bypassing HDCP to allow streaming. It is slower than HDMI and requires a separate audio cable.
- DisplayPort: Best quality, more power, and supports both AMD Free Sync and NVIDIA GSync. It can also drive multiple monitors.
Best option: Make sure you buy a monitor with a DisplayPort for the best possible connection.
Best Gaming Monitors for Streaming
While this should give you plenty of information to begin shopping for a streaming monitor, we also wanted to share a few recommended monitors.
Asus VG 245H
This 24-inch, 1080p gaming monitor offers a flicker-free experience to reduce eye fatigue and a 75 Hz refresh rate for a tear-free experience, especially when paired with an AMD Radeon GPU. With a TN panel, it offers a fast response that is great for streaming. With a price tag under $200, this is a solid choice for streamers on a budget.
The 27-inch, QHD Samsung C27JG56 offers a beautifully detailed image on its curved screen. This VA panel option has a 144 Hz refresh rate, Displayport cable input, and Freesync to work with Nvidia cards.
Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ
If you want a beautiful display and you have a powerful PC to pair it with, consider making the investment in the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ. This 4K monitor has a 27-inch screen, HDR 10 support and DCI-P3 color gamut for vibrant, vivid colors. With a refresh rate of 144 Hz and G-Sync technology, you’ll experience smooth gameplay, and while IPS panels tend to lag, this monitor seems to be the exception.
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