• Most monitors use TN panels which exhibit “smoother” movement (120+hz), while premium IPS panels show more accurate colors, better viewing angles, and higher-than-1080p resolutions with the drawback of less smooth movement (most are 60hz and have slightly more ms latency, except some are 120hz via nVidia G-Sync or AMD Freesync or Overclocking). 120hz is worth it, especially for gaming, but demands top-of-the-line video card(s) for matching fps (frames per second) with the hz (ie 120fps for 120hz) and for high resolution or multiple monitors.
• Glossy is usually preferred to matte AG coating (Anti-Glare) for color purity reasons.
• Some monitor models (especially “A-” rated panels instead of “A”) may generally have issues ie dead pixels or backlight unevenness and need replacement until finding a good specimen.
• Regarding Size/Multiple Monitors: 23″-24″ is better for competitive gaming (speed/awareness), but multiple or larger (27″+) is better for immersive experience. Subjective whether one large monitor is better (no gaps/frames between images) than a triple monitor set up (larger screen real estate and better distinct multitasking).
• For people who find themselves getting headaches and/or blurry vision when using computer screens, go for an No-PWM (Flicker-Free) and Ultra-low Blue light option
Best Budget 1080p Monitor (~$200 23″ or 27″)
Asus VH238H 23 inch 2ms $130 [Amazon], Adds LED backlight onto VH236H, overall better response time and color contrast than VH242H and better stand than the VS238H. Get the VH242H for VESA mounts, VH238H has more vibrant colors but requires more calibration to fix reds and to try to remove blueish tone. Deeper blacks and brighter whites, but lose some detail in the blacks.
ASUS VS239H-P 23-Inch Full-HD LED IPS $126 [Amazon], which gains IPS but trades-off both the VH238H’s 120hz and better input lag.
Budget FPS/Competitive Gaming Monitor – 1080p TN panel ($400 24″)
Note: I do not believe the 24″ Segment is a good value. ~$150 extra for only one inch over the 23″, ie the Asus PA248Q 24″ IPS $320, when you can get higher resolution (IPS 2560×1440) at similar price. However, if you don’t want to upgrade your video card to the higher resolution but want a slightly bigger monitor or would like the absolute best for competitive gaming (the smaller 23-24″ screens are better for gaming and lower resolution means performance won’t be an issue). 1080p 27-inch (even though some listed in this section) are NOT recommended (they stretch the lower resolution over a bigger area). They’re decent but you can notice sub-pixels while scrolling (even if you sit farther back) and aliasing is much more noticeable in games.
Don’t get – 27″ 1080p (low ppi aka pixels are too spread out due to low resolution per big size) such as: AOC e2752She $205, BenQ GL Series GL2760H or GW2760HS $218, Acer G276HL $220, BenQ XL2720Z $420 (27 inch version of XL2420Z)
Best 3D-Gaming Monitor ($400 27″)
Note: Only some monitors are Active 3D-Ready, and you must match graphics card brand to the monitor’s 3D-Ready-Brand (ie GTX770 to a nVidia 3D Vision monitor, or 7970 to a AMD HD3D Monitor). nVidia has better 3D (3D Vision) versus AMD’s HD3D (way more games that are 3D Vision capable due to a bigger mod community that mods games to be compatible). Active 3D (the monitor is made for Active 3D and you have the Active 3D Kit ie battery-powered glasses) is always better than passive 3D. It might be a good idea to have 2 strong graphics cards, as 3D halves the hertz (120hz to 60hz), but can always try with one first. Use displayport or DVI-D, (as the most advanced HDMI, 1.4a, can only output 1080p at 24 fps to each eye in 3D or 60 fps to each at 720p). HDMI 2.0 is not released yet.
Again, do not recommend 1080p over 27 inches in general.
Best Gaming and Size for Immersion – High Res IPS 2560×1440 & 120+hz (27″-30″ $400)
Has both the pluses of IPS (beautiful colors), high resolution, size AND 120hz (through Overclocking or G-Sync or FreeSync). The G-Sync and FreeSync ones are also strobing for reduced motion blur. These traits make these amazing for both solo and competitive gaming.
Best Value 60hz:
QNIX QX2710 Evolution ll LED 2560×1440 QHD PLS $200 [eBay] or Yamakasi Catleap Q270 $300 [best retailer “green-sum” on Ebay, direct monitor link, other retailer Ebay].
Yamakasi Catleap Q270 120hz 2B Extreme OC (1 yr warranty, A- panel, 120hz projected, 100hz min.) $500 from (sold out currently) [eBay direct monitor link], Read about it on [120hz.net].
Get a perfect pixel so no dead pixels or uneven backlighting.
Good brand – Asus MX27AQ IPS 2560×1440 $430 [Amazon] Flicker-free and Ultra-low Blue Light, is the updated version of PB278Q 27-Inch WQHD LED-lit Super-IPS (it is PLS but colors are as good as or better than most IPS monitors), lower lag than the IPS Dells. Would get over the BenQ GW Series GW2765HT
Most Recommended for Gaming / Big Brand Name:
With these monitors at 144hz and G-Sync/FreeSync and IPS, they are the better for gaming than the 120hz Yamakasi Catleap Extreme OC which are now $500.
Asus ROG Swift PG279Q $800 144hz IPS, nVidia G-Sync if you have an nVidia gpu [Amazon] (Nvidia 3D capable if you buy the optional kit). Would get Asus over the worse brand $720 Acer Predator XB271HU
Asus MG279Q $655 144hz, AMD FreeSync if you have an AMD gpu [Amazon], Flicker-free and Ultra-low Blue Light, better than the BenQ XL2730Z 27″ 144hz LED-Lit (AMD FreeSync) $510 (exact same except Asus is more expensive and IPS, but the IPS is worth it).
30″ IPS (2560×1600):
Cheap: Yamakasi 301 Sparta 30″ LCD S-IPS 2560×1600 Perfect Pixel $400 [Amazon, eBay]
High Quality 30″ IPS: Dell U3017 LED IPS 30″ 2560×1600 $930 [Amazon]. Great (colors, size) 60hz, however 60hz and expensive at ~$1160. The light AG coating is a huge improvement from before (the heavy AG of the U3011). Input lag also seems to have an improvement over the Dell U3011, even better input lag than the ZR30W [Amazon] (when the U3014 is in “game mode”, worse when U3014 is in normal mode). (3 year warranty as opposed to the 1 year warranty of most monitors)
34″ IPS (3440×1440):
ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q 3440×1440 G-Sync $906 [Amazon] – I would not normally recommend this size (i.e. same as LG 34UM95-P $930) as the ultraWide aspect ratio is only good for movies and some games, not tv shows. Has same height as 27″. However this model is 120hz, so for those who want the size and immersiveness WITH competitive gaming, this might be your best bet.
Dell Alienware 1900R AW3418DW 34.1″, Curved Gaming Monitor LED-Lit, WQHD 3440 x 1440p Resolution, 4ms 120Hz Overclocked Refresh Rate, NVIDIA G-Sync $900 [Amazon]
Would not get: 27″ or 28″ 4K like the Asus PB279Q or AOC U2868PQU. Discontinued – Monoprice WQXGA 30″ 2560×1600 IPS Pro LCD $700
Best High-End TV for Monitor Usage – Immersion & Productivity (40+ inch 4K)
These bigger TVs are for heavy PC users, as they can be twice the price as the above monitors, but great for media, productivity or immersive solo gaming ie RPGs (large and only 60hz are a detriment to competitive gaming ie FPS / RTS / MOBA). If your primary media / entertainment room is small, this could even double as your main TV. Higher refresh rate (hz) would make these better for competitive gaming (though still large). On the plus side, these have great aspect ratios and lately have low input lag even while being 60hz (but will still have slightly more “blurry” movement than 120hz).
Best 4K 40″+ TV (4K is 3840×2160): If you’re spending over $1k, might be a better idea instead to purchase a solid quality TV. These are incredible immersion and productivity. Must choose IPS (better viewing angles and colors and contrast than VA panels) and flicker free (currently Sony LEDs and LG OLEDs only). Note: All 4K TVs max out at 120hz for 1080p and 60hz for 4K, not the highest refresh rate for gaming at 4K but they still have low input lag (near 0 for OLEDs).
43″: Sony XBR43X830C $667 Amazon
55″: This is the maximum size one should use for a monitor. The biggest monitors sold are 55″.Sony XBR55X850D $1100 Amazon
OLED55B6P $2000 Amazon. OLED might not be the best idea as there are issues with temporary image retention (image burn-in). For frequent users, You must run the TV’s programs for fixing this issue.
Holy Grail Monitor or Best Stand for Triple Monitor Gaming or Office Use
Holy Grail Monitor: Dell Ultra Sharp 49″ Screen Led-Lit Monitor Black $1800 [Amazon]. This is a 49-inch monstrosity with an equally monstrous resolution – 5120×1440 pixels. 1080p might be too little to have at this height, such as with the 49″ Viotek SUW49C which one can find at $900 (and has gone on sale for $700).
Depending on your video card, triple monitor gaming tech is either AMD Eyefinity (requires one monitor on or with adapter to displayport) or nVidia Surround (requires triple DVI or triple displayport). Monitors can be connected through displayport to each other or each to the video card if the card has all 3 connections (ie HDMI, DVI, and displayport). See Budget Monitors at the top.
Best Triple Desk Stand (without Telescopic Arms, up to 27″ monitors): Ergotech Triple Horizontal LCD Monitor Arm Desk Stand $160 [Amazon] (better known in Financial Industry)
Best Triple Desk Stand (with Telescopic Arms, up to 27″ monitors): Ergotech Triple Desk Stand with Telescopic Wings $210 [Amazon] (better known in Financial Industry)
Substitute: Ergotron Triple Display Stand $280 [Amazon] (known in Health Industry, the Ergotech is cheaper and has easier set-up and more expandable)
Best Monitor Accessories
Ambient Lighting (not sure if this is necessary for helping your eyes) – Adifruit Adilight DIY Ambient Lighting Kit $50 OR antumbra Ambient Backlight $35 OR Lightpack on eBay
F.Lux free blue light software @Justgetflux
NOTE: You will need to calibrate the colors for IPS screens. The expensive Dell U3011 and U2711 or Samsung Monitors have very bad lag for gaming, because they preprocess the colors. But the colors are definitely the best out of the box (less need to calibrate).
Upcoming Technology: LED monitor panels. Currently there are some out there, such as in the Dell U3014, but they have yet to get out to other brands/models.
Digimate is also coming out with 27″ 1440p and 30″ 1600p IPS panels.
Sources: Forums at Overclock.net, Tomshardware.com
Recommended GPU: See Best GPUs
Note: If you’re going higher resolution, ie QHD 2560×1440, especially if it’s a G-Sync or overclocking monitor, you cannot skimp on the graphics card, as you need to match the 120hz on the monitor with 120 fps from the gpu. Don’t get AMD as they tend to be slightly worse performance and more micro-stuttering in SLI / Crossfire / multiple cards).
Went out of business: Overlord Tempest X270OC – 27 inch IPS 120hz (overclocked PCB) “A” grade panel $450
Note: For less on-screen lag, choose a monitor with less inputs (only one dvi-d, no hdmi, etc.).