PC gamers should make sure to purchase a gaming monitor and luckily there are some inexpensive gaming monitors available for purchase.
If you are a PC gamer, the screen is an important part of the experience. PC gamers shouldn’t just go for a random monitor. Instead, it’s best to buy a gaming monitor, and luckily there are some inexpensive gaming monitors available for purchase.
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What to know before buying a gaming monitor
Gaming monitors focus on certain things that a regular monitor or TV won’t do. Here’s a quick list of the essentials you need to know when buying a gaming monitor:
Refresh rate: a higher refresh rate is preferable. Standard monitors have a refresh rate of 60 Hz. Gaming monitors have a refresh rate of 144 Hz, sometimes up to 240 Hz.
Response time: a lower response time is preferable. This is a measure of how quickly a pixel can go from black to white to black. Gaming monitors typically have response times of 5 ms (milliseconds) or less.
HDR: It’s best if a monitor has it, but it’s not a dealbreaker. HDR (High Dynamic Range) brings out the colors, but in low budget monitors it often feels oversaturated.
FreeSync vs G-Sync: FreeSync and G-Sync are technologies competing with AMD and Nvidia to improve picture quality and reduce lag. AMD supports FreeSync monitors, Nvidia supports G-Sync monitors. There are great budget graphics cards out there for playing both.
In addition to choosing a good gaming monitor, there are a few tips and tweaks you can use to optimize gaming on your Windows 10 machine. And remember that a monitor is only part of your setup.
4K monitors and size
The biggest question you need to ask yourself is about monitor size. As a general rule, “bigger is better” may work, but this is not always true. You need to calculate the distance from the monitor to where your eyes are likely to be and buy accordingly. For most people, a 24 or 27 inch gaming monitor is ideal.
It’s also hard to escape the allure of UHD or 4K gaming monitors now. If one of them fits your budget, get it. But 4K resolution is not a must have feature. Resolution doesn’t improve graphics, there are other things that matter in a monitor like the factors listed above. For example, a cheap 4K monitor with HDR still won’t give you a satisfactory experience if it has a low refresh rate and high response time.
There is a lot of debate about 4K PC gaming and scaling. The bottom line is that while it does improve the visuals, it’s not a deciding factor if the monitor doesn’t support 4K. And this is especially important for low budget gaming monitors.
We also looked at ultra-wide monitors, which aren’t always so affordable.
1. The cheapest 24 inch gaming monitor: BenQ Zowie RL2455
The most common size for desktop monitors is 24 inches. For that, a no-frills and no-frills recommendation is the BenQ Zowie RL2455 . It includes the basics with a clear and dynamic display, a response time of 1 ms and multiple ports for inputs. But BenQ’s little additions make the difference.
For example, the monitor comes with preset modes for different types of games, such as strategy games, shooters, etc. BenQ also has a smart built-in software called Black eQualizer, which makes dark areas a little brighter to see them clearly, without brightening the entire screen. Several customers and reviewers have greatly appreciated this feature.
2. The best cheap gaming monitor with IPS: ViewSonic VX2476
The BenQ Zowie has a TN panel. When you buy a gaming monitor, you will need to choose between an IPS screen or a TN screen. Generally speaking, IPS displays have better viewing angles and better colors, while TN panels have faster refresh rates and response times. But these are outdated myths on monitors.
When it comes to budget gaming monitors, an IPS display doesn’t give a lot of extra oomph. But if you still prefer it, the ViewSonic VX2476 is the inexpensive option. It is available in different sizes (22, 23, 24, 27 and 32 inches) for a fantastic price.
Buy this if watching movies is more important than playing games, but you still want a good gaming experience.
3. The best cheap gaming monitor with 144Hz refresh rate: Asus VG248QE
If your budget allows it, settle for nothing less than a monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate. It’s the most visually striking feature in modern gaming. The best inexpensive option with this feature is theAsus VG248QE .
There’s nothing special about this Asus model other than the 144Hz refresh rate. It’s just a solid device that does all the basics as perfectly as possible. Make sure you buy the 144Hz model with a TN panel, as there is also a 75Hz model with an IPS panel.
4. The best cheap gaming monitor with FreeSync: samsung 390 series
Whether it is the 24 inch version or the 27 inch version, samsung 390 series is a good choice for those who have AMD graphics cards that support FreeSync. Samsung uses a VA panel, which is a kind of compromise between IPS and TN.
5. The best budget gaming monitor with G-Sync: Dell S2417DG
Nvidia’s G-Sync works differently from AMD’s FreeSync, as it requires monitors to have a chip. This increases the price, but also improves the quality. And if you have an Nvidia card, the much appreciated Dell S2417 is the solution.
Even with a TN panel, the colors stand out as on an IPS panel. It has a 165Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time. You even get a higher resolution at 2560 × 1440 pixels.
Almost everyone agrees that this is the best budget gaming monitor out there today. It’s so good that you should buy it even if you have an AMD graphics card and won’t get FreeSync.
You can also get a 27 inch version of this Dell model which has all of the same features.
6. The best gaming monitor curved cheap with HDR: BenQ EX3203R
For most budget gamers, the Dell S2417DG should be the most they spend on a monitor. But in case you want a little more oomph, take a look at the BenQ EX3203R.
It’s a curved gaming monitor that supports HDR, along with FreeSync. The resolution is again 2560 × 1440 pixels, which is sufficient for a gaming monitor when the rest of the picture quality is so good. Forget about 4K.
Of course, you get a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time at this price. This model also comes with a USB-C port, which you don’t often see on monitors. We were very impressed with our review of the BenQ EX3203R.
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What about 4K gaming monitors?
As you’ve probably noticed, this listing doesn’t include a single monitor with 4K resolution. This is because when you buy a cheap gaming monitor, other factors (panel quality, image processor, etc.) matter more than resolution.
But if you want a 4K monitor despite that, there are a few options. Remember to stick with gaming monitors that offer 4K, rather than a random 4K monitor. You can also consider purchasing a gaming projector as another option.