Best 3D Gaming Monitors for Your PC or Console in 2014
If you're like me, then you want every advantage on the Battlefield you can get. We all get the best machine we can build along with a good FPS gaming mouse and keyboard to challenge our friends and rivals. Lately there's been a trend for gamers to upgrade their monitors to new LED models which have 120Hz to 144Hz refresh rates.
If you've been around a while you may remember these types of refresh rates on older CRT monitors. These monitors were desirable up until recently because of their low input lag and of course, refresh rates.
In this post I'll take you through a few of the more popular 120Hz monitors for gaming in 2013 and give you an idea of which ones I think are the best.
60Hz Vs. 120 Hz and the Advantage of Having More than 60 FPS:
Before I give you my monitor picks I wanted to go over some of the advantages of having a 120 Hz refresh rate monitor vs. a 60 Hz monitor and whether this even matters if you're not getting more than 60 FPS or frames per second.
Your monitor's refresh rate is basically the amount of times per second that an image is displayed on your monitor. For 120 Hz a monitor basically can display an image up to 120 times per second.
Separate from refresh rate is your computer's FPS or frames per second. This generally represents the amount of times per second that your system can handle displaying the frame. So, if your computer can't do more than 60 FPS, why bother with a 120Hz monitor?
While you can't see more than 60 frames per second there are still a few advantages to pushing your computer to having more frames even without a 120Hz monitor. The main benefit is a decrease in latency and an animation feel which is smoother overall.
That being said if you have a 120 Hz refresh rate monitor, then not only do you benefit from the decrease in latency, the additional frames, up to 120, are displayed as well. With how much 120Hz monitors have come down in the last year, it seems well worth it to look into upgrading your visuals.
5 Top Rated 120 Hz or Greater PC Gaming Monitors
1. Asus VG248QE
If I was asked to give just one gaming monitor that I thought was the best that came out in 2013, it would be the Asus VG248QE. Asus is not only known for putting out some great gaming monitors, it also gives them to us at cheap prices without reducing quality.
The takes having a refresh rate to the next level by offering up to a 144Hz refresh rate. This monitor reminds me of the CRTs of old but with a much better picture. Asus VG248QE
As if the high refresh rate weren't enough, Asus also had the intelligence to not skimp on this monitor's panel and response time. As such it has a super low input lag at 1.2ms while @144z and a 1ms response time from gray to gray.
If you want to run this monitor in 3D, then you'll need to get a 3D vision kit. Because so many gamers want this monitor for reasons other than 3D, it was really smart of Asus to keep costs down and allow us to decide whether 3D gaming matters.
Lightboost hack For the Asus VG248QE 144Hz Refresh Rate Monitor:
Lightboost is good at eliminating motion blur, but if you want to use it you'll have to do it manually. This has received quite a bit of media coverage as many people find it desirable. If this is something you want to do or learn about you can find various methods of doing that here.
As far as value goes this is it, in my opinion. With the option for a G-sync upgrade in the future you'll also know you're staying with current trends over the next couple of years.
My Review of the Best Gaming Monitors on YouTube
2. BenQ XL2420T and TX Professional Gaming Monitors
Another really solid 120Hz monitor is the BenQ XL2420T. BenQ uses professional gamers to design its monitors and as such comes up with some really unique ideas when it comes to preset modes and monitor optimization.
For example the specially designed S switch allows you to switch between 3 different monitor presets. This is great for changing your monitor's settings based upon the specific game you're playing. Also, options like Black eQualizer make it easier to see the enemy in dark areas.
Specifications for this monitor can be a little bit misleading because they've changed since initial release. On its website the XL2420T is listed as having a 1ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate, while on Amazon and Newegg it's listed as a 2ms response time and up to 120Hz refresh rate. It also has an input lag of under one half of one frame at 7.9ms.
Either way these specifications are not a big deal because first of all you probably won't be playing at above 120 frames, and second of all, won't notice the response time or refresh rate differential if you do.
This is a great monitor if you're willing to spend a little bit more for the features which it offers over the Asus model I highlighted above. Is it worth around $100? It really depends on your personal preference.
A Good 120Hz 27" Gaming Monitor
3. BenQ XL2720T
If 24" is just too small for your rig, then consider the BenQ XL2720T which was recently showcased at the IEM World Championship. It's similar to the 24" XL2420T in that it has the black equalizer mode, 1ms response time, and NVIDIA 3D Vision 2.
With a 120Hz refresh rate and impressive responsiveness it's my monitor of choice in the 27" 120Hz refresh rate category.
4. Asus VG278H
Another good 27" 120hz monitor to consider is the Asus VG278H. I like its picture better overall than the BenQ model, but overall it doesn't seem quite as responsive.
5. Samsung 700 S23A700D
I couldn't end this post without including the S23A700D. This isn't really the kind of monitor you buy for 3D as it uses Tri-Def rather than NVIDIA 3D Vision 2. That being said I feel like the image quality on it is better overall than most of the monitors listed above. It's responsive with a 2ms response time and a 10 to 11ms input lag and of course, has a 120Hz refresh rate for more crisp motion and less tearing in-game.
Final Impression and Summary
Gaming at a 120Hz refresh rate is best when you play at an FPS of above 60. Visually you'll notice the difference at up to 90FPS while decreases in lag should be noticeable beyond this. I think gamers and manufacturers will continue to produce more 120 Hz or better monitors as they realize the appeal and advantage that this gives the user. What's your favorite 120 Hz monitor? Let us know in the discussion area below.
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© 2013 Brandon Hart