Your gaming monitor is one of the most important parts of the gaming PC setup. It is what you are looking at 100% of the time when you are gaming, it is what your GPU is connected to and project the gaming experience.
There are 3 main decisions you need to make when selecting a PC Gaming Monitor. And each of the decisions have an effect on your GPU Graphics card.
Gaming Monitor Refresh Rate
The decision about the refresh rate will have the biggest impact on your GPU and on your wallet, but not necessarily on your gaming experience.
Standard PC Monitors have a refresh rate of 60hz. That means that the monitor updates what it shows 60 times per second. That also means that your graphics card needs to send information to your screen 60 times per second 60hz is the default and most common refresh rate and is all that you need for casual gaming. It is the cheapest option, and you don’t need high-end GPU to play games at 60hz.
There are some screens with refresh rates between 60hz and 120hz, however the next most popular option for gaming monitors is 144hz refresh rate. When the monitor achieves 144hz refresh rate, it means it refreshes the information on the screen 144 times per second. So more than twice as many times as with 60hz. And so logically, your GPU has to work twice as much as if you were using just 60hz gaming monitor. So for 144hz, you need usually higher-end GPU. However this requirement depends also on your screen resolution and the game you are playing.
The last major threshold is 240hz and this is really the highest you will see at this moment on the market. Usually used by pro players. The 240hz monitors currently come only in the 1080p resolution, and honestly even if they came in 1440p, there probably isn’t Graphics cards on the market which could handle such a performance.
Gaming Monitor Resolution
In simple words, the resolution means how many pixels your screen shows. And the more pixels, the better image quality. So for example if you see a resolution 1080p or 1920 x 1080, it means that horizontally the gaming monitor has 1920 pixels, and vertically it has 1080 pixels.
If you multiply these 2 numbers, you get to over 2 millions pixels total, which is how many pixels your graphics card must show. So if you have 60hz monitor with 1080p resolution, you graphics card must process 2M pixels, 60 times per second
The second most popular monitor resolution is 1440p, or 2560 x 1440 pixels also called WQHD. Gaming monitors with this resolution have over 3,600,000 pixels, so over 3.6 millions of pixels. At 60hz, your GPU needs to process these 60 times per second, which is much more work for the graphics card then processing 2 millions pixels in the 1080p resolution. That means that for 1440p resolution gaming monitor you need better graphics card than for 1080p, and even better one if you plan to play 144hz.
The latest trend in TVs and monitors are screens with 4k resolution. 4k referes to screens with 3840 x 2160 pixels, so by multiplying these numbers we get 8,300,000 pixels. This is 4 times more than 1080p resolutions. To play games in 4k resolution smoothly (at least 60 fps), you need really high-end GPU, and even then you might not be able to play on Ultra details all of the newest games, since 4k is really demanding resolution.
Gaming Monitor Size
Computer monitors come in many sizes, listed in inches. The size is usually somewhere between 17” and 42”. The most common sizes are 24”, 27” and 32”.
It is important to note that the size of the monitor does not influence the GPU performance and needs. It’s the combination of resolution and refresh rate that influences that. You can have for example 24” monitor with 1080p resolution, but also 32” monitor with 1080p resolution. Both of these monitors will need the same performance coming from the graphics card. However the picture on the 32” will be more pixelated.
Freesync vs G-sync
Both Freesync and G-sync are technologies on gaming monitors which provide adaptive synchronization on screens with dynamic refresh rates. What it really means is that these technologies reduce or completely remove screen stuttering and tearing which often happens in the high refresh rate monitors, and generally these technologies make the gaming experience smoother.
FreeSync technology was developed by AMD and until recently, monitor with FreeSync had to be paired with AMD GPU in order to enjoy the benefits of FreeSync. The advantage of AMD monitors is that they are significantly cheaper than G-Sync monitors.
G-Sync on the other hand has been developed by NVIDIA, and so G-Sync monitors have to be paired with Nvidia Graphics card. Recently however Nvidia allowed some Freesync monitors to fully use their adaptive synchronization using Nvidia Graphics cards.