When building your PC gaming rig, it’s rather easy to forget about the monitor. You add to cart the case, motherboard, CPU, graphics card, SSDs, fans, and all that good stuff and go, “Great! I’m only about a hundred dollars over my planned budget—that’s not too bad!” only to remember you need to something to actually display what all this hardware is generating for you. I know that is exactly what I did.
So where to start? Gaming monitors have a lot of specs to consider from their size, shape, refresh rate, resolution, and more. We’ve scoured all that is out there and put together a brief guide on what’s the strongest offerings in these different areas, according to reviews left by those who purchased them.
Best Overall Monitor: LG 27GN800-B Ultragear
This is what I use as my primary monitor. I picked up up the last time we saw it go on sale and I’ve got zero regrets. The color range is astounding compared to my old setup. It’s 27", 1440p, 144Hz, and boasts Nvidia G-Sync compatibility. I personally think a 4K monitor is unnecessary and anything higher than 144Hz is a trap. I’m not saying “the human eye can’t distinguish above blah blah blah,” but there are certainly diminishing returns above a certain level. And as far as resolution goes, we’re not dealing with a 70" TV here. 1440p is perfectly crisp at this size.
When you’re balancing these specs alongside a limited budget, you’re going to get the best bang for your buck with this LG 27GN800-B Ultragear. It retails for $400, but it’s frequently on sale for less as it is now at the time of publishing.
Best Budget Monitor: AOC G2490VX 24" Class
Let’s face it. Getting into PC gaming can be expensive, though you can still have a great time on a budget. You may be sliding the in-game graphics settings down from “Ultra Epic” but you can still play the game. This monitor is only 1080p and 24" large, but ya know what? It’s under $200 and it gets the job done dammit. It’s also 144Hz so you’ll still get a pretty decent framerate, which I’d contend is the most important spec for a gaming monitor.
Best 240Hz Monitor: Alienware 27" AW2721D
Okay, so I know what I said before about the LG Ultragear, but that’s just my opinion on price vs. specs. If your budget is less of a concern and you’re really into the esports level of competitive play then absolutely go bananas with a 240Hz refresh rate. The Alienware AW2721D is a 27" QHD monitor with, you guessed it, a 240Hz refresh rate. Games should look smooth as hell on this hardware, and with HDR support, those bright and dark spots are going to pop. It also supports Nvidia G-Sync, which is great because what’s the point of having those fast frame rates if the screen is going to tear anyway.
Best 4K Monitor: Acer Predator XB273K
If resolution is your main concern, look no further than the Acer Predator XB273K. With beautiful 4K visuals, accompanied by HDR, IPS, 144Hz, it stands at 27" across, and supports Nvidia G-Sync technology. Checking off all those boxes is hard to do without having to take out a second mortgage on your house. The Acer Predator does all of that for little over $600, making it an excellent value for what you’re getting.
Biggest Boi: Samsung Odyssey G9 | $1600
This thing is bonkers. Aside from being a wide behemoth of a display, it’s spaced out pretty well, too, as it should be at this price. It’s got a 5120 x 1440 resolution, 240Hz refresh rate, and HDR capabilities, as well as Nvidia G-Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro support. It retails for a whopping $1,600, but you can pretty often find it for a couple hundred or so less. Even still, you could build an entire proper gaming rig with that budget alone. But if money is no object, you’ll be happy to consume your desk space with this gargantuan display.