Best Monitor Panel for Gaming – VA vs IPS vs TN

The BenQ XL series is a great choice for a decently priced competitive monitor. Most of our CS:GO pros use them.

The BenQ XL series is a great choice for a decently priced competitive monitor. Most of our CS:GO pros use them.

Whether you love playing CS:GO, Overwatch, League of Legends, Dota or other games – you are are staring at a screen for hours everyday. So it’s reasonable that you want to pick the best monitor for your gaming needs. Now, most monitors differ by resolution, refresh rate, response time, color reproduction, contrast ratio etc. But which of these aspects are really important for competitive performance? For most of these aspects the monitor panel is the deciding factor. So what is the best monitor panel for gaming?

Let’s start explaining some of the technical stuff first. Flat panel displays are viewing technologies that are used to display videos or images on a screen. These are usually multi-layered glass panels that are placed in front of a back light to illuminate what you see.

Most of you might have heard of LCDs (or Liquid-crystal displays) before. We don’t want to bore you with the complicated details but in summary the pixels are turned on or off by sending tiny amounts of power through electrodes to turn liquid crystals just the right direction to produce the color you want. LCD is the most common use of flat panel displays on the market right now and most LCD panels fall into three categories. Most of these differ on how the liquid crystals are aligned or rearranged to produce each individual pixel and each of these have their general pros and cons.

What is the best monitor panel for gaming?

So let’s have a look which panel type might be the best for PC and competitive gaming. There are two things we need for the best monitor panel for gaming: It needs to provide us with a 144HZ refresh rate, and needs the lowest response time possible. While color, contrast ratios and viewing angles are important, we think that most gamers won’t notice the slight imperfections in color on a regulars basis. We also sit right on front of the screen, so viewing angles are less important too. Contrast ratio can be significant because we need to spot enemies in different terrain but are less important than the refresh rate and response time. In summary: The refresh rate and response time have a higher impact on your competitive performance – so that is what we focus on.

TN vs VA vs IPS panels

For starters, these explanations are generalizations. Panel technologies have evolved leaps and bounds over the last couple of years so please have a look at each individual monitor before you make your choice. Let’s have a look at the three most commons types:

TN – or Twisted nematic panels – are probably the most common monitor panels on the market. They are produced cheaply and provide response times or response time in the single digit range – great for gaming. The contrast, colors and viewing angles however, can range from mediocre to bad. As a personal opinion: These monitors are a decent choice for anyone that doesn’t want to compromise on response time and needs a competitive monitor with a high refresh rate. Just don’t do graphic design work on these.

VA – or Vertical Alignment panels – in general provide better colors and viewing angles than their TN counterparts. VA panel monitors are a decent in-between if you want your color to be mostly on point. On average these monitors are slightly more expensive than TN panel monitors.

IPS – or In-plane switching –
are sort of the opposite of the aforementioned TN panels. They are built to provide the best viewing angles, contrast and color. These are often used for their viewing angles in expensive tablets or phones. You can also find these panels in monitors for professionals in graphics design. They can also be quite expensive and don’t support the highest refresh rates. So we don’t consider these to be monitor panels for gaming.

In summary, you need a 144HZ monitor with the lowest response time possible. Currently, this combination is present in TN and some VA and IPS panels. At the end of the day you have to decide on a particular monitor that fits your needs.

We have prepared a short list of the monitors in use by CS:GO professional gamers. Feel free to have a look at each specific option and decide for yourself – the best monitor panel for gaming is a very personal choice. The panel types might have limitations in principle but the technology has evolved so much that most of these options are a great choice for competitive gaming.

Thank you for reading.

NamePanelSizeResponse timeRefresh rateResolution
AOC G2460PQUTN24"1ms1441920x1080
ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278QTN 27"1ms1442560 x 1440
ASUS VG248QETN24"1ms1441920x1080
BenQ XL2410TTN24"2ms1441920x1080
BenQ XL2411TTN24"1ms1441920x1080
BenQ XL2411ZTN24"1ms1441920x1080
BenQ XL2420TTN24"2ms1441920x1080
BenQ XL2420ZTN24"1ms1441920x1080
BenQ XL2430TTN24"1ms1441920x1080
BenQ XL2540TTN24.5"1ms2401920x1080
ViewSonic XG2401TN24"1ms1441920x1080

Kai

My mom said my eyes would turn into rectangles from playing too much PC. Joke's on her though, they are in glorious 16:9 now.

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