Gaming monitors really set themselves apart from the rest with high refresh rates, this simply means they can update the image shown on screen at a higher rate, with 75Hz being able to update the image on screen 75 times per second, 144Hz being able to update it 144 times per second, 240Hz being 240 and so on.
To find the best gaming monitor for you we first need to find out the framerates (FPS) your PC can play the game you are wanting to play at, and what in-game settings you'll be using to achieve this.
By this I mean the settings used will vary from config to config, game to game - to keep things really easy we'll use a nice entry-level config (GTX 1050 + Ryzen CPU) for some quick tests, playing some Fortnite and CSGO then choosing a monitor based on the performance in each game :)
Before we get stuck in though, in order to see our FPS we are going to need to turn on an FPS counter for our PC, there are a lot of options here and below are the most popular.
Free Software for Showing FPS (Frames-Per-Second)
Windows 10 Gamebar: Excellent, easy to use, and already a part of Windows 10. You can activate the overlay by pressing Windows Key + G. Activate the FPS counter by clicking the feature in the performance block.
Shadowplay Nvidia FPS Counter: If you've got a Nvidia Graphics Card you can turn this one on inside Nvidia Experience. Our Nvidia GTX and RTX Gaming PC come with this one pre-installed, you'll find the option within ShadowPlay Preferences Tab, select a position for the counter and it will appear there when you play games.
Fraps: Easy to install and works with most games - a bright yellow FPS counter will appear top left by default. You can download Fraps here.
Steam FPS Counter: As you'd expect this works with most games on steam. You'll find this one in steam settings, within the in-game options (a little tick box)
Afterburner with Riva Tuner: Can display FPS but also a bunch of other stats if you want, an advanced option worthy of an article all to itself. When you download this from the official MSi website, it will include Reva Tuner.
In-game FPS counters: Sometimes a game will block the FPS counters above, in this case, search the in-game settings for an option to show FPS.
How to configure games settings for FPS
OK so now our little FPS counter is up, we need to unlock the performance of our Gaming PC for the tests - In order to reach our highest FPS in-game, while using a normal monitor, we first have to turn off any frame limiters or 'sync' options within the settings, such as V-Sync. Shown below in the settings for both Fortnite and CS:GO they use different wording but it's the same thing.
Now that everything is ready to go with nothing holding it back the best way to start is to drop all settings apart from Display Resolution and 3D Resolution, to the lowest levels to get your baseline number - this is pretty much the max performance of your PC in the game.
From here we start turning the settings up slowly, playing the game and getting into the biggest fights we can to really push things, while being able to see if our FPS drops below our FPS target.
Now this is where things get interesting - Looking specifically at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, playing with our GGPC Hero GTX 1050 + Ryzen 2200G + 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 config lets us go all the way to around 144FPS on max settings, so for this game I can happily buy a fast gaming monitor and enjoy it to its fullest.
**PLEASE NOTE: You may need to go full screen and turn the YouTube quality settings up to max to see the counter clearly in the videos below**
If my game of choice was Fortnite though, a very different settings configuration is used so I can hit the graphics quality I want, while going for my higher frame rate. In the example below we again use the GGPC Hero GTX 1050 + Ryzen 2200G + 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 config but hit our perfect mix at around 75FPS - while it's true I could lower the settings to achieve a higher frame rate I don't like the way it looks without high antialiasing and epic textures. This is, of course, personal choice and you can configure your settings as you like when testing to see the FPS limits in your favourite games.
With these settings, the perfect Gaming Monitor for me to play Fortnite on is going to be a 60-75Hz model.
OK, so that's pretty much that! It can vary a lot from game to game, Overwatch calls the "3D Resolution" setting mentioned above "Render Scale", Battlefield calls it "Resolution Scale" and you're bound to find a bunch of other names for the same settings in different games. Also be wary of gaming monitors that have higher resolutions, the new 144Hz 4K Asus Monitor, for instance, would require a whole different set of settings and hardware to achieve the target!
Also, just because a monitor CAN do 144Hz doesn't mean you have to, if you have a game like Skyrim which prefers 60FPS gameplay it's still going to run just fine on your new super-fast monitor :)
OK, so now you know the limits of your system it's time to start shopping for that new Gaming Monitor! Based on the information you now have we can use filters on the PB Tech website to narrow the range down to the ones that are perfect for you and your Gaming PC.
You'll find the filters just on left as shown below and with these you're able to select both the Resolution and Refresh Rate to suit, making shopping for that perfect screen very easy indeed!