When it comes to PC gaming, purchasing a quality monitor should be prioritized as much as upgrading your GPU. That makes sense, considering that your games’ advanced graphics are being rendered on the screen — and if you’re using an old monitor that’s low-res, color-inaccurate, and/or has a sluggish refresh rate, your gaming session will turn into an ugly, laggy experience. If you’re building a PC, shopping for pre-built gaming computer deals, or just upgrading your existing setup with a new screen, we can help. Below, we’ve got all the best cheap gaming monitors available this month.
If you don’t explicitly need a gaming display, however, then also take a look at these desktop monitor deals to see what else is on tap.
- MSI Optix G241VC 24-Inch Curved Gaming Monitor — $130, was $150
- Acer Nitro 27-Inch 1080p 144Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor — $210, was $300
- Dell Gaming 27-Inch Curved 1080p 144Hz G-Sync/FreeSync Gaming Monitor — $230, was $300
- Gigabyte G27F 27-Inch 144Hz 1080p FreeSync Gaming Monitor — $230, was $250
- Lenovo G34w-10 34-Inch WQHD Curved Gaming Monitor — $338, was $480
- BenQ EX2780Q 27” 1440P IPS 144Hz Gaming Monitor — $400, was $500
- Alienware AW3420DW Curved 34-Inch 1440p 120Hz Monitor — $880, was $1,000
- Lenovo Legion 43-Inch 1200p 144Hz Curved Ultrawide FreeSync Gaming Monitor — $890, was $1,200
When sorting through the myriad of gaming monitor deals that are available online, there are a few things to consider before you hand over your hard-earned cash. You don’t want to jump on the first cheap gaming monitor you find that meets your budget, as many that are advertised as “gaming displays” lack some important features.
After determining how much you’re willing to spend on a cheap gaming monitor, the first thing you’ll need to decide on is size and screen resolution. Bigger isn’t always better — your ideal display size has a lot to do with how close you’ll be sitting to it, and for most desktop PC setups, the standard 24 to 27 inches is fine. Displays in this size range are also ideal for 1080p, although at 27 inches, you’ll want to consider bumping up to 1440p if your GPU can support it. At 32 inches and beyond, you’ll likely want to stick to 1440p and even 4K gaming monitors, although this may depend on the display’s vertical resolution in the case of ultrawide panels. An ultrawide display that’s the same height as a 24-inch monitor will still look fine at 1080p.
One important feature that any good gaming monitor will have is some sort of vertical sync technology, the two prevailing standards being AMD FreeSync for use with Radeon graphics cards and Nvidia G-Sync for GeForce GPUs. Vertical sync ensures a smooth picture during fast-moving sequences by mitigating (if not eliminating) screen-tearing, an annoying issue where the lines that make up the image do not synchronize vertically. It’s generally recommended to get a gaming monitor that matches your graphics card, although Nvidia has been increasing cross-compatibility with FreeSync monitors lately. Just note that you’ll need a DisplayPort cable to take advantage of G-Sync; FreeSync works with either HDMI or DisplayPort.
The third thing to look for in a cheap gaming monitor is a refresh rate of 120Hz or higher. The general rule is that your display’s refresh rate should be at least twice the frames per second you want to game at (120Hz or more for 60fps gaming, for example). Modern HDMI and DisplayPort connections both support higher refresh rates, but some older standards like HDMI 1.4 may not. You will see many displays marketed as “gaming monitors” that only have refresh rates of 60Hz or 75Hz. Even if these units have FreeSync or G-Sync, they are not ideal for gaming at 60fps, which is the minimum that we recommend for PC gaming in 2020. There are plenty of cheap gaming monitor deals available that meet these criteria.
One final thing worth mentioning is curved and ultrawide displays, which have both become quite popular lately. Curved gaming monitors are nothing to be afraid of, but unless you’re going bigger than 27 inches (more specifically, if you’re buying an ultrawide panel), don’t pay extra for this feature — you probably won’t notice it much when sitting at a normal distance from a standard-sized desktop display. That said, ultrawide panels are one instance where we recommend going curved no matter what. These gaming monitors are naturally expensive but offer an elegant alternative to multi-monitor setups, and they might not be as cost-prohibitive as you think once you tally up the expense of buying multiple displays.
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