Choosing the right monitor means navigating a confusing labyrinth of specifications, sizes, marketing buzzwords, and hardware compatibility. It’s not always easy to figure out exactly which one is right for you, but one thing has become clear in the realm of PC gaming in recent times: Freesync is king. AMD’s Freesync technology, much like Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, is a synchronization method that will automatically adjust a monitor’s refresh rate to match the changing FPS of whatever game is being played at the time. In other words: you can finally ditch the performance hit from enabling v-sync and stop worrying about screen tearing. Take a look below to see which Freesync monitors may be right for your gaming setup.
As a note: we’ll be mentioning a few common specifications for each monitor. Namely: the maximum resolution, the screen’s maximum refresh rate (measure in hertz), and the response time (measured in milliseconds). Make sure you know where you want to be across these three vectors when choosing the right monitor. We’ll also be listing two types of screen panels: TN and IPS. For most high-end gaming monitors TN panels are preferred for being more suited to faster gaming due to faster response times, even though IPS panels offer better colors and viewing angles. TN panels also tend to come a bit cheaper than their IPS counterparts, although additional features outside of panel type are more likely to affect cost.
This 27 inch monitor from GIGABYTE features a 2560x1440 resolution, a 170 Hz refresh rate, and a 0.5ms response time. While not full 4K, 1440p offers a good middle ground between 1080p and 4K for people with mid-tier graphics cards. It also comes with an adjustable stand, a VESA mount on the back, and an IPS panel (which will offer a better experience than older TN panels). GIGABYTE also offers the ability to display their dashboard via software, which will display current hardware information in real-time. Which means benchmarking and testing new hardware should be a breeze. It’s also a KVM monitor, meaning it as built-in support for controlling multiple computers with a single keyboard and mouse.
This 25 inch monitor from Alienware might only be 1080p, but it boasts an impressive 240 Hz refresh rate and a respectable 1ms response time. That blazing fast refresh rate means that games will be able to reach a much higher maximum framerate and Freesync will be able to continually adapt to the changing refresh rate. The 1080p resolution may not seem like much in 2021, but if you’re after the highest possible framerate running at 1080p is going to be a quicker way to get there without tracking down a very high end graphics card. It also comes with a TN panel, and features a very robust stand with fully adjustable tilt and height.
The LG Ultragear 24” is a 1920x1080 IPS panel with a 144 Hz refresh rate and a 5ms response time. With full height, tilt, and pivot on the stand and 99% sRGB accuracy it’s going to provide a great experience while gaming or just casually editing some photos. It also features LG’s well-known “borderless” design on three sides, meaning a virtually non-existent bezel on all but the bottom edge. Being an IPS panel means that response time is going to suffer a bit compared to its TN panel counterparts, but for those playing slower paced games the better colors and viewing angles of this monitor may be preferable.
This ASUS monitor is a 31.5 inch curved TN panel running at 2560x1440, with a 170 Hz refresh rate and an 1ms response time. It also boasts 125% sRGB color accuracy and is HDR compatible. The back panel, in addition to the standard USB 3 ports, also includes a USB C for those looking to expand their connectivity options. And, like most ROG products, it includes an RGB ring as ASUS’s typical gamer aesthetic design. Curved monitors can offer better viewing angles, so if you’re after maximum view-ability (which is a good thing to have on a TN panel) then ASUS has you covered.
Our second monitor from LG, this one features a 2560x1080 ultrawide resolution on a 99% sRGB accurate IPS panel, a 75 Hz refresh rate, and a slightly slower 5ms response time. Due to the lower response time we wouldn’t recommend this for those who enjoy very fast-paced games, but for those who like slower titles and want an ultrawide it’s going to perform well without requiring a graphics card that can push out a massive 4K ultrawide resolution. Not a ton of games have fully supported ultrawide settings, but for those that do and want a monitor that can keep up, this LG should do the trick.
This 27” monitor from BenQ features a 1920x1080 TN panel, an ultra-fast 240 Hz refresh rate, and 1ms response time. While yes, it’s just another 1080p TN panel, that high refresh rate and response time is going to make all the difference for people playing very fast-paced games. While it has similar specs to the Alienware monitor we listed previously, it also features adjustable shields on the sides of the monitor to block out glare and a remote for switching monitor modes on the fly. So if you’re the type to have different monitor profiles for different games then this monitor is a no-brainer. It also features a larger bezel than many competitors, but according to BenQ that was an intentional design done to reduce glare even further.
It’s worth noting that Freesync monitors are also compatible with cards that use Nvidia’s G-Sync, which means that you can utilize it even if you’re not using an AMD card. Finding the right monitor is going to depend a lot on the graphics card you have and which features are most important to you. Yes, Freesync is a no-brainer, but it’s important to consider what resolution your GPU is going to be comfortable running games at, how high you want your maximum FPS to go (and what speed is sustainable), and how quickly you need your monitor to respond. For fans of slower games a slightly slower response time and higher resolution will provide a great experience, but for FPS and fast-paced game fans you’re going to want to stick to high refresh rates and lightning fast response times even if it means dropping the resolution.
For more hardware recommendations check out 2021’s Best Left-Handed Gaming Mouse | The 6 Best Left-Handed Gaming Mice and 5 Best Laptop Cooling Pads in 2021 on Pro Game Guides.