The major part of an excellent gaming experience is viewing the gameplay on the monitor.
The monitors are categorized in terms of several parameters, such as the backlight mechanism, lighting position, panel type, and more. But among these, the panel type significantly affects the response time, color reproduction, and picture details, which directly impact the gameplay.
So, in this guide, we will discuss the different panel types of monitors and their features to find the best one for gaming.
Until a few years back. there were three different types of LCD panels in the market: TN, VA, and IPS. These LCD monitors use a backlight that emits light that passes through the LCD panel and then the color filter to produce the image. However, while generating a black image, a little bit of backlight may leak through the filter, thus displaying a slightly grey image.
So, looking at the growing requirement of the digital world to produce accurate colors, we now have OLED panels. The OLED monitors eliminate the need for backlight by using several diodes that can produce their own light. Due to this, OLED monitors can completely turn off each pixel generating an accurate black image.
Now that you know about how these panels work, let’s move on to look at their features in detail.
TN panels are the oldest panel type used in the LED-lit LCD display. They use liquid crystals in twisted or helical structure which rotates with the application of voltage. These crystals align such that the polarized lights pass through them, producing the image.
Despite being developed earlier, TN panels have upgraded quite alot and have, by far, the quickest response time. Response time means the ability of the monitor to switch from one color to another. TN panels have a black-to-black or grey-to-grey response time of 1 millisecond (ms) or less. This makes them the best choice for gamers preferring performance.
Similarly, TN panels can accommodate the fastest refresh rate. In fact, it can obtain a 240 Hz refresh rate. This means the screen can refresh an image 240 times in a second, providing smooth performance and picture quality. This also eliminates the issue of ghosting, motion blur, and smearing in games.
However, the TN panel has a viewing angle as its downside, meaning the color or image may fade or shift as you view it from a wider angle.
The helix alignment of liquid crystals is maintained by using anchors on both ends. So, when the voltage is applied, liquid crystals in the middle do not turn fully, fading the image and color as the viewing angle increase. The viewing angle can be limited to even 160 degrees vertically and 170 degrees angle horizontally.
In the same way, the TN panels can choose from a limited color range, leading to poor color reproduction. They have a lower contrast ratio as well, which fails to reach 1000:1. This causes the black to look a little greyish or faded, and you will not find deeper blacks and details in games.
But still, the fast response time and refresh rate at a cheaper price make the TN panel the best choice for gaming if you can sacrifice picture quality.
IPS panels accommodate the liquid crystals parallel to the glass surfaces allowing it to shift the orientation of the crystals within the same plane. Since the crystals turn fully, this leads to a much better viewing angle, and the IPS panel is developed as an upgrade to the TN panel in that domain.
The larger viewing angle of 178/178 helps you get a perfect view despite your distance and angle from the screen.
Also, the IPS panel has a reputation for excellent color reproduction. It can use color from a wide color gamut and can even use almost 100% of DCI-P3 color space. DCI is the standard used in a theatrical motion picture, and P3 is the variant made for monitor displays. To add to this, it can go to the contrast ratio of 1000:1, providing better details in the games than the TN panel.
However, the IPS panel lags behind the TN panel by around 1 or 2 ms. Still, new upgrades of IPS panels have shown a response time as low as 0.5 ms. Furthermore, its refresh rate can vary from 60 Hz for a cheaper display to 360 Hz in the modern expensive ones.
Thus, if you prefer picture quality, a diverse color range, improved details in the game graphics, and can spend a little more, the IPS panel is for you. For a normal gamer, you may not even notice the lag and monitor ghosting here.
VA Panels come in the middle of TN and IPS panels. Here, the liquid crystals are placed vertically, all of which rotates 90 degrees when applied power. This also improves the viewing angle when compared to TN panels.
But it still does not reach the level of IPS display in terms of viewing angle, even though the advertisement says so. Similarly, it also has a poorer response time of around 4 ms in comparison with TN and IPS panels. This can cause the problem of ghosting or motion blur while gaming.
However, the overdrive feature in the monitor has improved the response time much faster in these panels. Similarly, a VA panel can now attain a refresh rate of up to 240 Hz even at 4K if provided with graphics cards with high specifications.
Regarding the contrast ratios, VA panels are superior to the rest. The earlier Multi-domain Vertical Alignment or MVA design of these panels featured excellent contrast ratios of 2000:1 to 3000:1. This means it can show the white image 2000 or 3000 times whiter than a black image. But the color reproduction is not up to the mark and cannot beat the IPS panels.
However, the Advanced MVA panels have improved on the color reproduction and can find the contrast ratio up to even 4000:1 ratio.
Thus, if you love more details in the games and can work out with slightly less color accuracy, the VA panels will be a good fit for you.
The OLED panel uses organic LEDs in the emissive layer where the light is produced after the electrons from the cathode (-ve) substrate passes through them. The conductive layer allows the passage for the electrons to reach the anode (+ve) as well as for the light to reach the display surface. And, finally, we see the image on the screen.
The use of individual LEDs producing their own light helps the OLED panel to completely turn off each diode and provide superior contrast even than a VA panel. Similarly, it also has better color reproduction, response time, and refresh rate than any other panel. Furthermore, the viewing angle is also superior due to the feature of its own light production by the individual diode.
Another difference between OLED panel and a LCD panel is the use of only one glass in the former. This, along with the elimination of additional backlight components, has made it feasible to make the OLED panel much thinner.
However, the problem lies in the pricing. It is much more expensive than the rest. In addition, there is a high chance of burn-in due to the production of intense light when the static image stays for a long time on the screen. So, the manufacturers have brought new QLED LCDs to compete with the OLED.
Nevertheless, if you can spend a few more bucks and want to get the best gaming experience, you can go for an OLED display.
Let’s summarize the features of each display below, and we will leave the decision to find the best for you.
I am a mechanical engineer who was awe-struck at first sight of computer. Since then, I have excelled at writing tech-contents regarding every problems and features of windows, software, hardware and anything it incorporates. In addition, I love to study, play FIFA, write poetry and enjoy the gift of life that the mother nature have provided to us.
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