From the dawn of PC gaming, players have been pursuing higher and more stable frame rates. In the recent years, monitor manufacturers have finally started to venture beyond 60 frames per second, releasing gaming monitors with high refresh rates and support for adaptive sync technologies like G-Sync from Nvidia and FreeSync from AMD.
- G-Sync vs FreeSync
- Best 240 Hz Refresh Rate Monitor: BenQ ZOWIE
- Best 200 Hz Refresh Rate Monitor: Acer Predator Z301C
- Best 144 Hz Refresh Rate Monitor: BenQ XR3501
- Best G-Sync Monitor: Acer Predator XB252Q
- Best FreeSync Monitor: LG 34UC79G-B
Best High Refresh Rate Monitors for Gaming
When milliseconds are the difference between life and death, regular monitors with refresh rates fixed at 60 Hz just don’t cut it. According to researchers, many people can see more than 60 frames per second, with some individuals being able to spot temporal gaps of up to 2 milliseconds. The ability to process higher frame rates improves with training, as exemplified by fighter pilots who have been observed to accurately spot 1/255th of a frame.
In other words, a monitor with a high refresh rate can actually make you a better gamer—not to mention how much more enjoyable gaming becomes when the action is fluid and life-like. Relying on our expertise, experience, and user reviews, we have put together a list of top 5 best high refresh rate monitors for gaming in 2017.
G-Sync vs FreeSync
Increasingly more manufacturers of gaming monitors advertise support for two technologies that promise to eliminate screen tearing and stutter: G-Sync and FreeSync. Even though they both solve the same issues, each takes a vastly different approach.
Every G-Sync-compatible monitor has a built-in FPGA module that controls the monitor’s refresh rate at the hardware level. These chips can be quite expensive and Nvidia also requires manufacturers to pay a licensing fee to integrate the technology in their monitors. Typically, a G-Sync monitor costs up to $100 more than an identical FreeSync monitor.
AMD based its technology on the Adaptive-Sync ingredient component of the DisplayPort 1.2a specification, which was announced by VESA, a technical standards organization for computer display standards, in 2015. The biggest downside to AMD’s approach is the limited compatibility with older graphics cards. Whereas most of the GTX 600 series graphics cards and newer support G-Sync, only the latest AMD graphics card support FreeSync.
G-Sync can better handle GPU output outside of the supported refresh rate range of the monitor, but the range itself is smaller (from 30Hz to 144Hz compared to 9Hz to 240Hz with FreeSync). G-Sync is also more barebones, supporting only some preliminary color processing and completely disregarding support for audio output.
At the end of the day, most gamers will pick a graphics card first and a gaming monitor second, so the choice between G-Sync and FreeSync is mostly a matter of compatibility.
Best 240 Hz Refresh Rate Monitor: BenQ ZOWIE
If you have an AMD card and want to get into FreeSync, there’s no monitor within the realm of what the average human can afford with a higher refresh rate than the BenQ ZOWIE. This Full HD 24.5-incher goes up to 240 Hz, basically guaranteeing that even your future graphics card won’t be able to use it to its fullest potential on maximum details.
The adjustable frame of the monitor comes with a removable shield that prevents glare. Additional features intended to give you an extra edge over your opponents include the Black eQualizer technology, which increases the visibility in dark scenes, and several game modes customized for different game genres. There’s also a 24-inch and a 27-inch version of the monitor, but both go up to only 144 Hz.
Best 200 Hz Refresh Rate Monitor: Acer Predator Z301C
Ultrawide monitors are meant for gaming, and the Acer Predator Z301C is one of the best ultrawide monitors with high refresh rate on the market. Typically, it goes up to 144 Hz, but it can be also overclocked to 200 Hz for extra smooth framerates. Monitor overclocking is perfectly safe, it’s just that the display hasn’t been tested for such high refresh rates. At worst, you may see some visual artefacts.
The 29.5-inch display has a resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels and a fantastic response time of just 4 ms. Acer has included its EyeProtect technology to reduce blue light and make the large display easier on eyes. With Predator GameView, you can precisely adjust colors, brightness, and boost dark areas. What’s more, the Acer Predator Z301C also cover 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut, making it great even for photo and video editing.
Best 144 Hz Refresh Rate Monitor: BenQ XR3501
The BenQ XR3501 is a relatively affordable large, ultrawide monitor with a high refresh rate and three exclusive game modes. This 35-inch monitor has the resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels and achieves excellent color reproduction thanks to BenQ’s 20 built-in levels of color vibrance. The slim bezels around the screen would make three of these monitors placed side by side look absolutely fantastic, creating a battlestation worthy of any member of the PC Master Race.
One feature that you don’t see very often is the ability to display images from two different input sources at the same time. This way, two people can play two different games on the same monitor at the same time. Pretty interesting, right? Other extra features include BenQ’s eQualizer technology for automatic optimization of dark areas, a blue light filter, and the ZeroFlicker technology.
Best G-Sync Monitor: Acer Predator XB252Q
When selecting a G-Sync monitor with a high refresh rate, it makes a lot of sense to stick with the Full HD resolution. Even the most ridiculously expensive graphics cards are unable to render AAA games at the highest quality setting at 144 frames per second. Many people who purchase QHD 144 Hz monitors find themselves quickly reducing the quality of shadows and textures to the absolute minimum, ending with a worse gaming experience than before.
The Acer Predator XB252Q has the Full HD resolution, which is just about right given its display size of 24.5-inchdes. Like all Predator monitors, it delivers ultra-fast response times, has state-of-the-art connectivity options, and its picture quality is stunning. Priced at just over $500, the Acer Predator XB252Q
Best FreeSync Monitor: LG 34UC79G-B
Our favorite FreeSync monitor is the LG 34UC79G-B. As the name suggest, this monitor has a 34-inch display and the resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels. It uses the IPS display technology, which is known for wide viewing angles and superior color reproduction compared to TN panels.
LG has thrown in a few strictly gaming features, such as the onscreen crosshair that can be activated regardless of whether the game itself displays a crosshair, the ability to automatically reveal details in dark scenes, and the Dynamic Action Sync feature for fluid, stutter-free action.