Here it is! The Novel is finished!
So first, my recent monitor history:
ASUS MX279H – 27” - 1920x1080 – 60Hz – IPS (Calling “ASUS”)
ASUS ROG Swift – 27” - 2560x1440 – 144Hz – TN – G-Sync (Calling “ROG”)
Acer X34 Predator – 34” - 3440x1440 – 100Hz – IPS – G-Sync (Calling “Acer”)
This is going to vary by person, but this is what I’ve found in my experience.
60 -> 80Hz is huge
80 -> 100Hz is very noticeable
100 -> 120Hz is noticeable, but not significant
120 -> 144Hz is somewhat noticeable
144 -> 165Hz is barely noticeable
165 -> 165+ is a complete waste of money
Having gone from a 144Hz to a 100Hz monitor, I can tell you that in my experience it was a VERY minor difference and an easy tradeoff to make for the things I got on my Acer (Ultrawide, IPS, and Size).
TN Panels are the fastest and most responsive. If you’re playing a lot of fast-twitch shooters at a high/professional level (CS:GO), or you’re only ever viewing it directly on, this is your panel. Going from my ROG TN, to my Acer IPS, I definitely did notice the TN has a bit more “snappyness” to it.
It’s downside is that it’s color reproduction is not good, and it suffers from pretty bad color shift when not viewing directly on. You can even experience color shift when viewing directly on if the monitor is big enough. If you’re a content creator and care about color accuracy at all, a TN panel will be unusable.
Personally, I found the color shift was noticeable even on a higher end panel. It was especially bad if I ever wanted to lie down on my bed while I watched a show. I’d have to get up every time I shifted positions to adjust the monitor, or just live with the color shift. Unfortunately I can’t talk to the color reproduction as I am color blind…
IPS Panels are only slightly slower than TN panels, but have no color shift and MUCH better color reproduction. If you’re a content creator or are buying a large monitor (Ultrawide), then an IPS panel is a MUST.
The downside to IPS panels is that (as mentioned before) they will generally have a slower pixel response time (~5ms vs 1ms), and they cost a decent amount more.
If all you care about is the viewing experience, and you’re not playing fast-twitch FPS games at a high level, I would say that IPS panels are the way to go for now.
OLED panels are superior to TN and IPS Panels in every way. They have faster pixel response times (0.001ms) and refresh rates than TN Panels, better color reproduction than IPS, no backlight bleed (because it has no backlight), and is the only type of panel that can produce true black (pixels off).
The downside to OLED? Availability and extreme cost. There are only one or two OLED monitors on the market, and it will run you ~$5000 for a 27”. Simply unaffordable for almost everyone.
The reason I mention OLED is that if you have a decent setup already, I would wait until OLEDs become more available/affordable before spending a bunch of $$ to upgrade due to how drastically superior OLED technology is.
Higher resolution is pretty much always better, it just depends on whether it’s worth it for your use case.
For regular desktop use on a 27” monitor, I find that 1440p is the sweet spot. You have more screen real-estate than 1080p and a much sharper image, without the cost and windows scaling associated with 4K. On top of that, the difference in pixel density going from 1440p to 4k is barely noticeable at best on a 27” display.
Gaming gets a little more complicated as there are two variables to deal with when it comes to image quality; Resolution and Graphics Settings. This is where your GPU power comes in to play.
In terms of image quality in games, resolution plays a much smaller role in gaming than it does in regular desktop use. Games obviously look better at 1440p, but not massively… Especially compared to the performance hit. I find that graphics settings and refresh rate have a much bigger impact on the visual quality of the game.
Essentially, if you have to turn down graphics settings or play at a lower FPS to run the game at a higher resolution, the resolution increase is not worth it. Your game will look better at 1080p Ultra than it will at 1440p Medium.
G-Sync and Freesync
Nice technologies to have, but not really worth going out of your way to get unless you either play professionally or want to commit to one GPU vendor for the entire lifetime of the monitor. Pretty much everything else to do with the monitor is more important.
Of course, it depends…
Personally, I wouldn’t spend money to upgrade from 120Hz to 144Hz (not a big enough difference to me). And, if at all possible, I’d be waiting for OLED monitors. But here is a breakdown of some possible situations and my recommendations:
Want to play AAA games in 1440p? Nope (you’d have to turn down graphics with your 970).
Want games like HotS, DotA, CS:GO, Rocket League to look sharper and run smoother? Sure!
Want the benefits of an IPS for content creation/viewing experience? Sure!
Want a higher resolution for a better desktop experience? Sure!
Whelp. Hope that helps!