If you’re considering getting a proper display to get your gaming on, you’re probably looking at response time above all else. There’s certainly good reason for that, but it's important to realize that faster does not always mean better…
IT marketing departments tend to like numbers and there are few areas where this is more visible than in the world of computer monitors. If you step into any sizeable electronics retailer, you’d be forgiven for thinking all screens are identical, with practically every single one claiming a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 250 to 300 nits of brightness and either a 1, 2 or 5ms response time. And, of course, viewing angles are in all cases either 170/160 degrees, or 178/178 degrees. Are computer screens truly that similar? Of course not, but marketers would like you to believe they are, it seems.
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For gamers, the response time tends to be the number they pay most attention to – it signifies the required time in milliseconds for a pixel to shift from one colour value to another. Lower is better, hence the single-digit claims you will find on the box. Sadly, these have little in common with reality. More on that in a bit.
The focus of gamers on response time is understandable. First person shooters do make up a large segment of the PC gaming market and in FPS games, motion blur and ghosting tend to be most visible as the player peers into a virtual 3D world and moves around at high speeds. Before we get into other aspects that should be taken into account when purchasing a gaming screen, let’s examine the core issues of motion blur and ghosting.