A Higher resolutions are rarely optimal for gaming: refresh rate > size > resolution.
The number of pixels on a monitor are roughly proportional to the GPU load required to power it. At 8k, 16 times more GPU performance is required than at 1080p. Higher resolutions also require more GPU memory.
Resolution Horizontal pixels Vertical pixels Total pixels
1080p 1920 1080 2 Million
1440p 2560 1440 4 Million
4k 3840 2160 8 Million
8k 7680 4320 33 Million

Refresh Rate

A 60 Hz monitor updates 60 times per second. 60 Hz is ok for desktop use but during fast paced gaming 60 Hz is noticeably jerky. At 120 Hz games appear smoother and are far more immersive. Beyond 120 Hz diminishing returns set in fast. Most users struggle to tell the difference between 120 Hz and 240 Hz. Refresh rates beyond 240 Hz are largely wasted on human eyes.

Monitor Size

Larger monitors are generally better. For desktop tasks, there is more space to arrange windows and whilst gaming, a larger screen is more immersive.

Resolution

For a given monitor size, as resolution increases, pixel density also increases.

Desktop

If pixel density is too low text starts to look grainy. If pixel density is too high, UI elements (Start menu, taskbar buttons etc) become difficult to see. Popular combinations are 24 inches at 1080p and 27 inches at 1440p. These combinations produce a pixel density that is comfortable for most users, without the need for windows display scaling (which causes a degree of blurriness).

Gaming

The more pixels, the more work for the GPU. Doubling the number of pixels approximately halves the frame rate. Trading a higher frame rate for a lower resolution often results in more immersive gaming. For example, on a 27 inch monitor, playing Fortnite at 144 fps 1080p is preferable to playing at 81 fps 1440p, 36 fps 4k or 9 fps 8k. Of course, 144 fps at 8k would be even better but that would require 16 times more GPU performance. In the tradeoff between graphics settings, resolution and average fps, resolution beyond 1080p is normally the least important factor.

Conclusion

Large high resolution monitors increase productivity significantly but gamers that own high resolution monitors are often better off running games at lower resolutions. Whilst gaming just 150cm from a 65 inch screen, the difference in quality between 1080p and 4K is quickly forgotten. Running games at 1080p results in higher frame rates and therefore smoother, more responsive and ultimately more immersive gameplay. Users looking for a more screen space should consider multi monitor setups. Stacking two 24” 1080p screens vertically is a cost effective setup for productivity. The additional vertical space reduces scrolling and allows gaming at 1080p native resolution on the lower screen. Alternatively, for a larger desk, three monitors side by side also work well. IPS screens are preferable in multi monitor setups because they display a clear image even when viewed from an angle.

The Best.
CPUGPUSSD
Intel Core i5-10600K $224Nvidia RTX 3060-Ti $400Crucial MX500 250GB $49
Intel Core i5-10400F $148Nvidia RTX 3070 $500Samsung 850 Evo 120GB $78
Intel Core i7-10700K $320Nvidia GTX 1660S (Super) $240Samsung 860 Evo 250GB $49
HDDRAMUSB
Seagate Barracuda 1TB (2016) $39Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3200 C16 2x8GB $79SanDisk Extreme 64GB $72
WD Blue 1TB (2012) $38Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000 C15 2x8GB $73SanDisk Extreme 32GB $28
Seagate Barracuda 3TB (2016) $85G.SKILL Trident Z DDR4 3200 C14 4x16GB $649SanDisk Ultra Fit 32GB $16
Today's hottest deals
About  •  User Guide  •  FAQs  •  Email  •  Privacy  •  Developer  •  YouTube Feedback