Gamers rely heavily on their heightened sense of vision. In order for them to perform well at the highest level possible, they need to keep an eye on every little detail on their monitors. Their hand to eye coordination helps them kill an opponent in the absence of footsteps and enables them to take crucial tactical decisions with a better view of the battlefield. Gone are the days when CRT monitors were the de facto standard for every gamer and every tournament organizer due to their high refresh rates and easy availability.
With the advancements in display technology, we now have LCD and LED monitors with really high refresh rates and plethora of other features that make them ideal for major LAN tournaments and a must-have for every professional gamer. In this guide, we are going to discuss the latest offerings in the gaming monitor segment from brands such as BenQ and Eizo, due to their unparalleled quality and involvement with the gaming industry. We’ll also discuss some important aspects related to gaming monitors.
BenQ XL 2420T/TX
The XL2420T is a high-performance gaming monitor suited for competitive FPS game play. Co-developed with Counter-Strike legends, the 24″ 120Hz LED monitor offers features including the Black eQualizer, S Switch, FPS Mode, Smart Scaling, Display Mode, 3D capability, 2ms GTG, HDMI and 12M:1 dynamic contrast ratio. But what makes this monitor really unique is its game mode downloader which lets you download the presets that pro players use for their monitors. These settings can also be saved, thanks to another unique feature – the S Switch – that allows you quick access to these saved settings for quick set-up.
The monitor has another trump card – The FPS Mode, which was co-developed with gaming legends to let you tap into the fundamental insights of pro gamers and view the game how a gaming legend would see it. This preset automatically adjusts your monitor calibrations to provide you with optimal brightness, contrast, sharpness and color tint. This makes for better visibility, something that every FPS gamer in the world tries to achieve.
The refresh rate of 120Hz makes sure there’s no input lag. What’s happening in the game and what you actually see on screen are the same. This is achieved by the monitor’s ability to draw on hyper-speed video processing technology.
The world’s first RTS monitor was designed by BenQ with the help of professional South Korean StarCraft 2 team – StarTale. The RL2450H/HT monitor is a 21.5″ back-lit LED with the following features: Black eQualizer, RTS mode, Display mode, Smart Scaling, 2ms Grey-to-Grey and HDMI. The aspect ratio of the monitor is 16:9 to get the largest Field of View (FOV) for StarCraft 2. SC2 scales horizontal only, making 16:10 aspect ratio displaying a somewhat cropped view of the battlefield in-game compared to 16:9. Below is an example of the effect different aspect ratios have on StarCraft 2:
The reason that StarCraft 2 and many games are larger on 16:9 is because the FOV can only increase horizontally. Vertically, the dimension is fixed and when using 16:10 aspect ratio you lose FOV because the game is unable to scale vertically. BenQ knows this from working with pro gamers and why their previous model XL2410T is a preferred monitor of professional gamers and is frequently seen at DreamHack, MLG, IEM and GSL.
BenQ does more than just make gaming monitors. They also take an active role in the community with sponsoring the StarCraft 2 team Startale and hosting eSports tournaments. In 2011 for instance, BenQ teamed up with Zowie Gear for two tournaments:
- Zowie Divina – A $10,000 StarCraft 2 Female only tournament that took place on November 11th LAN in Taicang City, China. For more info, please visit Zowie Divina Tournament.
- BenQ ‘The Clash’ DotA 2 Tournament – Online $700 dollar tournament sponsored by BenQ with winner-takes-all format. The tournament was streamed by JoinDOTA and commentated by Tobi Wan Kenobi on October 29th, 2011. For more info, please visit The Clash.
BenQ has been sponsoring eSports teams for years and has been increasingly popular for professional gamers. These are solid monitors capable of delivering optimum performance for StarCraft 2, DotA and other eSports. Currently, BenQ is associated in one way or the other with the following teams and players:
BenQ have also recently extended their sponsorship of the Intel Extreme Masters season 2012-2013. For complete information and specifications of BenQ monitors, please check out their RL and XL series of gaming monitors.
EIZO FORIS FS2333 & FS2332
EIZO has quickly become a name synonymous with high quality and performance based displays. In fact, they have become so popular, that the world’s largest computer and gaming festival – DreamHack has an EIZO Open tournament. The monitor brand has a variety of offerings in its gaming segment but perhaps their flagship product in the IPS panel category is the FORIS FS2333.
The feature set includes 3.4 ms Grey-to-Grey response time, EIZO-patented super-resolution technology called Smart Resolution, Overdrive circuitry to take care of streaking or ghosting, almost zero input lag, 7 preset modes (Paper, Cinema, Gaming, Eco, sRGB, etc.), mercury-free LED backlighting, Smart Insight with 5 user-adjustable RTS and FPS settings, and a lot of enhancements that make gaming on it quite enjoyable.
Co-developed with gamers from one of the most accomplished teams in the eSports scene – Fnatic, the monitor’s quality, viewing angles and other tweaks are designed to suit the gamers who wish to compete professionally. Fnatic’s review of FS2333′s Smart Insight feature explains exactly why EIZO as a hardware manufacturer has made a difference to the way professionals play their games.
While the FS2333 monitor is preferred by FPS gamers, their FS2332 monitor is for RTS gaming. EIZO don’t just make monitors but also have quite a presence at some of the major eSport events. FS2333 and FS2332 are the official Monitors of DreamHack EIZO Open and NASL Season 4. Apart from that, EIZO also had significant presence at StarCraft II HomeStory Cup IV and StarCraft II EIZO Cup.
EIZO have affiliations with reputed eSport teams such as Fnatic and mTw which gives them the chance to develop products suited to professional gamers. You can check out EIZO’s FX and FS series of gaming monitors and choose the one that suits you the best.
Luckily, we have a community that is passionate about what it does. So be it watching your favorite anime, music videos and movies, playing games, reading and photo editing, monitor brands are out there that have products made specifically for you. It is up to you to make an informed decision and here are a few things to know before you buy a gaming monitor:
1) TN Panels belong to an older technological family, consume low energy, have pretty good response time, are brighter and mostly cheaper but they have bad color shifting depending on the viewing angles and are often not used by people who’re into photo editing due to the demanding nature of color accuracy in their work.
2) IPS Panels On the other hand belong to a more recent technological family, are more expensive, more power consuming, and a lot better regarding color reproduction in comparison to TN panels. They also offer great viewing angles and have great color consistency throughout the screen. However, they have horrid response times which matter to a gamer. To counter that, you have the option to go for S-IPS (Super IPS) panels that offer the fast response time of TN panels with the excellent image of IPS panels, which happens to be the perfect balance for an ideal gaming monitor. 120Hz refresh rate IPS monitors exist now as we saw with the EIZO offerings while majority of 120Hz gaming monitors from BenQ remain to be TN panels.
There are other brands like ASUS and ViewSonic which also offer a good range of gaming monitors, so be sure to check them out. This is not the most detailed guide about the features a gaming monitor has but it sure points you towards the manufacturers’ specifications and the technology itself for your own research. We hope this guide has made you aware of the options you have, the technology that exists and whom to contact if you wish to get a high performance gaming monitor.