So you’ve splashed out on some obscene hardware. You’re overflowing with graphics cards; you’ve installed the water cooling and you’re overclocking your CPU so it runs as if powered by rocket fuel. But what about the monitors you’re going to need to take advantage of all this ludicrously powerful gaming goodness? Shoot for the stars and go top-end and you’ll also need a similarly jaw-dropping display setup in order to really capitalise on it. As with everything PC gaming however, there are choices, choices, choices to be made.
When faced with a SLI GTX 1080 Ti set up or the like, there are three main routes you can go down: a multi-monitor setup (as we covered in some benchmarks last week); a nice, large, 4K monitor; or go for Ultra Wide 21:9 gaming.
Each obviously comes with its set of pros and cons. As I covered in my triple-screen gaming article, I think the cons of multi-monitor outweigh the benefits, at least in terms of gaming. GeForce Surround and AMD Eyefinity afford players the luxury of adding additional monitors in order to add peripheral vision. Nice on paper; however, it means a substantial performance hit (often greater than playing at 4K), and you’re still stuck looking at lower resolution monitors.
The second option is the most traditional of the bunch - a 4K monitor. The current industry standard for high-end gaming, practically every modern title is geared to official support this. With the GTX 10 Series from Nvidia, we can at long last achieve stable, high frame rates at 4K resolution, even from just a single graphics card. From a financial point of view, a 4K monitor makes a great deal of sense. The only major downside is you’re losing out on the extra real estate offered by the other two options.
Lastly there’s the, ahem, connoisseurs choice, the ultra widescreen 21:9 gaming monitors. The number of folks actually using these is still desperately small, and tweaking some games to run properly on them can be a bit of a pain. However, you get all the benefits of a traditional 16:9 monitor, plus the addition of a wider viewpoint. Take it online and it also offers a serious competitive advantage. As a player you can see more of what’s going on in Overwatch, CSGO or Rocket League than your opponent with a 16:9 monitor can. You can actively spot someone before they can possibly spot you.
Now, as you perhaps guessed, I myself fall firmly in the 21:9 camp. If it gained mainstream adoption there aren’t really any downsides aside from needing additional hardware performance to power the extra real estate.
Over to you now then, when do you stand on this one? Are you a single-monitor gamer? Is it 4K or bust? Let us know!
Image: LG Electronics