Up For Debate - Multi Monitor vs Large 4K vs Ultra Widescreen

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, May 6, 2017 2:00 PM

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

With a high-end PC which monitor setup would you prefer?

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21:04 May-10-2017

For work - multiple screens hands down, preferably larger resolution ones too (1440p+).
For gaming...well, I prefer high refreshes and G-Sync, so I stuck with my 27" 165Hz 1440p IPS G-Synch display. That way I can play at up to 5K and still get my G-Sync and high refresh rates (yes, some games I do play at 4K and 5K at 100fps+).


Ultrawide is nice, lots of screen real estate, but for competitive - your minimaps and whatnot will be too far away from the cone of vision plus they haven't yet come up to par with smaller displays in the refresh rate department. I'd love a large ultrawide, but I'm unwilling to give up the 165 :) (plus the game support is only now starting to get better).

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11:55 May-08-2017

To be watched in ultrawide for those running it, bit grainy but looks awesome.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LeOH9AGJQM

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04:53 May-08-2017

We see more horizontally with our eyes, so ultrawide feels more natural to me, still it is personal preference.
My next monitor will be ultrawide for sure.

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16:03 May-07-2017

I've been running three Qnix 2710 for 2+ years in surround for a res of 7680 x 1440. Many games can be played at high/maxed settings, Game can be confined to center screen to utilize maps and other info on side screens. Great flexibility!!

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13:04 May-07-2017

After getting my Asus mx34vq UW, I will never go back to 16:9.

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09:30 May-07-2017

...ULTRA WIDESCREEN 4K 219! OLED. With flashing lights and colours! Yes, it will be grand!

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00:31 May-07-2017

I wait for 4K 120HZ HDR :D with low latency ofc

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01:54 May-07-2017

dell has made 30 inch 4k 120hz monitor

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23:27 May-06-2017

might start streaming at some point.. multiple monitors is essential for that.
plus i love throwing up a movie on the second screen while grinding in ESO

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22:58 May-06-2017

How about all 3 combined?

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13:43 May-07-2017

Imagine a triple, ultra widescreen monitor setup, I could see into the future with that thing

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22:00 May-10-2017

Kidney, kidney, I'm selling a kidney, anyone?... ;D

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22:21 May-06-2017

for me, single 27" 2560x1440 matches exactly what I need :)

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23:14 May-06-2017

Hi Brother. 2560x1440 27" 144hz

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14:21 May-08-2017

cool as well :)
when I was buying mine, I decided to go for 60Hz but IPS for better color consistency (as using it for graphics work more than gaming)

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23:29 May-06-2017

i also want it man can you gift me

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20:19 May-08-2017

If you want to game at 1440p I recommend a GPU upgrade :)

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00:23 May-07-2017

One 25" 2560x1440p here :)

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21:10 May-10-2017

1440p 165Hz here too! But thinking of getting another, having just one sucks...

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08:09 May-11-2017

getting another makes no sense, either stay with 1 or buy another 2 to have 3 in total (you don't wanna play with bezel in the middle I can assure you)

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21:45 May-06-2017

Once you go 4k, you'll smile every day!

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20:05 May-06-2017

after i got my ultrawide monitor i really cant ever go back

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19:52 May-06-2017

From the options available I'd vote for a single 4K monitor when it comes to pure gaming. If you are using your rig for production as well then a multi-display set-up can't be beat.

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18:53 May-06-2017

I watch alot of media, and all are 16:9, so ultra wide would cause black bars which would look bad
I'm getting PG279Q monitor this week, 2560x1440p 165hz gsync ips


Now THAT is the future right there, it is perfect for my usage

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18:58 May-06-2017

Concerning media, TV series indeed are 16:9 but 21:9 is very common for movies :)

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18:14 May-06-2017

I got 3 1080p monitors, love my setup.

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16:30 May-06-2017

I am SHOCKED at the amount of votes for ultrawide lol. I think its only like .1-.4% on the steam survey. Ultrawide is just fantastic, bezels are unbelievably annoying especially for gaming. Ultrawide+freesync/gsync=win win. I have an lg 29um68 and could not see myself ever going back to 16:9, even movies in 21:9 are fantastic to watch.


Gaming in the end is all about enjoyment, 21:9 with a 75hz cap and 40-75 range is fantastic, 99% of the time my fps is over 40fps, i cap it at 74fps.

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19:04 May-06-2017

i was also planing on a ultrawide monitor for my new build 2 months ago but i opted for a straight monitor due to the fact i have a very small desk and the ultrawide would have to be placed at the center of the table :/ ( i was even considering a 19201080 samsung curved display but for 40$ more for just that seemed kinda stupid tbh ) maybe in 3-4 years when i upgrade this rig i will consider a 25601080 OR 3440*1440

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19:41 May-06-2017

You won't regret going to ultrawide, its quite fun.

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22:26 May-06-2017

i believe so , im quite interested in it we shall see what the future holds :)

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11:31 May-09-2017

Yeah, I was also surprised to see that many votes. I bought a Dell 29 inch 2560 x 1080 monitor 2 years ago and been very happy with it. When planning to buy a new game, that is the first thing I look for, does it support native 2560 x 1080 resolution. Some new games still dont... :(

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13:44 May-08-2017

I have the same monitor and I love it. UW feels RIGHT for gaming.

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15:54 May-06-2017

i like single 4k 16:9 monitor

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15:13 May-06-2017

Got 2 FHD monitors, one 144hz and the other one just some 100€ asus monitor. I use the 144hz monitor to play, and the other one to display teamspeak, sometimes a music player when listening to new stuff or even movies depending on what I do on the other one. I'll never replace it with just one monitor of any kind.

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15:03 May-06-2017

Ultrawide > Multimonitor > 4k UHD IMO.

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15:04 May-06-2017

BTW since we are on the topic of monitors, a little off topic. IS a VA panel worth over IPS panel monitor, if the VA monitor is 40$ cheaper and has the same features and size?

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19:44 May-06-2017

It comes down to the games you play. I use my station for color work so I need a good IPS, but for fps and turnbased games the color qualty and black depth are greatly important as well. Shadow detail is necessary for FPS and a rich colr quality makes the art of Turnbase games come alive. There are IPS monitors a available below 5ms now that are affordable. VA may work for most, but for top geared rigs image quality should be equally as important to frame rate.

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22:58 May-06-2017

Yeah, that's what I thought, because I know all the technical differences and the way they work and what you get in theory, but I've never owned a VA panel, so I didn't know if IRL/practically there is as much of a difference between IPS and VA and I did research in terms of peoples opinions and they agree with you. Thanks for the input :)


Anyway I ordered a 24 inch full-hd AS-IPS with HDMI, DVI, 3.5mm jack and speakers for my brother, so its all fine and done. :)

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14:53 May-06-2017

I just want a decent 3440x1440 monitor at an affordable price, I'll stick with 2560x1080 for now

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16:23 May-06-2017

I'm planning on buying a 2560x1080 since 3440x1440 is expensive. what size do you have? I was thinking of going for 34inch

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18:48 May-06-2017

Personally I would recommend a 29inch model (I own one) because I think the ppi drops a bit too much on the 34 inch.

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01:04 May-07-2017

I have the 25 inch, but like roley said, definitely go for the 29 inch if you can, 2560x1080 is too low resolution for a 34 inch monitor

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Can They Run... |

Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 9 3900X 12-Core 3.8GHz GeForce RTX 3070 EVGA FTW3 Ultra Gaming 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 720p
APU A8-7410 Quad-Core Radeon R5 7410 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1080 MSI Gaming X 8GB Edition 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Ryzen 5 3400G 4-Core 3.7GHz Radeon RX Vega 11 6GB
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 8GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium,
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 30FPS, Low,
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-10400 6-Core 2.90GHz GeForce GTX 1650 16GB
0% No [1 votes]
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Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
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Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-10300H 4-Core 2.50GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i9-10900X 10-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gigabyte Gaming OC 3X 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX 540X 2GB Mobile 8GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-4670 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti EVGA Gaming 4GB 8GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2080 EVGA XC Ultra Gaming 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [5 votes]
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Ryzen 7 4800H 8-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4GB 8GB
| High,
Ryzen 7 2700 8-Core 3.2GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Gigabyte Gaming OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [3 votes]