Best 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitors 2020: Up Your Hertz, Not Your Rez – IGN


While most PC gaming marketing would have you believe everyone is playing on a 4K gaming monitor with the sickest graphics cards, most users have more modest hardware. In fact, Full HD monitors are the most common type of display you’ll find on the Steam hardware survey and most gaming dens.1080p displays have come a long way from being just the bare minimum of resolution, as an increasing number offer a high-refresh-rate of 144Hz and HDR capabilities. The best thing about 1080p 144Hz monitors is they’re almost all affordable and they keep the cost of your rig down. You can easily stick with an affordable mid-range graphics card like the Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti or Nvidia GTX 1660. Paired with adaptive frame rate technology, a la Nvidia’s G-Sync or AMD’s FreeSync, you’ll be able to run games at 144 frames per second for buttery smooth, tear-free action.

TL;DR – These are the Best 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitors:

1. Asus TUF Gaming VG259Q

Best 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitor

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Asus TUF Gaming VG259Q

On Best Buy

With the Asus TUF Gaming VG259Q you’re getting a lot for your money. Of course, you’re going to get a Full HD display that can hit 144Hz, as that’s a given on this list, but the VG259Q goes above and beyond with support for both FreeSync and G-Sync. That means you can enjoy each frame your graphics card puts out without tearing.

And, despite being an affordable 144Hz monitor, Asus hasn’t skimped by using a cheap TN panel. Instead, this monitor uses an IPS panel to deliver better viewing an angles. Even with the IPS panel, this screen will maintain a 1ms response time so you can count on it in fast-paced games.

2. MSI Optix MAG241C

Best Budget 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitor

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MSI Optix MAG241C

On Amazon

The MSI Optix MAG241C is the whole package when it comes to 1080p 144Hz gaming monitors. Not only does it feature a VA panel to deliver great colors and contrast alongside a 1ms response time, it also support FreeSync and the screen itself is curved for a slightly more immersive experience.

Everything you throw on this gaming monitor will look great; games, movies, and even regular desktop stuff. Plus it doesn’t hurt that this monitor is incredibly affordable for just $200.

3. Viotek GFV24C

Ultra Cheap 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitor

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You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to get an ultra-fast 1080p monitor. The Viotek GFV24C is incredibly affordable, but comes with loads of performance features. Its VA panel may be among the dimmest of this lineup, but it supports both FreeSync and G-Sync. It’s surprising enough to find FreeSync at this price alongsize a 144Hz refresh rate, G-Sync compatibility is a nice bonus. Just make sure you turn the lights down in your gaming room or you may have a hard time seeing content on this 220-nit display.

4. Acer Predator XN3

Best 144Hz Gaming Monitor with G-Sync

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Acer Predator XN3

On Amazon

Bright and built for G-Sync? How can you go wrong. The Acer Predator XN3 series delivers on the specs you need for a good gaming experience. It has the Full HD resolution and 144Hz refresh rate you need along with a 1ms response time. It can keep your frames looking crisp with proper G-Sync, and not just the “G-Sync Compatible” feature many other monitors offer. That said, it comes at a higher price, too. But, its high 400-nit brightness is a nice extra to make your games that much easier to see.

5. Samsung CFG73 27″

Best Curved 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitor

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The 27-inch Samsung CFG73 features a 1080p 144Hz display like the rest of the gaming monitors on this list but with a twist—or a curve, rather. With a 1800R curvature, the display creates a more immersive experience by wrapping the screen around your peripheral vision.

The Samsung CFG73 utilizes VA panel, which delivers better black levels than a TN panel, allowing you to spot enemies and see other details lurking in the shadows. You don’t pay a speed penalty for the VA’s more dynamic picture either. The Samsung CFG73 is quick with a 1ms response time to match that of the fastest TN panels.

6. ViewSonic Elite XG240R

Best FreeSync 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitor

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ViewSonic Elite XG240R

On Best Buy

FreeSync comes at a much more affordable price than G-Sync, and that makes the ViewSonic Elite XG240R an excellent value. You’re getting a 24-inch TN panel with a decent 350-nit brightness level. It may not have the best viewing angles, but you’ll have an easy enough time finding a good view thanks to a highly flexible stand. This monitor also throws in an exciting extra with RGB lighting on the back to provide some stylish bias lighting, a pleasure and a comfort to your eyes.

7. Asus ROG Strix XG27VQ

Best G-Sync Compatible 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitor

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Asus ROG Strix XG27VQ

On Best Buy

If you want Asus’s stylish ROG Strix design, you can get it in this XG27VG gaming monitor without paying an arm and a leg. It comes in at under $300, but delivers Full HD at 144Hz with compatibility for G-Sync and full support of FreeSync. There’s RBG lighting on the back and even a projected light at the base. The stand will let you move the display around to get a comfortable angle, and the bright panel will ensure you’ve got a clear view of your games.

Why you should consider a 1080p 144Hz Gaming Monitor

By sacrificing resolution, you gain speed. A 1080p monitor isn’t as crisp as a 1440p monitor, and it hardly holds a candle to a 4K display. However, without a powerful graphics card at the heart of your gaming PC, you probably won’t have an enjoyable, or even playable, frame rate at those higher resolutions. Keeping things at a Full HD resolution means you can enable some more graphical effects like tessellation and ambient occlusion.

Refresh rate is a measure of how fast a monitor can display a new image. A 60Hz monitor redraws the image 60 times a second, and a 144Hz monitor does so 144 times a second. Variable refresh rate is important because it puts a cap on how many frames per second you can achieve when syncing your GPU’s output to your monitor’s refresh rate via G-Sync or FreeSync to prevent tearing.

If you play fast-twitch shooters or engage in Esports competitions, then refresh rate is often a more important figure than a monitor’s pixel count. A refresh rate of 144Hz is in the sweet spot between the two most common 60Hz, which are too slow for serious gamers, and 240Hz gaming monitors, which you should only consider if you have a super high-end GPU that will let you push frame rates to their limits.

Why Not 240Hz Instead?

Beyond 144Hz there’s a growing range of ultra-fast 240Hz monitors, which are clearly going to be faster than any of the monitors on this list. However, 240Hz monitors almost exclusively use only TN panels that display poor color depth and low levels of contrast compared to 144Hz displays, which often use either VA or IPS panels.

That said, 240Hz monitors will display many more frames of action than any 144Hz display, so you’re basically getting a constant stream of crisp images, which can help you aim better as nothing appears on the screen as a blur.

240Hz monitors also tackle their way through any tearing issues as these ultra-fast monitors will be able to keep up with all the frames your graphics card can (or could ever) possibly render. Of course, G-Sync and Freesync will fix screen tearing issues as well.

Variable Refresh Rate and You

A fast 144Hz refresh rate isn’t the only thing you need for smooth gaming. All that speed can lead to some ugly screen tearing. Screen tearing is when your GPU and screen are out of sync, and you see a partially-drawn frame before the previous frame is gone.

You’ve no doubt seen this effect before, especially if you played games on older consoles. You can turn on V-Sync in most games to eliminate the problem, but in the process, you add an extra strain on your hardware. A variable refresh rate monitor eliminates the hardware strain while making sure the only complete frames are drawn on your display.

G-Sync is Nvidia’s proprietary solution and works with Nvidia graphics cards. FreeSync is AMD’s solution and works with its GPUs, but unlike G-Sync, it doesn’t require special hardware built into the monitor.

Well, at least that was the way it did until January 15, 2019, when Nvidia announced it was bringing enabling G-Sync on select FreeSync monitors. So far, out of the hundreds of displays Nvidia has been testing, there are 49 officially G-Sync Compatible FreeSync monitors.

The waters on compatibility are a bit muddied now because even if some monitors aren’t officially recognized and listed as being G-Sync Compatible, they still might be.

Just look at our roundup of the Best FreeSync gaming monitors for Nvidia GPUs, and you’ll see we’ve picked quite a few that aren’t on Nvidia’s list of G-Sync compatible display. That said, we’ve tested and confirmed that every FreeSync monitor on our list will support Nvidia’s version of variable refresh rate.

If you’re really worried about getting the best possible experience with 144Hz, you’re going to want a G-Sync or certified G-Sync Compatible monitor.

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Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark

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