Why You Need An IPS Monitor


Welcome, everybody, to the first in an impossibly exciting new series of posts in which I tell you why you need to buy stuff. Or maybe why you don’t. If that sounds a lot like what I’ve already been doing with Week In Tech, there’s a twist.

The point is that a lot of jargon gets thrown around when it comes to PC hardware. Too often assumptions are made. Assumptions about what is good and bad. Assumptions about what everybody understands or cares about. With all that in mind, we thought it would be good to go back to basics with stuff that sometimes seems obvious but actually isn’t. We’ll start with IPS panel technology in PC monitors. If you’re thinking about buying a new screen, you need to know about this.

Over the last year or two, the usual refrain greeting a new PC monitor has been either, ‘spec looks good, pity it’s not IPS’ or, ‘at last, it’s a something-or-other monitor with an IPS panel’. Either way, IPS is the reference point by which all PC monitors seem to be judged, the assumed preference among all mankind. Why is that, how does IPS work, is it all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s find out.

What IPS is

IPS, then, stands for in-plane switching, the implications of which we’ll come to in a moment. It’s a type of thin-film transistor LCD panel. LCDs of various kinds have dominated the display market for years, of course.

I reckon we’ve Apple to thank for both increasing awareness of IPS technology and wider use of it in devices and monitors. It wasn’t until Apple began to proselytise on all things IPS with the introduction of the iPhone 4 that the concept really entered the wider public’s imagination. Suddenly, IPS was a ‘thing’.

That matters because IPS is more expensive than some alternative LCD technologies. So device and monitor manufacturers are not going to use it unless they’re convinced punters are willing to pay extra for it. And that’s what Apple did for the world. It put punters in the frame of mind to pay a premium for IPS rather than simply opt for the cheapest display going.

Anyway, IPS is not fundamentally different to other liquid crystal display technologies. The same basic principles apply. A grid of liquid crystal pixels sit in front of a backlight and act as shutters, either allowing light to pass through or blocking it out.

4K ubertrons grab the headlines, but IPS vs TN is the critical comparison

It’s how well IPS does this job of blocking light or allowing it to pass through that distinguishes in-plane switching LCD panels from other technologies. That means, firstly, that whatever anybody says, the best of IPS is not life-alteringly different or superior to the best of other LCD technologies. IPS is not like OLED technology which works on entirely different principles and can achieve things LCD cannot, like effectively infinite contrast.

It means the inherent pros and cons of any LCD panel are present in an IPS panel. And it means that, in theory, IPS can be had with the very same accompanying technologies as any other LCD panel, be that an LED backlight or frame-syncing technology.

However, there are a couple of things that IPS does better than any other currently available LCD panel tech and which explain its hallowed status among the LCD-screen cognoscenti. The most obvious and important are viewing angles and colour accuracy – two metrics that are actually closed linked to one another.

The reasons why are a bit technical. But the basics go something like this. In a IPS LCD cell, the liquid crystals can freely rotate. This is good because it makes for fine control over a broad range of light transmission. And it’s managing light transmission that determines both the range of colours a panel can display and the scope of its viewing angles.

The rival screen types

By contrast, in a TN panel, which is an alternative and cheaper panel tech, the movement of the crystals is restricted. Think of TN as having crystals fixed at one end and then bent or twisted rather than rotated. Hence the TN terminology, which stands for twisted nematic.

Anyway, the point is that there’s less range of articulation and thus more limited control over light transmission. On the other hand, the more limited range of TN technology makes for quicker reponses and faster-switching pixels and vice versa for IPS.

Where things get a little more complicated is when you introduce the third major panel technology, known as VA or vertical alignment, which also has superior liquid crystal articulation compared to TN. It offers some of the advantages of IPS technology but combines them with better contrast and yet worse viewing angles and response.

For the record, it’s also worth noting that there are a number of IPS-alike LCD technologies that go by another name. Samsung, for instance, has its own PLS panel technology. AU Optronics offers AHVA. And several monitor makers attach prefixes to IPS panels to distinguish various generations and quality levels, such as S-IPS, H-IPS and AH-IPS panel upgrades and low-cost e-IPS alternatives.

What’s more, the latter are often hobbled when it comes to colour fidelity, dropping down to 6-bits per colour channel compared to the 8-bit and 10-bit capabilities of more expensive IPS screens. Fundamentally, however, the mechanics and characteristics of each compared to other non-IPS panel techs are broadly the same. More accurate colours. Better viewing angles. Yada yada.

Asuss 27-inch ROG: Everything but IPS – should that really be a deal breaker?

With the theory in the bag, the question is whether IPS is truly worth the price premium, especially in the context of PC gaming where pixel response is arguably as important as things like colours, contrast and viewing angles. To that question, the simple answer is yes. But it does require qualification.

Part of the problem is the relatively wide variation within a given panel type. Not all IPS panels are equal. Some older IPS panels can suffer from a distracting white glow that shifts across the screen as you move your head, for instance. Ditto TN – there’s a whole spectrum of TN panels out there.

But some generalisations can be made. IPS definitely does look better. Exactly how much better will depend on the screen in question and you particular sensibilities.

Why IPS is best

Again, it’s colours and viewing angles that most stand out. All but the most recent TN panels, for instance, have an ever so slightly washed out appearance. The colours look a little off, a but dull. Depending on what’s being displayed, you can often see a clear shift in colours from top to bottom of the panel, too. That’s the poor viewing angles. Black tones can have a slightly purply-blue tinge, to boot.

By comparison, a decent IPS panel just looks right. It’s vibrant without being OTT. Viewing angles are effectively a non issue. And black tones don’t suffer any colour corruption even if fully black pixels aren’t actually possible. A little light always leaks through with any LCD. You also get perfectly smooth colour gradients with a good IPS panel. TN screens almost always have visible banding. They simply can’t render enough colours for completely smooth transitions.

As for pixel response, opinions vary. I personally think IPS panels are quick enough for almost all gaming. If your gaming life is absolutely and exclusively about hair-trigger shooters, OK, you’ll want the fastest response, lowest latency LCD monitor. And that means TN. For the rest of us, and certainly for those who place even a modicum of importance on the visual spectacle of games, I reckon IPS is clearly the best panel technology.

I’m also recommending that most of you steer clear of VA panels. Some can suffer from wonky colours and none of them have great pixel response. Input lag is a common issue with VA, too, probably because panel makers overdrive the snot out of them to get the pixels moving a bit. For the same reason, inverse ghosting is a common problem with VA, too. It’s not to say that they’re all bad. But unless you know exactly what you are doing and precisely what you are buying, I think the risk is too high.

Acer’s 27-inch, 1440p, 144Hz, IPS effort does G-Sync and seems to offer (almost) everything in one monitor…

As for TN, complicating the issue of late are the very latest panels in cheap 4K monitors. They offer by far the best viewing angles and colours I’ve ever seen from a TN panel. The gap to IPS hasn’t quite been closed, but these are very nice screens indeed. However, that quality of TN is currently limited to those 28-inch 4K models. And 4K just isn’t a practical screen res for most of us given the load it puts on graphics cards.

Notably, the latest 27-inch 2,560 by 1,440 pixel TN panels aren’t nearly as good. In fact, I’ve found them a real disappointment for basic panel quality. That’s something 120Hz refresh rates and frame-syncing snazziness like Nvidia’s G-Sync technology does nothing fix.

Of course, 120Hz and frame-syncing is certainly sexy stuff. But that’s another story for another day. In the meantime, know this: An IPS monitor can be had for as little as £130 / $150, maybe a bit less if you shop around. So IPS is now genuinely affordable. Also, shout out below with your views and experiences on IPS and TN tech and let me know if what other core PC gaming technologies you’d like to see taken back to basics.

137 Comments

  1. RealWeaponX says:

    I got an AOC IPS 1080p monitor for £130, and it’s great. I’m sure it’d look awful beside that tasty Asus, but for £130 it’s very nice indeed.

    • Colej_uk says:

      I picked up an AOC 1440p IPS panel to replace an old 1200p TN that died on me a few months back. I don’t think I could go back to TN now, the colours are as this article says- just right.

    • Marley says:

      Just got a new 144hz G-Sync AOC monitor myself this week and im all about multiplayer shooters so I love the 1ms response time from this TN panel, not to mention the colours look a lot better then my very old and cheap LCD monitor ive had for a fair few years.
      And upgrading from 60hz to G-sync on a 144hz monitor honestly makes it feel like im playing games in slow motion with how much more time it feels like I have to react

  2. iainl says:

    I must admit, I’m not exactly feeling bad about my decision to go all-in on a Dell Ultrasharp U2414H; the colour on it is just absolutely gorgeous.

    • TheManintheHat says:

      On the same boat here! I just got my u2414H this week, and very pleased with it. I’m not into multiplayer FPS so I’m happy to stay on 60hz from now (I’ll try overclocking it to 72 though just to try it out since that’s easy and safe to do these days). I’m not into multiplayer FPS, so for me, colour accuracy > ultrafast response and 120 Hz. Of course, this will depend on each user and the monitor intended use, but in general I think it’s still not a great time to spend BIG on a monitor. As other have pointed out, hopefully by the end of this year we should have high res 144hz IPS monitors with G-Sync/FreeSync at affordable prices.

  3. wintermute000 says:

    For a gaming website, to just gloss over 120/144hz is pretty poor form. I could equally wax lyrical about how omg it’s so smooth/goodbye screen tearing > shiny colours

    • reggiep says:

      If using a high refresh rate monitor was all it took to eliminate screen tearing, why has Nvidia invested so much in G-sync and AMD invested so much in FreeSync?

      • DuncanIdah0 says:

        First of all it does solve the problem (see my post below).

        Respect why they invest in it, well, for the same reason Sony and LG invest in curved TVs, Apple provides increment improvements for each year iPhone, Neil Young creates the Pono player, etc., to sell new things to us.

        Well, and also because IPS+G-Sync is a good combination I guess, at least while IPS are unable to give good high refresh rate performance.

        • snv says:

          Yes the article is way too dismissive of high framerates.

          The doubled up frame rate is not just for shooters, it improves accuracy and responsiveness everywhere, even when just moving the mouse on the desktop.

          It also helps to reduce temporal distortion even if the game has much less than the maximum frame rate, because the rendered frames can find double the “timeslots” to fit into, which means a frame gets displayed closer to the moment when it should have been displayed.

          In both cases you have an increased temporal resolution instead of a pixel resolution. Like (anti-)aliasing, only in a different dimension (temporal instead of spatial), both are the problem of quantization distortion and therefore the same rules apply: A larger resolution reduces the jaggedness, otherwise you can hide it by introducing blurring.

          The G-Sync / Freesync approach is interesting because it actually avoids the problem.

      • wintermute000 says:

        It doesn’t, but it reduces is greatly.
        And in games where you push > 60fps the liquid smooth feeling is incredible, especially on older titles where you can hit 120 consistently.
        Even outside of games everything feels smoother – even say dragging a window arounds its noticeably less ‘blurry’ etc.

        The only downside is settling for a non-IPS panel at present (situation may change of course) and the massive urge to upgrade your GPU so you can push 120fps on the latest titles LOL

        I personally am never going back to a 60hz monitor if I can help it.

        Point is: Right now, IPS = not 120/144hz, and there are significant advantages to 120/144hz that some people would prefer. I’m not claiming IPS colour/view angle is objectively more important than 120/144hz but its undeniable that some people would prefer the latter to the former, esp. gamers, and its poor form to just gloss over this in a GAMING ORIENTED SITE

    • Boozebeard says:

      This is an article about panel types. Seeing as high refresh rates are not unique to one panel type why would they talk about it? They’ve done articles about 120hz+ monitors before. No need to make a tech article more convoluted and long winded than it needs to be.

      Edit: OK I see most the IPS 120hz+ panels are not released yet so I guess they could have mentioned that in passing but still hardly an issue.

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      This is a post about IPS. It’s not a post about 120Hz+.

      A similar post on 120Hz could indeed be composed. But that would be a different post. It would be about 120Hz and it would be called why you need 120Hz. This post is call why you need IPS. It’s about IPS. Hope this clarifies the situation!

    • HidingCat says:

      Didn’t take long for the 120hz mafia to show up.

  4. Sp4rkR4t says:

    I hope by this xmas time I will be able to get myself a Ultrawide 1440p IPS panel with freesync for a decent price.

  5. DuncanIdah0 says:

    I myself went the TN 144 Hz way with my last monitor and I must say I’m very happy with the decision. The most annoying thing from me has always been screen tearing and with 144 Hz is a non issue; no need for v-sync and therefore no more to deal with the problems it brings which are also annoying.

    Of course an IPS with g-sync does also solve the problem but you have to ditch AMD cards.

    • djbriandamage says:

      I’m totally in love with my Asus vg248qe144hz monitor too. Games and Windows look kind of uncanny due to the super high refresh rate. The colours look very nice to me as well, at least as compared to the 5 year old monitor I replaced. The only downside is that I sometimes see banding and gradients of colours and shadows, but it’s not terribly distracting.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      TN Master Race!

      Seriously though, there are pros and cons to each but many of us prefer TN over IPS.

  6. NotBS says:

    I own a Asus Rog monitor and i could not agree more. IPS just looks so much better, with a TN panel sure you get 144hz but a lot of the game you are going to run will not even touch that. I also own a 980 great card and can run a lot of game on 60 FPS but if i want the full benefit of a 144hz monitor i have to lower the graphics which is no fun.

    • OmNomNom says:

      So why do you have an Asus ROG swift if you only have a single 980. That’s like complaining that your sports car doesn’t go very fast when you only put the front wheels on.

      • SalaciousJames says:

        I didn’t read a single word in the OP that sounded like complaining.

    • marano says:

      Your CPU might be bottle-necking your card then.

      I’ve got a ROG swift monitor a well and run most games above 90fps with my GTX 970 (@1500mhz/4000mhz) at max settings (without AA, which I find disturbing and unnecessary, at these resolutions); metro redux, metro ls redux, far cry 4, advanced warfare, etc.

      Anyway, IPS panels are a no-go for avid gamers. The low refresh rates and slow response timings will absolutely annoy you beyond reprieve. Add to this, the fact that the Rog swift has colour density that gives IPS panels a run for their money and the choice is obvious – for a gamer, of course.

  7. kraken says:

    No 120Hz, no deal.

  8. mtomto says:

    I got IPS a Dell 27″ IPS Ultrasharp – perfect image, perfect colors… BUT…
    … I also got the Asus ROG 27″ with G-Sync and this one wins hands down when it comes to anything gaming.

  9. Zenicetus says:

    I’m still using an older 21″ NEC monitor in 4:3 ratio, but it’s a pro-grade IPS, bought for color correct graphics work. I can vouch for how great the colors are with an IPS screen like this. It doesn’t have what some might consider a “gaming” refresh rate, but I’ve never really noticed any problems with it.

    Only thing stopping me from upgrading to the current widescreen NEC version, is the jaw-dropping price of these pro monitors that come with their own little calibration gadgets.

  10. The Sombrero Kid says:

    IPS is perfect for a living room TV that can render stuff at a decrepit 24hz with a wide viewing angle, but it has absolutely no place as a gaming PC screen.

    Viewing angles mean nothing when the single viewers face is 60cm from the screen and refresh rate is a huge deal for interactive content. I haven’t seen any modern screen with the colour reproduction issues it mentions modern TN screens have impeccable colour reproduction, or at least all the ones I’ve used do.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Sorry but no, just no.

      I have used both IPS and TN screens. My current setup is two IPS screens (Dell U2311H) and one TN screen (Asus ROG Swift). The TN’s 144Hz refresh rate is marvelous and it works really well for games, but I can very very easily notice all of TN’s downsides. Color reproduction is significantly worse. I can clearly see viewing angle-related color shifting while looking at the monitor straight up front (there’s a clear gradient from top to bottom). Any on-screen gradient has some pretty bad color banding.

      This is comparing a top-of-the-line TN screen with cheap IPS screens. I’d expect the difference to be even deeper if you were to take a really high end IPS screen. I’m still keeping the TN screen because G-Sync + 144Hz is just too good for games, but for anything but games it feels like a significantly inferior experience.

      • SpoonySeeker says:

        Yeah, no.

        Sorry but color reproduction is great for all of the 30 seconds you sit there to appreciate it. Once you actually get into a game and start getting immersed in the action you totally forget about it.

        Now if you’re playing a spreadsheet simulator like Crusader Kings or Eve Online sure, IPS is great. You can sit there and admire the great greens and extra-black blacks while you slowly enter the semi-comatose state those games require.

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          “Now if you’re playing a spreadsheet simulator like Crusader Kings or Eve Online sure, IPS is great. You can sit there and admire the great greens and extra-black blacks while you slowly enter the semi-comatose state those games require.”

          That’s such a willfully moronic statement that I don’t even know where to begin. Congratulations, you got a reply.

        • cederic says:

          Forgive me for using my PC for more than just gaming.

          Photo editing on my IPS monitor is far easier.

    • OmNomNom says:

      This man speaks the truth.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Viewing angle isn’t completely meaningless in my case, as I use the same monitor for in-the-face PC use and sitting on the sofa a bit further away and below watching media duty.

  11. steves says:

    I am lucky enough to have one of each sat in front of me – a very old, but still good 30″ IPS number (back from when 2560×1600 was a thing – I use that for anything to do with photos and work stuff because of vertical space) + a ROG Swift for gaming, and I can’t ever go back to on anything that maxes out @60FPS for that.

    Viewing angles don’t matter for games, the colours are only very so slightly washed out, and tear-free smoothness is something you’ll really miss once you have seen it.

    That said, I wouldn’t buy one now – the Acer thing there is probably going to be better, if you can wait ’til end of March and have £700 to burn:

    link to overclockers.co.uk

    • FriendlyFire says:

      I got the Swift for Christmas. Let’s just say I was rather bummed when I heard about the Acer one, although I’m still cautious because I’ve seen a lot of shit from Acer.

      • dangel says:

        I’ve had the ROG SWIFT since launch and I love it (even next to my other Ips panels) no regrets and it’ll be with me till cards can cope with 4k properly which two 980s can’t right now.

  12. KDR_11k says:

    I’ve still got a 19″ CRT… How do I tell good LCDs from bad ones when shopping for one?

    • OmNomNom says:

      Honestly, CRT is still pretty much the best.

      • jrodman says:

        For color range and intensity? Absolutely.
        For resolution and desk space.. less so.

        • KDR_11k says:

          Also latency which is my main worry as a gamer.

          • 3Form says:

            And power consumption and eyes!

            Look for monitors ones with low response time and really high contrast ratio. That’s mainly what’s needed if I’m correct.

            But beware that some manufacturers measure these in different ways to each other

  13. HSuke says:

    No IPS on ASUS’s ROG line is a dealbreaker for me. I’d like to see them roll out more laptops with IPS. Their entire 15″ lineup uses TN.

  14. Falsen says:

    I picked up one if those Korean IPS monitors on ebay a few months ago. Specifically a Yamakasi Catleap 2B. It was a huge upgrade over my old Samsung TN panel. I haven’t had any trouble with gaming either but I don’t play competitively or anything. Unfortunately the one I got can only be overclocked to 110Hz but a lot of them can apparently hit 120.

    It had 0 dead pixels and minor IPS glow when viewed from above. Worth looking into if you don’t mind the risk of having it shipped overseas. I also bought a square trade warranty just in case.

  15. mattlambertson says:

    I’m probably a bad person but I have a Samsung S27A750D (120hz TN) and a Dell P2314H (IPS) monitor side by side in my gaming rig and I honestly prefer the TN panel. Besides the fact that 120hz and associated high frame rates give me life, the IPS has an uncomfortable matte finish that just makes things look subtly odd. The Samsung is a great TN panel for contrast and vibrance so the color difference doesn’t even really jump out at me. Maybe if I had a more trained artistic eye it would. If there’s a point to this, it’s please don’t buy into the hype unless you’ve actually viewed properly calibrated TN and IPS panels side by side and seen a difference you feel is worth having. I certainly don’t DISlike my IPS panel and its nice to have both, but I would have been just as happy getting a bigger TN panel for the same price.

    • Cockie says:

      Well, sure, but you’re comparing an IPS and a TN that costs about twice as much.
      I have that Dell next to an older TN Dell of the same size and price category and the difference is very noticable.

    • mattlambertson says:

      I always thought it was a binary comparison, i.e. all competently-made IPS panels should be better than all TN panels regardless of any other factors, but I guess that is a drastically oversimplified view.

  16. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    It’s important to point out that color banding depends on the internal bitrate used for the correct placement of shades, you need a bit more ( 10 bit ) to reduce banding effectively, and indeed most of the decent IPS monitors employ such a thing. This is not to be confused with actual 10bit color capacity, which is rare, but just the internal processing.

    You’ll absolutely introduce banding if you play with Nvidia gamma settings, for example, because that thing still thinks in 8 bit per channels, which are what your monitor can actually do but they are insufficient when one wants to play with gamma ramps.

    Another way to introduce banding is software calibration for the very same reason, and that sucks since colorimeters ( and especially spectrophotometers ) are not cheap, but the result you get is. For such thing hardware calibration with a very high bitrate LUT is the way to go, but then you’re upping the cost. IPS panels look better but the budget ones are still inaccurate.

    IPS glow is sadly something that’s not solved even now, even from straight on, unless you employ an expensive polarizer.

    With all this consider i’d still, like you, suggest an IPS monitor to most people, it’s just that the interwebs are already confused enough about most stuff and, as you said, if Apple helped the average Joe with awareness, they didn’t help with knowledge.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    I really am looking for a new monitor, and something big.
    I’m currently using my trusty old Dell 2407 (which, by the way, viewing angles seem fine on; I guess I don’t know any better). The problem is, I’ve grown to love the 16:10 aspect ratio, and 16:9 monitors end up feeling vertically constrained for me. I’d love something around 30″ with a 16:10 aspect ratio and GSync, but it doesn’t look like anyone makes such a thing. Am I out of luck?

    • Gryz says:

      G-Sync monitors are still relatively rare. Only half a dozen or so on the market today.

      16×10 Monitors are really going out of style. Unfortunately. I like them too, for some particular applications.

      This might be something for you:
      http://www.blurbusters.com/30-inch-2560×1200-120hz-16-10-aspect/

      Big. 30 Inch.
      IPS. And still 120 Hz. That’s remarkable, as there are very few 120 Hz IPS screens.
      2560×1600. Not ideal for gaming. The higher resolution will lower your framerates. By 30-40%.
      But it’s 16×10.
      No G-Synch though.

      • Premium User Badge

        Mungrul says:

        So I went for the Asus ROG PG278Q, but to be honest, I’m thinking of returning it. Coming from my trusty old Dell 2407WFP, viewing angles are terrible and colour/contrast are hard to get even remotely nice without making the thing uncomfortably bright.
        As with a lot of other posters here, I initially poo-pooed the idea that viewing angles would matter when I’m sat so close to the screen, but it is annoyingly noticeable. Really, don’t discount this.
        Yes, GSync has been a revelation, and is a truly outstanding technology; and yes, 27″ 2K seems to be an awesome sweet spot between size and pixel density (let alone which, my single GTX970 hasn’t flinched at anything I’ve played on it).

        But having never experienced one before, I have to say that TN panels are fucking atrocious for extended, comfortable use and colour reproduction.

        I’m giving it until Saturday to see if I adjust to it and it suddenly wins me over, but I suspect I’ll be exercising my consumer rights and returning it.

        That Acer IPS 2K GSync alternative is looking mighty fine right about now and is in the same price range.

  18. Phinor says:

    I’d love an IPS monitor. However, the right monitor just doesn’t seem to exist. 27-28 inch and 1440p, measured input latency in the 10ms range and affordable price. I can find somewhat reasonably priced IPS monitors with latency in the 30ms range but I’m not going to accept 30ms, I’ve had a high input latency monitor before and it was extremely annoying to do anything with it, even outside of gaming. To get that latency down, it’s another 100-200 euros on top of the 450-500 euros an IPS monitor costs. And to sweeten the deal I’d like 120Hz as well but that adds even more to the price. Ugh. Monitor prices would be so much better in North America (and I know about Korean situation, but I’d prefer reliable warranty).

    So all in all, it’s time to buy another TN for half the price of an IPS panel.

    • Cockie says:

      Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM, € 530, 8 ms reaction time, 1440p, 60 Hz.

      • Phinor says:

        Unfortunately that fairly priced Dell falls in the same 20-30ms input lag category most quality monitors do.

      • KDR_11k says:

        AFAIK reaction time is how fast the pixels change color when receiving a new signal (what caused ghosting on oooold LCDs), input lag is separate from that and depends on how long the electronics in the controller process each image. So 8ms reaction time does not mean 8ms input lag.

  19. kalzekdor says:

    How are these monitors for video? I already have a good gaming monitor, but the monitor I use for video has viewing angle / black level issues (it’s extremely hard to make out dark scenes except when viewing straight-on).

  20. mont3core says:

    “Of course, 120Hz and frame-syncing is certainly sexy stuff. But that’s another story for another day.”

    No its not, its the crux of what you are trying to argue. Saying that IPS is fast enough for almost all gaming is absurd as hell. You think that refresh rate does not amount to “even a modicum of importance on the visual spectacle of games” then I don’t really know what to tell you, but I reckon you are dead wrong.

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      You are suffering from the misconception that saying, ‘IPS is fast enough’ = saying ’60Hz is fast enough’.

      IPS is fast enough. Whether you want that fast enough IPS panel in 60Hz or 120Hz spec is a separate question.

  21. joa says:

    It’s funny how monitors/TV screens and so forth haven’t really improved in recent times. I upgraded my 6 or 7 year old monitor (which I think was ‘VA’) last month to an IPS, and incredibly the new one actually looks worse! Weird glowing in the corners, slightly blurry font (maybe this is the fake 6-bit/8-bit thing?) and a weird green tint I can’t get rid of messing with the colour settings.

    What about all that OLED stuff in phones? Why don’t they put that in a computer screen?

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      They are weird OLEDs, but you can buy the good ones from FSI or Sony, it’s just that you need like over 5k bucks.

      No LCD will ever be as good, period, and LCDs will always be doomed simply by their need for backlighting. We have to make do until better tech finally creeps into the affordable range, and that seems more and more distant as the market keeps stretching LCDs over higher resolutions and so on.

      Google “SED monitor”, this is an example of what we missed, for the very same reason that we have horrible Edge-lit LED monitors ( Who cares about uneven lighting and backlight bleeding, afterall? ) because the mass market wanted flatter and flatter panels at the expense of image quality, they don’t want something slightly more expensive that performs miles better, because the “quality is good enough”.

    • drewski says:

      Because 1) it’s really expensive and 2) burn in.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Unless they solved it the problem with OLED is that the color chemicals decompose and at different rates for different colors to boot. That’s fine for cellphones which most people apparently throw away every 6 months but you’d want a PC monitor to last longer than that, right?

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        That mostly happens with smartphones though, a better reliability will have to come with time but there’s absolutely no contest in image quality, and even in this case you have to rule out the bad and cheap applications of such technologies, which are what you find in cheap screens.

        Furthermore, even LED lighting shifts over time, not as much as CCFL off course but you can absolutely expect your color temperature to degrade. A very expensive OLED ( 8k dollar ) is not much different in this regard.

        Ultimately there are no good options for those who want the best performance ( i’d even pay 1500-2000 for a 1440p OLED that is good and has hardware calibration ), if i were to buy such a thing i would invest in a good calibrator in order to keep the monitor perfect over time, which is a problem that plagues every single monitor out there. People like to pretend this issue doesn’t exist, and since brains can adapt it’s easy keep ignoring it.

        You know what’s another thing people try to pretend it’s gone forever? goggle “Dell U2713H burn in”

  22. gsvelto says:

    I’m still quite fond of my good, old Eizo S1932. It’s an S-PVA panel with gorgeous color reproduction and fast response. It’s getting a little bit long in the tooth but I’ve never noticed any of the artifacts described in the article about ‘VA’ panels. True enough fast-response VAs are not common and I’m not aware of any modern monitor with an S-PVA panel except for the FG2421 which had a somewhat mixed reception.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Most VA monitors are bad by design, the tech is good. IPS and VA always traded blows when it comes to the professional market, and those were obviously made to be good performers.

      Eventually IPS edged VA out because for photography you don’t need that much contrast but you’re better off with a very even reproduction without off-center gamma shifts and other crap like black crush that sadly VA has. Both technologies have advantages, TN is really the only one that was made for the sole reason of being cheap to produce.

      If you don’t see many problems it’s because it’s a proper monitor, as easy as that, and if there’s no banding it’s due to the internal processing bitrate, even an IPS could have banding if it only had 8 bit internal processing ( not to be confused with 8 bit color depth ), it’s just that many of the good ones have the good stuff.

  23. Borodin says:

    My feelings on this are very mixed. I currently run a pair of AMVA (Advanced Multi-domain Vertical Alignment) 1920×1080 Benq EW2420s, which have delighted me from the start. When I connected my first panel and turned it on, a mostly-white internet page was startlingly bright and I had to reduce the brightness to 35% for comfort. The web site TFT Central says of AMVA technology that “In practice the contrast ratio is … still far beyond IPS and TN Film matrices”.

    I have looked, but cannot find anything specifically about the colour accuracy of AMVA panels. The link above does say “Viewing angles are therefore not as wide as IPS technology and the technology is often dismissed for colour critical work as a result, and pcmonitors.info says “They are actually on par with modern IPS models during some pixel transitions. Other pixel transitions, typically between light colours and dark bold colours, are still relatively slow …”

    At the same time, despite Jeremy’s insistance, I don’t believe that, as gamers, we are bound by the same requirements as graphic designers. In the thrall of a Good Old Game we are quite happy to forget we are looking at 640×480 graphics, and we will almost always look at our screens straight-on, with a variance of, perhaps, up to ten degrees to either side at the absolute maximum. (And if viewing angle is so vital, then why are we seeing such derogatory comments about curved screens, which I would have thought was a much cheaper way of solving the viewing angle problem, at least at the periphery of the screen.)

    Colour accuracy also seems pretty much irrelevant. As long as I can tell the difference between two different browns in the dungeon I’m exploring, I really don’t care if they’re the right browns. So what we need is not colour accuracy but colour range (contrast, effectively) and precision, the former being the number of different colours that the panel can represent, and the latter being the degree to which a given colour will look the same on screen from moment to moment.

    I am more than delighted with my AMVA panels, which cost me £120 each, and I rarely see the technology compared to the Holy Grail of IPS. I think we could all be saving ourselves a lot of money.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      The only thing you really need about color accuracy is correct gamma, you’ll get far more dynamic range if you can distinguish between ALL the shades from 0 to 255 per channel and a more “3D” delivery if such scale is very much even from start to finish, without weird jumps, everything will look smoother and more refined.

      Also, Jeremy always goes with “VA” but the difference between AMVA ( and especially AMVA+ ) and the old SPVA and so on are pretty much extreme, and great effort has been put into cutting as much as possible their drawbacks while pumping the contrast even higher.

      Even i as a happy possessor of a professional Eizo IPS, would tell you that if i had to explore a dungeon in Skyrim or do a very low light level in Dark Souls, would be better off with an AMVA, the black depth is just another thing, hardly comparable. Of all the LCD technologies, AMVA is probably the one that has “that single feature” that is simply incredible.

      IPS is a better overall performer in my mind, but damn, i still remember fondly the low light sessions in my old AMVA.

    • OmNomNom says:

      If you love VA panels you should try the Eizo FG2421. It’s a 120hz VA panel with motion blur reduction tech. Almost the best of both worlds if you love your colour and black depth.

  24. SparksV says:

    I’ve had my LG monitor (W1952TQ) since 2008 and had the internal PSU of the monitor die. That was back in 2012 I think. I am waiting though for the day this thing will fail and thinking about a replacement. I’d love to find an IPS panel with 5ms response time and full 900p. I’m still shying away from 1080p panels because I don’t think my PC will make that at 60 fps and I don’t like playing below 60fps. And besides, I couldn’t find any monitors in local stores with more refresh rate than 87hz. (I don’t live in the UK). So any recommendations ?

    • OmNomNom says:

      The problem is most (all?) panels made in recent years are 1080p even when the screen size is below 24″ (which tends to be the ‘standard’ screen size). You may find some old end of line monitors at 17″-20″ that have a 720p / 900p limit. You can of course run any screen at a non native res, it just may not look perfect if scaled, although if you can live with some black borders then that may be a temporary solution

  25. Cockie says:

    My father has a Dell Ultrasharp U2713HM and I have a Dell P2314H, both of which are very good monitors.
    I thought my Dell TN monitor was good, but when I put the new one next to it, man, the difference is really big.
    I don’t notice the supposedly larger reaction time.

  26. Flea says:

    While I do agree that IPS is a better choice over TN and that the colors and viewing angles are better on IPS, I don’t understand why the article doesn’t mention the IPS glow. It’s an imperfection of IPS displays that can drive a lot of people mad, especially those who have an eye for detail and want their monitors to be as close to perfect as possible. I am one of them I guess. I have a 27-inch Dell IPS monitor and I love the colors and gradients and viewing angles, but when the image is dark and you want to see rich blacks, the glow just about reminds you that not all is great about IPS…

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      IPS glow is mentioned in the article as a problem of old, while indeed is absolutely still a reality as you say.

  27. fish99 says:

    I’ve owned quite a few IPS panels, a Dell 2007WFP and U2312HM which are quality screens, and we also have a cheap modern AOC 24″ IPS screen, and the AOC is nowhere near the quality of the Dells. The viewing angles aren’t as good (although still better than TN) and the contrast seems pretty poor.

    So IPS isn’t a fixed quality standard, there are good and bad IPS screens. And as Flea mentions above they all have the weird glow when viewing dark colours from off centre.

    My gaming screen is an Asus 120Hz TN, which I bought for 3D, but I also love the 120Hz feature. I can turn v-sync on, have no tears, but the framerate hit associated with v-sync just isn’t there. Or you can turn v-sync off and the size of the tears is much smaller (vs 60Hz screens) meaning you barely notice them. So it solves tearing two different ways. Plus the smoothness of motion when a game gets up to 100+fps is delightful.

    In my opinion though, even a 144 Hz IPS wouldn’t be the perfect display. LCDs are still too slow, and have too little contrast. We need something better.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Aye, LCDs will never be a the perfect thing, even though we absolutely know that some of them can look incredibly good.

      The pixels need to be able to emit light ( or block it ) fully by themselves, basically it’s just a matter of waiting for OLED to be more reachable. As of now they are exclusively used by professional color grading studios and they can also reach an incredible color gamut, aside from the perfect contrast.

  28. OmNomNom says:

    Sorry but this article is a little off the mark for me. I’ve bought every top end latest-tech IPS or similar monitor i can over the years but not a single one of them comes close to a TN panel for gaming, ALL of the 3k-4k monitors have awful ghosting and response times and you’ll need Titan SLI to drive that tech at 30+ framerates so just don’t bother.

    If you only play casual or turn based / slow moving games then maybe you can get by with an IPS but you really don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve used a good TN (or VA in the case in the case of the FG2421) if you play FPS games don’t even think of using an IPS unless you want to be at a serious disadvantage. There are 120hz IPS monitors on the horizon but u doubt they truly compare to the performance of the current gen TN panels.

    Asus ROG PG278Q is the best monitor you can buy right now. For a TN panel the colours are exceptional. If its too expensive and if you can’t afford one then look at the Benq XL range.

    If you’re happy with 5fps and ghosting buy a 4k+ IPS and play chess.

    • SalaciousJames says:

      The author clearly said that TN panels have much better refresh rates. He also said he wasn’t taking 4K resolutions into account for the very reason you mention – they’re not practical for gaming.

      Maybe if you took the time to address the author’s actual points, your counter argument would be more compelling. But right now, it sounds like the defensive knee-jerk reaction from a gearhead who can’t stand the thought that he doesn’t have it all. There’s absolutely no reason to act like those who disagree with your choice are stupid.

      • OmNomNom says:

        I didn’t mean to imply that people who don’t agree are stupid. I was trying to inform those who really don’t know so they don’t make the same mistake. My opinion is that buying any IPS monitor is a bad idea if your main purpose will be gaming. The cons far outweigh the pros with current monitor tech.

        Seems I’ve hurt the feelings of some IPS users, this was not my intention.

      • Asurmen says:

        I have an IPS monitor. It’s fine for gamin, even FPS.

    • All is Well says:

      You’re discussing the hardware requirements of 4k resolutions as if they were a problem related to IPS. That’s misleading. All 4k screens, regardless of panel type, have the issue of requiring above-average hardware to drive effectively. It’s not an IPS problem, and thus it seems odd to lump it in with response times, which are an IPS problem.

      • OmNomNom says:

        Most 4k panels are IPS tech and have the ghosting problems and input lag even if you have the hardware to drive them

        • All is Well says:

          But most IPS panels are not 4k, which is why your argument that “4k requires expensive hardware” is misleading when directed against IPS panels. IPS panels will, for any resolution, have more issues with response times, not to mention glow, and this is valid criticism. Conflating 4k with IPS isn’t.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      To say that having an IPS over TN puts you at a disadvantage in gaming is completely laughable. I’ve got a BenQ IPS and can sit at the top of the board if I’m playing well, a bad workman blames his tools. This monitor is lovely for games and whatever applications you throw at it.

      • OmNomNom says:

        Sorry i didn’t mean to offend. Im sure your monitor is great. Try a good TN panel and your scores may get even better.

        • shaydeeadi says:

          Oh I’m not offended. I just think you are way off the mark to say that having a TN over IPS will make you that much better at games.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            It’s true mostly on the extreme high end of the superhuman scale of gaming skills, and mostly in just some obscenely fast games.

            Then again in that case a TN still sucks compared to a CRT. Hard to beat the absolute absence of input lag and the lack of such notion as “pixel response time”, regardless of how fast it got nowadays.

            “R3al g4m3rz” always make me smile, they have better tech available and for the cheap, but it probably looks too bulky and “uncool” for them, yet they will tell you that all that matters is bettering their craft, while clearly there are other priorities.

            TN’s speed is a happy and fortunate byproduct of the very limited color reproduction capabilities, but that’s where it stops. TN wasn’t born ( long ago ) for gaming, it was born to be cheap. The fact that it ended to have a gaming advantage is merely a lucky coincidence.

            TN even lost the exclusive of high refresh rates.

  29. racccoon says:

    Ever since you could plug your computer into the back of your t.v. has been a normal way of computer life for me.
    To me all I need is power n’ Hertz , a really nice T.V. with a bloody big screen!
    I laugh at these t.v.’s that have come out with internet addon’s, why do you need them? All you have to do is plug your computer into the T.V. my world is a world alive, which is all ready sitting there for you too.
    My monitor days went out the window far far too many years ago, you know..when they were once those square pointed things, the ones seen on those junk pic’s!
    I might add those junk piles are now big screen T.V.’s.!. What a throw away world we live in.
    For those that can’t explode into open worlds like me, good luck with your monitors.

  30. caff says:

    Well, I bought the 40″ 4K Phillips BDM4065UC as mentioned in a previous article, and it is blimmin’ lovely. Like, seriously sexy. I can’t fault the quality and colour balance. But I understand my panel is a VA, so I’m not sure if it’s “better or worse” (if such a comparison can be drawn) than an IPS.

  31. drewski says:

    I looked at new monitors as part of a new PC setup I was planning about a month ago, and immediately got so confused I decided not to bother upgrading at all.

    How anyone can understand which of the thousands of different monitors available are good options is beyond me.

    • OmNomNom says:

      Well, same way you work out how anything else it’s good on the internet. Read reviews.

      Tftcentral is a great site that goes into a lot of depth with monitor reviews but also compares each new monitor to the previous ones so you get a better idea of how each performs

      • drewski says:

        The overwhelmingly vast majority of models around either don’t have any professional reviews done, or when available aren’t reviewed from a gaming perspective.

        You end up going off Amazon, Newegg and Bestbuy reviews and who knows if they have any idea what to look for or what they’re talking about.

  32. Mr Coot says:

    Out of interest what do these screens typically draw for power? I have 3 ageing Asus VW/VK266 2ms which are 60W each and that seems too much. The only reason I keep them (apart from that they are working perfectly) is because they are 1920×1200 and I can’t find any other 16:10 monitors on the market. I don’t give a poo about entertainment centre options for my desktop PC and the need for x1080 widescreen for movies. I have an excessively large TV for that. My PC is for playing games only and the more vertical pixels the better.

    Looking forward to this series of articles, if you could include what sort of gfx set up is typically necessary to drive featured monitors and other nutty bolty things like power consumption (incl. what the PC would need to support the multiple gfx cards), and connection set up (DP etc) in the case of multiple mons – that would be good. I’m thinking my next lot will be Asus rimless 1080s set vertically.

    • OmNomNom says:

      You could try an ultra wide screen. Many have 1440 vertical pixels and 3.5k horizontal

  33. liquidsoap89 says:

    Can IPS monitors not reach 120/144hz or something? That Acer monitor pictured at the bottom apparently does, and it’s IPS. Isn’t that the best of both worlds? I don’t quite understand why people would say TN is better if IPS can apparently render at the same speed.

    Am I cray?

    • wintermute000 says:

      right now there are no IPS 120/144hz monitors in the market.
      Situation may change yes.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lexx87 says:

        If that’s the case why is one listed in the article? Jeremy can you share any light on the matter? :)

        • Gryz says:

          I’ve been watching all new monitor announcements closely.
          As far as I know, there are 4 new IPS monitors announced that can do 120 Hz.
          None of these 4 are on the market yet.

          http://www.blurbusters.com/30-inch-2560×1200-120hz-16-10-aspect/
          Made by Monoprice. IPS. 120Hz. 30 Inch. 16:10. 2560×1600.
          No G-Sync, no ULMB.
          No idea when it will be available. No idea about price.

          link to pcdiy.asus.com
          Made by Asus. MG279Q. IPS. 120 Hz. 27 Inch. 16:9. 2560×1440.
          No G-Sync, no ULMB.
          No idea about availability or price..

          link to prweb.com
          link to blurbusters.com
          Made by Acer. XB270HU and XG270HU. IPS. 144Hz. 27 Inch. 16:9.
          One (the XB270HU) will have G-Sync and ULMB. The other one will not.
          This is the monitor on the picture in this RPS article.
          Availability expected in March. Price will be 700 euros/600 pounds (including tax/VAT).

          I’m waiting for the XB270HU myself. IPS with 144Hz, G-Sync and ULMB. I will wait for the reviews. I want to know if ULMB makes any sense with the slow pixel-switch times of IPS. (The XB270HU will have 4ms GTG). And I want to know if the build-quality of Acer is any good. If ULMB works, and the monitor is not too shabby, this will be my next monitor.

    • OmNomNom says:

      If they really can manufacture affordable IPS screens that have better performance characteristics than TN then there will be no contest, however i wouldn’t be surprised if the new faster refresh panels still can’t compete with TN from a ghosting and input lag perspective. We can hope!

    • Asurmen says:

      No native ones. You can take a gamble on overclockking a monitor though.

  34. Smoky_the_Bear says:

    “Depending on what’s being displayed, you can often see a clear shift in colours from top to bottom of the panel, too.”

    Literally never had this problem with a TN. Don’t get the whole focus on viewing angles, I sit smack bang in the middle of my monitor and don’t really move so don’t know why that is a consideration for a great number of PC gamers.
    If you are putting it on a wall and sitting around it watching stuff, sure, if you are just using it for gaming, I really don’t see how this is an issue.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      link to lagom.nl

      I see a perfectly flat grey screen, even the “LAGOM” writing disappears. The background measures color shift, the way the writing blends instead measures gamma, if it’s blended gamma is a perfect 2.2 curve, if it does so on all the monitor you have no shifts.

      What do you see even from a perfectly centered view?

    • fish99 says:

      I’ve owned about 10 TN panels (mostly laptops, but also at least 3 desktop screens) and they all have this problem. It’s a pretty easy thing to demonstrate, just open an art package and set the whole screen to one colour (if you want you can then save it and view it full screen with F11 in image viewer). The colour will be a little lighter (even with your head still), usually at the bottom, and it’ll be worse the bigger the screen. Move you head down a little and you’ll see how much darker the top of the screen gets.

      If your want proof, take a photo of the screen (not a screenshot) and then import it into an art package and use the dropper to check the RGB colour value at the top and bottom of the screen, you’ll see there will be a gradient.

  35. Oakreef says:

    I know piss all about monitor technology but itseems like viewing angle would be pretty close to bottom on my list of concerns considering I’m going to be sitting at the same spot on the same desk the entire time while playing. For a phone, tv or laptop it would be a far more pressing concern.

    • OmNomNom says:

      Exactly… Maybe if you’re a professional photo editor you’d care. But otherwise…

    • Arona Daal says:

      I bought one recommended of each in the same price Range,
      calibrated them online link to lagom.nl,
      streamed the same output on them simultanously,and compared them for several Days.

      TN Viewing Angle discoloration,even sitting very stiff , was very noticable.
      With a noncurved Widescreen the viewing angle is always a Factor no Matter how or where you sit.

      Contrast was also much worse ,
      f.E. In Metro 2033 i could notice a lot of Details in Tunnels on my Ips which i could not see on the TN.
      But the black was deeper than on the IPS.

      The g2g speed Advantage of TN was *not* noticable (but it was a 60 hz TN),even in faster shooters like Tf2 of BF3.

      And for me ghosting appeared only on the TN Panel.

      I kept the IPS. And i will probably only change when i find a 120 hz Monitor without Tn Panel.

      Just my 2 Cents.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        This is true because the major defects of ghosting are tied to the monitor’s overdrive.

        The faster you want your pixel to be, the more aggressive the overdrive is, which can cause reverse ghosting and other horrible artifacts. This happens because the pixels are forced way beyond their capabilities and this produces errors.

        A fair comparison would be to disable overdrive ( if possible ) on all monitors. You’d notice the TN would be a better performer, but since they’re mostly cheap things made with little considerations for good electronics and so on, it’s indeed perfectly common to have a faster TN that still produces more artifacts than a slower IPS due to very bad control.

        A high end TN might look nice in that regard though, but the cheaper ones surely need some serious research to evaluate if you aren’t just doing worse.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      The reason viewing angle matters: As screens get bigger, you’re actually starting to see a significant viewing angle difference for a single viewer just between the four corners of the same screen. I.e. you’re viewing the screen from a bunch of different angles even when you’re sitting straight in front of it, and so you can start to get issues around the edges.

      This was the situation back in 2010 and was why IPS was a big deal at the time for the new breed of 27″ monitors. They may have fixed it since, but I wouldn’t know since I’ve been IPS since then.

  36. Azhrarn says:

    I own an ASUS PA246Q, which is a lovely DTP monitor with an IPS screen.
    Decent response time (5ms) though limited to 60Hz refresh, which is not surprising given that it’s around 4 years old now, 120Hz screens were pretty rare back then.
    It has served me extremely well though, and the colour reproduction is second to none.

  37. Cleave says:

    I got the AOC 24″ G-sync monitor recent;y. I absolutely adore G-sync, it’s technology that makes sense and completely fixes a problem that’s irritated me for years. The screen does look washed out though, it’s the first thing I noticed and was quite disappointing. I couldn’t go back to 60hz now but I guess that 27″ IPS G-sync job will be my next one, unless OLED is affordable by then.

    • Gryz says:

      Have you tried nVidia’s “Digital Vibrance” ?

      Open the nVidia Control Panel.
      Choose “Adjust Desktop Color Settings”.
      Near the bottom of the sliders is a slider for Digitial Vibrance.
      Change it. Test it. I believe the default is 0. I usually run 50-65%.
      It makes the colors a lot more colorful. Maybe not realistic. But I like it.
      Hope this helps.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        It’s just that his gamma is probably too bright, washing out colors.

        Way better start is finding some gamma setting in hardware ( monitor’s own settings ) and trying to make it match this: link to lagom.nl

        And that point the monitor will have a better dynamic range, leading to better “pop” and a more tridimensional presentation and it won’t be washed out any longer. If that’s not possible you can still correct gamma per each channel via Nvidia control panel. AMD can too but i don’t know how.

        Try that yourself aswell with digital vibrance disabled, chances are you’ll thank me later.

  38. Jerykk says:

    I use an IPS monitor at work and it’s pretty terrible for first-person shooters or any game where you control the camera. It’s painful compared to my 120 Hz monitor. If you’ve never used 120+ Hz, I can maybe see how you’d able to tolerate IPS response times but once you go 120, there’s really no going back.

    Precise, lag-free input > color reproduction.

  39. El_Emmental says:

    IPS is great for gaming casually or playing games not requiring a high refresh rate (= nearly all of them, minus first-person games, fast-paced third-person games, fighing games, racing games). I got an IPS for a family member (who’s playing video games in a “relaxed” way, so no online/fast-paced stuff) and the visual experience is indeed better than what I would get with a TN for the same price.

    But for me, playing FPS, a few TPS and some racing games – online most of the time – I’ll just stick with TN.

    Latency is a major issue when gaming online and in fast-paced games, and there’s already way enough elements in the rendering chain that can add their own milliseconds (CPU, GPU, RAM, HDD/SSD->RAM).

    Now add the input latency chain (USB pooling for keyboard and mouse, unless you’ve got enough PS/2 ports and peripherals), and the network latency chain if you’re playing online (network card/chipset -> local network (wire/wireless) -> local DSLAM or cable node -> ISP nodes -> peering networks/Internet backbone) – the difference between a “responsive” game and your brain noticing a delay ends up being down to a few ms, because there’s always an element in these chains slowing down a bit once in a while.

    Choosing a slower panel is simply increasing the frequency and gravity of all these small moments where your brain notice a very slight delay.

    On visual quality: being able to max-out all video settings is only accessible to people with a very large gaming budget, the maximum visual fidelity and quality is almost never achieved when playing.

    For the same affordable budget, sacrificing responsiveness for slightly better colour accuracy (it matters much less in video games, where colour design is practically always average) is an unwise plan: we’re already sacrificing visual quality to get enough responsiveness (frames-per-second), going for the opposite is not rational. Our goal is achieving responsiveness first, visual quality comes second.

    “Oh, the green of that bush is wonderful, and look at that water, wonderful blue – a shame the bush is terribly pixelated and the water is a basic texture because I’m trying to get more than 40 fps during heavy-load, 60 fps on average”. Having the color accuracy going from 6/10 to 7/10 is practically meaningless when we’re still trying to achieve proper responsiveness – especially in a game where responsiveness is much more important than the colour accuracy.

    A slightly-above-average colour accuracy (recent TN) instead of a kinda-good colour accuracy (recent IPS) will not ruin your game experience – a noticeable delay when interacting with the game will.

    edit: now, if you can achieve 80+ frames-per-second with (nearly) all video settings maxed out, even during loaded scenes, it’s down to personal preference to go for a fancy IPS panel (with gorgeous colours) running at 60Hz, or a decent TN panel (with okay colours) running at 120/144Hz, sure. Most gamers don’t have that luxury and struggle to get proper responsiveness.

    • Volcanu says:

      To be honest , I would argue that the majority of people wont notice any latency on an IPS panel but they WILL notice the nicer, more vibrant colour reproduction.

      I realise that for people heavily into competitive online FPS gaming, a TN panel makes more sense but that’s a small subset of PC gamers overall.

      For most PC gamers, on a moderate budget, an IPS panel is the standout option and certainly the one that offers a noticeable and positive change when you get one.

      • El_Emmental says:

        If said gamers are playing slower-paced (in terms of visual activity) games, then yes definitely – that’s why I got an IPS panel for a family member because I knew that person wasn’t going to play games requiring a very responsive system, or only once in a while (casual TF2 playing). And also because that user was going to use that monitor to watch a lot of tv series/anime (like a lot of ‘casual’ gamers).

        My preference for the TN panels is really for users stuck between the ‘casual’ gamer profile, and the high-end gamer (with an expensive rig) profile – with the exception of slower-paced (visually speaking) games, where IPS is a better choice (unless the user already tasted 120/144Hz display, then it’s too late :P).

    • fish99 says:

      There’s IPS screens out there with no input lag. They do have slower pixel response than TN though, which makes fast images look a bit more blurry, although even the fastest TN still has some blur and some colour inverse artifacts due to the overdrive.

  40. tonicer says:

    IPS? m e h … meh.

    Apple was never good at anything … well they are good at one thing … selling their crap to the mentally handicapped which they exploit to the highest possible extent!

    I rather have 144hz and 1ms response time. To make it short i love my Benq XL2720Z! :D

    • Volcanu says:

      Well you’re a delight aren’t you?

      Anyone with different preferences/priorities to you is “mentally handicapped”. Grow up child.

  41. minkiii says:

    I built my first computer last month (finally moving on from laptop) and I bought a 21.5 inch Asus VS229H-P IPS monitor to go with it. It cost £130 to order from American Amazon (to order the same product from the UK would cost £300). It’s obviously at the cheaper end of the spectrum, but I’m super pleased with it. It has an anti-gloss screen which is essential as I live in a boat with windows EVERYWHERE.
    The darks decay slightly on the vertical axis (not awfully, but noticeable if you go from sitting to lying on a sofa) but the horizontal viewing angle is amazing.

  42. Demios says:

    IPS is nice, they are however more prone to lightbleed. My favorite thing is the fact that viewing angle problems are non-existent. Finding one at a decent refresh rate with relatively manageable input lag is nigh impossible. They exist, but there isn’t a plethora of them to find and decent pricing. My requirements tend to be 27 inch, under 10ms input lag and 120-144 hertz refresh rate.

  43. brulleks says:

    What is the image on the right-hand monitor from? If that’s a game, it’s something I want to play. Almost looks like a massively overhauled Oblivion.

    Or maybe Skyrim, with some kind of greenery mod?

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      It’s this rather brilliant benchmark, which is also perfect for testing overclock stability.

      It’s not as hard as others but quite complete in it’s graphical features, so it’s a useful tool other than a perfect screen saver that also heats your room up as needed.

      Oh and you can also freely fly around the whole map, which is huge!!

  44. lucasdigital says:

    Two years ago I was persuaded by the hardware overlords of RPS to buy the Hazro HZ27WC 27″ 2K LCD IPS monitor, 2560 x 1440 monitor. Cutting to the chase — this is not just the best monitor I’ve ever owned, it’s the best monitor I’ve seen. IPS! IPS! IPS!

  45. oceanclub says:

    I’ve had an IPS panel – the Dell 2209WA – for 6 years now and I’m still curious why the inferior TN format still lingers. The above was the first LCD monitor I had – the one before that a behemoth CRT – and I remember being nervous that the colour quality would not be as good. The 2209WA completely won me over. Now getting old in the tooth with a grey patch visible and occasionally a pink line displaying on the monitor – will need an upgrade at some point.

  46. molamolacolacake says:

    How timely! I just ordered an IPS monitor a couple of days ago by happenstance. Sweet validation.

  47. Pantalaimon says:

    The whole ‘IPS displays aren’t suitable for gaming’ thing is now an outdated line. I bit the bullet on one this time last year (ASUS MX279H) and have been more than happy, and I’m pretty obsessive about ghosting and latency. Going from a faster conventional display like TN or LCD it is perhaps a fraction slower in terms of response time, but we’re talking <10ms slower (this is decreasing year on year and it's now kind of irrelevent). It's not really very noticeable much beyond the first day or two, and the improved black depth and colours is more than worth that small trade off, anyway. That's what you buy one for. When you can hold up a colour chart next to the display and the colours are near as damnit accurate, that is a bit of a wow moment.

    No input lag, very slightly slower response than a TN, no back lighting bleed, no ghosting. Great colour accuracy and black depth, wide viewing angles. It’s worth shopping around, and viewing these things in person, though. Not all of the displays are made equal, and some of them aren’t really an upgrade over TN or LCD because their colours or contrast are mediocre.

    If you watch a lot of films/TV or do editing work or just generally enjoy a vibrant picture, I'd recommend going for an IPS in the £175-300 range that gives you the colours/contrast that you like the most. IPS displays make games and films look fantastic. It’s one of those things where you might not realise the difference until you see the quality of picture they can put out. If you can't afford it yet, it's totally worth saving until you can. You can spend a few notes more and just get a much better viewing experience.

  48. Dumdeedum says:

    A lot of the arguing here about response times sounds suspiciously akin to audiophile nonsense (“I can absolutely hear the difference with these gold-plated cables”) so it’d be interesting to see some double-blind tests done.

    For myself, I switched to a Dell IPS a number of years ago and it’s been nothing but gravy. Maybe I just got lucky and got a good IPS, maybe I just don’t GAME HARD enough to notice, but my money’s on IPS being fine.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Yeah, I do tend to doubt the reaction time stuff as well. But I also have the “advantage” (har) of being an older gamer, so my reaction time has already gone to crap — or maybe I just don’t want to play with my senses so on edge that I can react instantly — and so I’d rather have a good visual experience.

      27″ 1440p IPS user since 2010, can’t imagine going back.

      (Granted, I also happen to own a $1k sound mixer board and a $600 pair of audiophile headphones. But both of those were incidental — I wanted to combine multiple machines’ output / reroute audio between them, and all I ever wanted was real leather pads on my phones.)

      • Sakkura says:

        Response time is nothing to do with reaction time. It mainly has to do with blurring and ghosting, which are plainly visible artifacts. There’s no audiophile voodoo about it. Unless you’re saying this image looks fine to you: link to i.imgur.com

        • Asurmen says:

          It kind of does. Also, you’re missing the point about the audiophile bit. Yes, there are examples like the picture, but they’re outliers. A more real world example doesn’t show that, but certain people will swear blind it does on an IPS and that their panel of choice doesn’t, making it superior.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Analog cables are important, just they are obviously not 100 bucks/meter important, off course. But a slightly oversized, better shielded 10-20 bucks 1 meter RCA cable is better, because the signal is weak but your house’s EMI is not.

      In both scenarios you won’t notice the difference until you upgrade ( in the audiophile case you need astoundingly transparent electronics and speakers to notice ). Your brain can compensate most stuff, but just because it can it doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing.

      I suggest IPS aswell, but i absolutely tried some that had slower response. Try to play an FPS with a monitor with good input lag ratings and then switch over a run of the mill HDTV full of filters and horrible idiocies that just introduce artifacts while slowing the processing time.

      • Sakkura says:

        Monitors do not have input lag ratings, they only have response time ratings. Response time and input lag are two very different things.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          What i meant is a general rating like “good” “very good” from reviews and various opinions. I have plenty of posts above where i too talk about the difference between the two, you should know if you came this far.

          Then again, i don’t know what the OP meant, such terms are often thrown around at random, but i assume he was talking about input lag since it’s more invisible than ghosting if you never experienced shorter lags.

  49. Deepo says:

    I’ll take a good VA panel over IPS every time. You need to know what you’re looking for though, as you say.

    The 5000:1 contrast ratio of my screen makes gaming much better than on my old 1000:1 IPS.

  50. hmcindie says:

    AHVA is quite different from IPS guys.

    I actually like MVA panels more than IPS, they have better contrast ratios which is important for many games like Elite. Also their color is IPS quality and they lack the black glow. The only thing they lose is a bit of viewing angles.