No matter how advanced your desktop PC is, it’s only as good as its monitor. Your computer’s display is how you see how that hardware performs, after all, and a sub-par one can plague you with issues like excessive input lag, poor color accuracy, limited viewing angles, or harsh lighting, all of which will strain your eyes as well as your patience. Thankfully, though, you don’t have to strain your wallet too much to get a good monitor, as today’s display panels are more advanced and more affordable than ever — and our roundup of the best desktop monitor deals is your chance to score one for even less.
These discounted displays feature everything from cheap 1080p work monitors to the latest ultrawide and 4K panels, but if you need something specifically for playing video games, then head over to our other roundup of gaming monitor deals.
Any good monitor on the market today will have a resolution of at least 1080p (also known as “Full HD” or the abbreviated “FHD”), meaning that it features a vertical resolution of 1,080 pixels. This resolution dominates the 21- to 27-inch monitor category — any bigger than that and you’ll want to start looking at Quad HD (1440p) or 4K Ultra HD (2160p) – but for the vast majority of computing applications, 1080p is still a fine place to be.
If you’re simply looking for an affordable, no-nonsense monitor for a desktop workstation, a 1080p in the 21- to 27-inch range is more than likely what you’re after. The good news is that this is the cheapest type of monitor out there, particularly if you’re not interested in paying more for things like higher refresh rates or Vsync technologies (i.e. features you find on displays built for gaming). And with the above monitor deals, you might even be able to score a solid name-brand Full HD monitor for around 100 bucks or so.
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Gamers tend to demand a lot more from their computer hardware than average users, and this applies as much to gaming monitors as it does to everything else. A lousy display will quickly put a damper on your gaming enjoyment, and along with screen size and resolution, you need to consider things like refresh rate and Vsync features that will allow your display to keep up with your GPU (even a PC with the strongest graphics card will experience stutter and lag if it’s connected to a sub-par monitor).
Once you’ve decided upon a size and resolution — 1080p Full HD, 1440p Quad HD, or 4K Ultra HD — you’ll want to look for a monitor with a refresh rate of around 144Hz. The refresh rate dictates framerate, and a minimum of 120Hz is necessary to smoothly enjoy gaming 60 frames per second. Anything less and you will very likely experience on-screen stuttering and lag. A good gaming monitor should also have either Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync technologies (go with whichever one matches your graphics card) which greatly mitigates or eliminates obnoxious and immersion-breaking screen-tearing.
You’ll pay a bit more for these technologies, but don’t go super-cheap when you’re looking for gaming monitor to complete your gaming PC. These are popular items that are regularly on sale, however, so definitely keep an eye on our gaming monitor deals page to save you some cash.
Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Curved and ultrawide monitors are a relatively new thing in the world of desktop displays and could be a good alternative to traditional monitors and multi-monitor setups depending on your needs. The idea behind a curved panel is that the entire screen is directed toward the viewer’s eyes; admittedly, however, the advantages of curved displays are largely subjective and dependent upon each user’s preferences, so it might be a good idea to look at some in-person before deciding whether or not a curved monitor is really your speed.
On the other hand, the advantages of ultrawide monitors are obvious, and if you’re going for one of those, it’s almost certain that you’ll be looking at a curved design which is simply easier to view at super-widescreen resolutions. Just be prepared to pay for it: Ultrawide displays are the most expensive of the bunch, but if you find the right deal, it might be worth it — and could even save you money if you were considering buying two or three separate monitors instead.
Standard-sized curved displays aren’t often more expensive than their non-curved counterparts, though, so if you decide this style is right for you, then we’ve made sure to include a few curved screens in the above monitor deals to help you find the right one for your battle station.
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Ultra HD, more commonly known as “4K,” has pretty much become the standard for televisions now, but 4K monitors aren’t quite as common. That’s largely because PC displays are typically smaller than home televisions, but also because monitors are still considered peripherals and most people understandably don’t want to spend hundreds more on one – especially when the benefits of Ultra HD will be less notable on a smaller screen than they will on a big living room TV.
That said, you probably sit closer to your computer monitor than you do to your TV, and with the cost of 4K panels dropping drastically in recent years, now’s not a bad time to upgrade to a UHD display for your PC if you’re thinking about it. That’s especially true if you’ve built or are building a 4K-capable gaming machine. Along with ultrawide displays, 4K monitors are costly (as you’d expect), but they also provide some of the best opportunities for savings, so we’ll make sure to keep our deals list updated with any Ultra HD options that are available at the moment.
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