A brief guide on current monitor resolution

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To understand the resolution, we first need to look into what pixel is. Pixel is the basic unit that displays color on your monitor. There are tons of pixels on your monitor that give out specific colors and brightness based on the computer’s instruction. When these tiny bits of colors are put together, they become the image we see on the screen.

As a term for monitor, resolution represents the number of pixels counted horizontally times the number of pixels counted vertically. Take the WQHD monitor as an example, its resolution is 2560 * 1440, meaning that if you count the pixel from the left edge of the monitor to the right in a single line, you will get 2560 pixels, and counting from top to bottom you will get 1440 pixels.

Some people might mix up resolution with the screen size, thinking that the bigger the resolution is, the bigger the screen is. However they are actually two separated things. Resolution simply implies how many pixels there are on a screen, while the monitor size means… the monitor size. Monitors of different sizes can all have the possibility for WQHD resolution. For example, there can be both WQHD 27 inch monitor and a WQHD 32 inch monitor in the market. They share same amount of pixels on different sizes screen. Manufacturers can decide what kind of resolution they want on different sizes of the monitors. (Note that often times, manufactures do prefer to make bigger screens with higher resolution, because when the screen is small, our eyes can’t tell the differences between high resolution and low.)

Below is a chart that shows the synonyms for all the relevant resolutions today.

Resolution and monitor size

Though in the last paragraph we’ve learned that the resolution and the size of the monitor are irrelevant, manufactures tend to put high resolution in big screens. In order to avoid overspending on a monitor that’s too small for its resolution, or not being able to fully utilize a big screen if its resolution is too low. Usually, 23 and 24 inch monitors are good with 1080p. Once we go up to 27 inch monitors, 1440p will have the best viewing experience/price ratio. From 32 inch monitors up, users can start considering getting a 4K screen.

Is 4K a good resolution?

It's really hard to pin point the best resolution for gaming as there are too many factors at play. Although, generally speaking, higher resolution means better gaming experience, the current technology simply can’t keep up with high resolutions like 4K yet. It is particularly true when playing those AAA games that, with stunning visuals being one of their major selling points, often demand immense graphic power. Playing AAA games in 4K will result in pathetically low frame rate, making the games unplayable. Based on the current technology of the graphics card, only the top-end ones are able perform 4K games with around 60 FPS. And just like the 4K monitors, they are expensive. Even if you have unlimited budget and you would like to go all in for the 4K monitor and the best graphics card in the market, the screen size of 4K monitors can still be a problem. As mentioned on the last paragraph, the best monitor size for 4K starts from 32 inch, which is a rather large size of a monitor for you to put on the desk and look in a close range. It will require your eyes and neck to move constantly when playing, which can leads to soreness in those areas. That’s why these big monitors are often used as TV, but not computer monitors.


*WQHD has bigger field of view compared to FHD under same screen size

Based on the current technology and the overall product value, WQHD 1440P might be the go to resolution for personal gaming. Its requirement for hardware is achievable compared to 4K. And when pairing up with monitors of 27 inch- a perfect monitor size for your computer desk, it can provide better viewing experience compared to 1080P 24 inch monitors. WQHD is also the highest resolution to be paired up with the 144hz refresh rate. There aren’t any 4K 144hz monitors on the market yet.

Resolution and graphic cards performance

Currently the best graphics cards in the market are Nvdia Titan X and GTX 1080Ti. Since Titan X has an unattainable price, we will be focusing on GTX 1080Ti for the discussion. Generally speaking, GTX 1080Ti can produce decent FPS for most of the graphics demanding games in WQHD, with average FPS at around 80 to more than a hundred depending on the games. However, if we switch the settings to 4K, we can see that GTX 1080Ti struggles to keep the FPS to 60, which is the minimum FPS for enjoyable experience. In fact the FPS fluctuate so much that it even drops to around 25 at some point. Take PUBG for example, under the 4K setting the FPS that GTX 1080Ti produces are in the range of 35 – 55, which is absolutely unacceptable for shooting game players as they often want their FPS and refresh rate up to 144 or even 240. The low FPS simply diminishes the chances for these gamers to react to anything happening in the moment. According to the recent news, the upcoming top graphics card will be RTX 2080 Ti will be able to raise the FPS for 4K gaming at around 60. It will make most of the games enjoyable, but we can still see times where the FPS drops to around 50 or even 40. For those who enjoy playing first person shooter or racing games and are looking for the thorough smoothness of all games, they might still have to wait for a while.

With 1080p gradually being phased out and 4K being far in the future, the best resolution now is WQHD. With RTX 2080 Ti, any graphics challenging scene in WQHD will be overcome, and it will push the performance under WQHD resolution into perfection.

Final Thoughts

Even though RTX 2080 Ti is coming soon, its ability to sustain 4K gaming is still far from being perfect. And the current 2.0 version of HDMI still has a limit for 60FPS transmission under 4K. The answer to what’s the best resolution now is very obvious – WQHD will still remain to be the top resolution for a while.

With gamers' best interest at heart, MSI has also created brand new WQHD monitors that are ready to embrace the visual perfection that Nvidia RTX 20 series can bring us. The most asked for gaming features including 144hz refresh rate, 1ms response time and curved design, anti-flicker and eye-catching RGB will all be incorporated in our brand new MAG series, with product name MAG241CR for 24inch version and MAG271CR for 27inch version. Please check out the product page on our official website for more information.

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