What Are The Best Monitor Settings for Gaming? I Asked

What Are The Best Monitor Settings for Gaming? I Asked

Recently, I was pretty excited to try out some of my favorite games on the latest Samsung Odyssey gaming monitor. Soon after I started playing some competitive games on the monitor, I noticed that it was really difficult to spot enemies in the dark as the brightness and contrast of the screen didn’t seem ideal for gaming.  

As an avid gamer, I’m mostly active on forums to keep up with the latest discussion threads on trending game-related topics. I asked around folks on the relevant threads to learn more about how to optimize the monitor settings and get the best display quality out of it while gaming. 

Few people suggested that the settings highly vary based on user preferences. However, I spent some more time finding the ones that worked the best for most gamers. 

Here’s what I learned about the best monitor settings for gaming and also found a feature to highly improve the display quality of the monitor: 

For the best gaming experience, select the maximum resolution and refresh rate allowed by your monitor. Adjust the brightness level between 250-350 cd/m2 and set the contrast ratio at 70-80%. Keep the color temperature at 6500K and the gamma value between 2.2 to 2.4. 

Select A Higher Resolution to See More Detail

Screen resolution is one of the major aspects of monitor settings that defines the visual dimensions of your display in terms of pixels per inch. The display resolution highly impacts the clarity of images displayed on the screen. Higher resolutions offer more pixels and a sharper image. 

While selecting an ideal resolution for gaming, you need to consider the maximum resolution your graphics card can handle. Ideally, a resolution of 1080p works best for most gamers. In case you’ve got a high-end graphics card, you may want to try out a higher resolution up to 1440p or 4K. 

Here’s how to change the Resolution Settings for your monitor:

  • Right-click on your Desktop
  • From the options menu, select Display Settings
  • Now click on Display Resolution Dropdown to open the list of different resolutions 
  • Choose your desired resolution (you may select the one marked as “Recommended” for the best performance) 

If you’ve got a 4K UHD monitor already coupled with a 4K supported GPU, I’d highly recommend selecting a higher resolution for high-quality gaming. Most recently launched games support Ultra HD graphics for a more realistic and visually appealing gaming experience. 

Set the Refresh Rate to your Monitor’s Maximum for Smoother Gameplay

A refresh rate is defined as the number of times per second that your monitor refreshes the image on the screen. A higher refresh rate leads to smoother images with less lag or motion blur. Generally, a refresh rate of 60Hz is considered to be ideal for gaming.  

However, the latest monitors support up to 144Hz refresh rate for a smoother experience by offering higher frames per second (FPS). A higher refresh rate can truly transform your gaming experience especially when it comes to fast-paced, competitive games where each frame matters. 

Follow these steps to configure the refresh rate on your monitor:

  • Right-click on the Desktop and select Display Settings 
  • Scroll down to locate the Advanced Display Settings option and click on it 
  • Click on the Refresh Rate Dropdown to view the available options 
  • Select your preferred refresh rate (prefer choosing the highest one)
  • An option with “Keep These Display Settings?” should be visible on the screen 
  • Click on “Keep Changes” to confirm your Settings 

Set the Right Aspect Ratio for your Monitor So Nothing’s Stretched

The ratio of the screen’s width to its height is called the aspect ratio. The two most commonly preferred aspect ratios are- 16:9 and 21:9. Choosing an ideal aspect ratio supported by your monitor is essential to avoid any zoomed or distorted images while gaming. 

16:9 is the standard aspect ratio for the best display on most monitors. Additionally, there are other Ultrawide (21:9) and Super Ultrawide (32:9) options available. You may want to try out different aspect ratios to find what works best for your monitor. 

To do this:

  • Right-click on the Desktop and click on Show more options.
  • Then click the Graphics Settings option based on your graphics card (Nvidia Control Panel in my case).
  • Search for the Scaling option. It is Adjust desktop size and position on Nvidia
  • Now, click on Customize Aspect Ratio option
  • Adjust the Aspect Ratio based on your requirement

Note: If you’ve already selected the recommended resolution as mentioned above, you may not need to customize the aspect ratio settings. 

Adjust the Brightness and Contrast 

The brightness and contrast settings are crucial during gaming. Excess brightness or improper contrast may lead to headaches or eye strains. Low levels of brightness may degrade the visibility and negatively impact your gaming experience. 

Moderate brightness ranging from 250 to 350 candela per square meter (cd/m2) should be ideal for most games. Additionally, the recommended contrast ratio for gaming should be between 70-80%. 

There are two ways to adjust the Brightness and contrast of your monitor- Using the monitor menu or via PC Settings. 

Using the Monitor Menu 

  • Locate and press the menu button on your monitor
  • Search for the Brightness option available in the menu and adjust it
  • Similarly, customize the contrast ratio as desired 

Via PC Settings  

  • Go to your PC Settings 
  • Navigate and select the Display Settings 
  • Adjust the slider to change the Brightness and color levels for the display 

Color Temperature 

The color temperature is how a specific color will appear when it’s measured through a Kelvin Scale.  The changes in this setting would usually depend on your preference for cooler or warmer colors. 

If you’re not sure, you can try playing your favorite game with the default color temperature set at 6500K. Based on the picture quality, you may want to tweak the color temperature settings. 

This can be done as follows:

  • Press the Menu button on your monitor to open the list of options 
  • Search for Picture Settings or Color Settings menu based on your monitor 
  • Find the Color Temperature setting and adjust it till you get the best picture quality 

Note: For some monitors, additional temperature settings for red, blue, and green color may be available. 

Change the Gamma Value  

The Gamma setting defines how quickly an image can transition on a digital display from black to white and vice versa. The optimal gamma value is between 2.2 to 2.4 for gaming. 

Here’s how to adjust the gamma settings for your monitor:

  • Right-click on the Desktop and select Display Settings 
  • Go to Advanced Display Settings 
  • Click on Display Adapter properties 
  • Navigate to the Color Management tab 
  • Click on the Calibrate Display option 
  • After the calibration process starts, adjust the slider to change the gamma settings 

Bonus Tip: Other Ways To Optimize Your Monitor for Gaming 

Except for the above adjustments, there are some other settings that you can change to get the best out of your monitor while gaming. 

Change the On-Screen Display (OSD) Settings  

Modern-day monitors are specially designed to offer the best possible gaming experience. They come with integrated On-screen Display Settings that have a dedicated menu for gaming. 

On the gaming menu, you can change various settings including Shadow Boost, Overclocking, OverDrive, Adaptive-Sync, etc. You can adjust these settings based on your preferences and test the results while playing. 

To access the OSD settings:

  • Press the Menu button on your gaming monitor 
  • The OSD settings should appear on the monitor screen 
  • Search for the Gaming menu in the OSD settings and select it to adjust the desired options

Enable HDR on Windows 

You can also turn on the HDR option on Windows Settings for the best display while watching videos or playing games. 

  • Open the Settings app on your PC
  • Click on System > Display 
  • Scroll down and toggle the “Play HDR games and apps” switch ON

Get Your Monitor Game-Ready 

To get high-quality images during gaming without any lags, ensure that the resolution and refresh rate is set to the maximum value supported by your monitor. Prefer setting the aspect ratio at 16:9 to avoid distorted or zoomed images. 

The recommended range for brightness while gaming is between 250 to 350 candela per square meter. However, you may try varying the brightness to confirm what works best for you. Moreover, the contrast ratio should be about 70-80% to rule out any chance of headache or eye strain during long gaming hours. 

If available, you can try changing the red, blue, and green color settings to tweak the color temperature based on your preferences. Try setting the gamma value between 2.2 to 2.4. 

If you’ve got a gaming monitor, go through the gaming menu available in the On-Screen Display Settings to optimize your monitor and get the most out of it. Make sure that the HDR setting on windows is enabled for improved display quality. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the best resolution for gaming on a monitor?

The best resolution for gaming on a monitor depends on the size of the monitor and the hardware being used. For a 24-inch monitor, 1080p resolution is recommended, while for a 27-inch monitor, 1440p resolution is recommended. For larger monitors, such as 32 inches or more, 4K resolution may be the best choice. It is highly recommended that you select the maximum resolution allowed by your monitor if you’ve got a high-end GPU that supports higher resolutions. 

How do I adjust the monitor settings for gaming?

To adjust the monitor settings for gaming, navigate to the settings menu or on-display settings on the monitor and make changes to the refresh rate, FreeSync/G-Sync settings, brightness, contrast, and color settings. You can also make certain changes to the brightness, and contrast, enable the HDR setting, or change the color temperature through Windows Settings app. The best way to verify if the settings are suitable and match your preferences is by testing the display results while gaming. 

What is input lag, and how does it affect gaming on a monitor?

Input lag refers to the delay between a player’s input (such as pressing a button or moving a mouse) and the action appearing on the screen. High input lag can cause a noticeable delay in gameplay and can make games feel unresponsive. To minimize input lag, it is recommended to use a monitor with a low response time and a high refresh rate. Always ensure that the refresh is set to the maximum allowed by your monitor (up to 120 Hz is recommended). 

What are the best monitor settings for gaming?

The best monitor settings for gaming vary depending on personal preference and the specific monitor being used. However, some general recommendations include setting the refresh rate to at least 120Hz and setting the resolution at the maximum value allowed by your monitor. Prefer setting the brightness between 250 to 350 candela per square meter and contrast at about 70-80% for comfortable gaming even for longer hours. You can also enable FreeSync or G-Sync in the On-Display Settings of the monitor for smoother gameplay.

About the author

Maria Chan, or MC, as we call her, is the genius girl-boss who gave up on her cushy silicon-valley job to grind it out with us. Her undying pursuit of wanting Zeebox to the best makes it very clear that she has no interest in running a generic tech-site.

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