IPS vs TN vs VA: which panel is best for gaming?
Image quality is a broad concept. In this article, we mainly look at the colors that the screen type can display, the contrasts between light and dark, and the viewing angle of the screen.
IPS panels have the highest color gamut. This means these screens represent the graphics of your games most realistically. An IPS screen links this to wide viewing angles, so you can also see sharp images if you're not right in front of your gaming monitor. For example, if you're gaming with several people at the same time.
Gaming screens with a TN panel have poorer color representation than other screens. Compared to, for example, an IPS screen, colors look a little more dull. That's why there are no TN monitors with DisplayHDR. The viewing angle is also smaller than with other gaming panel types. You usually choose a TN screen for its other characteristics.
A VA display is a good average between IPS and TN. The color range is close to an IPS panel and the viewing angle is slightly smaller than that of an IPS screen, but larger than that of a TN monitor. VA gaming monitors especially excel in contrast ratio. The difference between light and dark is very visible on this type of screen.
The refresh rate indicates how many frames per second a screen can compute. This is indicated in Hz, which is the number of times per second that the image is recomputed. Gaming monitors with 75Hz and 144Hz are the most common. A higher number yields smoother images.
A display with IPS generally has the lowest refresh rate. A refresh rate of more than 75Hz is, in fact, unusual for this type of display. This means you play games with a high frame rate less fluently than with other types of screens. IPS screens are still very much in development, which means the first screens with a refresh rate up to 144Hz are now available. You'll mainly find these in the highest price range.
Thanks to the technology in a TN gaming monitor, these screens have the highest refresh rate in their price range. TN screens with a refresh rate of 144Hz or more are no exception. As a result, most games appear smoothly and you don't suffer from stuttering images. You certainly won't experience stutter if you link the high refresh rate to G-Sync or Freesync, where the number of Hz simultaneously goes up and down with the number of frames per second.
VA monitors are also the average for this property. Although many VA panels have a refresh rate of 60Hz, you'll also find screens with 120Hz or more on this type of screen. Even with a VA screen, you can play all your games fluently.
The response speed of a screen shows how long it takes for a black pixel to become white and back again. If the response speed of your screen is too high, you will experience motion blur or ghosting when playing fast games. You recognize this by vague streaks that move behind a fast moving object.
Although IPS screens are not known for their low response time, most gaming monitors with IPS have a response time of 4 milliseconds. This does not cause significant problems for many games. Do you play a lot of racing games or fast shooters? If so, you will suffer from ghosting. Because the development isn't standing still, there are now also some IPS gaming screens with a response speed of 2ms or 1ms.
TN gaming monitors are known for their low response speed. A response time of only 1 millisecond is common with this type of screen. As a result, with a TN panel you never actually suffer from blurred lines. Not even in the fastest games.
Screens with a VA panel have the highest response time by default, about 5 milliseconds. This means that with these monitors you are most affected by motion blur. Development is in full swing here, too, as a result of which VA screens nowadays have much faster panels. In the highest price range, these equal a TN panel.
Choosing the best panel technique for gaming is not possible. All panel types have their own advantages and disadvantages. Carefully think about what you want to do with the screen. Those looking for a screen that mainly offers a high refresh rate and little motion blur, will soon end up at a TN panel. Screens with a VA panel offer a good in-between option, especially now that there are also a few screens on the market with a low response time. Those who want the best picture quality should choose an IPS screen.