If you’re an avid gamer, you know that the screen you use is crucial to having an unforgettable experience. And your monitor’s panel is one of the most important features when choosing the best monitor. TN, IPS or VA is best for gaming? The truth is that each of them is perfect for different types of games. Let’s dig deeper and see all the details for each panel type.
Types of panels
In this article, we will focus on the following three types of panels:
- Twisted Nematic – We’ll call it a TN panel. This is the oldest type of LCD panel, but still a great choice;
- In-Plane Switching – We’ll call it an IPS panel. You may have seen this as PLS (plane-to-line switching) or AHVA (advanced hyper viewing angle);
- Vertical Alignment – We’ll call it a VA panel. In other places, you may see it as SVA (super vertical alignment) or AMVA (advanced multi-domain vertical alignment).
The name of each panel refers to the alignment of molecules in the LCD screen and how they react when voltage is applied. LCD stands for liquid crystal display, and all such screens use voltage to change the alignment of the molecules inside them in order to function. How this is done, however, is what determines image quality and response time.
Like any product, each type of panel has its advantages and disadvantages. When you’re looking for a new screen, you first need to figure out what you need it for, which can help narrow down your choice of panel type.
Twisted nematic panels
When flat panel displays began to be mass-produced, TN panels were first. With this technology, the colossal cathode ray tubes were no longer needed and manufacturers were still able to produce enough parts.
TN panels are definitely better than the old bulky ones, but they still have some flaws. Perhaps the main one is the limited viewing angles on the vertical axis. You may have noticed that the colors on your screen can change drastically depending on where you look at them.
Indeed, TN panels are not renowned for their color reproduction. Most displays using this panel can’t even display true 24-bit colors – they just simulate true shades. For games where very bright colors are crucial, TN monitors aren’t the best because you might experience some weird color banding and contrast ratios. This is all due to the fact that the range of colors that this type of panel can display is not so wide.
These days, of course, there are very high-end TN displays that perform better in this aspect but still cannot compare to other panel technologies. Actions such as photo editing, design work or gaming will not be as easy and enjoyable as they can be.
The main advantage of TN panels is that they are not as expensive as others. And if you only need your screen for work, it’s a perfect choice – cheaper and still ideal for that purpose. Another benefit is the low input lag which is typically around a millisecond. And the refresh rate up to 240Hz is not something to be overlooked. These two characteristics make this type of panel an attractive option for multiplayer games.
In-Plane Switch Panels
When people started noticing streams in TN panels and the technology could advance further, IPS panels were introduced. Something they immediately helped was color reproduction. The defects of the viewing angles have also been greatly improved.
The viewing angles of IPS screens are much better than those of TNs. If you have an IPS screen, you won’t have the problem of changing colors if you look at your screen from different angles. Even the black color is very well reproduced. In the TN panels, the black looked a bit washed out. However, the contrast ratios haven’t improved that much, which is still not perfect for gamers who want excellent image quality.
Most IPS displays have the same 240Hz refresh rates as TN displays. When it comes to input lag until a few years ago IPS underperformed compared to TN panels. But recently they have managed to catch up, and now they also offer 1 millisecond input lag.
The IPS panel is perfect if you want great colors from all angles. They are more expensive but will guarantee you a better gaming experience. However, the so-called IPS glow is an issue for some people. This means you can see the backlight from some extreme viewing angles.
Vertical alignment panels
Some people say that VA panels somehow compromise the best of TN and IPS panels. They offer great contrast ratios, but viewing angle performance isn’t the best.
VA panels can even have a contrast ratio of 6000:1 while IPS monitors only have 1000:1. But IPS screens are still the leaders when it comes to viewing angle performance. However, VA is much better than TNs, and you won’t get the IPS glow either.
Something that TNs are better at is response times. With VAs, you’ll never get a millisecond response rate, which doesn’t make it a good solution for competitive gamers playing a lot of multiplayer games.
However, VA panels are the best when it comes to color reproduction as they can usually cover the entire sRGB spectrum. Thus, these screens are the perfect choice for general use and solo gamers.
TN panels are great for gaming. Indeed, you might not get great colors, but the response time is fantastic for multiplayer games. Plus, they’re the most affordable gaming monitors out there.
IPS panels are also great for gaming as they give you a better color palette and better viewing angles. So that makes it a great choice for games with really vivid colors that don’t need a fast response time. The input lag of IPS screens is not so good.
VA panels can give you a better color palette than TNs and faster response times than IPS. This is why they fall somewhere between the other two types. But in general, IPS and VA panels are very similar when it comes to technological features. However, the price of AVs is higher.
Depending on what you would like to play, you can choose the perfect panel type for yourself. Of course, your budget will be a factor in determining which one you can get. Research the best monitors of each type and take your pick.