A split image of three monitors representing the three panel types: TN, IPS and VA.
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Which is The Best Panel Type for Gaming Monitors: TN vs. IPS vs. VA

Which is The Best Panel Type for Gaming Monitors: TN vs. IPS vs. VA

When most people go shopping for a gaming monitor, their primary concerns are resolution and refresh rate. Those are certainly important considerations, but if you’ve ever had to put up with dull colors, murky blacks or terrible viewing angles, you’ll understand that panel types are important too.

There are three types of monitor panels commonly found on the market today. They are TN, IPS and VA.

Pros and Cons of TN Panels

TN, or Twisted Nematic panels, are the oldest variety of LCD panels, but they’re still quite common even today. They’re cheap to produce, and they have very low input lag, which makes them appealing for gamers. They also support refresh rates of up to 240Hz, another plus for fast-paced environments.

The problem with TN panels is that they have very poor color reproduction. While modern TN panels are far better than earlier models, it’s still relatively rare to find a TN panel with close to full sRGB reproduction. Even if they do have good color reproduction when you’re looking at them straight on, their viewing angles are limited, and they look washed out when viewed from the sides.

If you’re on a budget, enjoy playing competitive shooters or strategy games where reaction times matter, a TN panel could be fine for you. But if you want something that doubles as a media player, the average TN monitor might disappoint.

A GFT27CXB monitor on a gamer's table.

The GFT27CXB–A TN panel with amazing color performance.

Fortunately, our GFT27CXB monitor is far from “average.” We engineered our TN panel to do what most TN panels simply cannot: deliver stunningly accurate colors. And with its 99% sRGB gamut, colors are rich and vibrant. And it’s fully customizable, with space to store up to 3 unique user profiles. So you get amazing color. But you also get full HD resolution with lightning-fast speeds up to 240hz refresh rate and 1ms response times.

Pros and Cons of IPS Panels

IPS, or In-Plane Switching, monitors are almost the exact opposite of TN panels. They offer much wider viewing angles than TN panels as well as better black reproduction. The trade-off is that they’re more expensive. They have a history of slower refresh rates, too, although that has been changing lately. Today’s IPS panels can reach max. refresh rates as high as 200-240Hz.

There are some IPS monitors with very good refresh rates and response times, but they’re on the pricier side. You can expect to pay more than $500 for an IPS monitor with a 1ms response time. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly IPS monitor, then you’ll have to settle for response times of 4ms or slower. IPS panels are also prone to backlight issues. Color reproduction is better than on TN panels, even at extreme angles, but the backlight can sometimes be seen.

An image of the RFI25CBA IPS gaming monitor from VIOTEK.

Introducing the RFI25CBA IPS monitor from VIOTEK, first in the Reaper series.

Our upcoming REAPER series monitor—starting with the RFI25CBA—has been designed to overcome this particular issue. It’s been engineered to reduce the amount of backlight bleed-through on its IPS panel. The monitor also features an MRPT Mode to produce extremely clear moving pictures with excellent color while significantly reducing backlight issues.

Pros and Cons of VA Panels

VA, or Vertical Alignment, panels are somewhere in between TN and IPS, offering the best of both worlds. This type of panel is common in TVs but is relatively uncommon for gaming monitors. TN panels offer very good contrast ratios, so you can expect vibrant colors and good color reproduction. They also offer good viewing angles, and while brightness may vary depending on the angle you’re looking at the screen from, they’re not susceptible to the backlight issues of IPS panels.

Finger pointing at an image on the SUW49C super-wide 49" monitor.

The massive, super-wide 49” SUW49C Gaming Monitor from VIOTEK.

The downside of VA panels is that they have slower response times. As with IPS panels, newer models do have high refresh rates, but the slow response time means you may see ghosting or motion blur in fast-paced, competitive games. Fortunately, all VIOTEK monitors come with AdaptiveSync, which works with AMD® FreeSync® and NVIDIA® G-Sync™ technologies. AdaptiveSync eliminates image distortion (e.g., tearing, stuttering, ghosting and judder) and other glitches that can happen if the monitor’s refresh rate doesn’t match the frame rate of the computer’s GPU. The result is smoother action with clearer images.

TN vs. IPS vs. VA: Which is Best for Gaming?

There are benefits and downsides to each panel type, and there’s no one correct answer to the question of “which is best.” It depends on your budget, the type of games you enjoy playing, whether you prize response times over other features, and what else you do with the monitor.

If you’re a competitive gamer who wants the absolute best response time on a budget, TN panels will get the job done, but they may disappoint when you’re playing a heavily modded game of Skyrim and want to stop and enjoy the scenery. IPS panels can deliver a similar experience if you’re willing to spend a lot of money. But if you’re like most of us, you’d rather put that extra cash towards a slightly better GPU.

VA monitors are a great “Jack of all trades.” The NBV24CB2, for example, is a highly affordable 1080P monitor that offers a 75Hz refresh rate and AdaptiveSync technology—along with some other nice extras. Those extras include GAMEPLUS targeting crosshairs and FPS/RTS display modes to help give you the advantage while playing first-person shooter games. This monitor is ideal for gamers with mid-range systems. If you’re playing marathon sessions, the NBV24CB2 has a blue-light filter to help reduce eye strain. And there’s great color reproduction for watching videos.

The NBV24CB2 gaming monitor sitting on a desk with a video game on the screen.

The “Jack of all trades” gaming monitor: the NBV24CB2. Beautiful images and spectacular performance.

Looking for something with a little more power? The GNV32CBO or GFV24CB are two 1080p monitors. These offer super-fast 165Hz refresh rates for pro-motion with reduced input lag. They’re also VA panels, delivering great color reproduction, AMD FreeSync to reduce image ghosting, and other game-friendly features.

Split image of the GFV24CB (left) and birds-eye-view of the GNV32CBO on a desk.

The GFV24CB and GNV32CBO: Lightning fast with amazing image quality.

With the right monitor, you can play for longer and enjoy a smoother and more responsive experience, whether that’s in an FPS, driving game, or RTS. These monitors are designed with gamers in mind and put you in control of every move. Check out Viotek’s selection of monitors today and find the best fit for your needs!

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