These are the best monitor settings you can change for PC gaming

Monitor settings are an often overlooked tool in a gamer’s arsenal. You may already know how to overclock your GPU for the best performance and you have a great mechanical keyboard for the most responsive inputs, but have you calibrated your monitor?

If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your monitor’s settings, there’s likely a lot of important things to change, from color and contrast to unique gamer-focused features that some monitors ship with.

Set your refresh rate and resolution

Most gaming monitors default to their best resolution and refresh rate when you first plug them in and turn them on, but not all do. Make sure you activate yours by right clicking on your desktop and selecting display settings. Select the monitor you want to optimize the settings for and use the resolution drop-down menu to select your preferred resolution (probably the highest). Select for the refresh rate Advanced display settings and then use the refresh rate Drop down menu to select your preferred refresh rate (again for gaming probably the highest).

Even if your monitor defaults to its rated refresh rate, some monitors can be “overclocked” to run at a higher refresh rate. You can find this option here. Even if you think your monitor is running at the refresh rate you want, there’s no harm in checking.

brightness and contrast

Alienware OLED Monitor OSD Settings.

There’s a reason you’re prompted to adjust an in-game brightness slider every time you start a new game: to be able to see what you need to see while dimmed elements remain in shadow , is important for immersion and ensures you play game the way the developer intended. However, in-game settings are only half the battle. You must first properly adjust the brightness and contrast of your monitor. If it’s too bright, blacks will look gray and the whole image will look washed out, but if it’s too low, you’ll lose all nuance in darker scenes. Similarly, if the contrast is too high, you’ll lose detail in brighter scenes.

Download a brightness and contrast calibration image or search one in google images and use it to adjust your monitor’s brightness and contrast accordingly.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a competitive edge, turn the brightness up and the contrast down. This reduces the effectiveness of shadow cover in games, which can make it easier to spot your enemies. Some monitors also have settings like Black Boost which further reduce this, but you’ll have to look for it in your monitor settings.

Alternatively, there are sites like TFT Central that have configurations that you can load yourself to adjust brightness, contrast, and other elements to subjectively pleasing levels.

gamma level

Forza Horizon 5 on the Cooler Master GP27Q monitor.

While every monitor has contrast and brightness controls, not all monitors have gamma settings. For those who do, an adjustment can significantly change the look of a game. As with the options above, you can find recommended gamma values ​​on sites like TFT Central, or you can simply tweak them during gameplay to find your preferred value.

A good rule of thumb is to tune in to around 2.2 and then tweak to your liking. Higher than 2.2 can look too dark and oversaturated, while lower values ​​really lose contrast in darker scenes.

color temperature

Most monitors have a range of color temperature options, allowing you to choose between a muted, cool blue and a much warmer palette with a yellow/orange cast. This comes down more to personal preference as it doesn’t affect how your game feels but does have a dramatic impact on how it looks.

This may be a setting you change depending on the game, as their different color palettes may be more appropriate for certain temperatures. On the other hand, if you want your games to look a bit darker without pops of color from the brighter objects in your game, setting it to something with a lower color temperature might be preferable. If you prefer game worlds to feel more alive, or just want some elements of the game to stand out more, choose a color palette that’s on the warmer end of the spectrum.

Enable FreeSync/G-Sync

If you’re playing on a monitor that supports AMD’s FreeSync or Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, you should enable them. This ensures you don’t get screen tearing or stuttering, and means you don’t have to use V-Sync to get it, which can otherwise result in worse input lag.

The exact implementation of FreeSync or G-Sync depends on your monitor model, and which one you can use also depends on your GPU. Generally, you can find the option to enable these features in your graphics driver software.

Enable HDR

If your monitor supports HDR and the games you play support it, enabling HDR can make your games look much more realistic, with greater color depth and range, and improved contrast and highlights. You can find a switch for this in Windows 10 and 11 by going to settings > system > advertisement.

blue light filter

If you play a lot late at night or struggle with eye fatigue, it’s a good idea to set your monitor’s blue light filter to a more aggressive setting. This is very much a matter of personal preference as it will make your screen look warmer – even yellowing whites at higher settings.

There are also apps, Windows settings, and even in-game settings that can make this adjustment for you, often with more nuance than the cumbersome solutions on your monitor, giving you plenty of options to better protect your eyes.

overdrive

Enabling Overdrive on supporting monitors can improve your monitor’s response time, which can help reduce ghosting and decrease input latency, making you a more accurate and responsive gamer.

However, too much overdrive can introduce new artifacts into the end result, so use this setting with caution, and if it seems like it’s making things worse, scale it back down or turn it off altogether.

motion blur

There’s some debate as to whether or not it’s worth enabling motion blur. It can make rotations and other movements appear smoother, especially at lower frame rates, but at the expense of accuracy and image sharpness. It’s best to try both and without to see what you prefer.

For many, disabling in-game is one of the first settings they change, while others don’t mind leaving it on. Some monitors are optionally equipped with motion blur. So decide if it’s a feature you like and disable or enable it according to your preference.

sharpening

Sharpening in default configurations can be overly aggressive, especially on higher resolution monitors. The best way to find your preferred setting is to set the sharpness to the maximum, play a game and look at the fine details, and then gradually reduce the sharpness to a point that gives you maximum clarity without the affecting image quality.

Upscaling/super resolution

Comparison of quality modes for DLSS and FSR in Uncharted Legacy of Thieves on PC.

Some monitors have their own upscaling algorithms and hardware, much like many living room TVs. As much as these have improved in recent years, they add latency to the display process and aren’t as effective as the GPU-driven upscaling available on AMD, Nvidia, and Intel GPUs.

Leave monitor upscaling disabled and use Deep Learning Super Sampling, Fidelity FX Super Resolution, or Xe Super Sampling depending on your GPU brand and preferences.

backlight

The back of the Alienware 34 QD OLED monitor.

This setting relates to the LED lighting on the back of your monitor, not the brightness of the backlight that powers it. Lighting behind your monitor can help reduce eye strain, especially when gaming in the dark, and can even add atmosphere if matched to the color palette of your game.

As with blue light filtering, it’s a good idea to turn on some sort of backlight to protect your eyes. So consider enabling these if they don’t bother your gameplay too much.

game mode

Many gaming monitors ship with some game-specific settings, such as B. Hardware-rendered crosshairs and timers. These can be useful in games without any kind of crosshairs, or when you want to time an element of a game so you’re ready at the right time.

You can also easily bypass this with a timer on your phone or a dedicated app, so these settings are nice for those who need them, but far from options you absolutely must use.

Stand height, tilt and pivot point

This may sound obvious, but maintaining good posture while playing is the best way to maintain a healthy back and an overall comfortable gaming experience. Although everyone’s setup and physical needs are different, a good rule of thumb is that your monitor should be about an arm’s length from your face and your eyeline should be about a third of the screen length in a resting position.

Use the monitor’s stand or change the height of your desk yourself to place your monitor in the ideal position for comfort and precise gaming.

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