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Best Budget 144Hz Monitor for the Avid Gamer in 2021

By 

Certified Awkward Tech Guy™

Last Updated 23 Sep 2021


Every PC gamer knows that getting the best gaming experience relies significantly on equipment. Over recent years, gaming monitors have kept improving to deliver smooth, enhanced gameplay to the average gamer. It's certainly never been this exciting to be into PC gaming, whether you are a casual, avid or competitive gamer.

As vendors, models and features keep expanding, the process of choosing the best gaming monitor for your setup gets even trickier. Nevertheless, a 144Hz monitor remains a popular choice in the gaming world since it's reasonably easier on the graphics card. Furthermore, while the difference from 60Hz to 144Hz is fairly noticeable, the same cannot be said of the subsequent jump from 144Hz to 240Hz. 

What is a 144Hz Refresh Rate?

Essentially, a refresh rate refers to the number of times a monitor refreshes the image on display per second it's on. The refresh rate is normally expressed in Hertz(Hz). Therefore, a 144Hz monitor means the screen refreshes the displayed image 144 times in one second. You can think of it in the same mould as GPU frame rates in games, where 60 fps means implies 60 frames per second.

The Refresh rate and frame rate are interconnected. Smooth and seamless gameplay is achieved when both are synchronized. In instances where they don't sync, it's always advisable to have a higher refresh rate. The inverse leads to screen tearing and stuttering due to the mismatch. With that being said, a 144Hz gaming monitor will more than likely preclude these challenges, making it ideal for the avid gamer. Furthermore, they also deliver great visuals and consistent performance, thanks to the standard and snappy 1ms response time.

So how do you choose a suitable monitor within your budget? We have rounded up 5 affordable 144Hz gaming monitors that will appeal and cater to most gamers: 


The Best Budget 144Hz Monitor


1. Best Budget Overall: Acer XFA240

Acer XFA240 bmjdpr 24' Gaming G-SYNC Compatible Monitor 1920 x 1080, 144hz...
4,715 Reviews
Acer XFA240 bmjdpr 24" Gaming G-SYNC Compatible Monitor 1920 x 1080, 144hz...
  • 24 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen TN G SYNC compatible display
  • 144 hertz refresh rate using display port | Response time: 1ms. Input voltage:...
  • Height, pivot, swivel and tilt | viewing angles: 170° horizontal and 160°...
  • 2 x 2 watt speakers | panel type: TN | colors supported: 16.7 million |...

If you are looking for a pocket-friendly monitor that you'll simply pull out of the box and get on with your gaming, the Acer XFA240 might be the one for you.

This is a 24", 16:9 aspect ratio monitor with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. It's a TN panel type display that delivers vibrant colours, thanks to the 1ms response time. It comes with impressive Adaptive-Sync, both NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards to deliver very smooth gameplay with absolutely no tear.

The only notable downside to this gaming monitor would be its gamma and pixel density, producing 911.8ppi instead of the desired 110ppi. However, when you consider this monitor delivers 144 fps tear-free gaming at just $200, it is no surprise the XFA240 is our best budget 144Hz gaming monitor. 

 

  • Pros
  • Out-of-box colour accuracy.
  • Smooth tear-free gameplay.
  • FreeSync and G-Sync Compatible.
  • Solid build quality. 
  • Cons
  • Lower pixel density.
  • Gamma is slightly off the mark.

2. Best Under $200: BenQ ZOWIE XL2411P

BenQ ZOWIE XL2411P 24 Inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor / 1080P 1ms / Black eQualizer...
4,856 Reviews
BenQ ZOWIE XL2411P 24 Inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor / 1080P 1ms / Black eQualizer...
  • Lightning-fast 144 Hz refresh rate performance for a smooth PC gaming experience...
  • ATTENTION: HDMI only outputs 60Hz max; NOT COMPATIBLE with PS5 / XBox Series X/5...
  • 1ms Response Time (GTG) to eliminate ghosting and lag, providing the optimal...
  • Exclusive Color Vibrance and Black eQualizer technology to enhance visual...

The XL2411P has been the go-to budget monitor over the years for good reasons. It certainly ticks plenty of the right boxes for an avid gamer.

It's a 24" TN-panel display with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. The flying 144Hz refresh rate delivers a very smooth gaming experience at a remarkably affordable price point. The 1ms response time, coupled with the snappy refresh rate, ensures that a gamer never runs into screen artefacts, such as ghosting. Furthermore, this gaming monitor has been specifically designed to suit E-Sports.

There's not much to write home about the XL2411P's design. The aesthetics are somewhat run-of-the-mill. Nevertheless, it does have a fully adjustable stand that provides full positioning control. As such, you can easily adjust the height, swivel, tilt or pivot the monitor for the best viewing angle. 

  • Pros
  • Features are tailored towards E-Sports.
  • Exceptional low response time.
  • Adjustable stand.
  • Great performance overall.
  • Cons
  • TN panel.
  • Average colour accuracy.

3. Best Under $300: ASUS VG278Q

8%
ASUS VG278Q 27' Full HD 1080P 144Hz 1ms Eye Care G-Sync Compatible Adaptive Sync...
3,676 Reviews
ASUS VG278Q 27" Full HD 1080P 144Hz 1ms Eye Care G-Sync Compatible Adaptive Sync...
  • 27” Full HD (1920x1080) Panel 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms (GTG) response time...
  • Nvidia G-SYNC technology ensures smooth gameplay by eliminating screen tearing...
  • Stereo 2W speakers provide for a full sound while eliminating the need for...
  • Marathon ready with Asus Eye Care technology to minimize eye fatigue and an...

If you are in search of a 144Hz monitor that delivers on both price and performance, the ASUS VG278Q is certainly worth your consideration. This is a great option for entry-level gamers who want a favourable platform to begin their journey.

This is a 27" TN panel display with a 120 x 1080 resolution. Right from the eye test, it sports a sleek premium feel, further enhanced by its evidently solid build quality. Combining this monitor's resolution with a 144hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time delivers one of the most impressive in-game performances and an overall immersive gaming experience.

The 4-directional adjustable stand provides plenty of positioning options for the ideal viewing angle. Furthermore, this gaming monitor also comes with great connectivity options, Eyecare technology, FreeSync support, as well as GameVisual & GAME plus functionality to amplify colour performance. 

  • Pros
  • Adjustable refresh rate support.
  • Decent input lag.Affordable.
  • Cons
  • Small colour gamut. 
  • Peak brightness isn't spectacular.

4. Best Mid-Range: Asus ROG Strix XG279Q

7%
ASUS ROG Strix XG279Q 27-Inch LED Monitor, Black
1,345 Reviews
ASUS ROG Strix XG279Q 27-Inch LED Monitor, Black
  • 27-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) Fast IPS gaming monitor with 1ms (GTG) response time...
  • ASUS Extreme Low Motion Blur Sync (ELMB SYNC) technology enables ELMB together...
  • Certified as G-SYNC Compatible, delivering a seamless, tear-free gaming...
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology with professional color gamut delivers...

The ROG Strix XG279Q is a gaming monitor targeted at gamers who want to upgrade resolution without compromising speed and performance.

This is a 27", 16:9 gaming 144hz gaming monitor that offers excellent image quality and a little bit extra in gaming performance. Furthermore, it can also support a 170Hz refresh rate overclock, which some gamers might demand. The 1ms response time is lightning-fast. Pairing motion-blur with the G-Sync compatibility, plus great HDR, thanks to edge-lit backlighting and RGB lighting, brings out an insanely crisp gaming experience.

However, there are also a few noteworthy flaws. Ghosting might occur when motion blur is turned on. Additionally, the default grayscale and gamma settings require tweaking.

  • Pros
  • Exceptional HDR.
  • Blur-reduction paired with Adaptive Sync.
  • High brightness.
  • Cons
  • Minimal ghosting in ELMB mode.
  • Default grayscale and gamma settings require adjustment.

5. Best 4K Gaming Monitor: LG 27GN950-B

LG UHD Monitor 27' 4K LED Nano IPS Display, 98% Color Accuracy, Detailed...
657 Reviews
LG UHD Monitor 27" 4K LED Nano IPS Display, 98% Color Accuracy, Detailed...
  • 27” UHD (3840 x 2160) Nano IPS Display
  • IPS 1ms (GtG) 144Hz with VESA DSC Technology
  • NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible with AMD FreeSync Premium Pro
  • DCI-P3 98% with VESA DisplayHDR 600

We'll start by clarifying that this is by no means a budget gaming monitor. However, it would be remiss of us to delve into 144Hz gaming monitors without mention a 4K option.

A sharp, high-resolution gaming experience does not get any better than this 27", 16:9, IPS monitor. The 144Hz refresh rate, plus a 1ms response time, delivers one of the best input lag scores. This monitor is built to match up with powerful graphics cards for the ultimate gaming experience, both in visuals and performance.

The colour gamut extends to 133.9% of sRGB to deliver some of the most vibrant colours. Combined with HDR from the monitor's edge array backlight and local dimming feature, the LG 27GN950-B undoubtedly takes the viewing experience to a whole new level. 

  • Pros
  • Exceptional HDR.
  • Wide and accurate colour gamut.
  • Fast and responsive.
  • Cons
  • Oversaturated sRGB mode.

How to Choose the Best Budget 144Hz Monitor

Choosing the best gaming monitor for your gaming rig can be a tricky endeavour, especially with the myriad of good value yet cheap 144Hz monitors available. To narrow down your selection, these are the factors to look out for:

1. Resolution

Resolution refers to the total number of pixels on the screen. Naturally, a higher resolution indicates more pixels; hence the images produced are clearer and sharper- ideally translating to better gameplay visuals. The popular monitor resolutions at the moment include:

  • Full HD (1080p)
  • 2K/QuadHD (1440p)
  • 4K/UltraHD (2160p)

Whatever your selection might be, keep in mind that the higher the resolution, the more the monitor overloads the graphics card.

Ultimately, your choice hinges on your graphics cards' capabilities and the kind of games you normally play. Most modern GPU's are optimized for 1080p. A 2K or 4K resolution gaming monitor would certainly require a higher-end graphics card to perform superbly.

2. Panel Technology

A panel refers to the monitor's screen, including the underlying technology of its construction. Currently, there are three main types of panel technology, each with its own merits and faults. However, this means each one of them has a particular scenario that it caters for well.

  • TN panels deliver high refresh rates, but colour reproduction is not particularly the best. They also don't have the best viewing angles, though this shouldn't be a problem if you normally sit in front of the monitor. TN panels give you speed; hence they are ideal for fast-paced games.
  • IPS panels, on the other hand, focus on better graphics than performance. They have lower refresh rates than TN panels, but the colour reproduction and image quality are exceptional, translating to an excellent viewing experience.
  • VA panels, generally speaking, attempt to bring out the best of both worlds. They have better visuals than TN panels and are also a bit faster than IPS panels. However, this doesn't exclusively make them the best choice.

3. Screen Size

Gaming monitors in varying screen sizes to account for the different needs and preferences of every gamer. For the avid gamer, it is recommended to choose a screen size between 22" and 32". The modern-day gamer seems to ostensibly find the sweet spot from a 27" 1080p gaming monitor. The main thing to keep in mind is that a larger screen size tends to deliver a more immersive gaming experience.

4. Aspect Ratio

This refers to a monitor's proportion of width to height. Previously, square CRT monitors came with a 4:3 aspect ratio. However, the standard has shifted towards widescreen monitors, mostly favouring a 16:9 aspect ratio. Ultrawide monitors take it a notch higher, with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

5. Response Time

Response time, measured in millisecond (ms), refers to the rate at which the monitor changes colour. For a casual gamer, the difference between a 5ms and 1ms response time might not be apparent. But an avid or a competitive gamer can certainly pick this out and use it to their advantage to stay ahead of the game.

6. ADM FreeSync vs NVIDIA G-Sync

You are also likely to come across the mention of FreeSync and G-Sync. These two adaptive sync technologies-developed by AMD and NVIDIA respectively-further improve the synchronization of frame rates and refresh rates for a buttery-smooth visual experience.

Both technologies will improve the gameplay immensely. The one thing you have to consider is the price advantage. FreeSync utilizes an open-source standard from VESA Adaptive-Sync; hence it doesn't hike the cost of a monitor as much as NVIDIA's proprietary G-Sync.

Quick Tips

  • A higher refresh rate is more suitable for fast-paced games.
  • Faster response times minimize screen artefacts such as ghosting.
  • High resolution requires more powerful PC components.
  • TN gives you speed, IPS for colour accuracy, while VA tries to balance both.
  • Large screens tend to be more immersive.
  • Curved monitors are niftier for single-player titles.

Frequently Asked Questions about a 144Hz Gaming Monitor

1. Will I need a higher refresh rate?

Need? No. In fact, a 60Hz refresh rate monitor would do the job just fine if you sync your games at 60 FPS. However, ramping up to 144Hz gives an avid gamer a significantly smoother and immersive experience, particularly for first-person shooter games. Any higher, say a 240Hz refresh rate, is mostly recommended for serious competitive gamers.

2. How come my 144Hz monitor is running at 60Hz?

Sometimes the gaming monitor can reset itself to the lowest refresh rate settings, normally at 60Hz. If this happens, you should connect the monitor with a dual-link DVI, a DisplayPort or an HDMI cable to run at the expected 144Hz refresh rate.

In case you need to make the changes manually, you'll find the display option from the system settings. From the window that pops up, select Advanced Display Settings, then look for Display Adapter Properties. More often than not, you'll find a Monitor tab. Proceed to Screen Refresh Rate from where you can select the desired 144Hz

3. Which cables should I use for a 144Hz gaming monitor?

It depends on your monitor's resolution. If you have a 1440p resolution, you'll need to use an HDMI 2.0 or a DisplayPort 1.2, at the very least. For a 4K gaming monitor, you'll require an HDMI 2.1 or a DisplayPort 1.4. 

About the author

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

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