Historically the case was that monitors that looked good weren’t the best for gaming. The technologies required to make high resolution, low input lag monitors used to result in poor color and image quality, but that’s no longer the case. MSI is launching 3 new gaming monitors that sport IPS panels and won’t break the bank.
There are plenty of aspects to consider when buying a monitor for gaming. This includes resolution, response time, refresh rate, and G-Sync/FreeSync compatibility. Most recently you have to add a new category to that list: display technology. The gaming monitor market was primarily made up of TN panels which can switch fast, but do that at the expense of color accuracy and viewing angles. IPS monitors offer much better color performance, but have historically not been fast enough for gaming monitors. Check our are detailed comparison of the different display technologies if you’d like more details.
Manufacturing processes are improving though and we have started to see a trickle of IPS gaming monitors hit the market. MSI’s newest models fall into that category. Announced at CES 2020 and now available for sale, the new Optix MAG251RX is a 24.5″ monitor with 240Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time. It also features a DisplayHDR400 certification (a barely useful HDR spec) and G-Sync.
On the value end, the Optix G241 is a 24″ monitor with 144Hz refresh rate, a 4ms response time, and AMD FreeSync. The Optix G271 has the same features as the G241 but in a 27″ form factor. The monitors will launch for $360, $190, and $240, respectively.
When compared to other non-IPS monitors of the same performance class, the G241 is about $30 more and the G271 is about $40 more. For the higher end 240Hz monitor, MSI’s pricing is about mid-range for other 24.5″ 240Hz monitors. However, if you are looking at just 240Hz IPS monitors, it’s actually not a bad deal.
While these monitors may look good on paper, it’s hard to tell how well they will do in the incredibly crowded gaming monitor market. Most people buy a gaming monitor for its speed, not color accuracy. Another potentially larger limitation is resolution. All three of these monitors have a native resolution of 1920×1080.
The G241 and G271 should be fine since they are more budget oriented, while the MAG251RX is meant to compete in the ultra-high refresh rate, esports oriented segment. In terms of monitor upgrades, most people will prefer a jump to 1440p resolution rather than a jump to 240Hz. At the 24.5″ though, a higher resolution won’t make too much of a difference though.