Hopefully this article won’t be too controversial, but I have the means to run all the games that I play at 4K resolution, but I choose not to. Partially it’s because the framerates that I want to achieve and the joy of a really smooth experience isn’t fully possible on a 4K display, even with a RTX 2080 Ti and a Core i9-9900K. Therefore, my resolution of choice in 2020 is 1080P for basically anything I play. What do you think about that? Now for the last 4 years or so my preferred gaming resolution has always been 1440P, but since the arrival of this new Cooler Master monitor things have changed.
This monitor has given me new appreciation for 1080P gaming and all the specs on this monitor are kind of ideal. It has a high refresh rate of up to 200Hz, Full HD 1080P resolution, a slight curve that I thought would be weird with a 16:9 monitor, but it’s actually nice. For creative tasks this is a big no for me, but it does wrap around your vision slightly giving you a bit of a gaming advantage. The main reason why 1080P gaming is so important here is because of its size at 27-inches. If I had said those words a few years ago, this would be a big no for me, because pixel density at 27-inches at 1080P isn’t ideal. However, as you will see later in the article having native 1080P at 27-inches is actually a benefit versus having something high resolution at the same size and then lowering the resolution to 1080P. So Today I’m going to explain all the reasons why I choose to game at 1080P resolution in 2020, which combines technical reasons, visual differences, and obviously performance advantages.
Let me begin with a few reasons why 1080P is so popular. Reason number 1 is pricing, it is so much cheaper to get a 1080P gaming monitor that is high refresh rate than going with something slightly higher resolution like 1440P and even 4K. Those high resolution/high refresh rate monitors are really inaccessible to most. If we look at really popular 1080P gaming displays on Amazon, they are usually at least a $100 USD cheaper and offer higher refresh rate than the QHD models. However, there are also exceptions where 1080P displays are crazy expensive and enter the price territory of really good 1440P displays, like the Pixio PX7 Prime. We have done a full review of that model, it’s a fantastic display for the price point, including the TUF VG278Q.
Cooler Master GM27-CF
As for my Cooler Master monitor, it is a native 165Hz display with a VA panel and 3ms grey-to-grey response time. You can overclock this monitor to 200Hz, but that is done through the control panel without any tweaking necessary. We also get response time override inside the OSD, which will improve the pixel response time because VA panels don’t generally have the fastest response time and this is one way to help smooth out those pixels when they are changing at 165Hz and higher.
For the longest time, I really wanted to go with something high resolution/high refresh rate, so it could act both as a gaming monitor and something for creative work. However, now I have my 4K 60Hz display for work and my and 1080P 200Hz display that is only used for gaming. Now the monitor that I really want to try is the LG 27GL850, and that is because it is a 1440P IPS panel, so beautiful colors, and it has a 1ms response time at the 144Hz. As a monitor that can be used for both creative work and gaming it seems like a fantastic option.
Reason number 2 – and most likely you are already aware of this one – is the performance advantages. We gained a massive FPS boost when we dropped from 1440P with the highest possible settings to 1080P with the exact same sentence. I’m playing with an RTX 2080 Ti, which is extremely powerful, but even the frame rates at 1080P with highest possible image settings aren’t necessarily amazing as you can see. The goal was to not compromise on the image quality settings, and this is how 1080P really fits into that equation. I was also wondering what about keeping the 1440P resolution, but lowering some of the image quality settings in order to get better frame rates, but still maintaining the crispness of what you are looking at. In some games you actually gain better FPS by keeping the resolution at 1440P, but lowering some of the image quality settings. However, for as long as I’ve been gaming I always prioritize image quality settings before resolution. Seeing muddy textures and poor lighting is not worth it to me with a little extra detail, especially at 1440P where all those imperfections are more visible. And so that is why I really keep playing at 1080P, even when image quality is important.
With the rollout of many games that support Ray Tracing, 1080P is the maximum resolution that I’m willing to go in order to get really good frame rates while still giving me the whole RT experience. I played Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Metro Exodus, and Control, all with maximum RT settings because that is the future and it looks so much better compared to when RT is disabled. Maybe not for Call of Duty, but shout to Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, and Control, they look absolutely fantastic. Another point about Ray Tracing is that NVIDIA is improving on DLSS or Deep Learning Super Sampling, which gives you the advantage of a higher resolution display. You can be playing at 1440P, but the performance is not suffering with DLSS enabled. However, it does tend to introduce a slightly softer image at that resolution, so continuing with 1080P gameplay is a benefit. With this prioritization of image quality and frame rate I know that there is no compromise when I choose 1080P.
One really interesting technical advantage that I have discovered while using a native 1080P 27-inch display is that it is actually sharper compared to my 1440P monitor set to 1080P resolution. That makes sense because the pixel read out here is 1:1 on the 1080P display, while a 1080P image on a 1440P display is affected by pixel interpolation that causes softer edges and all the little details are not as defined as they should be. Of course, the 1440P image looks better, but when you are talking about lowering resolution to gain frame rate and to improve image fidelity by increasing image settings that is where native 1080P monitors are really so important.
One more thing to mention is that this is my first time trying a 27-inch 1080P display, but both Mike and Eber have expressed their concerns because some of the panels they have tried exhibited really bad screen door effect, which means you are able to see the spacing in between the pixels when you are sitting at a reasonable distance to the monitor. Luckily the VA panel used here on the Cooler Master display is awesome, so you don’t get that effect. Everything is super sharp, and I kept the sharpness of the screen at 50%, which is the default and the standard picture profile. Just be careful with the 1080P TN panel option, because there is some really bad gaming displays out there that are cheap, but they are cheap for a reason.
The last reason why 1080P so important to me is because of competitive advantage in multiplayer games. I’m sure I am not the only one to do this, but I lower all my visual settings in Battlefield V and Call of Duty and CS:GO just to remove visual clutter, improve my frame rates, and improve my latency too. What this generally does is remove all the visual clutter that otherwise makes it very difficult to notice enemies. It is a big advantage by lowering all the settings like removing tessellation, removing shadows, removing bullet impacts, because in fast paced gameplay that you never really notice it. In Call of Duty it is exactly the reason why I remove everything just because there is no time to walk around and enjoy the scenery, even the textures and the weapon models are not as important as being on top of the scoreboard. Of course, I finished BF5 and COD single player campaigns on the maximum visual settings just to actually enjoy the game play, but when it comes to multiplayer visual fidelity and quality really doesn’t matter. As far as CS:GO, aside from lowering my visual quality settings too low, I even changed the aspect ratio to 4:3 and actually reduced the resolution so I have a stretched image that gives me larger bodies that are much easier to aim at. Overall, there is a really big element of competitive advantage by having a 1080P resolution and the least amount of visual candy on-screen.
To conclude, those are all my reasons why I still game in the 1080P resolution 2020, despite the my access to the best possible hardware. It’s all about giving me the best framerate possible without compromising on the visual image quality. I find that at 1080P – especially when you are talking about a native display – 24-inches would look super sharp, 27-inches is not as sharp as 27-inches 1440P, but it is totally enjoyable in both single player and multiplayer open world games. I don’t know, maybe my eyes are getting old, but I have no issues using a 1080P 27-inch display. Let me know which resolution and size of monitor you play with, and what type of settings you normally gravitate towards when it comes to new games, multiplayer games, single player games, etc.
Buy items in this article from Amazon & other partners at the links below:
Cooler Master GM27-CF – https://geni.us/GN27CF
XPG Xenia Gaming Notebook – https://geni.us/XPGXENIA