Information About Screen Resolution
What is Screen Resolution?
Resolution refers to the number of pixels on a screen. High resolution means more pixels and generally more space and detail, while low resolution means fewer pixels, and often less space. If you are using a typical (not high-end) laptop or an old screen, you likely have a low resolution. The image below shows the difference in real estate between common resolutions.
A comparison of several common screen resolutions
Let's discuss some of the most common screen resolutions. We've referenced Steam's hardware survey as a source for statistics on gamer preferences, and Statcounter and W3schools for general statistics.
1680x1050 and below
According to our sources, the vast amount of the world's population is still using a resolution of 1680x1050 or lower. We suspect that the majority of these users are on laptops or very old systems.
To be frank, if you have a screen below 1680x1050, we feel it's time to upgrade. Given how cheaply you can buy a 1080p (1920x1080) screen, there's very little reason to continue using your computer with a smaller monitor. The increase in screen real estate will make your normal computing more pleasant, and it will definitely make your gaming much more enjoyable.
However, many people who bought their PC some time ago still have 1680x1050 screens, and they may not want to buy a new screen yet. Some people who are on a very limited budget may not be able to afford the hardware needed to game at 1080p, and for them, lowering the resolution down a notch would give a frame rate boost.
1920x1080, also known as 1080p, is currently the standard screen resolution for modern computing, and the most popular resolution for gamers. If you're buying a new screen, you're doing yourself a disservice buying anything with a resolution below 1080p.
2560x1440 and 2560x1600
These screens are considerably more expensive than 1080p screens, but also more expansive. These were previously the highest resolutions available for normal consumers, before 3840x2160 began to sell for reasonable prices. These screens can cost as much as a good PC, and buyers without deep wallets are advised to look for something less costly. However, if you can afford it, the extra screen real estate can make for an even more satisfying experience compared to 1080p.
3840x2160 (4K UHD)
3840x2160, also known as 4K, is currently the top end of resolutions for consumer PC screens. The resolution contains 4 times as many pixels as 1080p, providing much more real estate.
The high cost of 4K screens, along with the high cost of hardware that can game properly at 4K, means that 4K adoption is still very low. It will likely be several more years before 4K screens take up a sizeable portion of the consumer PC screen market.
Our Recommendations for a Screen
If you are buying a new screen, make absolutely sure that it has a resolution of 1920x1080 or above. If you shop around, you should easily find a 1080p screen in your budget.
You can take a look at all our peripheral recommendations on the Logical Increments Monitors Guide.
Visit logicalincrements.com for PC build recommendations that will handle gaming at your resolution of choice.