When shopping for a monitor for gaming or multimedia purposes you will find manufactures brag about their response time. Although response rate or latency is extremely important when it comes to games, the manufactures derive this number in various ways.
Generally, manufactures claim their fastest time, whether that is gray-to-gray or active black to inactive white and back. They may not disclose which they used to determine their typical time. The formal definition characterizes response time as the time it takes for an LCD pixel to change from completely active black to inactive white then back again. However, manufactures often report their gray-to-gray speed (or color to color). The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) will soon introduce specifications to standardize response time to make manufacturers’ numbers more comparable.
Nevertheless, despite the discrepancies over reported numbers, response time does matter. As recent as 2005, monitor manufacturers and gaming experts were recommending a response time of under 16ms to avoid blurring and ghosting. However, a year later we are seeing response times of less than 5ms, or more typically, less than 8ms. This in turn means that game manufacturers are going to utilize these new capabilities and create games that demand this faster response time. Who knows, maybe next year we may see Samsung reporting a response time of 2ms, it could happen.
Make sure you have enough screen for what you need to do. Remember that the viewable area of a wide-screen monitor is generally comparable to the viewable area of a regular-format monitor that’s 2 inches smaller. Similarly, the viewable size of a CRT is an inch or two smaller than the advertised tube size–so if you’re switching from a CRT to an LCD, you may not need as big a monitor as you think. Also bear in mind that if you’re switching from an LCD with a regular aspect ratio to a wide-screen one, the wide screen will have less real estate at the same diagonal measurement. A 19-inch wide-screen model is comparable to a 17-inch regular-format LCD. The current sweet spots for display size are the 19-inch regular-format LCD and the 20-to-22-inch wide-screen LCD, both of which provide plenty of desktop space for most users.
For now, to view your games at their best, look for a monitor with the fastest time possible; it does matter. Keep in mind that display quality is also important, so look for a high contrast ratio and small dot pitch coupled with a powerful graphics card to give you the best view possible, until next year.