Last updated: March 11th, 2023
Gaming monitors for sim racing come in many shapes and sizes, and because manufacturers offer such a wide array of features and specs these days, it’s hard to keep up with every update. In fact, from one model’s release to the next, the updates can be so incremental that you might even struggle to notice what’s changed. Besides, more and more brands seem to be entering the monitor marketplace, some with outstanding high-quality products, while others may be lacking in the technical prowess department.
Broadly speaking, sim racers have three options when it comes to gaming displays: one single monitor, a triple-screen setup, or a VR headset.
I recently improved my sim racing rig with a much-needed PC upgrade, along with a few new pieces of driving hardware, so I thought what better way to complement my new additions than with a shiny new monitor that would allow me to make the most of my virtual driving experience.
Read on for advice on how to choose the best monitors for sim racing and what technical specs to look out for, or for monitor recommendations use the links below:
When you think about it, whichever monitor you use will have a significant impact on your overall immersion in your sim rig, and unless you’re using VR, in my opinion, the importance of a good gaming monitor to your overall sim-racing experience cannot be overstated.
How to find the right monitor for Sim Racing
While the gaming monitor market is undoubtedly vast, monitors suitable for sim racing are by comparison relatively few and far between.
It makes sense since, in comparison to those other gaming genres, sim racing, while it has enjoyed a spike in popularity over the last couple of years, remains pretty niche, so finding a monitor was proving a bit more challenging than, say, if I was planning to play Monster Hunter or Resident Evil. But if that’s true, then what is a suitable monitor for sim racing?
For sim racers, here’s a list of some of the most important features of a gaming monitor:
- Small / Very thin bezel – the smaller the border around the monitors the better, particularly for triple monitor setups
- Low input lag and high refresh rate – for responsive and smooth gameplay
- High resolution – for clear and detailed graphics (Modern GPUs can handle significant triple-screen resolution)
- Wide viewing angles – so that you can use your peripheral vision for braking points / other traffic
- Adaptive sync technology – to eliminate screen tearing and stuttering (either G-Sync or Free-Sync)
Some curvature in the screen is also something a lot of sim racers look for.
Curved vs Flat Monitors – Is there a preference for the sim?
The short answer is no, it doesn’t actually make a tangible difference in terms of performance, technically there’s no difference between a curved or flat screen with today’s technology.
Where sim racers like to prefer curved triples is the feeling of immersion. With triple 1000R monitors, you’re surrounded such that I’ve seen some rigs with a special hinged display mount so that the driver can get in or out of the sim.
Personally, I think a curved 49″ monitor is very much enough for the casual sim racer. My Samsung G9 is a really simple thing to set up, with few FOV calculations to make compared to triples!
If you’re more about building a really immersive, cutting-edge-looking sim, investigate the options for 34″ UHD (Ultra HD) / 4K 2160p monitors, but be sure to have a GPU that can handle it! Again, a 4090 can do this – but you’re going to be investing many thousands into the display aspect of your build.
Wider Screen = Better Field of view (FOV)
Is a wider, curved screen really better? The answer to that boils down to one essential factor; field of view (FOV). Essentially, FOV refers to how much of the game is observable through your monitor at any given time. Basically, sim racing requires a larger FOV than many other gaming genres, allowing you to simulate what it feels like to be in the driver’s seat of a real car, where your FOV is approximately 180°. That means you will need a monitor that lets you see the entire windscreen and what’s beside and behind you through your side windows and mirrors.
Effectively, you should have the feeling of being fully immersed in the game, with the display curving around you, as when racing, what’s in your peripheral vision is often just as important as what’s right in front of you.
In order to achieve the ideal FOV, sim racers have a few different options. We can go for a single ultrawide /super ultrawide monitor, or there’s the option to go for a triple-screen setup. While ultrawide monitors obviously offer less FOV than the super ultras, those with 34″ screens still offer enough display to allow you to use the cockpit view in a racing game and see the entire windscreen, plus enough of the side windows to let you see the side mirrors and spot cars running alongside you. With that said, it’s safe to say that anything less than 34″ doesn’t make the cut here.
So next, I’m going to share some of the best monitors out there right now for sim racing, and I’ll let you know which ones I think are the best you can buy in each of the three categories mentioned above. Keep in mind that this list is based on the research I undertook while upgrading my rig, and each selection is my personal opinion, but I have based it upon crucial factors like G-Sync or FreeSync compatibility, panel type, resolution, response time, and refresh rate.
Should I choose single, triple-screen or ultrawide gaming monitors?
Whether you plan to go down the single or triple-screen route is your call. One thing I would like to point out, however, before we get started is that triple-screen monitor setups help increase sim racers’ immersion and awareness of their surroundings by increasing the size of the visual field around them.
To demonstrate, you must imagine what the correct field of view would look like on a sim rig with a single screen. You will likely only be able to see what’s directly in front of you, and your view will be limited to the width of the car’s windscreen. It’s drivable, but racing in close quarters is a bit awkward, to say the least.
If you add in two extra monitors, everything looks a bit more natural. You can see the side mirrors and generally have a better sense of what’s around you in the car, much like in a real car.
However, that increased immersion always comes at the cost of performance. It s also possible to expand your field of view with a single screen by choosing an ultrawide or super ultrawide monitor, and I’ve covered some of them below, however, you still won’t reach the levels of immersion three screens can offer.
What technical specifications should I be looking out for in a gaming monitor?
One of the significant factors to consider when choosing a new display is screen resolution. Depending on the PC and GPU you own you should always try to choose the highest resolution and the fastest refresh rate possible. Most modern gaming PCs can easily handle 1440p triples.
More and more buyers are moving to 4k gaming, largely because the price of the monitors themselves is falling. Here is a breakdown of the screen resolutions you’re likely to see advertised when you begin searching for a new monitor:
|Resolution||Manufacturer monitor category name|
|1280×720||HD / 720p|
|1920×1080||FHD (Full HD) / 1080p|
|2560×1440||QHD/WQHD (Quad HD) / 2K 1440p|
|3840×2160||UHD (Ultra HD) / 4K 2160p|
|7680×4320||FUHD (Full Ultra HD) / 8K 4320p|
Frame Rate and Refresh Rate
Frame rate is measured in frames per second (FPS). This is the frequency at which consecutive images called ‘frames’ appear on a screen. Ideally, you’ll want to aim for a steady 60 FPS as an absolute minimum for smooth gameplay.
A monitor’s refresh rate is measured in hertz (Hz) and is the rate at which the screen can create a new image. A faster refresh rate reduces or alleviates any flicker visible to the human eye. This is independent of frame rate (FPS), which describes how many images are stored or generated every second by your gaming PC.
If your hardware has the power to run a 120Hz monitor at a true 120hz with a frame rate of 120 fps (frames per second) then that’s more than enough for a high-quality image during gaming. Naturally, more is always better, if your GPU has the power, a set of Samsung G7 triples running at 240hz would be amazing. But be ready because that is most definitely high-end GPU territory.
What is response time?
Response time is a millisecond value and represents how rapidly a monitor can update a pixel from grey to grey. In today’s money, a response time of over 1ms is disappointing for hardcore gaming monitors and 5ms should get left where it belongs: in the office!
What are FreeSync and G-Sync?
FreeSync (AMD) and G-Sync (NVIDIA) are proprietary graphics card communications protocols that allow a variation in refresh rate to keep in sync with the frame rate of the game render. These systems are not cross-compatible, so you need to check for FreeSync or G-Sync when you’re buying a monitor and of course, it entirely depends on your GPU manufacturer.
DisplayPort 2.1 is the latest version of the DisplayPort standard, which is a digital display interface used to connect devices like computers, laptops, and monitors. It supports high bandwidth and high-resolution displays, making it suitable for gaming, video editing, and other professional applications.
DisplayPort 2.1 supports up to 80 Gbps bandwidth, allowing for 8K resolution at 60Hz with 10-bit color, or 4K resolution at 144Hz with 10-bit color. It also supports Dynamic HDR, which enables HDR metadata to be sent on a frame-by-frame basis, resulting in more accurate and lifelike HDR images.
In addition to these features, DisplayPort 2.1 also supports Display Stream Compression (DSC) 1.2a, which allows for higher resolutions and refresh rates without sacrificing image quality. It also has improved Multi-Stream Transport (MST) capabilities, enabling up to three displays to be connected via a single cable.
One of the main benefits of DisplayPort 2.1 is that it is backward compatible with earlier versions of DisplayPort, so devices with different versions can still be connected. However, it requires a compatible cable to achieve the full capabilities of the standard.
Overall, DisplayPort 2.1 is a significant improvement over earlier versions, with higher bandwidth, improved image quality, and more advanced features. However, it isn’t supported by all graphics cards at the moment, with AMD leading the way with support from their 7900XT series GPUs. For more on GPUs for sim racing, take a look at our guide.
The perfect monitor for sim racing would be the highest resolution and screen size your budget will with anything close to 120Hz (144hz as standard is now pretty much the thing) and a low (below 1ms) response time. Plus, either FreeSync or G-Sync support. This is of course if your hardware can manage it! Generally, any GPU over an NVIDIA RTX 2080 ti certainly can, especially with titles like iRacing. Of course, when you begin to enter the 4K market, finding screens with these stats is going to get a little pricier.
Lastly, I’d like to mention that while some 8K monitors are starting to appear on the market, the response times and refresh rates of these screens is still relatively low. So, in my personal opinion, when it comes to selecting a monitor for sim racing where split seconds can make all the difference, it would be better to hold off on buying one of these until the technology catches up to that of their lower-resolution counterparts.
Best 34” Ultrawide Monitor
In this category, there are a few worthy contenders such as the exceptionally well-equipped ASUS TUF Gaming VG34VQL1B, with its 3440 x 1440 resolution, 165Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and FreeSync Premium.
However, one downside to the TUF Gaming VG34VQLB monitor is the curve radius. While they’re still much better options than flat gaming monitors of the same size, their 1500R curve might be a little too shallow to get the true feeling of immersion when you’re seated in a racing chair.
Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Gaming Monitor
The Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Gaming Monitor is designed to deliver an immersive gaming experience “like never before”. With a fast, 0.1 ms GtG response time and a high refresh rate of 175 Hz, your gameplay will be smoother and fast-moving graphics will be displayed with incredible clarity.
The monitor features Quantum Dot Display Technology, enabling a slim panel design and providing superior color performance with a higher peak luminance and a wider color gamut range compared to White OLED. This combined with a peak brightness of 1000 nits, an infinite contrast ratio, and VESA Display HDR True Black 400 certification, you can expect incredibly realistic visuals for an unforgettable gaming experience.
The monitor’s stunning new design features a sleek QD-OLED curved 1800R panel integrated into the iconic new Legend 2.0 ID. This jaw-dropping design is engineered to prevent burn-in caused by items appearing on the screen for extended periods of time.
If you’re looking for the latest and highest spec monitor, take a look at the Samsung Neo G8 which, while slightly smaller at 32″, offers 4K UHD at a 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response with G-Sync, and a Quantum HDR2000 screen.
Slim bezel: AOC CU34G3S/BK
Having slim bezels may be considered nothing more than an aesthetic option by some gamers, but in reality, it helps you stay more focused on the action, making the AOC CU34G3S/BK the clear winner for me in this segment if you can find it in stock!
One more noteworthy point here is that all four of the monitors that I’ve covered so far come with a VA panel, which typically offers better results when gaming than an IPS panel. Generally, IPS panels perform better when it comes to multimedia work like graphic design and video editing. Although LG has been known to make some exceptional IPS gaming monitors, so it’s not always as simple as black and white.
Best Super Ultrawide Monitor
Competition in the super ultrawide category is much less fierce, but there are still a few options to consider. By sizing up and choosing a super ultrawide monitor, you’ll get more FOV, equating to a better sim racing experience.
I’ll start with the ASUS ROG Strix XG49VQ, which comes with an enormous 49″ VA panel display, max resolution of 3840 x 1080, 144Hz refresh rate, 4ms response time, and a 1,800R curve. Of course, the response time and curvature are not ideal for sim racing, but overall, it’s still a great piece of kit.
However, the current champion in the super ultrawide monitor category is the Samsung G9 Odyssey Neo (G95NA), the newest iteration in the G9 series which replaces the older CHG90 model. This beast of a monitor offers a 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, 5120 x 1440 resolution, but best of all, it has the same 1,000R curve as its younger brother, the G5, except this time offered in a glorious 49″ display.
Best 27″ Monitor for Triple-Screen Setup
Next, we come to the highly-debated yet never-goes-out-of-style triple-screen setup. Using three screens as one display hands down offers the best FOV for sim racing, but you do need to accept that you will not get the same unbroken continuous display as you get with the ultra/super ultrawide monitors.
Now, the amount of flexibility and combinations in monitor size and even shape that can be utilized to make a triple-screen display is nearly infinite. Some people will argue how one monitor size is better than another or why curved triples are better than flat triples, but the truth is it simply comes down to personal preference and what works best for you. Of course, what works for one rig might not work for another, but the key thing to remember, and what I have tried to reinforce throughout this post is that FOV trumps all opinions.
So long as you can find three identical monitors that offer a fast response time, high resolution and refresh rate, and have bezels as thin as possible to avoid obscuring your view, you can pretty much go with any brand and any size. But, if you pushed me to choose the best monitor to make a 3×27″ triple-screen display in 2021, I would recommend the LG UltraGear 27GN950-B.
Offering some of the best premium gaming experiences to be had, this is the only monitor on my list to offer a 4K resolution (3840 × 2160). It comes in at 27″, placing it in the sweet spot in terms of size to create a tremendous triple-screen setup, plus it has a 1ms response time, and a 144Hz refresh rate, and is the only monitor mentioned here to be both G-sync and FreeSync compatible, as well as the only one to feature an IPS panel.
Our top selling 32″ monitors
If you’re building a triple monitor system, but 27″ feels too small, then take a look at our 32″ picks.
Now, these are actually our best sellers – people who go on to look at any of our monitor recommendations often end up picking up one (or three!) of these. Better suited to you lucky folks with higher power (30xx and 40xx series) GPU’s, the picks in this list all offer full 1440P HDR in QHD (2560 x 1440 resolution) at up to 240hz refresh like this Samsung G7:
32″ gaming monitor top sellers:
- Samsung G7 (buy here)
- ASUS TUF Curved Gaming 32″ 1440P HDR Curved Monitor (buy here)
- LG 32GP850-B 32” Ultragear QHD (buy here)
- MSI 32″ CurvedFull HD RGB LED Non-Glare Super Narrow Bezel (buy here)
All of these monitors have very narrow bezels making them ideal for a high-end triple monitor setup. They all offer huge resolution at (2560px x 1440px) at a 1ms response time, 240hz from the Samsung G7 (as I mentioned a moment ago), and up to a 165hz refresh from the LG and ASUS monitors, which are slightly cheaper than the G7 and very good buys indeed.
The ASUS is better suited to AMD GPUs because it’s Freesync, whereas the LG supports both NVIDIA G-Sync and FreeSync. The feedback on the MSI is unclear and appears to only support Freesync. The Samsung Odyssey G7 (LC32G75TQSRXXU) 32″ is 1000R, which is the same curvature as the G9 but has a higher 240Hz refresh, 1ms response at 1440p QHD. The G7 is Gsync (so again, better for NVIDIA users). It’s QLED, HDR600, with HDMI and Displayport sockets.
With all of these monitors practically being even on spec, I choose the LG because it’s most flexible between either NVIDIA or AMD GPUs.
Best 4K Gaming Monitors
4K gaming is now well within the reach of most sim setups, with most high-end 30xx series NVIDIA GPUs and the newer 40xx series cards making light work of most sim racing titles. We like the Dell U2723QE UltraSharp 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840×2160) monitor for a 4K triple screen setup:
This Dell U2723QE gaming monitor is the perfect addition to your setup, delivering exceptional contrast and stunning colors. With a contrast ratio of 2000:1 and IPS Black technology, you’ll experience superior black performance and incredible color accuracy. And thanks to the built-in ComfortView Plus, you can enjoy your games for longer periods without eye strain, as it reduces potentially harmful blue light emissions.
The monitor features Quantum Dot Display Technology, enabling a slim panel design and providing superior color performance with a higher peak luminance and a wider color gamut range compared to White OLED.
This combined with a peak brightness of 1000 nits, an infinite contrast ratio, and VESA Display HDR True Black 400 certification, you can expect incredibly realistic visuals for an unforgettable gaming experience.
The Dell U2723QE features a sleek QD-OLED curved 1800R panel and it’s engineered to prevent burn-in caused by items appearing on the screen for extended periods of time.
Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q
The Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q offers exceptional value for its affordable price, especially considering it’s one of the most inexpensive 4K gaming monitors currently available. With a 28-inch display that can swivel, pivot, and tilt to suit your needs (within reasonable limits), it’s one of the most ergonomic monitors we’ve tested.
But, of course, there’s more to a great monitor than just its ergonomics.
The VG289Q also boasts slim bezels and a handy cable management system, as well as several display settings to enhance your viewing experience and Adaptive-Sync technology for smoother gaming. Thanks to its rich and vibrant colors, super-sharp image quality, and design that’s only subtly gaming-focused, this monitor is one of the best 4K options not only for sim racing but also for users who use their gaming PCs for design, CAD, and so on.
GIGABYTE M32UC 32″ 144Hz (160Hz OC) 4K UHD Curved
The Gigabyte M32UC curved gaming monitor is a comprehensive solution that caters particularly well to multiplatform gamers. Boasting 4k gaming at 144 Hz and an impressive HDR400, it delivers an immersive experience with just the right amount of curvature. Additionally, it offers ample connectivity options and excellent color gamut coverage, though, as always, some tweaking of the settings may be necessary to enhance color vibrancy.
Equipped with a USB-C port that unfortunately doesn’t provide sufficient power for laptop charging, as well as an HDMI 2.1 port that’s crucial for 4K gaming at 120Hz with next-gen consoles, and KVM for multi-source connectivity, this monitor has all the necessary features you’ll need.
However, it’s important to note that the built-in speakers provided by Gigabyte are subpar, so it’s recommended to invest in external speakers for optimal audio quality.
With a reasonably powerful GPU, and I mean quite frankly anything that has been released in the past 6 months is more than capable of dealing with these monitors and in triple setups too. There are many bargain monitors to be found at the moment too, so, good hunting!
One thought on “The Best Gaming Monitors for Sim Racing – Buyer’s Guide”
Imagine if only the pictures with 49″ screens had a view from cockpit. I wonder how far can you see to the sides. Can I see mirrors?
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