Hi MPU Community!
My soon-to-be 13 yo son is using my old 2013 MBP laptop for school and playing Minecraft. He wants a monitor for his birthday- and a real gaming PC which we’re not in the market for just yet. I suspect that we’ll likely buy a decent but not high end PC for him in the next 1-2 years so I’m planning to buy a monitor with that in mind. Does anyone have a recommendation for a 24-27" monitor that is decent enough for a future PC gamer that is compatible with a 2013 MBP laptop and ideally less than $300?
Here are the specs on the laptop
I know that this site is primarily for Mac users and not PC gamers. Still MPU is a community I trust so I’m hoping there are some other folks in similar situations who can offer some guidance and recommendations.
I’m not an expert, but I build and maintain a gaming PC and look at monitors a few times a year. I don’t have an off-the-cuff recommendation, but I made a product filter on Newegg for you of what I think you want to look for: https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100898493%20601318853%20600030620%20600417886%204017%204018%204814%20600559798%204115%20600107132%20600460747%204114%208000%20600287843%20600287844
Of the ones that are in stock, I think the ASUS seems most promising. ASUS is a more respected brand than Acer. The Acer seems potentially pretty good for $200, though. And of course there are other sites to search and buy.
The Wirecutter’s budget recommendation, and “Amazon’s Choice,” is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075D1B4SV/?tag=thewire06-20&linkCode=xm2&ascsubtag=AwEAAAAAAAAAAWpj&th=1
The ViewSonic is a TN monitor. I’m sure it will be great if you buy it, but I filtered out TN monitors because I think IPS looks better and is less fiddly, and while the market is small, there are cheap IPS gaming monitors with decent refresh times. You can read about IPs vs. TN here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPS_panel#Advantages
Interested in others’ opinions.
I use a Samsung 28” 4k - similar to https://www.samsung.com/uk/business/monitors/monitor-ue590-lu28e590dsen/lu28e590dsen/ - which is around the price you’re looking for. It is bright (370cd/m2) and has great image quality.
This has FreeSync technology so you don’t get image tearing and stutter during gaming on AMD cards. Therefore, the only disadvantage is that you would have to get an AMD based gaming system, not Nvidia, if you want the variable refresh rate. It makes a massive difference to games and is also supported by Xbox. The equivalent for Nvidia cards is G-Sync, and it is much more expensive to get a monitor that supports this.
Nvidia started supporting FreeSync in 2019 for the 10xx and later GPUs. Setup currently isn’t as seamless as with G-Sync, but it might be by 2022 (although I hope AMD cards will be really good by then…)
The 2013 MBP will support only up to quad resolutions with direct outputs. I have found that a 25in is the best balance of size with that resolution. I remember calculating that I would not go larger in size at that resolution because the viewing quality would decrease. Armed with this info, I bought an AOC about three years ago. I am still very pleased with it. It is however no longer offered on Amazon.
Update: I actually bought the Acer in my Newegg search. I’m pretty happy with it for the cost. The biggest negative is it comes with an HDMI cable, not a DisplayPort cable. The stand is metal, but the connection between the stand and the monitor isn’t as sturdy as I’d like (it will wobble a bit if you hit your desk hard.) I may mount it on an arm. The display drives at 4K well enough for non-gaming use.