The Best Gaming Monitors Under 500 USD (2021 Reviews)

Looking for the best gaming monitor under 500 USD you can get? Check out the best 240Hz, 144Hz, G-SYNC, ultrawide, and 4K models available now.

For under $500, you can get one of the best displays for competitive eSports gaming, an excellent ultrawide monitor, a great 4K display, or an impeccable 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor for the most balanced performance.

Deciding which one is the best for you depends on what type of games you mostly play as well as on your PC configuration.

In this guide, we’ll help you decide which is the best gaming monitor under 500 USD for you!

All of the gaming monitors in this guide can be purchased for between $400 and $500. Depending on your budget, you may want to visit our other gaming monitor buyer’s guides.

TypeMonitorSizeResolutionPanelRefresh RateVRR 
Best 1080p Monitor25”1920x1080IPS360HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Stable)
Best 1440p 144Hz Monitors27”2560x1440IPS165HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Compatible)
32”2560x1440IPS170HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Stable)
Best UltraWide Monitors34”3440x1440VA144HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Unstable)
34”3440x1440IPS144HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Stable)
Best 4K Monitor32”3840x2160IPS60HzFreeSync
(G-SYNC Stable)
*Recommended monitor - a review section will be added soon

Note: Be sure to check out our best Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals article. The Samsung C27G75T is one sale for $499 from $699, making it the best value monitor below $500 at the moment. You can also check our review of it here.

best value

AOC CU34G2X

aoc cu34g2x monitor
  • 34″ 3440×1440 144Hz
  • FreeSync and MBR
  • High contrast ratio
premium pick

MSI MAG274QRF-QD

MSI MAG274QRF QD Monitor
  • 27″ 1440p 165Hz 1ms
  • FreeSync and MBR
  • Wide Adobe RGB color gamut
best overall

Gigabyte M32Q

Gigabyte M32Q
  • 32″ 1440p 170Hz (OC) 1ms
  • AMD FreeSync
  • Vibrant colors

Now, in order to ensure you’re getting the perfect monitor for your needs and preference, stick to our guidelines and tips in the monitor reviews below.

Additionally, you can visit our comprehensive gaming monitor buyer’s guide, where you can learn more about what’s the best panel typerefresh ratescreen size and resolution for you, as well as what other features you should look out for.

If you want to view our changelogs for this particular buying guide, you can do so at the end of this article.

Best 1080p Gaming Monitor

You can find great 240Hz gaming monitors for around $250 – $350, but if you’re really serious about competitive gaming, you can buy a rapid 390Hz monitor for $500!

The Pros:

  • AMD FreeSync and MBR up to 390Hz
  • Low input lag, quick response time
  • Fully ergonomic design
  • Vibrant and accurate colors

The Cons:

  • IPS glow and mediocre contrast ratio (as expected from this panel technology)

About the Monitor

The Acer Nitro XV252QF is the only 360Hz gaming monitor you can get for under $500, however, most competitive gamers actually prefer it over the more expensive models as it offers everything plenty of more useful features and flawless performance.

Image Quality

The monitor is based on an IPS panel, which means that you’ll get 178° wide viewing angles that prevent image quality degradation when viewed at an angle.

Further, you get accurate and consistent colors covering the standard sRGB color space in its entirety.

It has a strong peak brightness of 400-nits, so it can get more than bright enough even in well-lit rooms, while the contrast ratio is 1,000:1 as expected from IPS technology.

Another thing to keep in mind about IPS monitors is IPS glow, which is the expected drawback of this panel type.

Finally, the IPS panel of the XV252QF boasts a rapid 1ms GtG pixel response time speed, which ensures that there’s no visible trailing behind fast-moving objects, allowing you to focus on your targets without distractions.

Features

amd freesync logo

Moving on, AMD’s FreeSync technology allows you to synchronize the monitor’s refresh rate to your GPU’s frame rate, which will eliminate screen tearing and stuttering up to 360Hz/FPS (Frames Per Second) – or up to 390Hz/FPS if overclocked.

Alternatively, you can use the Visual Response Boost (VRB) technology, which uses backlight strobing to reduce perceived motion blur.

Besides the overclockable refresh rate, another advantage the XV252QF has over the more expensive 360Hz G-SYNC variants is that its backlight strobing implementation can operate up to 390Hz, whereas the other models are limited to 240Hz.

Other useful gaming features include Black Boost for better visibility in darker games, customizable crosshairs, and pre-calibrated picture presets.

Check out our full Acer XV252QF review for more information.

Design & Connectivity

Acer XV252QF Monitor Design

The Acer XV252QF monitor has a robust and versatile design with full ergonomic support including up to 120mm height adjustment, -5°/25° tilt, +/- 180° swivel, 90° pivot and VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a headphone jack and two basic built-in speakers.

Alternatives

  • Acer Aopen 25XV2Q – the same monitor with different branding, but image quality, performance and features are identical

Best 1440p 144Hz Gaming Monitors

The combination of 1440p resolution and 144Hz+ refresh rate is the favorite among most gamers. Here, you’ll find the best such models available under $500.

The Pros:

  • Vibrant colors and crisp details
  • Quick response time
  • AMD FreeSync, MBR
  • Ergonomic design and rich connectivity options

The Cons:

  • IPS glow and mediocre contrast ratio (as expected from this panel technology)

About the Monitor

For most people, 360Hz or even 240Hz is not necessary.

The difference between 240Hz and 144Hz is not as noticeable as it is between 60Hz and 144Hz meaning that you can enjoy smooth and responsive performance as well as vivid details and better colors with a 1440p 144Hz IPS display.

The MSI MAG274QRF-QD is hands-down the best 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor you can get for under $500.

Image Quality

First of all, the MSI MAG274QRF-QD monitor has the perfect screen size for the 2560×1440 screen resolution as it hits the pixel density sweet spot of 108 pixels per inch (PPI) meaning that you get plenty of screen space as well as sharp and clear details without any scaling necessary.

As if that’s not enough, the display boasts an IPS panel with quantum-dot technology, allowing for exceptional color gamut coverage of 99% Adobe RGB and 10-bit color depth support. The colors are accurate, consistent and vibrant!

The MSI MAG274QRF-QD also supports HDR, but even though it has amazing colors, it lacks local dimming for a higher contrast ratio and deeper blacks.

So, some HDR content may look a bit better, but you’ll mostly prefer HDR disabled.

What makes the MAG274QRF-QD so good is its excellent pixel response time speed of 1ms GtG for zero ghosting which in combination with its gorgeous colors, high resolution, and wide viewing angles delivers both immersive and responsive gaming experience.

Features

Moving on, AMD FreeSync is supported with a 48-165Hz VRR range over DisplayPort and HDMI.

It is certified by NVIDIA as G-SYNC compatible meaning that VRR will work without any issues with compatible graphics cards.

Other useful features include various picture presets (including sRGB and DCI-P3 modes), Motion Blur Reduction backlight strobing technology, Night Vision and crosshair overlays.

Check out our MSI MAG274QF-QD review for more information.

Design & Connectivity

MSI MAG274QRF QD Monitor Back 1

The design has excellent ergonomic support with VESA mount compatibility, -5°/20° tilt, 100mm height adjustment, +/- 75° swivel and 90° pivot adjustments.

At the back of the monitor, you will find two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, a headphone jack, a dual-USB 2.0 hub and USB-C (DP 1.2 Alt Mode and 15W PD).

The Pros:

  • Accurate and vibrant colors
  • Quick response time speed
  • Plenty of gaming features, such as FreeSync and Aim Stabilizer Sync
  • Ergonomic stand and extensive connectivity options

The Cons:

  • IPS glow and mediocre contrast ratio (as expected from this panel technology)

About the Monitor

If you want a 1440p high refresh rate IPS gaming monitor with a 32″ sized screen, the Gigabyte M32Q is the only such model available under $500; luckily, it’s awesome!

Image Quality

1440p resolution won’t look quite as crisp on the 31.5″ viewable screen of the M32Q (93 PPI) as it does on 27″ monitors (108 PPI).

In fact, you get the same amount of screen space and detail clarity as you would with a 24″ 1080p monitor, just a much bigger screen.

A lot of people, especially FPS gamers, also find 32″ monitors to be too big as they have to move their head/eyes more, putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

However, the image still looks quite crisp and since you’ll be sitting a bit further away from a 32″ screen (in comparison to 24″), individual pixels won’t be noticeable and you’ll get a more immersive gaming experience.

The monitor has a wide 94% DCI-P3 gamut (~120% sRGB) with a provided sRGB emulation mode; the contrast ratio is 1,000:1 as expected from IPS technology, while the peak brightness is very good at ~400-nits for HDR content and ~350-nits for SDR.

Finally, it boasts a fast 1ms GtG pixel response time speed that eliminates visible trailing behind fast-moving objects.

Features

The Gigabyte M32Q supports AMD FreeSync and offers stable G-SYNC performance despite not having official certification by NVIDIA.

Gigabyte’s exclusive Aim Stabilizer Sync technology is supported as well, which allows VRR and MBR to be used at the same time in order to minimize the double-image effect.

Other features include custom crosshair overlays, on-screen timers, a refresh rate tracker, Black Equalizer, Dashboard (monitors CPU/GPU temperature, speed, etc.) and a built-in KVM switch.

Check out our Gigabyte M32Q review for more information.

Design & Connectivity

Gigabyte M32Q Design

The stand of the monitor is basic, but sturdy and versatile with up to 130mm height adjustment, +/- 30° swivel, -5°/20° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options are abundant and include DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 2.0 ports, USB-C (with DP Alt Mode), a headphone jack, dual 3W integrated speakers, and a dual-USB 3.0 hub.

Best UltraWide Gaming Monitors

Ultrawide monitors allow you to experience compatible games on another level by increasing your field of view for extra immersion. Here are the best models available under $500.

The Pros:

  • High contrast ratio and wide color gamut
  • Plenty of features including MBR and FreeSync up to 144Hz
  • Ergonomic stand, USB hub
  • Immersive gaming experience

The Cons:

  • Minor ghosting in fast-paced games, particularly in darker scenes

About the Monitor

If you’re after something a bit different, the AOC CU34G2X is one of the best ultrawide monitors under 500 USD! In fact, it’s often available for ~$450.

Image Quality

Thanks to its ultrawide format (21:9 aspect ratio), the AOC CU34G2X provides a more immersive viewing and gaming experience as well as an extra horizontal workspace.

Further, it features a VA panel with a high static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, which makes for deep and vivid black shades.

In comparison to IPS panels, the colors aren’t as accurate and consistent, but they are vibrant and rich nonetheless with true 8-bit color depth and 120% sRGB gamut.

Here’s the kicker: 3440×1440 (UWQHD) resolution also provides a rich pixel density of 110 PPI on this 34″ screen, thereby ensuring crisp details and plenty of screen real estate.

The viewing angles are somewhere in between those of IPS and TN. They aren’t quite as wide as that of IPS, but they are a lot better than the viewing angles on TN panels.

Generally, the main downside of VA panels is the response time speed; pixels take a bit longer to change from one color to another, which causes noticeable ghosting, but it isn’t very important in most cases.

However, in fast-paced games where dark pixels are predominant in the picture, there is visible smearing of fast-moving objects which may be tolerable to some, but game-breaking to others.

Overall, if you mostly play fast-paced games competitively, you should avoid VA panels; otherwise, it’s not a big deal as you get an exceptional image quality for the price as a trade-off.

For casual and single-player FPS games, the amount of ghosting will not be an issue either. You can use the 1ms MBR technology to further eliminate the perceived motion blur.

Features

Moving on, the AOC CU34G2X supports AMD FreeSync up to 144Hz, however, when using FreeSync, there might be some brightness flickering issues depending on your particular unit of the monitor.

Some CU34G2X units will work just fine while some may flicker only in certain games and in certain scenarios (for instance, only on loading screens or in menus), but it’s something to keep in mind.

Other features include pre-calibrated picture modes (FPS, RTS, Racing, etc.), custom crosshairs, Shadow Control (improves visibility in darker games), Game Color (saturation adjustments) and Picture in Picture/Picture by Picture.

Visit our AOC CU34G2X review for more information.

Design & Connectivity

Aoc Cu34g2x Back

Moving on, the AOC CU34G2X offers a sturdy design with up to 130mm height adjustment, -5°/23° tilt, +/- 30° swivel and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include two DisplayPort 1.4 inputs, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a headphone jack and a quad-USB 3.0 hub.

Keep in mind that HDMI 2.0 is limited to 100Hz at 3440×1440.

The screen has an aggressive curvature of 1500R, which provides a more immersive viewing experience by extending your field of view.

Alternatives

The Pros:

  • Accurate and rich colors
  • Quick response time speed
  • Plenty of gaming features, including FreeSync and MBR
  • Ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options

The Cons:

  • IPS glow and mediocre contrast ratio (as expected from this panel technology)
  • Screen is flat, not curved which some users might have preferred

About the Monitor

The Gigabyte M34WQ basically combines the 3440×1440 resolution of the AOC CU34G2X with the fast response time and smooth VRR performance, but it has its flaws too.

Image Quality

To start with, the M34WQ is a flat-screen ultrawide monitor.

Most users would probably prefer a curved screen at this size as it brings the edges of the display closer to you for a more comfortable viewing experience. However, some users also won’t mind this, especially if they’re sitting a bit further from the screen.

The IPS panel of the monitor ensures accurate and rich colors with 91% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage, while the contrast ratio sits at ~1,000:1 as expected.

Additionally, the M34WQ is a great gaming monitor with a fast pixel response time speed for minimal ghosting in fast-paced games.

So, in comparison to the CU34G2X, you get a faster response time speed, wider viewing angles and you don’t have to deal with VRR brightness flickering, but the screen is flat and doesn’t have as high contrast ratio.

Features

While not officially certified by NVIDIA as G-SYNC Compatible, VRR works well with both Radeon and GeForce graphics cards up to 144FPS.

The monitor also supports backlight strobing (Aim Stabilirt Sync) and offers gaming features such as Black Equalizer, custom crosshair overlays, and a refresh rate tracker.

Visit our Gigabyte M34WQ review for more information.

Design & Connectivity

Gigabyte M34WQ Design

The stand of the monitor is sturdy and offers a good range of ergonomics, including up to 130mm height adjustment, 30° swivel, -5°/21° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports, USB-C (DP Alt Mode, 18W PD), a headphone jack, two 3W built-in speakers, a dual-USB 3.0 hub and a built-in KVM switch.

Alternatives

A 3440×1440 144Hz IPS ultrawide gaming monitor with a curved screen and a higher brightness will cost you at least $800 – for instance, the LG 34GP83A.

Of course, the LG 34GP83A also has an even faster response time speed and a wider color gamut, among other things.

So, if you want 3440×1440 resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, quick response time, and smooth VRR performance, the Gigabyte M34WQ is your best choice under $500.

For the more competitive players, consider the MSI MAG301RF. It’s a smaller 30″ 2560×1080 flat-screen ultrawide display with a rapid 1ms GtG response time speed and a high 200Hz refresh rate, priced at ~$330.

Best 4K Gaming Monitor

There’s only one 32″ 4K IPS monitor you can get for under $500, so if you want high resolution and vibrant colors, look no further!

The Pros:

  • High pixel density
  • Wide color gamut and viewing angles
  • Plenty of features including FreeSync
  • Height-adjustable stand

The Cons:

  • Design lacks swivel/pivot
  • No sRGB mode
  • IPS glow and mediocre contrast ratio (as expected from this panel technology)

About the Monitor

The LG 32UN650 is the only 32″ 4K IPS monitor available under $500!

Cheaper 32″ 4K monitors use VA panels with a higher contrast ratio, but they don’t have as consistent colors or wide viewing angles as the LG 32UN650.

Image Quality

Most 32″ 4K IPS monitors go for ~$700 as they’re mainly intended for professional color-critical use with professional-grade factory calibration and other features.

Here’s the deal: the LG 32UN650 allows you to enjoy the advantages of the IPS technology at a more affordable price, but if you want to use it for serious color-critical work, you’ll need a colorimeter since there’s no sRGB mode.

The display covers 95% of the DCI-P3 color space (equivalent to ~125% sRGB), meaning that sRGB content will be over-saturated.

For regular use, be it gaming, watching movies, or anything in-between, this won’t be an issue as you get more vibrant colors with better shade variety.

However, since there’s no sRGB emulation mode that could restrict the monitor’s gamut to ~100% sRGB, you’ll need a colorimeter if you want accurate sRGB color output.

Next, the LG 32UN650 has 178° wide viewing angles, a 1,000:1 static contrast ratio, a 350-nit peak brightness and a 5ms GtG pixel response time speed, so you won’t get as deep blacks as those of cheaper 32″ 4K VA models.

Nonetheless, the image quality won’t degrade at an angle and there won’t be any prominent dark smearing in fast-paced games.

Features

AMD FreeSync is supported with a 40-60Hz VRR range over both HDMI and DisplayPort, and while the monitor is not certified as G-SYNC Compatible by NVIDIA, it does work with compatible GeForce cards (GTX 10-series or newer) over DisplayPort.

Other features include Black Stabilizer (improves visibility in darker scenes), Dual Controller (allows for control over two PCs connected to the display) and advanced image adjustment tools, such as 6-axis hue/saturation, sharpness, four gamma presets and color temperature fine-tuning in increments of 500K.

Check out our LG 32UN650 review for more details.

Design & Connectivity

LG 32UN650 Monitor Design

The stand of the monitor supports height adjustment by up to 110mm and tilt by -5°/20°, or you can detach the stand and mount the screen via the 100x100mm VESA pattern.

Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 inputs, DisplayPort 1.4, a headphone jack and dual 5W built-in speakers. All ports feature HDCP 2.2 allowing you to stream copy-protected content in native 4K resolution from streaming services such as Netflix.

Alternatives

The main downside of the LG 32UN650 for gamers is the low 60Hz refresh rate. So, we recommend considering saving ~$100 more for the Gigabyte M28U – it’s a 28″ 4K 144Hz IPS gaming monitor with HDMI 2.1.

Conclusion

Still not sure what monitor to get?

Leave us a comment below, and we’ll gladly help you out.

All in all, you can’t go wrong with the MSI MAG274QRF-QD. It provides the perfect balance between image quality and performance.

If you don’t care for fast-paced performance, and would rather have a more cinematic viewing experience, go with the AOC CU34G2X or the Gigabyte M34WQ, depending on your panel preference.

For a good balance between the two, we recommend the Gigabyte M32Q or one of the IPS ultrawide gaming monitors, while competitive gamers will certainly be satisfied with the Acer XV252QF. In case you cherish resolution above all else, the LG 32UN650 is for you, though you might want to consider saving up for the Gigabyte M28U instead.

Updates +

  • November 25, 2021:
    – Replaced the Acer XV340CKP with the Gigabyte M34WQ.
  • October 6, 2021:
    – Replaced the Gigabyte G34WQC (discontinued) with the AOC CU34G2X.
  • September 10, 2021:
    – Replaced the LG 27GP850 with the MSI MAG274QRF-QD.
  • August 18, 2021:
    – Replaced the ViewSonic XG270 with the Acer XV252QF.
    – Removed the LG 34GL750.
  • June 11, 2021:
    – Added the Gigabyte M32Q and the Acer XV340CKP.
    – Removed the Samsung CHG70.
  • May 30, 2021:
    – Improved readability
  • May 26, 2021:
    – Replaced the LG 27GL850 with the updated 27GP850 model.
  • February 10, 2021:
    – Added the LG 32UN650.

Related Reads

Best Gaming Monitors For PS4 Pro And Xbox One X
The Best Gaming Monitors For PS4 Pro And XBOX One X (2021 Reviews)
Rob Shafer
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.