Should you upgrade your old monitor?

Can we still use the old PC monitor or is it time to replace it?

Old monitor When purchasing a new desktop computer, we can keep the final expense low by recycling some components of the old PC, among which the monitor certainly stands out. But is the old monitor suitable for all current needs or should we include it in the cost of upgrading our machine?
In this guide we will try to show you in detail if it really pays to upgrade an old monitor, also based on the years he carries on his shoulders and some parameters to be taken into consideration, especially if the PC will be used for games or to start some advanced graphics programs (such as Photoshop or any program for 3D design , such as AutoCAD).
We will be surprised to note that even if the monitor we already own still looks "young", in reality it is no longer in step with the times!


Is updating the old monitor worthwhile?

Assuming that we already have an LCD screen and no longer use cathode ray tube monitors (just in case, let's change it now!), Can the old monitor be kept next to the new desktop computer we bought?
To answer this question we need to take a closer look at the characteristics of the new monitors, so that we can compare them with those of the monitor in our possession.

Screen technology

Screen technology

Monitor screens respond to very different technologies:

  • TN monitor: These monitors offer a very high refresh rate and response time, while sacrificing image quality slightly. These monitors are well suited for video games, where a very low response time is required.
  • VA monitor: this type of monitor offers a much higher color rendering and contrast than TN, even if we are far from the quality that we can achieve with IPS screens (which we will talk about shortly). These monitors offer good contrast and good colors and are ideal for viewing movies or TV series.
  • IPS monitor: they are currently the best technology for those looking for bright and full colors, thus generating very beautiful images with colors faithful to the video source used. They are the best monitors for those who work in the world of graphics or for those who do photo editing.

This distinction alone allows us to understand if our old monitor is suitable for the purposes we have set ourselves: if our needs correspond to those described above while the monitor already in use is "off topic" (for example we want to play video games with an old IPS monitor), it is worth thinking about replacing it.



Virtually all modern monitors have at least one HDMI port: if our monitor does not have it, it must be replaced, even if a DVI digital jack is present.
To make the most of the new vision technologies (such as HDR, synchronized refresh rate and 4K9, let's make sure that there is also a DisplayPort port, given its widespread use among new generation video cards.
To learn more we can read our guide Differences between HDMI and VGA cable, and between DVI and DisplayPort sockets.

Size, resolution and refresh rate

New monitor

The size of the monitor is always linked to our needs and the space we have in the desk: an old monitor does not always make an impression or is useful for the purpose, just as a monitor that is too small may not be adequate for new programs or for support new resolutions. If we have to buy a new monitor it is better to focus on suitable diagonals for any desk (22, 24 or 25 inches) with minimum resolution 1080p (1920×1080 pixels), although prices for 4K monitors are falling fast and you can find some for cheap.
On the dimensions of the screens we have made a guide a How far to view TV or monitor based on screen size.

The standard refresh rate for monitors is 60 Hz and is more than enough for any need; on the market we also find 144Hz or higher monitor, suitable for fast-paced games with a lot of motion scenes (we must also have compatibility at the video card level and in the chosen game).

Adaptive Synchronization Technologies

AMD Freesync

One of the most significant innovations in the field of monitors is the adaptive synchronization, managed through technologies AMD FreeSync is NVIDIA G-Sync: with them the video card can vary in real time the monitor refresh rate based on the refresh rate of the images to be played (in this case a video game). An old monitor on the other hand will have a fixed refresh rate and games will have to adapt to it, often creating that hateful "cut" effect that slows down the fluidity of the game and makes it unwatchable.

If we have to play a lot then the old monitor must be replaced without any doubt, since we will hardly find these two technologies integrated on monitors older than 4-5 years.

New aspect ratio

Ultrawide monitor

In addition to the classic 16: 9, monitors with UltraWidescreen 21: 9, so wide in length that it can effectively replace a solution with two classic monitors.
If we have to work on Excel tables or do a lot of multitasking, such a monitor will make the difference, increasing productivity and tiring the eyes less than two monitors side by side.

Buying Guide

Based on the information above, our old monitor will almost certainly need to be replaced, particularly if we play a lot or work in a field where color accuracy is critical.

If we are big fans of video games and we made a gaming PC, you should immediately throw away the old monitor and focus on a Samsung U28E570D 28 Inch Monitor (with AMD Freesync technology, 201 €) or alternatively the LG 27GL650F UltraGear 27 "Gaming Monitor (with G-Sync technology, 292 €).
Game monitor

Obviously we also choose the right monitor based on the video card we mount on the computer.

If, on the other hand, we need a monitor to work, it is better to focus on quality IPS panels such as the BenQ GW2480 23.8-inch LED Eye-Care Monitor (142 €) or alternatively the LG 24ML600S 24 "Full HD MULTIMEDIA LED IPS Monitor (149 €) ).
Professional monitor

We cannot resist the charm of Ultrawidescreen monitor? Then you should immediately focus on the 34 "AOC Curved Gaming Monitor (449 €) or alternatively on the Samsung C34H892 Ultrawide Curved Monitor (529 €).
LG Monitor

Other interesting monitors can be viewed in our guides Buy 21: 9 wide monitor (ultra wide screen) is How to choose the LCD monitor and screen resolution.


We have found that, unless we have a very limited economic budget, in most cases old monitors with 4 or more years on their backs are not adequate to be able to carry out the main activities that still take place on fixed PCs.
If we want to renew the desktop computer workstation, then we must also consider the purchase of a new monitor, choosing the one that best suits our needs.

Always on the monitor theme, we invite you to read our guides New Computer Monitor: What Features Should It Have is How to connect two monitors to the PC.


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